Shane Dawson is one of the few YouTube creators whose documentary series following other creators have amassed more than 100 million views. His newest series, “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star,” aims to be his biggest one yet, going behind the scenes with one of YouTube’s most prominent and controversial beauty moguls at a time when the community was undergoing its biggest feud to date.
Dawson dropped the first trailer for the series yesterday after months of teasing. It has amassed 5 million views in just over 12 hours and landed at the top of YouTube’s Trending page. People are excited about Dawson’s highly anticipated new series for the same reasons they were excited for his past videos on creators like Jake Paul, Eugenia Cooney, and Tana Mongeau: insider access.
The documentary series follows Star as he travels, works on his multimillion-dollar makeup line, and deals with personal issues. But it’s impossible to talk about his life without the backdrop of what’s happening in the YouTube community — especially the beauty scene. One of the key stories that Dawson’s doc will cover is the controversial feud between beauty gurus James Charles and Tati Westbrook, two creators who Dawson and Star know. The personalities’ very public fight led to Charles losing more than 2 million subscribers in less than 48 hours, and it heavily dominated conversation within the YouTube community.
People who were obsessed with Charles and Westbrook’s back-and-forth or updates from YouTube commentary and drama channels were glued to YouTube and Instagram. But the heavily edited, 45-minute staged testimonials only carried so much information about the bitter war. “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star” has the advantage of starring two of YouTube’s most influential and connected people: Star as a cornerstone of the beauty community and Dawson acting as a placeholder for fans who were also watching everything unfold.
The series isn’t just drama, though. All of the big moments from Dawson and Star’s lives, which have been posted on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and even YouTube from time to time, are given more attention. Dawson’s marriage proposal, Star’s dog dying, and Dawson’s own controversy from earlier this year (which led to the #ShaneDawsonIsOverParty hashtag on Twitter) will be explored in depth.
Dawson being at the center of a documentary about another creator might seem strange, but his life is intertwined with Star’s. The two have collaborated on makeup lines together, have many of the same friends, and operate within the same community. It’s more challenging for Dawson to tell Star’s story without including his own life events. Plus, it’s what his fans are looking to see. It’s the type of access and apparent openness that fans have come to expect from creators. The events of Dawson’s documentary will be familiar to people who follow him and his friends closely, making the intimate conversations the real draw.
Since Dawson started rolling out these docuseries over the last two years, other creators have tried to replicate his success. Even Jake Paul, who was the subject of one of Dawson’s series, produced his own behind-the-scenes show about life in his vlogger collective mansion. But none have come close to Dawson’s success. Docuseries have become Dawson’s most prominent project, but they require months of recording and editing. He’s taken time away from more frequent uploads to focus on producing lengthier projects, straying away from the grind of a traditional YouTube upload schedule. It’s something his fans have wholly supported, however, as they turn every new episode of his series into appointment TV.
“The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star” will come out on October 1st. It’s unclear how much of the series Dawson is releasing on that day.