Who is James Charles? 20-year-old beauty influencer on YouTube who is worth $12 million

While he has a legion of followers on YouTube, a feud with his friend Tati Westbrook landed James Charles in controversy.

James Charles, an influencer, who describes himself as a '20-year old kid' on his YouTube channel, is back to his 16.3 million subscriber mark after dropping to 13.9 million, following his fight with Tati Westbroook in May this year.

While teens his age were barely out of their parents' home, Charles as a 19-year-old was busy accumulating his net worth which was pegged at US$12 million (£9 million), this year.

Who is James Charles?

Charles - his renowned name as one of the biggest beauty influencers - started his own YouTube channel just three years ago. The make-up artist was the first male face of CoverGirl.

An alumna of Bethlehem Central High School, Charles, who addresses his fans as 'sisters', has entered into a partnership with Morphe, a high-end make up brand.

Apart from teaching the finer nuances of make-up to his viewers, Charles also reviews various make up products after using them. His channel was launched in December 2015.

Charles and Tati Westbrook controversy

In May this year, Charles created the record of becoming the first-ever YouTube personality to lose over 1 million subscribers within 24 hours. This was thanks to his fight with Tati Westbrook, a fellow make-up artist who runs her own YouTube channel, GlamLifeGuru.

The long-time friends had a bitter feud which led to Charles losing subscribers while Westbrook gained them. Charles and Tati shared a close bond to the extent that Charles addressed the 37-year-old as mom. He even did Westbrook's makeup on her wedding day.

james charles and tati westbrook
James Charles and Tati Westbrook YouTube

In April this year, things started going downhill when Charles promoted Sugar Bear Hair on his Instagram profile. The product was a direct competitor to Westbrook's own supplement product, Halo Beauty.

Even though Charles apologised to the 37-year old YouTuber, things went from bad to worse. Apparently, Charles, in the past, had refused to promote Halo beauty on his channel on account of majority of his followers being teenagers.

A visibly hurt Westbrook posted on her Instagram story, "Everybody says what they need to say and uses who they need to use, and I have had about enough. It's not right."

The videos that changed the game

Few days later, Westbrook uploaded a 40-minute video explaining why she doesn't want to be associated with Charles anymore. The video went on to garner 34 million views till date. Maintaining that Charles' apology was not genuine and made just to protect his reputation, Westbrook said, "When you can't have any emotion for the other person who loves you so much and all you're caring about is your image—I'm not okay with that."

She further went on to reveal more grievous details about Charles. Westbrook alleged that her former friend forced men to have sex with him. "Oh my god, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he's gay, yet again. And somehow, you're the victim."

"It's really disgusting to manipulate someone's sexuality especially when they're emerging into adulthood and don't quite have everything figured out. To have them behave sexually in your favor even if they're straight—that's not okay," she said in her video.

Charles, in a video which reached 33 million views, apologised to Westbrook and her husband James. "To Tati and James Westbrook, I'm sorry for everything that is going on and everything I've put you through over the past few weeks," he said in the video.

In the subsequent battle of the two make-up gurus, Charles lost millions of followers including high profile celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Katie Perry, Ariana Grande, and Miley Cyrus.

Charles Tinder controversy

james charles
James Charles/ Instagram

Charles made it back to the news once again after his fans found him listed as a female on social dating site, Tinder. The news went viral after a twitter user wrote: "Y'all. my guy friend just found James Charles on tinder when he was in LA?? classified as a female??"

In his defence, Charles said that he was sick of people talking about his gender status all the time. "My identity on dating apps was listed as 'androgynous' - someone who expresses themselves in both feminine & masculine ways.

"NOT a female to 'trick' anyone. Every time someone said they were straight, I unmatched right away. As a gay man, you know that 'curious' men use feminine gays as an outlet to experiment. I stopped allowing myself to take part, but let's not pretend like it doesn't happen," he went on to write.

In November this year, Charles was accused of hooking up forcefully with a waiter. Charles had completely denied the allegation and said that the hook-up was consensual. "The reality is that the 'hook-up' was completely consensual. The waiter told me that he was bisexual," he added.