The Conspiracy Collection: Cash Grab or Inspired Collab?

Shane Dawson takes on the beauty community

By Angelina Zervos

Opinions Editor

Shane Dawson has published his latest “docuseries” on YouTube and managed to earn a spot on the top five trending videos with each video’s release. The six-part series, titled “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star,” was posted throughout the month of October, leading up to the launch of Shane’s makeup collection with Jeffree Star Cosmetics on November 1st. In a previous series, Shane had followed the life of Jeffree Star, reflecting on the multimillionaire’s music career, social media presence, and cosmetic line. During one of the videos, the two had joked about Shane creating his own eyeshadow palette; a year later, the duo has done just that, and then some. However, as Shane’s previous “documentaries,” or as many critics prefer to call them, “vlogumentaries” have proved to be problematic, with the use of questionable journalistic practices and uninformed deductions. Many viewers are left questioning the intent of the YouTube veteran’s endeavor into the makeup industry despite never expressing interest in it before.

The goal of Shane Dawson’s previous series was to investigate (and also entertain defamatory conspiracies about) the lives of popular influencers. The main issue many held with these series was the biased, ignorant approach Shane took to examine these figures. Many of the questions posed by creator and viewer alike were either brushed over or completely ignored. Viewers still have no true understanding of Tana Mongeau’s involvement with the planning and failure of TanaCon, if Jake Paul knowingly manipulates his young audience, or whether or not Eugenia Cooney has fully recovered from her eating disorder. Shane is no journalist, and in the case of exploring whether or not Jake Paul was a sociopath, is no psychiatrist either. Instead of answers, he presents melodramatic storylines that intersect each other repeatedly, creating a long-winded narrative that leave viewers begging for some sort of resolution; it is entertaining nonetheless.

Shane was able to dodge many of these criticisms in his latest series, however, as it focused his personal experience with Jeffree Star in creating the “Conspiracy Collection,” which consists of two eyeshadow palettes, a lip gloss collection, accessories, and an entire merch collection (that has already sold out). Viewers sit in on board room meetings, makeup labs testings, conference calls, and photoshoots. The two insist that what they are creating “has never been done in the makeup industry before.” Perhaps showing the process of a large makeup collaboration, from the lab to the shelves, is impressive, at one point we are given an incredibly dramatic shot of a JFC employee calculating the projected earnings of the duo on his iPhone calculator app… it is hardly revolutionary. We are only given glimpses into the process, and in all honestly, they make it look easy. It appears the most difficult part of the launch was choosing the correct packaging, which had an entire “episode” dedicated to it titled “The Failure of Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson,” so sad! In all fairness, we do witness some wholesome moments, such as Shane’s proposal to his boyfriend Ryland, a motivational speech made to Ryland’s sister Morgan about subjective beauty standards, and a shot of Shane and Jeffree hugging as they watch eyeshadow pans get impressed with their names.

HOWEVER! This does not excuse the questionable intent of Shane, who throughout his entire career, had never expressed interest in makeup or the beauty community until his series with Jeffree. He makes an effort to address these concerns, doing makeovers on his friends and family in each of the videos. Yet this doesn’t disguise the avaricious nature of the duo, who constantly allude to the grand amount of money to be made by the launch. They were successfully able to sway the hearts of millions into buying their collection; don’t bother trying to purchase the Conspiracy palette now – it’s already sold out!


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