Brittany and Charmaine Goodwin’s YouTube channel celebrates the lightheartedness of fashion alongside the gravitas of social issues—valuing both and showing that an interest in one doesn’t deny the significance of the other. We asked them what inspires the content they put out whether it’s centered on fashion, books, music, or social issues. The girls also discuss their interest in Japanese anime, how to direct your creative process, and the power they find in representation as WOC.
Your YouTube channel features a range of fashion lookbooks, reading recommendations and social commentaries—what made you both decide that Youtube was the best platform for the things you wanted to create?
We knew that YouTube was the best platform for the things we wanted to create because of our love for video content. We decided on the name “The Complex Girls” because it fit perfectly due to our variety of interests. We put our creative spin on fashion lookbooks, social commentaries, chit chat videos, and vlogs on our channel. We saw our channel as a blank canvas and have been adding various elements to bring it to life. We feel that we have been able to create a great connection with our viewers through online video.
One of your most recent videos is centered on “Black Girl Magic.” Tell us a little bit about the process of writing and creating that video and what it meant to you both personally.
CG – I love that video so much! I am constantly reading articles to see what black women and girls are doing in various industries, so I felt we had to create a video about Black Girl Magic. I wanted to show that Black Girl Magic is not just a statement, but a movement for black women and girls to believe in their resilience in the face of adversity.
BG – For that video, we wanted to create content in honor of Black History Month. We started with writing a dialog about Black Girl Magic and how this phrase made us feel. This has been one of my favorite videos we have created so far. I allowed myself to be vulnerable in that video about my life experiences. It felt great to put words and visuals to define Black Girl Magic.
Your channel and social media presence is clearly founded on sharing your lived experiences as black women. How do you hope your content influences other WOC to do the same?
By sharing our lived experiences as black women, we have become aware of how important self-acceptance is. When you accept yourself you are able to create connections with your community and also those who can relate to your story. We hope our content influences other WOC to share their own experiences with the world and create platforms for themselves to advocate for the things they believe in.
You also mentioned in that video that the both of you are on an inspiration kick lately. Do you think there are external factors that influence whether artists experience productive periods or uninspired slumps?
Many external factors influence an artist’s productive periods and uninspired slumps. We recently had a couple passings of important members of our family. Through that experience we were not feeling inspired. After we grieved, we translated our thoughts into content. We believe productive periods range depending on the artist. During times of uninspired slumps, it is helpful to put yourself in an environment where you can clear your mind. Take a day to visit your local park or beach because often times nature provides the answer.
What other content creators are you currently obsessed with?
We are inspired by so many YouTube content creators. We love Jenn Im from ClothesEncounters! We have been watching her content for some time now and we always get inspired by her unique fashion sense. We also love the beauty guru, Jackie Aina. She provides very honest product reviews on her channel and she is hilarious! We have also been loving content from a new creator, Charlotte Goodowl. She puts time and effort into her creative content, so we are always amazed by her work.
Are there any unexpected places in your life that you have drawn fashion inspiration from?
BG – I enjoy watching Japanese anime! My favorite one is called Marmalade Boy. It was created in the 90’s so it has a very nostalgic feel. The main character, Miki, wears really cute outfits so I like to get inspired by her to experiment more. I also look at other people’s style whenever I am out. It’s a fun way to see what other people are into wearing.
CG – I personally love looking at street style blogs from other countries. One of my favorites is called Tokyo Fashion. This blog features streetstyle looks from people all around Tokyo. I always get inspired by the street style looks photographed in the Harajuku District in Shibuya, Tokyo. The outfits I see are bold and unique which inspires me to take more fashion risks.
How do you see your channel evolving as your audience grows? What kind of things do you hope to achieve?
As our audience grows we see our channel continuing to incorporate content that we love to make. We get excited every time we get a new subscriber because we see them as our friends. We understand the power of representation in fashion and plan to create more content that people will feel inspired by. We hope to continue to grow a presence in the fashion, beauty, and digital media industries. We also hope to go to fashion shows in every fashion capital in the world and collaborate with a major fashion brand.
What advice would you give to other young WOC searching to put their art on a platform?
The advice we would give would be to have a focus and start with what you have available to you. Free platforms like YouTube and Instagram are a great way to grow an audience and find your voice. We have found it helpful to put our work on both platforms so new people can find us and what we create. Also, be consistent and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable about yourself and your story.
You recently created a visual ode to Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair”—how important do you think it is for artists in mainstream culture to be making political statements?
We agree that making political statements is important however, there are many artists who may not feel comfortable taking that route. It is up to the artist individually to determine their stance on political issues. On the flipside, artists in mainstream culture who do make political statements inspire others to embrace their authentic selves. We are inspired by artists like Solange, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar. They are prime examples of artists who created movements because they put political statements in their art.
What changes do you hope to see yourselves and other creatives make in the remainder of 2017?
CG – In the remainder of 2017, I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone to continue developing my creative tool kit. I have always love film animation, so it would be a new experience to learn different editing/ filming techniques. I hope other artists continue to push their creative boundaries and produce content outside of the norm especially on YouTube. I also want to dabble into another uncomfortable territory, acting!
BG – I always say I am a work in progress because I am always changing. My mind is continuously being opened to new ideas and concepts so I plan to learn more about myself and my own potential. I want for other creatives to reach their full potential as well and make any changes necessary to accomplish their goals.