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How Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli Built an Inclusive Beauty Community Online and IRL


The year is 2020. I’m “stranded” with my family after a week-long trip turned into four months of quarantine in my childhood home. Everything is changing and nothing is certain—except Naked Beauty Podcast. My clothing categories have narrowed down to sleepwear, loungewear, and athletic apparel, but each week, my world is opened to a slew of new beauty possibilities. Should I try a DIY mask? Or maybe it’s time to check in with a dermatologist? Naked Beauty Podcast had the answers, or at least, the conversation-starters.

Through Naked Beauty Podcast and its Instagram home, Naked Beauty Planet, host and creator Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli has built a beauty community where people of all backgrounds and levels of beauty knowledge can come together to discuss and learn about natural beauty, hair care, and skincare in fresh, relevant ways. “My listeners are so interesting, and I wanted to get to know them and create a community with them as well, so I created Naked Beauty Planet on Instagram to continue a much more personal conversation beyond the podcast.”

There couldn’t be a better time for a podcast like Naked Beauty. The beauty business is rapidly growing, and consumers are more and more interested in taking a thoughtful approach to the products they use and the brands they support. Though Brooke is essentially an early-adopter of the beauty podcasting space (Naked Beauty was born in 2016), her content has met the moment and the increased need for authentic storytelling from diverse perspectives.

Behind Naked Beauty

So where did it all begin? Brooke has a rather worldly perspective of beauty—a unique point of view that could only be crafted in New York City where beauty influences from all over melt into one beautiful palette.

“My mom actually worked in the beauty industry,” Brooke shares. “She was a marketing executive at Revlon, so she was always bringing home tons of makeup for us to play with. I have a very glamorous grandmother as well, so I’ve always loved beauty.”

Though beauty was her first love, Brooke had always imagined herself in the fashion industry. She modeled in high school and interned at Vogue and Balenciaga. However, her time spent at Stanford opened her eyes to the new media arising in tech, leading her to work as a social media manager and ultimately to her current role—marketing at Instagram. This love for cutting-edge media also encouraged her to enter podcasting:

“Podcasting is such an interesting medium to connect with women about beauty—especially Black women. We have such unique beauty experiences, whether it's growing up and learning about our hair texture or long days spent in the salon. These things are passed down from our mothers. We even learn to mix things up in our own kitchens to use as a hair mask or a face mask. All of those rituals are so rooted in a lot of Black and Brown women’s stories about beauty, and I wanted to bring these to life through a podcast.”

Diversity of Thought, Voice and Background

Guests on Naked Beauty Podcast come from all backgrounds and industries with a unique perspective on beauty, but one thing that they have in common is that they are women Brooke admires.

“From the very beginning, I decided that Naked Beauty was going to be about me interviewing the women I look up to. So when I come across a woman I really admire, I just approach them and ask them to be on the show. And that’s everyone from people like Gabrielle Union, who's been on the show, to Doniella Davy, the lead makeup artist of Euphoria.” Her dream guest? Wendy Williams—now that’s a beauty routine we would love to hear!

And while Brooke’s point of view is clearly that of a Black woman, she invites all beauty lovers to have a seat at the Naked Beauty table.

“Being a Black woman is inextricably linked to who I am and how I see the world, so of course, it's going to come up, but that’s why podcasting is great. It’s a really interesting medium for understanding people and cultures that you may not have otherwise had access to. I have a lot of listeners who reach out and tell me that they had no idea that Black women had so many complicated things around their hair. Before, it was invisible to them, but now they can hear the stories of other people through the episodes.”

“I try to keep this diversity in mind when I'm finding guests. For example, I have a recent episode highlighting Asian American women, discussing the rise of anti-Asian sentiment, and talking to these women that I really admire about how being Asian has affected them.”

For Brooke, diversity doesn’t end with skin color and heritage. The Naked Beauty community is also diverse in beauty philosophies. On the podcast, you’ll hear from DIY lovers who swear by homemade beauty and dermatologists who recommend leaving it to the professionals. You’ll learn from trans women about beauty through their eyes and hear how your favorite influencer loves injectables. No conversation is unwelcome. “I always think of my guests on the podcasts like guests in my home,” says Brooke. “I want them to feel comfortable and welcome. I'm inviting them on the show because I respect their point of view, and I think beauty conversations are boring if you only have one perspective.”

Beauty is More Than Skin Deep

While beauty is the main topic, the Naked Beauty Podcast community is about so much more than what you look like. Brooke says, “I think that oftentimes beauty talk can be really shallow if it's just about what products you use. But I'm really nosey, so not only do I want to know what cleanser you use, I want to know how much you use and if you cleanse with warm or cold water. Do you towel off in between steps? I want to know all the details. We develop really personal attachments to certain skincare items or parts of our ritual, and it's really interesting to see. Every time I talk to people, I realize that beauty is about our personal history, who we are.”

“I also love talking about makeup,” Brooke continues. “Our beauty decisions communicate something about who we are and how we are feeling—even if we don't realize that we're making them at the time.”

To Fellow Creators:

The success of Naked Beauty is clearly no mistake. It’s the result of consistent hard work and intentional community building. As if her full-time job at Instagram wasn’t enough to manage, Brooke and her husband Umut have also welcomed baby boy Mavi to their family (and her schedule). But her new role as Mom has only made her more efficient.

“It's interesting when you become a mom, your ability to work just expands,” says Brooke. “There's no wasting time. If you have a free hour, you get to work and make it happen.” She also shares that outsourcing is essential to growth, so creatives, don’t try to do it all yourself.

“As the podcast has grown, I've been able to outsource things. I think it's such a hard lesson to learn because when you create something, you're so precious about it, and you don’t want to share the responsibility. But now, I have help editing the show. I have an editorial lead, Elijah, who’s amazing. So I think a big tip for creators that want to increase their impact while still taking care of their mental health is to outsource. It may even start as free help and then grow over time.”

To those looking to build a community of their own on social media, Brooke’s advice is simple yet important: Be social!

“Definitely talk to your audience. I answer all of my DM's. I think it's really important to realize that social media is just that, a medium to be social. So when people comment, comment back. Get to know your audience. Follow the most active people that are following you. The days of one source speaking down to a bunch of people is over. It’s all about two-way conversations. So get involved with your community.”

Brooke has even shared her Naked Beauty Planet platform with members of the community that can contribute to the conversation as guest editors. “I've been tapping my audience for listeners who are interested in being content creators and want to try some of these products that I can’t try myself. I pick five new people every single month and they try products and review them on my page and it's been great!”

For beauty lovers and content creators alike, there’s always something to learn from Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli and the diverse community at Naked Beauty. We’ll be listening.

Want more Beauty Through the Black Lens? Learn about dermatologist Adeline Kikam's (a.k.a. @brownskinderm) strive for wellness in skin of color, see how Ndeye Peinda is breaking the stereotypical beauty mold, and hear from makeup artist Renée Loiz about her work to diversify your beauty cabinet.

Take your love for beauty one step further with the IPSY Glam Bag. Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated March 26, 2021 12:00 AM