Riley Hubatka has a lot of followers—literally millions. At last count, she has 8.5M on TikTok, 2.3M on Instagram, and 132K on YouTube, bringing that to a grand total of….way more eyes than any 21-year-old should have on them.
That's the beauty (or curse) of TikTok, where Hubatka gained most of her social following—one video is all it takes to turn regular girls into mega-influencers, seemingly overnight. But Hubatka hasn't let that change her. “I've been on social media for almost three years now, and still to this day, I don't think any different of myself,” she tells Glamour. “I feel so incredibly normal, it's insane. But then I remember, I have millions of followers across all those platforms.”
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Hubatka is indeed "incredibly normal"—conversation comes as easily as chatting with a friend I've know for years. That is, if that friend just launched a press-on nail collab with Olive & June. The collection features six different sets of nails, in designs inspired by her different moods. “I have been obsessed with press-on nails for as long as I can remember,” she tells Glamour. “I specifically remember me being five or six, and begging my mom to get me press-ons from Target. And she wouldn't let me. She was like, 'No, you're too young, you don't need to have these fancy nails.' But I've just always loved them.”
To celebrate the collection, Hubatka joined us for a round of Glamour's Big Beauty Questions. Read on for the beauty rules she swears by, how she handles the haters, and what she wishes you knew about acne.
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Glamour: Do you have a favorite set from the collection? I know it's probably like picking a favorite child.
Riley Hubatka: I'm obsessed with all of them, really. I love them all for different reasons. But I'm looking at all of them right now, and I'm going to have to go with these rainbow French tips, just because I'm a sucker for a classic French. Adding different colored tips just gives it a little twist. And they're longer, so you feel elegant. You feel classy, but at the same time, it's super fun. But again, I hate choosing favorites because I'm obsessed with all of them.
Were you inspired by anything specific when creating the collection?
I wanted each set to represent a different mood. Obviously, everyone has mood changes, so I wanted to be able to represent how I feel through my manicure. The latte swirl ones that I made, I thought if you're going to work, it needs to be neutral, but you still want to spice it up a little bit. These pink iridescent ones that I have on, I love these. I feel super girly. I'm in a big glitter, star, girly phase right now. These make me feel cute, and make me feel fun, even if I'm just by myself, doing a girls night in. I made a mix and match set, with every nail in the pack being a different pattern, for a party or a festival. I want it to represent how I'm feeling on a day to day basis.
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Is there a beauty trend you're obsessed with right now?
I have been really into eyelashes. I didn't hop on the eyelash train until maybe six months ago and now I feel naked without them. I actually get asked about my eyelash routine, and I literally just cut and shape different random ones that I buy until I like how it looks on my eye.
Is there a beauty rule that you swear by?
I always apply fake freckles on my face after completing my whole makeup look. Just because I feel like it makes it look a little bit more natural. I was not blessed with freckles, so I add them on every single time I'm doing my makeup routine. I'm super jealous of anyone that has them naturally, it just makes it feel like I'm not wearing a full face.
What about a beauty rule that you think is BS?
The fact that people assume that if you have acne, or if you have dark spots, you need to put a ton of makeup on your face to cover it up. It ends up looking cakey. There are ways that you can cover up the imperfections on your face, without having to go out of the house looking like you have just a crap ton of makeup on your face.
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Do you remember the first beauty product that you ever used?
I begged my mom to wear mascara. I was probably in seventh grade, and I had never worn makeup before, but I just really wanted to wear mascara. And I'm the oldest of four girls, so I was the guinea pig or the test subject for my parents, parenting-wise. So my mom made me make my bed for 30 days straight, to show that I'm responsible enough to start wearing makeup. And I get on her all the time about it. I'm like, “Why did you make me do that?” And she was like, “Well wearing makeup in some sense is a responsibility. You have to take it off, you got to be able to clean your face." I literally had to make my bed for a month straight, in order to start wearing mascara.
That's so funny. Do you still make your bed every day?
I do make my bed every morning now, which is great.
What is the best beauty advice you've ever gotten?
Less is more, when it comes to makeup. You are able to do makeup without just putting pounds of product on your face.
What's the last TikTok rabbit hole that you went down?
I actually love ASMR. I recently found myself on this scrapbooking account on TikTok, where this girl does super up-close ASMR things when she scrapbooks. She'll put the stickers on, and flip the page. I don't know of what it is about it, but I could sit there and watch that account for hours. It's so relaxing and entertaining. I'm not even a scrapbooker, I would never get into that. But I love watching her do it!
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You're let loose in a drug store with $20 bucks in your pocket. What are you buying?
If I'm at Target, I'm obviously getting Olive & June press-ons. I think they retail for around 10 bucks, which is incredible in itself. I need those to go about my day to day life. I'd probably get a tube of Aquaphor, because I also can't live without lip balm. I need it. And maybe a cheap pair of eyelashes. Again, because I cut and rearrange them. Those are probably my staples. I would be fine in my day to day life, if I had ChapStick and eyelashes on. And my nails, obviously.
What's your favorite way to take a moment for yourself?
Recently I've been very busy, so I love a good night in to myself where I draw myself a bubble bath. I do a face mask. I do my skincare routine. And then those nights are also the nights where I'll change out my press-ons. I'll just have a full night to myself watching Netflix, making food and doing my nails and skincare routine very in depth.
What's your go-to getting ready music?
Doja Cat. I feel like she is the best possible hype woman. I could literally take on any challenge that the world throws at me as I'm listening to her.
Do you have a power perfume?
I have been switching between two. I love YSL Black Opium, that's my staple. Whenever I wear that, I get compliments on it. I switch between that and the Chanel Chance perfume, which is more mature. It really depends on the vibe that I'm going for. But those are my two staples.
What has been your biggest beauty fail?
Beginning of last year, I would do this really chunky eyeliner. And I don't really wear eyeliner, but I wanted to try it out so I started off doing small wings. Every single day, I would do it, they would get thicker and thicker. I wasn't meaning to do that. I got excited. If you go back and look at my content during that time, it's sort of a black triangle on the side of my face. I was getting so many comments like “Girl, that eyeliner needs to go.” And I would get super defensive about it. It's on my face, it's not on your face. I can do what I want. But now looking back, I'm like... I apologize to all of you. Really. I understand where you were coming from. So, thank you for that.
You have such a huge following. How do you deal with people constantly sharing their opinions like that?
It's definitely been a challenge, and its something that I've had to learn how to deal with. But as much as I could say I don't go through my comments, I do. I could get a thousand great comments of people saying that they love me, they love my makeup. Whatever. But then there's one or two nasty comments, and those stick in my brain.
It comes down to me realizing that I don't make content to please everyone. I put out what I like to put out. Not everyone's going to like me and what I look like, and that's okay. If my end goal was to please every single person on the internet, it's not possible. It would become so emotionally and physically exhausting for me. It sucks when people give their unnecessary opinions, but it's something that comes with the life that I live. And I've had to learn how to handle that in a gracious way.
If you could change one thing about beauty ideals, either on social media or in Hollywood, what would you want to change?
I've struggled with acne my entire life, and I feel like it's not normalized enough. I feel like a lot of young girls especially, have this perception that you can only be pretty if you have clear skin. I want acne and pimples to be normalized, and you should feel confident in your own skin. Obviously, do the best you can skin care wise, try and figure out what works for you. But having a pimple on your face does not mean that you are looked at any differently. Just because you have acne, does not make you any less of a person than all these celebrities with clear skin.
Who are the women who are inspiring you the most right now?
Right off the bat, I'll say my mom. My mom is my best friend. She has been such a source of encouragement for me. Especially being in social media, and dealing with hate, she always knows the right things to say. For style, I look up to Hailey Bieber a lot. Her style is so cool. Almost a business casual, with an edgy side to it. This is really random, but I also look up to Jennifer Lawrence a lot. She is obviously such a big name, but I feel like she carries herself in a way where it comes across as if she doesn't really care what other people think of her. And I want to be seen as real and raw. I think her interviews are hilarious, and that's what I aspire to be personality wise.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.