Welcome to The Sistahood | YouTuber Stephanie Villa of SoothingSista

Author: Kristen McCloud / Photos: Angelo Vasquez

Stephanie Villa aka SoothingSista is not only using YouTube as an outlet for her creativity, but also for curating a welcoming space that ushers in everyone with open arms. With a unique sense of style that sets her apart from many other beauty and fashion bloggers, Stephanie's YouTube channel has attracted a community of like-minded individuals who are also looking to embrace their own individuality. In addition to clothing hauls, beauty tips, and vlogs, Stephanie is further setting herself apart with original content that she herself would like to watch, rather than just appealing to the masses. We stopped by Stephanie's place to chat about where her YouTube channel is going next (including her plans with her new booze-centered series and passion project, SippingSista) and why inclusivity is so important to her. Check it out below!

Where did the name SoothingSista come from?
I created my YouTube handle before I knew I wanted to make videos. At the time I was working at a restaurant/bar in Davis, CA where we had a tea drink called SoothingSista. When I created a YouTube account and needed to create a handle, it just popped into my head and the rest is history! I never thought people would be calling me that like it’s my name. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like it but I never thought it would have such significance in my life.

How has being a YouTuber influenced your lifestyle?
YouTube is so wholly ingrained in my daily life. I wake up and go to sleep thinking about YouTube. Many of my friends make YouTube videos. It has brought so many wonderful people and opportunities into my life. YouTube has given me the ability to be creative and honest and I am constantly challenged to create interesting content that I myself would want to watch.

You have a unique intro - in comparison to other popular YouTubers - to your videos which specifically welcomes people of all gender identities. Why did you decide to make it a point to include this in your videos?
I try to say that in every video to let my viewers know that my videos are a place of inclusivity. No matter who you are, you are welcome to join the sistahood! I’m so lucky in that I have this incredibly intelligent, compassionate virtual community and I learn from my subscribers constantly.

What’s been the most difficult part of being a YouTuber? How do you deal?
Definitely separating some of my personal life from my work--and stepping away from the camera. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in constantly capturing everything and that totally works for some people but I need some division there. I need to eat meals with friends and be present and not record everything we are eating. As a YouTuber, any part of my life could potentially be part of my job. It’s so easy to get caught up in yourself when you are constantly on camera. Just like everything in life, balance is key.

“I’m so lucky in that I have this incredibly intelligent, compassionate virtual community and I learn from my subscribers constantly."

What has been your favorite project you’ve done so far?
I’m currently working on my “SippingSista” series which is all about booze--something I like very much ;) I’m bringing on experts (like my friend Nicolas who is the bar director at a Michelin-starred restaurant) to speak with me not only about how to create beautiful drinks but also the origin and processes of different types of alcohol. It’s a passion project I have wanted to do for a long time and now it’s actually happening!!

If you weren’t doing YouTube, what would you be doing?
When I first started making YouTube videos I was actually in grad school for Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I was and still am very passionate about Chinese Medicine but when the opportunity to do YouTube fulltime became a reality, I just went for it. If I hadn’t done that, I believe I would have continued on with school. It was such a difficult decision to make but in the end, I’m so happy I did it.

You’ve mentioned that it’s been a struggle growing up as an Asian American who doesn’t fit the stereotype. What advice do you have for other girls going through the same thing?
I’m very lucky that I had my big cousin Nicky to help me through being a weird little kid wearing crazy Goodwill concoctions growing up. He pretty much told me, f*ck what everyone thinks and do what makes you happy. That is exactly what I try to relay to anyone struggling with self-identity. You’re going to come across a lot of people who have an issue with who you are for some crazy reason--f*ck ‘em. Their problems with you are their problems, not yours. If what you like and what you do doesn’t hurt anybody, keep with it and eventually, you’ll find people who are into the exact same things!

If you could collab with anyone or any brand who would it be and why?
I would love to judge some puds on the Great British Bake Off... just kidding (not really). To be honest I’ve been watching a ton of food channels and I would love to collab with Mark Weins or Mikey Chen of Strictly Dumpling because they eat the most insanely delicious food and I want to get in on that.

In terms of brands, there are so many beauty brands I would love to work with. Too Faced would be incredible. They are just killing it in the beauty game and I very much respect what Jerrod Blandino and Jeremy Johnson are doing with their brand.

What’s next for you and your channel?
I’m trying to incorporate more content outside of beauty that I enjoy watching. SippingSista is just the start of that! I’m also trying to travel more (perhaps even take off for a couple months!) so there will definitely be some vlogs in unique places coming up!

What are three hidden gems in LA?
1) Resident - An awesome outdoor space with the best breakfast burrito of your life (and I lived in the Mission in San Francisco).
2) Tony’s Saloon - A no bullsh*t bar attached to Pizzanista and across the street from a real yummy taco truck.
3) Salazar - Everything is delicious here. Homemade tortillas and the best Michelada ever. On second thought, please don’t go here, the wait is already long enough.

What does MISSBISH mean to you and who’s your MISSBISH?
To me MISSBISH is a supportive and inclusive community of badass individuals doin’ their damn thang. My MISSBISHes are my sister Ashley Villa, who is the founder of RARE Global Management Company (she negotiates and facilitates all my deals and campaigns), my mom, and my girl Jenn Im!

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