Xowie Jones is The Internet's Favorite Alt Chick
The viral content creator talks TikTok, fashion inspiration and upcoming music and YouTube releases in this exclusive V interview.
The viral content creator talks TikTok, fashion inspiration and upcoming music and YouTube releases in this exclusive V interview.
With the face of a porcelain doll and an entirely antithetical cultivated aesthetic, it’s no surprise that Xowie Jones has taken the Internet by storm.
The viral content creator is one of TikTok’s biggest stars—rare is the app user who hasn’t seen her videos on their For You Page, whether they be of her doing dark, horror-inspired makeup, lip-syncing along to trending audio, and adding her own alternative touch to it, or getting into the persona of a moody character, laced with Xowie’s personal style bordering between delicate edginess and goth rebelliousness.
With over 6.3 million followers on TikTok, budding music and YouTube career on the way, and the virtual subcultures of alternative, goth aesthetics at her fingertips, malleable under her influence and style, Xowie Jones is the girl of the moment, defying the status quo with every new surreal, undead, slightly-eerie look she pulls off. Below, we talked to Xowie about her personal influences, the intricacies of creating on TikTok and what lies ahead for the 21-year-old creative.
V MAGAZINE: How has your year been? With everything happening, the pandemic, this has been such a crazy year for everyone. As a content creator, has being at home affected you?
XOWIE JONES: I mean, it’s definitely affected my mental health a little bit for sure. Before I was already kind of introverted, so I stayed inside a lot anyways. But I just moved to LA too—I’m from North Carolina—and now I can’t go out with my friends and do stuff, which kind of sucks. But as far as filming and stuff, it’s kind of been beneficial…which is kind of bad, but since everybody is home, it’s easier to work because I’m always home. So it’s great, but it also sucks really bad.
V: I hear you’re about to put out music for the first time. Can you tell me about that process a little bit? What’s it been like recording?
XJ: Oh, it’s been so fun. It’s been so much fun. I’m not experienced at all, I’ve had to get help because I don’t know the structures of songs and stuff, but it’s definitely been something I’ve always wanted to try and it’s been so fun. I fell in love with it the first time I even tried to do it and I’m just excited to release a bunch of stuff.
V: Do you write your own songs as well as perform them?
XJ: I get help. I wanna lean towards learning how to write completely my own songs, but I get help sometimes with songwriters, where they help me with structuring and stuff. But it’s definitely not one of those things where you just buy the song, I know some people just buy the lyrics. It’s definitely a team effort and you know, so far I’ve only worked with Danny and he’s been very nice, he’s been very sweet and so helpful. So friends are great.
V: What’s your music about, and who are some of the influences?
XJ: I’m going to release a bunch of different songs, so there’s always going to be a bit of different stuff, but my main focus and my main goal is towards mental health, ‘cause music helps me get through a lot with depression and anxiety and stuff like that. I really just want to tell stories of things that I’ve been through with songs, I’m hoping that it’ll help other people who listen to it. As far as lie inspiration goes, I really like Poppy a lot. I want to combine pop, hyper pop, glitch-core type stuff with weird indie, with a little bit of rock. I just want to create my own sound. I’m trying to figure it out still, but whenever it’s done it’ll for sure be amazing. I’m excited.
V: It sounds like it’s going to be amazing. You’re also getting your YouTube launched soon, so you have so many big things coming out right now. What can we expect to see there?
XJ: I’ve wanted to start YouTube since I was 12. So now that I’m finally starting it, it’s super exciting, super fun. I want to do a lot of makeup tutorials, unboxing videos because I get clothes and stuff, so I want do hauls. I’m also just moving into my apartment in LA, so I’ll probably do some unboxing as far as house decor and where I can get that kind of stuff at, because I have, like—there’s a popcorn machine right there! I just get a bunch of random stuff. Also, Q and As, I just want it to be more personal because on TikTok, you can speak, but you only get 15 seconds to a minute. And on YouTube, I feel like it’s a lot more personal to where I can get to know my audience better and they get to know me a little bit better.
V: Speaking of unboxing things and your own personal style, you’ve become such an icon on TikTok for your style and your entire aesthetic as a whole, that dark goth vibe. How would you describe your own aesthetic and how did you build that around for yourself?
XJ: I definitely fall under the “alternative” umbrella term, if you want to say that, but I pull from so many different places that it’s hard to even put “goth” or something like that on it. I pull from goth and I pull from grunge, but I don’t even know what to call it myself. I have “krusty” merch and I feel like that’s the closest thing to describe my style: crusty. But I shower though! So it’s like…look gross, but not be gross.
V: I love that. Can you tell me a little bit about what the process for creating a TikTok is like for you? Do you find audio and then you’re like, “I’m going to use this,” or you have an idea first and you find something to put it with?
XJ: It’s a little bit of both. It really just depends on what the idea revolves around because I have my TikToks where it’s transition videos and I’m just doing my makeup. Then I have the stop motion videos and just other creative stuff that I’ve posted. Sometimes it’ll be just the audio and I’ll hear a specific beat drop or a specific sound and I’m like, Oh, I can transition at this part and look this way and I’ll match like the audio. And sometimes it’s just the other way around where I just have an idea that I think would be really cool, and then it takes me months to find an audio that actually works for it. It’ll be in the back of my head forever, but eventually, it gets out there, which is fine. So it’s a little bit of both.
V: You’ve gone viral so many times, which is unsurprising, really, and some of your TikToks are more focused on special effects makeup, some are, like you said, lip-syncing, some are more horror clips. What kind of content do you find yourself most drawn to?
XJ: To create, I like creating my own characters with my makeup, because whenever I do my makeup and stuff, I obviously do big eyeliner and weird lipstick and all that stuff anyway. But it’s also kind of a character to me in a sense of how I’m feeling that day, if that makes any sense. So it’s, you know, I feel this way, so I look this way. And then I’ll use TikTok audios and that kind of match the vibe or how I’m feeling to go with a look.
V: You’ve talked to me a little bit about channeling your emotions into an outlet, both in music and in TikToks. Do you find yourself drawn to one more than the other, or are you kind of just dabbling in both right now?
XJ: Well, when I first started, it was definitely moreso just TikTok. I’ve just started making music and I do feel myself in that transition phase of where I’m going to start it, and my emotions are definitely going to be full-on in my music. And they’re still represented in my TikToks and stuff, but as far as a therapy session goes, it’ll definitely be represented more in my music. I can feel myself making that switch already and I’ve just started, so it’s for sure going to happen, but I’m not going to change my content on TikTok at all. I’ll post different stuff every now and then, but I’m still going to post the horror, gory, weird stuff just because that’s what I like.
V: How do you think your content on TikTok has evolved since you first got started to where you are now?
XJ: Well, I definitely know how to use the app a little bit better. When I first started, my transitions would be off and stuff like that. But as far as now, I can like bang out a video or five videos in one day, whereas before it would be one or two or something. Now I’m definitely more motivated. I see the changes that are happening within the app and stuff like that.
V: When you’re approaching music and YouTube, are you putting out stuff right now that you’re like, “This is exactly what I want to be doing,” or is the stuff you’re going to be putting out in the beginning more like, “I’m testing the waters and then we’ll see we’ll evolve from there”?
XJ: It’s a little bit of both. I don’t even really know what I want my YouTube channel to look like or represent yet. I know I want to talk about doing my makeup and stuff like that, but as far as like, the overall vibe of the channel, we’re like trying to figure that out. As far as posting goes, it’s still a little bit of both because I’ve filmed I think four first YouTube videos. It’s been a growing process, both for music and YouTube. I’m just going to have to learn, just like with TikTok and Instagram, I’m just going to have to start, and then I’m going to have to learn what I’m doing and then I’m going to have to get better at it.
V: To shift gears for a minute and talk about your fashion and style—you’ve really influenced the whole “alt” genre of TikTok. Can you speak a little bit more about the influences on your personal style?
XJ: The band Gorillaz is a big one, even though they’re characters. Their style, definitely—they’re animated and stuff, but that’s what I want to look like if I could! Mostly Murdoc, he’s really cool. Gwen Stefani from her No Doubt era for sure—now she’s still beautiful, but she definitely shaped my style a lot growing up. And my dad did a lot too. He didn’t really dress up that much, he listened to all of the metal. He listened to Korn and all that stuff. He never dressed up, but he wore all black all the time, and he has long hair and a black t-shirt and black pants, which in a way shaped my style growing up because now I wear black all the time.
V: That’s a well-rounded trio of like influences to have. As far as makeup goes, with special effects makeup that you do, is that more of a hobby for you? How do you find yourself drawn into that?
XJ: Yeah, it’s more of a hobby. I’m not even as good as I want to be with it, because I don’t even really know how people glue the prosthetics and stuff on their face. I don’t know how to do the ears. It’s just a hobby that I enjoyed and I liked looking like that for fun, I guess. It just started with white-out contacts, and then from there, I went to blood and all the other stuff, and then all of a sudden, here we are now.
V: If you could give fashion or beauty advice to someone looking to kind of change up their wardrobe, add some edgier, more artsy pieces, what advice would you give them?
XJ: As far as thrifting goes: thrift all of your basics. Your basic black t-shirts or white t-shirts, stuff like that. Get extras so you can cut them up and paint on ’em, because that stuff’s super fun too. Add a lot of layers. Layers are very important. I think any outfit, no matter the patterns, you can put 10 different patterns on and if you just layer them right, then you’d still look amazing. So just learn how to layer and get all your basics from Goodwill, basically.
Me almost crying bc I couldn’t get this transition right has the same energy as when ur hair wont stay up right so u bang the brush on the counter
V: Easy peasy. Circling back to TikTok, would you say that there’s one specific video that you can think of that changed the game for you, where you were like, “Wow, this is what I’m doing now. I’m officially a content creator”?
XJ: It was my first video that really blew up. I’ve had some before that hit a million or something, but it was a “Breezeblocks” audio, I had a ski mask on and I just ripped it off. It was really just a joke is what it was; I made the video as a joke because all these people were commenting and saying that I looked like this guy named Noen Eubanks, and his video had just blown up with the ski mask. So I was like, okay, I look like this guy, whatever. So I made a joke out of it and the video ended up getting 12 million views, and that ended up being the video that got me my first trip to LA. And it’s really just what started all of it. That’s when I started meeting people from TikTok, that’s when I came out here for the first time and my account started gaining traction. That’s really the video that started it from the beginning.
V: That’s insane that you bring that up because I distinctly remember seeing that video before on my For You Page. I feel like I’d seen your stuff before that too, but I know exactly what video you’re talking about.
XJ: Yes, so during that era! That’s the video that really started it for sure.
V: I have a final question for you—what advice would you give to a budding TikTokker or a content creator in general? Just someone who, like you, wants to express themselves through social media, music, YouTube, whatever it is.
XJ: I would say just don’t be scared. I feel like a lot of people who make fun of people who look different or a lot of people who want to look different and then just don’t are too scared to—and it’s the Internet, you know? Of course, everything is on the Internet and people are so mean on the Internet. You just can’t be scared to do it and put yourself out there because either way people are going to make fun of you. Like, it’s the Internet, people will make fun of you all the time on the Internet for no reason, no matter what you look like. So just do it because you’ll feel a lot better if you just go for it. I mean, that’s what I did. I just did it and I did not care what anybody was saying in my comments about how I looked. The positive ones, great, we’re best friends now. But if you’re scared, then you’re just pulling yourself back from so much. It’s just that anxiety thing, it’ll hold you back a lot. And I have anxiety too, so it’s bad. It’s terrible. But like you just have to.
V: That’s such a great mindset to have, just keep persevering.
XJ: Definitely. Keep pushing. It’s going to be fine. And if they make fun of you, then they’re mean and B-words anyways.