Why Gen Z is flocking to this beauty YouTuber for all their true crime needs: 'It's a weird combination that somehow worked'

Katie Mather
·5-min read

Although Bailey Sarian initially started her YouTube career to do makeup tutorials and product reviews, she believes a lot of her devoted followers and viewers visit her channel for her weekly series, “Murder, Mystery and Makeup” (“MM&M”).

Even as Sarian blends purple eyeshadow and dabs on her favorite Becca highlighter, her audience — which has grown to 3 million subscribers — is tuning in to hear her talk about some creepy true crime stories.

The looks are by no means forgettable or subtle, and the combination of Sarian applying fake eyelashes and talking about unsolved mysteries is weirdly soothing — as if you’re talking to a friend about their favorite true-crime podcast.

“I felt uncomfortable sitting and staring at the camera,” Sarian explained to In The Know about her foray into talking about true crime. “I honestly was just doing my makeup and not really thinking much of it … It was this weird combination that somehow worked.”

Sarian started her YouTube channel in 2013 but didn’t start thinking about launching the “MM&M” series until 2018, after the Chris Watts story became a national sensation in the media. Her video on the Chris Watts case has almost 6 million views, with multiple comments praising her storytelling and naming the 30-minute video superior to Netflix’s coverage.

“I became very obsessed with [the case] and had all this built-up knowledge about the case, but didn’t have anyone to talk to about it,” she said.

After sitting on the idea for months, worrying that it was “too different” for her audience and YouTube, she decided to just go for it and released another “MM&M” video — this time about Darlene Flynn’s fatal marriage — after seeing success with the Chris Watts story in January 2019. The video accumulated almost 2 million views.

“It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one staying up at night googling about a certain crime that has happened,” Sarian said in her second “MM&M” video. “I’m gonna try to make it a thing.”

“From the very beginning, the majority of the feedback was positive. They wanted to hear about true crime,” Sarian told In The Know. “There was some pushback because it was different and people thought it could be inconsiderate, but I try my best to be as respectful as possible.”

Since then, the “MM&M” videos have been Sarian’s most popular series to date.

“It’s still weird, it’s very weird. I just hit 3 million subscribers and I still just keep doing my thing and I don’t know where it’s going to go,” she said.

To prepare for filming, Sarian does a lot of research into true crime stories. Her priority is finding unbiased or unemotional sources — like books or newspaper articles found through her local library’s website — and some documentaries, and avoids Reddit threads at all costs.

“I watch and read as many things as I can,” she said. “I want to be as close as factual as I can.”

The research isn’t too grueling for someone like Sarian who already had an interest in true crime, which started when she was really young.

“My mom was a 911 dispatcher and I would sometimes come into work with her and it would be me as a 10-year-old listening in on 911 calls,” she said. “There was so much going on every single day, it was fascinating — not that I’m saying you should bring your child in to listen to 911 calls.”

Sarian agrees that it’s mainly women who are interested in true crime stories — and she has a couple of theories as to why that is — but it makes the originality of “MM&M” all the more surprising. How was no one doing this before?

“I’m so thankful I finally did the series. For a while, I was so nervous to upload my first ‘MM&M’ video because I didn’t know if I could handle backlash,” she said. “I used every excuse to talk myself out of it and then one day I just did it and it’s turned into something I never imagined.”

We tried the cheap face mask that beauty gurus everywhere rave about:

Want more true crime? Here are the best crime documentaries on Netflix right now.

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