Beautycon Names First Head of Content (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Beautycon
Elyssa Starkman

Elyssa Starkman joins the media company from Refinery29 to grow its editorial and video efforts.

In the years since Beautycon Media was founded as a convention for online lifestyle influencers, the company has raised millions in funding and expanded into e-commerce and digital content. 

Now the Los Angeles-based startup is further committing to its video and editorial efforts with the hiring of its first head of content. Elyssa Starkman, who hails from Refinery29 and Popsugar, has joined Beautycon ahead of the NewFronts, where the company will host an unofficial presentation for media and buyers. 

In her new role, Starkman will oversee every aspect of content at Beautycon, from tweets to video franchises. She is building out a team that she says will soon reach a dozen people. 

Through Beautycon Digital, the company already has a slate of how-to videos, clips from its festivals around the world and discussions of issues affecting its audience including online trolling. Now, says Starkman, the company also will look to create new franchises and formats that will be released on a consistent schedule, a strategy she will unveil at Beautycon's May 1 presentation.  

"The most amazing thing about coming to Beautycon is the authentic conversations happening day in and day out," says Starkman, who will split her time between Los Angeles and New York. "The root is to tap into the conversations we're already having and to build and create new ones." 

Prior to joining Beautycon, Starkman was executive director of branded video at Refinery29. She also previously worked at Popsugar and served as a producer on America's Next Top Model. She notes that most of Beautycon's young audience isn't turning to traditional media for news and entertainment. Instead, they are on social media. "We're going where they are. That means our strategy is very adaptive," she adds. 

Run by CEO Moj Mahdara, Beautycon operates its festivals — featuring meet-and-greets with influencers and other programming — in Los Angeles, New York and London. Its recent Los Angeles event drew around 15,000 people. The company, whose backers include Hearst Media, Macro, A+E Networks, Tyra Banks and CAA, also sells seasonal beauty boxes curated by its influencer partners. 

Those beauty mavens are key to Starkman's strategy, too. She notes that Beautycon has evolved its definition of "beauty" to include self expression, wellness, style and art. "We're bringing new voices into the fold across all of those different verticals," she says. "We're working with them to tell stories that maybe they're not telling on different channels."