How Kayla Newman Created “On Fleek” While Her Mom Shopped At Burlington
Do you remember the first time you had your eyebrows done? I know I do. I felt like a new, more attractive woman. A new level of pretty had been unleashed. And you couldn’t tell me nothing.
So I completely empathized with now viral phrase, “Eyebrows on fleek, da fuq.” I didn’t need a translation, I knew what young Kayla Newman was talking about.
In a recent interview with Newsweek, the Chicago teen explained how the phrase came to be and her reaction to her Vine going viral, with over 28 million loops, or plays, at this point.
The six-second video posted last June features Newman in the car. With the camera aimed at her face, Newman says “We in this bitch, finna get crunk. Eyebrows on fleek, da fuq.”
The real story is a little less glamorous.
In fact, Newman had just had her eyebrows done and was sitting in the car while her mother went shopping in Burlington Coat Factory.
Newman, 17, said, “It just came to me out of the blue. I never heard of the word, and nobody else had heard of the word. I just said it, and I guess that’s what came out. That’s about it.”
And even though the phrase’s conception was mostly happenstance, it didn’t keep it from taking off, in a major way. Newsweek reports that the phrase has been hash tagged at least 200,000 times on Instagram alone.
You may remember Nicki Minaj and Christina Milian were arguing about the use of the phrase “Pretty on Fleek” all on social media last week. (As if either one of them created it.)
The New York Times created an entire quiz called “Are You On Fleek” to determine if their readers knew the meaning of the phrase and other slang terms. Then IHOP tweeted it from their official Twitter page, encouraging folks to come and get some of their pancakes…because, they’re on fleek.
Presumably, since she was just chilling in the car, waiting on her mother, she had no idea that the video would take off like it did. Actually, when she noticed how the popular the video was becoming, she was less than excited.
“I got nervous because I didn’t know if I wanted my mom to see this.” Newman’s mother works at a church and, like most mothers, doesn’t appreciate her children cussing. But Newman said her mother, Denise, wasn’t tripping about the profanity.
Instead, Denise said that she was thrown for a loop by the popularity of the video.
Personally, I was happy to see yet another example of the ways in which Black women continue to advance and influence culture, from beauty trends to linguistics.
But if you ask Kayla, it’s more than just a catchy phrase. She said it contains a deeper message. To her “on fleek” is about being fabulous and comfortable in your own skin and she tries to share that message through her Vine and Instagram pages.
“I’m, of course, a big girl, so I always go for the big girls because I feel like they’re overlooked. I want to make them feel like they don’t age to be a [certain] size to define their character.”
Newman says people seem to be catching on. She said that a gay man reached out to her saying that he had considered suicide but her positive message helped him to change his mind. Newman said she was shocked to learn this. “How can that happen from just saying a few words?”
So naturally, many are wondering what’s next for Ms. Monroee aka Kayla Newman. Well, first she’s trying to get to college. In fact she’s had to delay an interview to study for the ACT. She’s also working on getting her driver’s license and planning for college. With all of that on her plate, Newman said she is still trying to come up with other phrases. “I’m trying to think of some, but it’s like, with me, it’s just gonna flow.”
So you may be wondering, with the way these two words have become a part of the lexicon, is Kayla benefitting from any of this…like financially. While there is no word about whether she’s copyrighted the phrase, she does have a website that sells merchandise featuring the words “on fleek.” So perhaps both Christina Milian and Nicki Minaj can cut her a check.