With a baby on the way, Desi Perkins is also giving birth to something else: a brand.
The YouTube star, who has amassed more than 3 million subscribers to her 7-year-old beauty channel, took fans by storm when she launched her own brand, DEZI, in July. The brand's introduction to fans centered on a wide-ranging line of sunglasses, but as the mom-to-be explained to E!'s Lilliana Vazquez during an exclusive interview in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month—popularly known as Latinx Heritage Month—this is just the beginning.
"It is an 'everything under the sun' brand is what I always tell Steven [Perkins]," she told Lilliana, referencing her longtime husband. "It's just my dreams in one. When I was growing up, my mom always told me, 'Mija, you know, you really gotta focus on one thing that you really love and get really good at that one thing and that way, you'll be successful.' And I was like, 'Mom, I know, but I just love so many things and I'm just bursting with all of these creative ideas that I've always wanted to do.' And I said, 'But, I'll listen to you and I'll do that.' I think for a long time that was my art and I found that in makeup. That was like what I had focused everything on because to me that's such a beautiful form of art as well. But, there's so much more that I have to offer artistically and I'm still bursting to do it all."
As a result, she made the decision to start a brand as a way to bring her own visions to life. "When I decided to start DEZI, I thought that one, I want something for myself that is my own and I want to be able to really maneuver that exactly how I see it without anyone else's brand identity to kind of have to work with and just work out the visions exactly as I see them," she explained. "I said, 'This will be a brand and it will have a bunch of umbrellas and everything that I love and want to do will live under this brand.' So, that's how I see it. I want it to be this big empire."
And, while she acknowledged that she is not going to design everything she's imagined, Desi also isn't afraid to speak her dreams into reality. "I'm putting it out into the universe right now…I want to do clothing," she said, noting that may include baby clothes or maternity wear. "I also love gardening, so I was like, maybe we'll do some gardening stuff…There's a lot of things in the beauty world that I'm really passionate about as well. So, you just never know what's about to happen…I've been simultaneously working on another branch of DEZI, so I haven't just been doing sunglasses this whole time."
"I'm just out here trying to live out all of my dreams," she perfectly summarized. And, to make matters more complicated, she's doing it all in a pandemic.
"I'm not going to lie, I freaked out, like a lot for a while," she said of launching a business at this unpredictable time. "Obviously…nobody really expected this to happen. I think it's been really hard for a lot of people. Financially and mentally, it's been like a really trying time for everyone."
"For me, I kept thinking like 'Why is this happening? This is crazy,'" she recalled. "But, I decided that I just am going to push through with this and it's going to be fine. It was. It was a little tricky, I'm not going to lie. Right now, for shipping and all of that stuff, there's so much that goes into your own brand. I guess I had to learn it for the first time during a really different time."
Despite the unexpected challenges, Desi was able to acknowledge all of the good, too.
"It was a really great learning experience for me and everyone was really supportive," she told Lilliana. "It was actually really surprising how many people showed up and were there to support me. So, in the end, it was all great. It was really amazing. Dream come true...I didn't imagine myself being pregnant during a pandemic. It's just finding the silver lining in everything. And, although these times have been really tough, it's just—what are the good things that are coming out of this? And I'm trying to keep that mentality through everything."
Reflecting on the juggling her mother taught her by example growing up, it's no surprise Desi has been able to roll with the punches. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, the Mexican-American beauty guru reflected on her upbringing and the lessons of her family's matriarch for her and her three siblings.
"I think about her hustle and everything she did to make sure that we had a better life," the influencer said. "I've always really admired that from her. You know, immigrating here with us and she has been working so hard…I've always seen her juggle not only raising four of us, but a lot of times doing it herself and still working…She really carried our family the whole time, so it's just that hustle that she had and that love for family and how no matter what, no matter how much money we had, no matter what we were doing—she always made everything possible...The amount of things my mom could juggle and still keep all of us going and taking care of us…it stuck with me. So, now, juggling things and doing all of this stuff just seems natural."
As any mom can attest, there will be plenty more juggling in store for the star after she welcomes her baby boy. After sharing her fertility struggles with fans on her channel, Desi has been chronicling her pregnancy journey in a moving series for viewers that has candidly captured every step along the way. But, as she explained, making it helped her as much as it did for others.
"I can't thank everyone else enough for the amount of support they've given me through this because honestly in reality, I needed everyone as much as they maybe needed to hear somebody else going through it," Desi said. "It's just crazy how many women are going through this every day and they don't talk about it. We all are just feeling alone in silence...It just feels a little bit more comforting to not feel alone and have somewhere to go to talk about these kinds of things, so it was the best thing I did sharing that. It really got me through all of it."
Now, the countdown is officially on as the expectant star confirmed she is due on Oct. 17. "I have this strong feeling I'm about to give birth a little bit earlier than that," she disclosed. "I just feel that he's going to come a little bit early, so it could be a little bit less. I'm kind of on edge right now."
Whenever their little one arrives, it will be a momentous day for the new mom and dad. When asked what she is most looking forward to, Desi replied, "Every time someone asks me this question, the first thing that comes to my mind is seeing Steven with our baby, holding him…I'm so excited to see him be a father and just like the love I will have, not only for my baby, but him as a father. That picture always comes in my head. That's like the one thing I look forward to first…That moment I think is going to be really special to me."
For more of Desi and Lilliana's chat, check out the interview above and don't forget to tune in for more of our Hispanic Heritage Month Beauty Panel in the weeks ahead.