March 01, 2018 01:27 PM

With her unfiltered personality and impeccable eye for fashion and beauty, Desi Perkins is set for the stars. The California-born vlogger has built an empire with 2.9 million subscribers, a makeup collection with her best friend and fellow YouTuber Katy DeGroot (@lustrelux) for Dose of Colors, and a line of sunglasses for Quay Australia.

Although it all seems destined now, Perkins admits that she unexpectedly stumbled upon her remarkable skill with cosmetics: “I was always into sketching and painting so one year when Steven had a Halloween party but no costume I discovered a special effects video on YouTube,” she reveals to PEOPLE CHICA. “I thought to myself ‘maybe I can recreate that.’ I did and it was a hit. People started booking me.”

The makeup guru took her talents to YouTube, building a fanbase of millions.  As her star continues to rise, Perkins, who took her husband’s last name when they married, wants people to know she’s Mexican and proud of it. Back in 2015, the blogger affirmed her identity in a strongly worded tweet: “Why do people keep saying I’m a white girl? I’m Mexican. I didn’t get the chancla [sandal] as a kid 2 be called not Mexican enough for u. Back up.”

But people continue to challenge her Latin identity: “I’ve always related to that line from the Selena movie. ‘We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!’ she tells PEOPLE CHICA. “I have gotten a comment saying that I’m not Latina enough which confuses me. I don’t know how to be any other way other than how my parents raised me.”

Perkins doesn’t let the doubters phase her. In fact, her Latin-American identity partly inspired the makeup collection she created for Dose of Colors — from the Spanish product names, such as ‘Mírame’ and ‘Fuego,’ to the wide range of tones. She credits her family with fostering her strong identification with her Mexican roots, saying: “I’m so grateful to have been brought up with such strong family values. My family is the most important thing to me—the food, the language, all of it— and we have the strongest bond. I’m proud to be Mexican.”

For more on Desi Perkins, pick up the latest issue of People en Español on newsstands March 3.

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