NikkieTutorials: Trans and Beautiful

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In a very powerful YouTube video published on the 13th of January, queen of makeup Nikkie de Jager, better known by her channel name NikkieTutorials came out as a transgender woman. In her video, she explains that ever since she was old enough to think, she knew she was a girl, and started her transition when she was young, with the full support of her mother and family.

Nikkie started her channel, NikkieTutorials, in 2008 at age 14, and went viral in 2015 with a video about ‘The Power of Makeup’, and as of this month has 13.1 million subscribers. She is one of the most successful makeup artists on YouTube. She has had several successful collaborations with brands such as Ofra, Too Faced (although that was the centre of a scandal a year or so ago), and even helped with the promotion of Haus Labs.

In her video, Nikkie stated that she wanted her channel to be about her art, not about her identity. She tells everyone that nothing has changed and that she is still Nikkie. ‘It’s time to let go and be truly free’, she says in her introduction and goes on to say how liberated she felt by finally sharing this with her fans. She also stated that she hopes that her video can inspire other trans people, and let them know that it gets better. She discussed how she always knew she was a girl, and how confused she was that she didn’t have long hair or dress like other girls. However, her mother was incredibly supportive of her transition, and when she was young, she started growing her hair out and wearing girls clothes exclusively.

However, she also revealed that some people attempted to blackmail her about her identity, claiming that she has been ‘lying’ to her fans by not revealing her identity. Hence, she decided to take power back and come out on her terms. It’s a disgusting thought that trans people are ‘lying’ to people by not revealing their identity. It’s not a lie to keep things private, especially something as big as a transition, where many people are still so transphobic. Nikkie reiterates in her video that she is living her truth, she is herself truly and completely.

Sadly, not everyone is accepting of trans people. The sister of Too Faced Cosmetics founder Jerrod Blandino, who was involved in his company, updated her Instagram bio to say ‘Transgender, huh? That’s not the only thing she’s been LYING about.’ This comment gained widespread criticism from many people, and Blandino clarified that her views did not represent those of Too Faced as a brand and that he had fired his sister. His sister, @makupprincess on Instagram, then updated her bio to say ‘Let’s be clear, I love trans people & dislike anyone who lies to hurt others! Period!’ However, she got what her transphobic comments deserved. Again, trans people are not LYING by choosing not to reveal a deeply personal part of themselves. Often, it’s a matter of safety that they choose not to, but even if it’s not, it’s a matter to be respected.

I can’t lie. I cried after I finished watching her video. She’s so brave, and to have something as personal a choice as coming out nearly taken from her is so heart-wrenching. She handled it so beautifully, posting her video as a big up yours to the people who tried to blackmail her. She’s so inspiring – a transgender woman absolutely dominating the beauty community is a beautiful thing to see. Trans people have contributed so much to the fashion and beauty world throughout the years, including drag queens creating new makeup techniques and trans models such as Carmen Carrera slaying the catwalk, and it’s amazing to see another beautiful, talented woman join their ranks.

Nikkie received an outpouring of love and support from thousands of people, fans or not, since her video. Season 5 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Drace, Jinkx Monsoon, praised Nikkie for how she handled the situation, tweeting that ‘coming out is a personal thing, and you do not get to decide that for someone’. Everyone from GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, to Dutch politicians, have spoken out in support for Nikkie.

Another trans woman, fellow beauty YouTuber Gigi Gorgeous, congratulated Nikki on her video, tweeting ‘SO PROUD OF YOU NIKKIE’ the day her video was posted. Gigi has been out as a trans woman for several years and has been active in the beauty community for several years, doing product reviews, get ready with me’s, and makeup tutorials amongst her storytime videos. She is a massive advocate for the LGBT community and has documented parts of her transition, including aspects such as hairline surgery. Other trans beauty gurus on YouTube include Nikita Dragun, who has 2.63 million subscribers and launched her own beauty brand, Dragon Beauty, aimed at trans people, with a message of empowering everyone, no matter the gender or race. Trans women contribute so much to the beauty community with their talent and beauty, and it’s incredible to see.

A week after her video, on the 22nd of January, Nikkie was interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres, where she explained more about the blackmail situation. ‘I think his entire goal with this to destroy my life,’ she told Ellen. ‘Plot twist, that didn’t happen!’ She goes on to say how she’s not thankful for the person who did this, but is thankful that it happened and she can be free and open, and how happy she was that her fans were so accepting and loving on her video.

Then, on the 28th of January, Nikkie followed up her coming-out video with a video called ‘Responding To My Coming Out’, where she does her makeup (beautifully, might I add) and discusses how crazy the last few weeks have been for her. She explains that she knows exactly who her blackmailer is, and while it as shocking, it was so liberating for her, as well as how many people have approached her in public congratulating her and supporting her. She acknowledges that there has been a few ‘Bitter Betsy’s’ who have been transphobic and negative, but how the outpouring of positivity has outweighed it all.

I really wish Nikkie the best after such a drama-filled few weeks. It’s amazing to see the love and support she’s receiving, that absolutely drowns out the few bigots who are still living in the dark ages. All trans people deserve so much love and support and seeing women like Nikkie showing how amazing it is to truly be yourself is so inspiring.

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