NikkieTutorials – despite a long, complex and controversial journey as one of the biggest beauty influencers on the planet – has just made the most important video of her career.
In a 17-minute post entitled 'I'm Coming Out', she shared that she is a trans woman, and explained that she has been forced to share this with her viewers after being blackmailed by someone close to her.
Nikkie – who has identified as a woman throughout her 11-year YouTube career – explained that in the early years of making videos she was undergoing medical transition after being assigned male at birth.
She said that she has always known she was a woman, and began taking hormones in her early teens. She thanks her viewers, her mother (who has always been heavily involved in her career) and her fiancee Dylan.
It's not really our place to paraphrase her story, so here is the video in its entirety and we highly recommend watching it.
Nikkie – who despite her flawless English is actually Dutch – is often said to have blown up on YouTube after a video entitled 'The Power of Make-Up' (in which she put make-up on only half of her face to show its impact) went viral in 2015. In fact, OG YouTube viewers will remember she was already a pretty big name in the space before this.
However, the huge amount of press she received from this video made her suddenly commercially attractive at a time when influencer collaborations and brand deals were just beginning to pick up steam.
This led to her creating a make-up palette with the brand Too Faced, which although hugely successful, also led to one of her first controversies, when her friend and fellow YouTuber Jeffree Star revealed she had only been paid $50,000 for her collaboration, despite it allegedly raking in $8.2m in revenue for the brand. The issue resurfaced in the recent Shane Dawson series 'The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star' when Jeffree used it as an example of how influencers have historically failed to know their worth.
Yet she has since managed to quietly slip into the mainstream, appearing on two Dutch televison shows (The Great Escape and Wie is de Mol?), as well as being a guest judge on BBC Three's make-up reality competition Glow Up last year. She has also filmed videos with the likes of Lady Gaga and, of course – like every major beauty influencer out there – Kim Kardashian.
While Nikkie has largely stayed out of the big dramas and feuds within the industry, she has been on the receiving end of allegations of shady business practices – namely not properly disclosing affiliate links and sponsorships.
She is by no means the most divisive figure on YouTube, but with more than 12.6 million subscribers, it stands to reason that she would face close scrutiny. And in an ever-evolving industry with complex rules and regulations, it seems almost impossible for any influencer to escape the odd claim of being 'money hungry' or trying to 'scam' their followers.
All this is to say, that the fact that the vast majority of the internet has united behind Nikkie speaks volumes. And unite they have.
This is the first time a person of Nikki's level of fame has come out as trans years and years post-transition, though, and the fact that she makes make-up tutorials is relevant here.
The YouTube beauty community has, despite all its issues and problematic tendencies, proven itself in recent years to be one of the most LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces on the internet.
It's normalised the inclusion of both straight and queer men within a traditionally female-orientated industry and elevated trans women such as Nikita Dragun, lesbian woman such as Ingrid Nilsen and genderfluid people such as Jeffree Star to huge commercial success.
Fellow YouTubers such as Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star and Gabby Hanna have been quick to offer their support and we suspect more will follow.
LOVE U SO MUCH NIKKIE 😭❤️👏🏻👏🏻 https://t.co/S1qCKlqTgY
Nikkie's announcement is just one more much-needed step forward for trans women, who often find themselves on the bitter end of vitriol from so-called feminists and ignorant straight men alike, and for her bravery we should all be grateful.