Social Media Superstar Niki DeMar on Staying True to Her Values & Finding Her Voice

25-year-old Niki DeMar has long been a powerhouse in the social media scene. Back in 2012, the star got her start as an influencer by making YouTube videos with her twin sister, Gabi, on their joint channel nikiandgabibeauty. Little did they know they’d soon become legendary social media icons, leading girls of all ages on their path to personal development.

Although Niki and Gabi initially got their start in the beauty and fashion community, music closely aligned with their shared interests. One benefit of growing up in the social media age is that it allows young women the opportunity to play with various forms of self-expression and connect with others who are developing their identities across the world. In 2013, Niki released the first video of her singing on YouTube, a cover of Demi Lovato’s “Warrior” on the channel 000RemakeGirls. Both Niki and Gabi continued to post covers of them singing on YouTube, and eventually released a single of their own, fittingly titled “FIRST,” in January of 2017.

Running the world

Now a successful entrepreneur, content creator, actress, and recording artist, Niki continues to document her life, sharing her own unique story from her point of view. With nearly 4 million followers on Instagram, 2.4 million on her personal YouTube channel, and 9.5 million on her and Gabi’s shared channel, Niki’s success is evident, but she proves that she’s a leader not because of her substantial following, but because of the role model she continues to be for young women worldwide.

Niki has the courage to look at her emotions and thoughts straight in the eye, get to know them well, and share these pieces of information with the world. Niki’s vulnerability is what has helped shaped her into the unstoppable woman she is today. She admits that the human experience can feel tremendously isolating, no matter what our emotions actually are or how our mental health is.

Niki shares that her love for music came naturally. “Both Gabi and I’ve always been interested in the whole ‘triple threat thing’... YouTube was a great platform for that, because it combined our love for singing, music, and fashion all together.” Being someone who is both multi-passionate and multi-talented, Niki fit the role of musician quite effortlessly.

Paving her own path

As they grew up, Niki and Gabi became more confident in owning their own personal styles. The two artists now primarily focus on producing content individually. “Gabi has always been the more social, outgoing one,” Niki says. Self-described as being the less confident of the two, she’s found a natural home for herself in the music industry. “I’ve always been the ‘edgier’ of the two. We’re identical twins, but we have very different ways of viewing the world.”

Niki’s music shows just how aligned she is with both her personal and artistic identities. Deeply lyrical, Niki’s music serves as both a source of entertainment and inspiration to listeners. “I’ve always been a very emotional person,” she says. “I tend to be really hard on myself.” The artist leaves no feeling behind, and credits pop of the early 2000s as a big source of inspiration. 

Niki is the big sister I never had, someone who tells me that yes, my feelings really are okay and that there’s never really any situation too big to handle. The emotional qualities that are contained in Niki’s music are perhaps the very reason fans are so easily able to connect with her. Not only does everything that she share come from a tremendously vulnerable place, but Niki isn’t afraid to express the entire spectrum of emotions that come with the prospect of being human in a sometimes not so humane world.  “I like to think of ‘emo’ as being just that — emotional. It’s very different than goth.”

“I want my work to be my impact.” She laughs, “I love you, but I love my music more.” A statement indicative of her role as a true influencer, it’s ironically only through serving herself that Niki can truly serve her audience. This lesson the artist learned the hard way, as documented in her latest single, “Bite of Me”.

“I started writing ‘Bite of Me’ at the start of 2019. I cried the whole time writing it,” she says. It had been a very emotional time for the singer, as she struggled with people-pleasing to the detriment of neglecting her own need for space. The depth of connection Niki felt to her emotions during this period of time is perhaps the very reason the song is so relatable to fans. “It was like everyone wanted something from me,” she says. “I kept giving and giving and giving. I was exhausted.” 

Mental health and music

Ironically, people-pleasing doesn’t only hurt ourselves, but it tends to neglect the desires of those who love and support us most. After all, it’s nearly impossible to meet the demands of others when we ourselves feel empty inside. Niki’s work best serves fans when it meets her own needs, first. “I love nothing more than when I can combine visuals and music to really make my fans connect to something.” Niki’s value of staying loyal to herself and her art proves what a leader she truly is. 

Open about her diagnoses of OCD and bipolar disorder, Niki appreciates authentically sharing the human experience. As someone who has struggled with mental health herself, I can only imagine that the hectic, erratic, and stressful nature of her career could be quite challenging. “There was a time when I would be up until 11, 12 at night working,” she says. “That’s not healthy for anyone.”

In order to be the best artist, girlfriend, and sister possible, Niki has learned to prioritize her own health and wellbeing. “I work from home. That can be really hard for a lot of people. More people than ever before are doing that now,” she says. “Having a consistent schedule is really important to me.” The star protects her time by aligning it with her personal values. Truly taking care of herself allows her to best support her friends, family, and followers.

“I try to turn everything [related to work] off by 6 pm. This includes social media. I use my evenings to catch up on watching TV, eating dinner, and just hanging out with my boyfriend, Nate. Doing normal, everyday things,” she states. For someone who loves her fans and work as much as Niki, taking a step back from creating can be quite a challenge. The boundaries Niki puts in place are an important investment in her present and future self.

As far as what’s next for Niki, the artist shares that she hopes to release more work collaborating with other multimedia artists. She continues to document her behind-the-scenes life on her own YouTube channel, posting everything from Q&A’s with her boyfriend Nate West to vibrantly filmed music videos to sharing her fashion favorites

Niki’s ability to seamlessly transform her passions, emotions, and hobbies into multiple avenues of self-expression prove what a star she truly is. At the end of the day, she teaches girls to not be so afraid of themselves or the stories that led them to get where they are today. Niki DeMar encourages us to authentically share who we are with the world, using whatever method of self-expression our hearts feel called to use.

Stream Niki’s music on Spotify. Follow the artist on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr

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