Nikkie Tutorials Comes Out

*Please note that Anna is not transgender and does not claim to speak for the transgender community. While she is an ally, all opinions are her own.*

Nikkie De Jager, better known online as NikkieTutorials, is a Dutch makeup artist who has been a staple in the YouTube beauty community for many years. After starting her channel in 2008, she gained mainstream popularity in 2015 when her video “The Power of Makeup” went viral. With just over 13 million subscribers on YouTube alone, Nikkie’s influence is massive. 

Two weeks ago, she came out as transgender. 

In an emotional video, Nikkie explains that she realized her gender identity at a young age. She provides a few details of her transition, saying that she began wearing girl’s clothes around the age of 8, started hormone therapy in her teens, and fully transitioned when she was 19. Many fans were shocked, as this means that she was transitioning while filming and uploading regular YouTube videos. 

“I am me. I am still Nikkie,” she said. 

The timing of her announcement, however, was not entirely her choice. Nikkie reveals that she was being threatened by blackmail. "I am here to share with you something that I always wanted to share with you one day, but under my own circumstances. It looks like that chance has been taken away from me, so today I am taking back my own power," she explains. In her following video, posted on January 28th, Nikkie also clarifies that she doesn’t want to reveal the identity of the blackmailer and asks fans to do the same. 

Nikkie also stated that she is aware of how lucky she was to have the support of her family, friends, and community. Not everyone who transitions have the level of support that was provided to her, and it was great to see her acknowledge her privilege. 

Since coming out, Nikkie has made international headlines. In a candid interview on The Ellen Show, Nikkie said that she “wants to take this opportunity to hopefully inspire a lot of transgender people out there...as long as I get to be myself and inspire little Nikkie’s to be themselves, that’s all I can do.” 

NikkieTutorials coming out as transgender is a huge step forward in regards to trans visibilty. She is a major online presence, having worked with big brands like Maybelline and Marc Jacobs as well as collaborating with celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Lady Gaga. After the video was posted, celebrities including Ariana Grande and Gigi Hadid, along with millions of fans, took to the Internet to voice their public support. Such an outpouring of support marks a change in attitudes towards the transgender community, as well as the larger LGBTQ+ community. 

To be clear, we still have a long way to go. Homophobia and transphobia are rampant on an international scale, and many people are unable to be their true selves. Nikkie’s specific situation also highlights that there are active threats that the LGBTQ+ community faces. 

However, minds can only be changed if we speak up. While policies, prejudices, and attitudes won’t change overnight, it sparks a conversation. The exposure given to the LGBTQ+ community when well-known individuals like Nikkie come out can help to slowly change attitudes. Younger generations have grown up on social media, and increased visibility of non-cis individuals can inspire them to live their lives on their own terms.