It's been said that the way you start off a new year foreshadows how the rest of it will unfold — and if that's the case, then YouTuber Nikkie de Jager, better known as NikkieTutorials, is about to have her bravest, most freeing year yet.
On Monday, the Dutch makeup artist took to YouTube to share a now-viral video titled "I'm Coming Out" with her 12.5 million subscribers. She begins by saying, "It is 2020, and I want to start the year off with the truth." In the 17-minute video, de Jager reveals to the world for the first time in her 11-year YouTube career that she is transgender. "When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender," she says, holding back tears. "Filming this video is scary, but it feels so liberating and freeing."
De Jager, who is also the Global Artistry Advisor for Marc Jacobs Beauty, goes on to share that she started transitioning at age six, began taking hormones and growth stoppers at 14, and was "fully transitioned" at 19. The now-25-year-old also reveals that she was in the process of transitioning at the same time she was soaring to fame on YouTube. "Saying that right now sounds so crazy," she says.
De Jager also reveals a heartbreaking truth about her decision to release the video today: She was blackmailed by unnamed people who threatened to out her to the press. As she literally raises her middle finger to those who blackmailed her, she says that she was forced to come forward with her story earlier than she would have liked to for this reason. "Apparently, we live in a world where people hate on people that are truly themselves," she tells viewers.
Fans took to their feeds to express their support for de Jager, while also voicing their anger toward the blackmailers. "Literally blackmailing someone to come out is the ugliest and worst thing is the world. nothing is scarier than coming out, especially as a trans woman," wrote one supporter.
Fellow YouTubers and influencers also came out to praise and show support for the content creator, including Nikita Dragun and James Charles. "U don’t know how many people ur inspiring and helping by sharing ur story. i am one of them," wrote Dragun, who started discussing her own transition on YouTube in 2015.
After just three hours live on YouTube, the video has become the number-one trending video on the platform and amassed over 1.3 million views (and counting). De Jager had one message she shared to Twitter following her announcement, and that's "#IamMe." In her brave words, "Today is the day I am free, and I get to be me... finally."
If you are a trans person in need of information and support, please call the Trans Helpline at 0300 330 0630.