Last week, in an emotional video titled "I'm Coming Out" that has since garnered over 32 million views, beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager — better known on YouTube as NikkieTutorials — revealed publicly for the first time that she is transgender. On today's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Dutch makeup artist conducted her first interview since the announcement, sitting down with Ellen to discuss her journey as well as the reported blackmailing that forced her to come forward with her story earlier than planned.
"A couple of weeks ago, I got emails from a certain person, and he was not okay with the fact that I was 'lying' and wanted to expose that," de Jager revealed of the unnamed person who she said threatened to out her to the press. "He had a very pressuring tone of voice, and he was like, 'If we don't get an answer by tomorrow, it's out.' I feel like his entire goal was to destroy my life. But, plot twist, that didn't happen."
When DeGeneres asked the YouTuber if she would've ever revealed that she was transgender had she not been blackmailed, de Jager opened up about her thought process. She recalled crying as she uploaded the video, and her fiancé, Dylan, encouraging her every step of the way. "I always wanted to come out with it, but it is such a thing that it's like, how do you find the timing? There's never the perfect timing," she said. But, she added, "Now I get to be free."
The content creator also took the opportunity to acknowledge her privilege as a white, blonde, cis-passing woman who started her transition at a young age, and whose parents offered her love and support throughout the process. It's with this new understanding — that not everyone is so fortunate — that she hopes to inspire others. "I want to take this opportunity to hopefully inspire a lot of transgender people out there, even when you're starting later on in your journey, that we need to accept that," she says.
Before the interview was over, DeGeneres — with the help of Shutterfly — surprised the YouTuber with a $10,000 donation made in her name to The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
As de Jager looks towards the future, she says she's ultimately grateful for the support she has received, and the timing of when she was able to speak her truth. As she said to DeGeneres, "I was so happy that it's 2020, and the acceptance is real."
If you are a trans person in need of information and support, please call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860.