Inside the life of NikkieTutorials, a beauty YouTuber who just came out as transgender in a new video

NikkieTutorials has more than 12 million subscribers on YouTube.

caption
NikkieTutorials has more than 12 million subscribers on YouTube.
source
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

With more than 12 million subscribers on YouTube, NikkieTutorials is undoubtedly one of the most popular and beloved beauty influencers in the world.

Nikkie de Jager started sharing makeup tutorials online in 2008 and has gone on to achieve major success in the beauty industry. She’s given makeovers to celebrities like Lady Gaga and released beauty products with brands like Ofra Cosmetics.

De Jager also came out as a transgender woman in a video on Monday, inspiring her millions of fans to feel comfortable being themselves. Here’s a look inside the beauty YouTuber’s whirlwind journey from makeup enthusiast to worldwide star.


De Jager is a 25-year-old beauty YouTuber from the Netherlands who has been uploading tutorials since 2008.

caption
NikkieTutorials is from Wageningen, Netherlands.
source
NikkeTutorials/YouTube

De Jager was born on March 2, 1994, and grew up in a Dutch municipality called Wageningen.

When asked in a 2011 interview with Teen Vogue how long she’d been into makeup, she replied, “For around three years now, and I am still loving it every single day.” She published her first YouTube video, “Makeup Tutorial; My first official Look for YT,” in 2008.


She was inspired to learn how to apply makeup after watching a popular American TV show.

caption
De Jager at the Shorty Awards in New York City on April 23, 2017.
source
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

De Jager told Glamour UK in 2018 that she began uploading tutorials to YouTube almost immediately after discovering her interest in beauty.

“I had never really paid attention to makeup before; it was just mascara and eyeliner,” she said. “But then I was watching ‘The Hills,’ and I was really insecure, and they looked amazing, and I wanted to look like that. So I typed in ‘The Hills makeup,’ and it led me to YouTube.”

She said that led her to purchase “a s— tonne of makeup” and become “obsessed.”


De Jager began taking professional makeup classes after starting her YouTube channel.

caption
De Jager on YouTube in June 2010.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

Because being a YouTuber wasn’t a feasible career option in 2008, de Jager pursued professional makeup classes with the artist Pascale Tesser in 2010.

The classes led her to join Tesser’s Colourfool Agency in 2011, which later provided her with makeup jobs at international TV shows and magazines such as Marie Claire.

In 2014, however, she went freelance and was able to dedicate her efforts to YouTube full time.


She went viral after posting a makeup transformation video in May 2015.

caption
De Jager in a YouTube video published in May 2015.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

In a 2015 video titled “The Power of MAKEUP!” de Jager said an episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” inspired her to show her followers just how drastically you can change your appearance with makeup.

On the left side of her face, she used 10 beauty products, including the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer and the Too Faced Chocolate Bar eye-shadow palette. On the right side, she used none.


De Jager has gone by NikkieTutorials online for years.

caption
De Jager at a beauty convention in Germany on March 10, 2018.
source
Tristar Media/Getty Images

De Jager told Teen Vogue in 2011 that she once had a YouTube channel called “something like GlamourGirlx3” but knew she wanted a name that sounded “more professional.”

“I had to change the name,” de Jager told Teen Vogue. “Since I knew beauty videos were called tutorials, I thought, ‘Why not just take my name and put ‘tutorials’ after it?’ That’s how ‘NikkieTutorials’ was born.”


De Jager released her first collaboration beauty products in 2016.

caption
De Jager showcasing her Too Faced collaboration in a 2016 YouTube video.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

On July 25, 2016, de Jager announced in a YouTube video that she’d collaborated with Too Faced Cosmetics on a limited-edition makeup line. The collection included an eye-shadow palette, eyeliner, eye-shadow primer, purple mascara, and a loose glitter.


One year later, the collaboration led to a bitter feud with Too Faced and the YouTuber makeup mogul Jeffree Star.

caption
De Jager and Star fought after her Too Faced collaboration.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

In April 2017, according to Revelist, Star posted a Snapchat rant in which he spoke negatively about the Too Faced founder Jerrod Blandino. He also expressed frustration with the founder on Twitter and hinted at a feud between the brand and de Jager.

A YouTube drama channel, Here for the Tea, made a video about the situation that month and included screenshots of Star’s now-deleted tweets. It also featured an exclusive statement from Star.

According to the drama channel, de Jager was paid a $50,000 flat rate for a collaboration that sold over 150,000 $56 products, equaling about $8.4 million in revenue. And though she was supposed to be paid after six months – during which she wasn’t allowed to work with other brands – de Jager was reportedly paid by Too Faced after nine months.

De Jager spoke about the controversy for the first time in October 2019 after Shane Dawson released a YouTube docuseries with Star.

She wrote on Twitter: “I signed my contract with TF back then because I was naive & didn’t know better. At the end of the day, I signed it, it’s my own fault – but what I’ll never forgive is that ‘allegedly’ they changed the palette’s quality behind my back. 1000’s of negative reviews & I was clueless.”

Representatives for Too Faced did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.


She eventually had a much more successful collaboration with Ofra Cosmetics.

caption
De Jager showcasing her Ofra Cosmetics collaboration on YouTube.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

Launched in 2017, de Jager’s Ofra collection originally included three liquid lipsticks and a highlighter wheel. The line has since expanded and is still available to purchase on Ofra’s website.


Also in 2017, de Jager won a Shorty Award.

caption
De Jager poses with her Shorty Award on April 23, 2017.
source
Eugene Gologursky/Stringer/Getty Images

The Shorty Awards are held each year to honor the “best of social media,” according to its website. Notable winners include Taylor Swift and Michelle Obama.

In April 2017, de Jager took home the award for best YouTube guru. In her acceptance speech, the YouTuber said she was bullied throughout much of her childhood and thought she would “never f—ing make it.” She dedicated her award to “the haters” and “the bullies.”


De Jager was named the first-ever global artistry adviser for Marc Jacobs Beauty in January 2019.

caption
De Jager still works closely with Marc Jacobs Beauty.
source
Eugene Gologursky/Stringer/Getty Images

The role requires de Jager to work with the brand on product development, social-media content, and makeup artistry around the world.

In a statement shared with Allure last year, de Jager said she chose to work with the brand because it takes a similar approach to beauty as she does.

“I’ve always believed that makeup is a form of self-expression and there is no shame in experimenting with it,” de Jager told Allure. “Marc Jacobs shares a similar ‘shameless’ approach to beauty, which I so admire, and I quickly fell in love with his beauty products when I was first sent the Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate a few years ago.

“Since then, I’ve consistently loved using Marc Jacobs Beauty products and it was after attending Marc’s Fashion Week show last spring that we decided to explore how, and what, we could beautifully create together,” she continued.


De Jager has given makeovers to some of the biggest celebrities on the planet.

caption
De Jager doing Lady Gaga’s makeup for a YouTube video.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

In December 2019, for example, she gave Lady Gaga a makeover using products from the musician’s Haus Laboratories brand.

She has also collaborated with stars like Ashley Graham, Becky G, and Jessie J for her channel.


For her first video of 2020, de Jager came out as a transgender woman.

caption
De Jager speaking about her life as a transgender woman in a new YouTube video.
source
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

She shared her journey for the first time in a 17-minute video during which she said she knew since childhood that she was a girl. The YouTuber said she started hormone treatments and growth stoppers at 14 years old and had fully transitioned by the time she was 19.

She thanked her fans and her mother for supporting her.

“Growing up, I think the No. 1 thing I’m the most thankful for is my mom – love you, Mom – because she has been there for me since day one,” she said.

De Jager said she chose to upload the video after being blackmailed by people who threatened to leak her story to news outlets.

“I am me. I am still Nikkie. Nothing changes about that,” de Jager said. “The last thing I want in my life is for you to not trust me anymore, or to look at me with different eyes, or look at me in a different manner, or think that I have changed.”

She added: “This feels liberating and freeing, but I, at the end of the day, am still Nikkie.”


The YouTuber has received thousands of encouraging messages from influencers, celebrities, and fans alike.

caption
Nikkie de Jager teared up as she spoke on Instagram.
source
NikkieTutorials/Instagram

In an emotional Instagram story posted on Monday night, the beauty YouTuber said she was surprised by how many people responded positively to her coming-out video.

“Good morning! Um, hello,” de Jager said on Instagram. “I uploaded my video yesterday – I was expecting a lot of situations, but what happened last night is something I never, never even would dare to dream about.”

“The incredible amount of love and support and warmth means so much to me, and I just thank you,” she continued. “Thank you. I’m gonna take today to just read everything, take it all in, process, and be free.”