Yesterday Ingrid Nilsen came out as gay to her 3 million plus viewers. While YouTubers have been coming out this way for years, she is the first beauty guru to do so within a community that typically is not associated with diversity.
In the 20-minute long reveal she talked about her journey growing up and struggling to become comfortable with herself. She teared up many times throughout, along with most of the viewers, I bet, and ultimately became one of many prominent YouTubers to make the brave and bold step to come out to their followers through the format they know best- YouTube. Though she is not the first to come out to millions of fans, her video still carries the impact and importance that these types of videos reflect. Over the years many YT stars have posted similar videos coming out as gay, bi, and trans, most notably Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, and Troy Sivan. Recently Joey Graceffa, a figure whose sexuality has been speculated about for many years, came out through an unconventional music video, choosing to add a more formal video the next day. Most notably in this situation, Nilsen is a major content creator in a community which typically does not stray from a particular image. One that Akilah Hughes– or smoothiefreak on YT- describes as:
…the online beauty community has long-been dominated by a hyper-feminine, aspirational, makeup-clothing-cute boyfriend-diet vibe that’s followed in the footsteps of traditional media targeting young, white, well-off, heterosexual, cisgender women.
Of course there any many different contributors to the beauty community of different races, sexualities, genders, and backgrounds, but the vast majority- the one that immediately comes to mind when someone says “beauty guru” is exactly what Hughes described. Intentionally and unintentionally viewers choose to follow a very cut and dry persona. Nilsen had followed this imposed guideline until yesterday.
Diversity is important, kids (and adults). After six years on YouTube, Nilsen finally felt comfortable enough to come out. Underneath the many tears that occurred during the video, it was clear that she was determined to present her true herself to the world. It took years to reach this stage of self-acceptance and so far the response has been extremely positive. How is this going to affect her in the long run? Especially being a now openly gay women in a very rigid community? No one knows for certain right now, but I’m very excited to see her impact on YouTube and the beauty community.
Whether you or someone you know is going through a tough time, keep in mind a mantra that Nilsen said carried her through this entire process:
We all deserve our best chance.