CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses transphobia.

Mega-popular makeup YouTuber Nikkie de Jager has come out as transgender, calling the decision “liberating and freeing” in a brand new video.

But de Jager’s triumphant announcement is shaded by a discomforting admission: the 25-year-old was moved to speak out after threats of blackmail, saying people “wanted to leak my story to the press.”

de Jager, whose NikkieTutorials channel has amassed over 12 million followers over a decade, today told her fanbase “It is time to let go and be truly free.

When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means I am transgender. [It’s] so surreal saying this. Filming this video is scary, but it feels so liberating and freeing. I’ve been wanting to share this side of myself to all of you for so long, but I could never figure out the timing. And there always was gonna be the day where I would tell you – I did not expect that day to be today, but here we are.

The video, entitled I Am Coming Out., sees de Jager explain the history of her transition. Over 17 minutes, the makeup artist recounts early memories of discomfort in her body, and the decision to embrace her identity as a child.

By the age of six I grew my hair out. People at my school knew, I mean, they saw. And I think by the age of seven, eight, I fully wore girls’ clothes only. And it felt amazing. And the teachers were so supportive about it. And of course, kids are kids, this is confusing. And some kids got it, and other kids in my class did not, which is fine, but I’ll always be so thankful for all the teachers at that school who supported my journey, and supported me.

de Jager said she began hormone therapy at age 14, and “by the time I was 19, I fully transitioned.

“I transitioned while on YouTube. And saying that right now sounds so crazy to me, because I have literally grown up and transformed into me, in front of all of you.”

While the decision to speak out was always her own, de Jager said she “just wanted to do it under my conditions. But apparently we live in a world where people hate on people that are truly themselves.”

de Jager said she had encountered people who threatened to share her story, prompting her to speak out here and now.

And at first it was frightening, it was frightening to know there are people out there that are so evil that they can’t respect someone’s true identity. It is vile, and it is gross. And I know you are watching this. They said they wanted to leak this because I’m lying, or I don’t want to tell my truth, or they feel like I’m too scared for people to know who I truly am. I’m not scared.

She then gave ’em the finger.

The video has received a rapturous reception, with nearly seven million views since its publication and torrents of positive comments.

“If you feel like you’re trapped and there’s no way out, know that it gets better. Trust me, that it gets better,” she said.

If you’d like to talk about the issues raised in this story, you can call the QLife LGBTI peer support hotline on 1800 184 527 or chat online. 

QLife operates between between 3pm and midnight daily.

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

Image: @nikkietutorials / Instagram