Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
On YouTube, the Mother of Draguns is soaring.
That’s the name Nikita Dragun, a popular lifestyle creator, often applies to herself. Dragun is notable for her makeup videos and her vlogs, which often discuss her identity as a transgender woman. As both a beauty guru and an LGBTQ+ activist, Dragun has thrived, and her fans, who she refers to as her Draguns, now number more than one million on YouTube alone. Here’s our conversation with her about how her identity has shaped her channel.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have more than one million subscribers on your YouTube channel? What do you have to say to your fans?
Nikita Dragun: I feel now more than ever I have a spotlight and a voice and with that comes responsibility. I am not unaware of that. I feel like it didn’t matter if I had 10 subscribers or 100,000 subscribers or 20,000 subscribers. It’s all really about the message that it stands for which is being authentic and true to myself. And I think that keeping that mindset is what’s gotten me to this point of not thinking about the number. I think now instead of thinking of it as having a million subscribers is just that I’m touching more people around the world.
TF: With so many fashion and beauty channels on Youtube, what would you say makes yours unique?
ND: I’m unique in that I’m authentic. I’m real. I’m more about the beauty that’s more than skin deep, things that makeup can’t actually cover or can’t actually hide. I have shown my life explicitly, 100%, and I think that’s what has separated me from everyone else trying to live in a fantasy and a filter and being inauthentic. I show the good, the bad, the ugly, everything in between, and i’m not afraid to do so.
TF: How would you describe your basic style to someone who has never watched one of your videos?
ND: My style is unapologetic. I don’t really do things by the book always. And I’m often very comedic in that I don’t take it too seriously. Although I can slay a face and beat my face and put on a wig and do the most. I feel like some people might describe me as extra in that I’m unapologetic I’ll do whatever I want and I’m a little bit rebellious in that way, but I just live in the moment and I don’t have any regrets. So some might call me a little extra.
TF: What is it about the Mother of Dragons (from Game of Thrones) that you find particularly inspiring?
ND: I think I find the fact that she’s the the last of her kind and an outsider to the world particularly inspiring. She just looked a certain type of way just resonated with me and I felt like it was almost me against the world for a very long time, very similarly.
And I’ve aspired to make others believe I was the mother of Draguns. I myself feel like I have this kind of fiery dragon in me and I’ve felt like that since I was a little kid so, in a sense, I want to take back the throne and I wanna conquer.
And I want to burn them anything that stands in my way of getting to my dream and my goals.
TF: Do you feel like sharing your experience as a trans creator has empowered you? Why or why not?
ND: Absolutely. I was not living my authentic life when I wasn’t sharing my journey for a really long time. I was on social media and YouTube without people even knowing that I was transgender.
It wasn’t until I started being explicit and honest that people actually started caring and started to see me for who I really was. I felt like I had a weight on me for so long. And once I kinda just have to face it and say aloud, everything kind of fell into place. I thought the world would be so cruel to me. I thought everyone is going to judge me but in fact by having the viral video “I Am Transgender,” I was able to receive love on so many levels from people who are in or support the community.
From people who know somebody in the community.
From people who never even got it.
From parents who were curious and learning more about it themselves.
From people never who never thought about it.
And I felt like at the time was not really talked about.
So even though I was so uncomfortable talking about it, I hoped by putting it just out there I would help myself. And I was a little selfish in that sense because I was doing that for me to just face my own truth because I didn’t even wanna say I was transgender. But doing so helped so many more than myself and that was when I realized the true power of Nikita Dragun.
TF: What advice would you give to a trans person who’s looking to start their own YouTube channel?
ND: I would tell them trans is your identity but it’s not everything or your full definition, even though trans as a label is important to be acknowledge and wear proudly. But it’s important to remember, you’re not just a transgender person. You’re not just a heterosexual person. You’re not just straight. You’re not just a boy. You’re not just a girl.
You’re so much more than that, so find who and what you are. What you stand for. So just be authentic to you story and know that we are all brothers and sisters in this community and that we all need to join in the fight for equality.
TF: How do you feel about the state of the LGBTQ+ community on Youtube?
ND: I think it’s amazing. Of course there could be more people being active and using their voices all as one. But i feel like the voices that are on YouTube are so strong and I feel like as a community. As a whole, it’s a community that’s very familial and bonded.
I feel like YouTube in general is very supportive in spotlighting creators and equality, so I feel like the LGBTQ community has been evolving from this exposure. Culture is changing because there’s so much visibility for different types of people. There are videos going around like I never even saw when I was a young kid who was transgender, so imagine someone in the middle of Virginia, super super young watching YouTube and being exposed to things like that nowadays. It’s a dream!
So even though there are so many bad things you can be exposed to in the world and on the internet, it’s great to know that there are more creators who are exposing this lifestyle and problems and also the positive things and how it does really get better.
TF: how do you decide what information from your life to share with your viewers and what to keep private?
ND: I’m as honest as I possibly can be but I’m human as well, so I think by being so honest I do have moments where I am allowed to be private and I feel I carefully choose my moments to expose and when to give them to myself or my family. Even though I am such an open book online it doesn’t necessarily mean that I owe it to anyone to do so. So when people do get upset that I don’t share certain things about my life I think it’s just a human thing. We all want to have some semblance of privacy, or we’d go crazy!
TF: what’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
ND: I’m actually really excited to be more vocal and involved with the LGBTQA community now that I’m more cemented and feel like I have a bigger audience. Now it’s just back to having fun in my career. And that’s something I had to remind myself about. In this world, you get so caught up in the numbers and trying to get to a million but I feel like when I stop thinking about it, that’s when everything starts growing.
I just wanna make fun content that I’m proud of. Not necessarily trending or whatever. Just stuff that’s so me. And it’s not just beauty. It’s not just lifestyle. It’s not just this or that. It’s just Nikita. So you know whatever it is — BANG — it will be on fire, like Dragun breath.