With the abundance of cat videos and Kardashian vines around the internet these days, it’s hard to believe that one random clip could offer someone a literal life-altering moment. But, as I sat using my phone one day, trawling through makeup tutorials, I experienced just that.
This massive revelation came in the form of Gigi Gorgeous- beauty guru extraordinaire. Just weeks previously, I had discovered Gregory Gorgeous, a sassy, flamboyant 19-year-old boy with platinum hair and a taste for leopard print. He was the embodiment of glamour and everything I wanted to be in life: a successful Youtuber who regularly reached an audience of over half a million.
But, there was a twist.
I logged into my account as usual that December morning, however, nothing prepared me for what I was about to encounter. It was a video entitled “I am transgender”. Growing up with four brothers in a family that worshipped football, this was like nothing I had ever seen, I was in awe.
It was what you might call a ‘light bulb moment’.
Over the next few months I watched as Gigi confidently sat in front of the camera and documented her life as a transgender woman.
Gigi’s body grew and changed in unison with her Youtube channel. It was not only a shrine to all things pink and glossy, but had become a bank of information that trans youth like myself could access freely.
Just last month, over two years since I first clicked on that video, Gigi’s channel surpassed two million subscribers. She continues to be a point of reference for members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as those who wish to learn about it.
Gigi recently won an award for ‘Best Beauty Series’ at the Streamys, an awards show for online entertainers.
She has appeared in photoshoots with Miley Cyrus and was also introduced at the MTV VMAs last year as part of a campaign for the singer’s Happy Hippie Foundation. She regularly appears in segments on Kylie Jenner’s new app, which, referring to my opening paragraph, is pretty ironic.
Some might ask why people like Gigi get notoriety just for being who they are. Why did Laverne Cox appear on the cover of Time Magazine and why did Caitlyn Jenner received the title of Glamour’s ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2015?
The answer is simply that these people overcame immense obstacles to live as their authentic selves, with no regrets, and that takes guts.
By simply appearing on a screen once a week, Gigi has opened doors for people going through the same struggle. Because of her I’m able to face the world with my lipstick on and my heels six inches off the ground, and say: “This is me”.