You might have seen her on Instagram as one of the faces behind Miley Cyrus' #InstaPride campaign, walking the red carpet at the MTV VMAs or, most recently, hanging out with Kylie Jenner and spilling makeup secrets. If you don't know who Gigi Gorgeous is, consider this fair warning that you're about to be seeing a lot more of her.
Not only is Gigi a (very) popular beauty vlogger with over 1.7 million subscribers, but she's also one of the first transgender people to publicly document their transition on social media. Today, she's an activist, Streamy Awards nominated YouTube star and now, co-host of Help! My Face Is F–ed!, a beauty series with Kylie Jenner.
We chatted with Gigi about what it was like teaming up with King Kylie, being a role model in the transgender community (including Caitlyn Jenner's reaction to that viral video she made) and dealing with the haters.
MTV News: Congratulations on your Streamy nomination! That’s very exciting.
Gigi Gorgeous: Thank you so much. Yes, I’m super excited about it.
MTV News: Where were you when you got the news about your nomination?
Gigi: I was actually with my dog at my house with my friend. I was ecstatic because I had heard about it [the Streamys] last year and I was super bummed that I wasn’t nominated. But this year is a different year and I’m so excited.
MTV News: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Streamys? Anyone in particular?
Gigi: I’m always excited when I get to see Michelle Phan. She’s always been an inspiration for me and she’s also nominated in the same category as me, which is kind of like a “pinch me” moment. She’s one of the people I actually started following before I started [vlogging]. She’s one of the first people to get me started on there [YouTube].
MTV News: In the middle of the craziness that is New York Fashion Week, Kylie Jenner launched her new website and one of the features on the app is a beauty series with you.
Gigi: I had no idea that she was doing it today [Sept. 14] either! I think I was told she was, but I forgot (laughs). Everyone was blowing up my phone being like, “What’s going on?”
MTV News: What was it like working with Kylie?
Gigi: It was a super great, super professional atmosphere. Kylie is an amazing person. She’s in charge of her business and she was very passionate about the project. We brainstormed together and she took it very seriously. So I respect her hustle a lot.
MTV News: I read that Kylie said the name of the series was inspired from a night where she accidentally burned her friend’s eyelashes off -- which sounds really painful. What’s the worst beauty mistake that’s ever happened to you?
Gigi: No, nothing ever happened like that, but unfortunately, something worse. When I was younger, I thought my eyebrows were too light. I’m a natural blonde. I dyed them and they ended up being so dark and it was so f--king embarrassing. I was humiliated. I didn’t end up going to school that day. I said, “Mom, I’m not going to school. There’s no way. You can’t let anybody see me like this. My eyebrows are too dark.” So I ended up bleaching them back.
MTV News: Switching gears a bit, you recently mentioned in an interview with Marie Claire that Caitlyn Jenner is a person who you really look up to. As someone who’s a role model yourself, do you ever feel pressure with so many people turning to you for advice?
Gigi: I definitely feel the pressure. I get told all the time how much I changed people’s lives and things like that, and sometimes I even giggle at it. I’m like, “Are you kidding me? Like through a video online? Little ol’ me giving advice?” I’m learning every day myself. So there’s a lot of pressure and I can’t even imagine what she’s [Jenner] going through right now with her whole movement. I’m sure she’s still figuring things out every day and we’re all human at the end of the day.
MTV News: Did you ever hear from her in terms of that amazing video you made after her interview with Diane Sawyer?
Gigi: I did hear through the grapevine. I never had talked to her personally, but I heard that she loved the video. I wish her the best for her show and everything going forward in her life.
MTV News: If you’re a teen or a young adult and you know someone who is transitioning -- be it a parent or a friend -- how can you be an ally? What would you tell them?
Gigi: I think you can be an ally for a newly transgender person when they come out by sticking up for them, calling them by their right name -- just being on their side in social situations. And I think now that more topics about being transgender have been brought to light because of Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox and other people in the community, more people can be there. But you know, [it's] always having their backs. Being a friend and being there for them in any way you can.
MTV News: It seems that more and more people are using social media -- Instagram and YouTube, in particular -- as a means for documenting their transition. What advice would you give someone who’s considering going public with their transition?
Gigi: I definitely support documenting your transition on social media. I was one of the first people to ever do it ... I’d say that it was a good tool for me because when I did that video, everyone knew. My family -- I had already talked to them -- but friends I had went to school with, teachers -- literally just everyone could see that it was a milestone to help me accept myself. And a lot of other people were able to accept me as well.
MTV News: I’m sure that as much positive reinforcement you receive for sharing your transition on such a public platform, you get negative comments as well. How do you deal with the haters?
Gigi: I’ve been doing YouTube for almost six years now, so it’s nothing new to me. There’s haters always there. Being online is one of the meanest places you can go because you don’t have to own up to anything you say -- you say it from your phone or computer. I’ve already developed a thick skin and the only thing you can really do is get used to it.
MTV News: If you could collaborate with one celebrity or YouTuber, who would it be?
Gigi: I actually said in an interview a week ago that I’d collab with Britney Spears. She’s just always been an idol for me. I would say -- this is so hard! -- that I’d want to collaborate with Michelle Phan because like I said at the beginning of this interview, she’s an inspiration to me and a trailblazer in the YouTube beauty community. So I’d definitely have to pick her.
MTV News: What would you tell to someone who wants to start the own YouTube channel who wants to break out in a sea of saturation? What tips would you give them for starting out and rising above?
Gigi: There are so many YouTubers. You need to know what you’re going to do, otherwise, you’re going to get lost in a sea. Be yourself and have fun, but don’t be fake because anything fake really won’t last that long. Know your message, know who you are and have fun at the end of the day.
The 5th Annual Streamy Awards for the first time ever will air live on TV on VH1 and its digital platforms on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT from the Hollywood Palladium.