No stranger to controversy, Nikita Dragun has featured in her fair share of headlines. Despite battling cancel culture and the constant criticism that comes with building both personal and consumer brands via social media, that hasn’t stopped the beauty guru from pressing onwards and upwards…which is just as well, considering her recent success— success which can only be attributed to pushing through the hard times to get to the good.
Centennial Beauty spoke to Nikita on career pivoting, social media success, and her recent (and first) makeup collaboration with powerhouse Morphe: Morphe x Nikita.
Getting her start on YouTube in 2014, the Streamy nominated creator explains “I was inspired because I wanted to document my journey and was so frustrated when I couldn’t find stories like mine. I shared my story so others could understand what I was going through.” A story which has clearly resonated, as she now boasts over 3.6 million subscribers.
But remaining relevant in 2020 comes down to adaptability, something Nikita has proven a strength over and over. “I love how [my] transformation has made its way into the mainstream. Social media impacts my brand because while it’s tied to my personal brand, it speaks to my life and how the products from my brand truly fit in. It’s a mother/child relationship. The strength… is always social media, it’s what I know, and how I built myself.”
Of pivoting to TikTok and short form video, she says “I actually have loved it! I [am thriving] because the fantasies I create are so made for short form. I adapt easily and it’s made the workload less. [It’s] easier to create quick fantasies vs. thinking of long form storytelling.” She also attributes the platform to being the best for finding trends, “YouTube is great for deep diving, [Instagram] is great for impact, Twitter [is powerful too].”
But with fame and success in 2020 comes criticism, something Nikita is well and truly familiar with. “I take each moment as a learning experience. I don’t jump to conclusions or respond impulsively,” she says. Consideration too, is few and far between when it comes to how influencers respond to criticism online. “I open my eyes and listen and learn about all situations.”
“Transformation is all about evolving and I’m always evolving and learning. If I survived high school, I can survive the internet. The one thing I can say is my intentions are always good.”
Clearly not one to rest on her laurels, her experiences and success thus far were the inspiration for Dragun Beauty. Launched in March, 2019, “I didn’t think I would be capable enough to start my own brand but I felt the responsibility when I saw a gap in the [market] for a brand for trans people and all people…I just created products for myself. Anything I love or believe in is the product I created and anything authentic stands out.” Plus, she adds, “there was a lack of education on products that I used daily or would create in the kitchen because they didn’t exist. I NEEDED for all people in the market to understand that these are transformative for any person,” she explains.
When it comes to her momentous collaboration with Morphe, “I’m so excited to showcase the story I was able to tell in the campaign and infusing Dragun Beauty to be intro’ed into Morphe retail and in stores across the globe. It’s so full circle,” she says. “I’m so excited to have my first beauty collaboration EVER in the market.”
The collaboration will be available in stores and on Morphe.com from November 5th and will include the Morphe x Nikita Artistry Palette, which includes 35 neturals, matte bold, shimmer and glitter shades. The collection will also include seven custom synthetic brushes.