Gigi Gorgeous may be known by her nearly eight million social media followers as an outgoing beauty guru and inspired LGBTQ activist. But now she’s opening up about the struggle that she endured to get there, and how she realized who she was and what she was meant to do.
“Growing up, I knew I was different because I had two brothers and they were interested in exactly the same things — sports, math, science,” Gorgeous, 26, explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. “And I was not interested in anything of the sort.”
Instead, Gorgeous was more interested in getting involved in makeup, and loved The Little Mermaid. And while she was able to find a passion for diving during high school, she admits that she still struggled to fit in.
“I had really, really bad acne and I really suffered with it intensely,” she says. “I was also a diver, so I was basically naked every single night.”
Her insecurities went beyond physical appearance at the time, as she admits that she already had thoughts about being either gay or transgender. What ultimately made her feel happier was trading in her competitive-diver gear for some makeup.
Once she started experimenting with it, Gorgeous debuted on YouTube as Gregory Gorgeous, where she posted makeup tutorials and intimate blogs — including the video in which she would eventually come out as transgender to subscribers. The confidence to do so, she says, came from her interaction with the beauty community.
“When I started YouTube, I was stealing a lot of my mom’s makeup. And experimenting with it made me feel really confident. It made me feel empowered, it made me feel different from everyone else,” she explains. “I also had really great friends around me that supported me experimenting with makeup and just trying out new things. It was a really great place for me to just channel my energy and also learn a lot, too.”
Ultimately, Gorgeous says that her moment of clarity around identifying as transgender came when she met another transwoman who saw herself in Gorgeous. From there, the influencer knew that feeling fulfilled and happy was actually possible.
“From then on my mind was made up. I felt nothing but excitement and joy that I had finally found this piece of me that I was questioning all this time,” Gorgeous shares.
But it would still take time before Gorgeous felt at peace with her identity as Gigi, which finally came when her family fully embraced who she was.
“I think my first moment where I felt accepted was when my dad acknowledged me as ‘Gigi’ and ‘she,’” she recalls. “That was the moment where I was like, I am this person and he does see change, and I truly felt accepted.”
The moment is one of many milestones that Gorgeous shares in her first book, He Said She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from My Transgender Journey, which was released on Tuesday. Now, she hopes that people can learn from all of her personal experiences.
“I’ve always wanted to be an author and it was kind of like this surreal dream for me,” she says. “And I’m happy just to have a book out there so my little story in this whole world can be shared and give someone else that confidence.”
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