Nikita Dragun is having one hell of a year. After facing criticism for controversial tweets last year, the YouTuber and makeup artist turned it around, learned from her mistakes and focused on the work. And it paid off. Her new Dragun Beauty Face Palette launched last week and sold out in 24 hours. To coincide with the launch, the “trans CEO,” opened her first retail spot, a huge pop-up shop inside the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. The glam space is right next door to Victoria’s Secret—a random, but pretty perfect, spot considering the company’s past comments about transgender models.
“I wanted to create that Nikita Dragun fantasy with my products,” Nikita told me when I toured the store the day before it opened. “With the first two things I launched, the color corrector and the brightening powder, people were like ‘what the fuck is this crazy shit?’ But this is what I use. Maybe this is a little sarcastic but it’s truly things that as a makeup lover, I felt like the industry was missing. For me, it’s not about checking off a box. It’s about me as a trans CEO of my own company, is now making products for transgender people, for all people.”
Her new palette, which is already sold out online, is entirely for the face and includes two contour shades, two blushes and two highlighters. The packaging actually features a photo of Nikita on one of the biggest days of her life. “The front of the palette was me out of FFS, when I got my facial feminization surgery,” she explains. “I’m all wrapped up in bandage. But I wanted to make it more beautiful. It’s that alien, almost different looking. But it’s me.”
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“I call it face instead of a contour and blush palette because I really use it all over my face,” she says. “And it’s really for everyone. The deep contour works amazing on deeper skin tones, but even for lighter skin a light little tap works. And it has a big ass mirror because I have a big ass head.”
Nikita didn’t just launch her brand overnight. She’s been fine-tuning her craft, graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, becoming a makeup artist and then a YouTube sensation. But it doesn’t come without its challenges. “For me, being a businesswoman and an entrepreneur, it’s really tough,” she says. “I’m blessed to have a lot of women around me, especially on my team, but I’m very forward and know exactly what I want. Maybe I speak too much, maybe I free flow a little too crazy. I know my vision but I still listen to people I take other people’s advice because they’re so knowledgeable.”
She might get help from others but the vision, everything from the colors to the copy, is all her and she’s proud of her accomplishments. “I truly believe I’m in my own lane and there isn’t anyone doing what I’m doing,” Nikita says. “I’m not checking off a box, like ‘I’m being LGBTQ inclusive.’ No, bitch. This is me.”
The Dragun Beauty Face Palette retails for $45 and will be re-stocked on the Dragun Beauty website soon.
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