Nikita Dragun doesn’t have to prove she’s “woman enough”
Reaching nearly every social media platform, Nikita Dragun’s grasp on the beauty and social world has only just begun. You’ve either heard of her for being a distinguished Transgender that has willingly presented her tough story or you’ve seen the girl with a crazy ass pink wig and been like “yo that girl’s makeup is bomb!” With nearly 2 million followers on Instagram that’s growing everyday, the Mother of Draguns is here to do her thang.
My friends and I have been followers of Nikita for as long as we can remember, and after getting to know her better I can truly say she is everything you’d expect and a million times more. I proudly present the famous girl with the red dragon back tattoo!
Growing up I know your parents were always very supportive of you and your true self. What was the moment you knew that you wanted to start transitioning, and how did you go about telling your parents?
So the moment I originally thought I was going to transition was really early on, even as early as 8-years-old I was saving up money because I had watched some really weird documentary while surfing channels, and I found one about people who were transgender. And in my mind I had already put two and two together, being that young I had already decided this is what I wanted to do. But at the same time I was convinced that I was being so crazy, I’m literally 8 years old and need to calm it down, so I really pressed pause on the idea for a really long time, but always was drawn back to it in the back of my mind.
It wasn’t really until the end of my high school years when I decided that something was wrong, my skin was crawling every time gender even popped up in conversation. I was never really uncomfortable with it before, I used to go swimming at the pool and go to the beach all the time, but just like that, overnight I was suddenly so uncomfortable, because everyone viewed me as feminine, I looked like a girl and I was treated like a girl by the end of high school because I was so androgynous at the absolute peak of being gay.
Now I didn’t think I could use the boys bathroom anymore, a lot of people literally thought I was a girl, so using the boys bathroom was a really awkward situation. It got really weird being openly gay and still feeling so wrong in my skin, so basically I had to make a decision and I was afraid because of my family’s conservative background.
Were you scared at all?
My parents aren’t per se religious but they’re very culturally aware that their cultures don’t accept gay people, and there’s actually never been a gay person or anything in my family. So I mean it wasn’t a total shock to them because I was fruity but no one has really been outwardly expressive as me.
So of course I go out and go balls to the walls and say I’m going to be transgender. I was nervous to tell them for sure, but I think if anything I was more nervous myself, having to face it, but I felt like I knew I would have them support me, but it was more of a battle for me to realize that I was going to go through with this.
In what ways have your parents supported you besides the physical changes you’ve gone through?
I think more than anything they’ve been an emotional backbone for me, although the physical transformation is what everyone loves to see happening, but on the other side the emotional transformation is 400 times more intense than the physical transformation because you have to think about your body, and the hormones.
The hormones are one of the main components of the human body and having the mindset and insight is two different worlds, both male and female. When your body is changing like that you almost get a different set of ideals, personality traits and things of that nature. I mean I’m still the same person I just feel like I went through two puberties so my parents were always there for me when I was going crazy. I really underestimated the amount of love that a parent could have for their child until I was really kind of just going through it.
What’s your biggest insecurity and how have you learned to accept it and/or tried to mask it?
I think just insecurity-wise, being in the public eye and being openly trans is just going to be tough, I think we live in a really aggressive society where people are constantly judging femininity and it’s actually really sad because I never thought when I took on the role of being a woman that I would have to face these problems that women actually have. So it’s kind of transformed me into a feminist.
I never in my life thought I’d have to deal with someone saying oh your voice isn’t as high, you sound like a dude, or real women wouldn’t do that or real women wouldn’t swear like this or real women wouldn’t wear clothes like this, they have boobs and you know a bigger butt and a tinier waist, your nose is a little funny and I can tell by that one hair on your eyebrow that you’re a boy.
I feel like it’s a constant upkeep to keep this fantasy alive but at the same time I realize that this is what “real women” go through, constantly, like every single minute. Like people will find me and be like, “oh I love her hair colors, that’s kind of cool,” but then they find out I’m transgender and they’re furious like, “omg I feel lied to, I could totally tell by this this this and this.” And it really does become overwhelming at times because I feel like at this point I’m just like fuck it because I can’t keep up this charade of being a perfect princess, I can’t keep up the fact that I’m woman enough and I shouldn’t have to.
The one thing I’ve really given up on is trying to convince people to change their minds about me on social media when they’re trying to bash me. I think the sooner a person in the public eye realizes that you’ll NEVER win against people the better off you’ll be. Because even if you’re feeding starving elephants and helping the world people will still have something to say about it.
What made you decide to take to Youtube as a platform?
I think because I started with Instagram, I was really used to such a controlled image, and I think I really started on Youtube because it scared me. Out of all the platforms I’ve been on Youtube the longest, as I was growing up Youtube became a thing. I grew up being a viewer and for a lot of the time I was almost a bitter viewer saying, “oh I can do this.”
Basically I got into that mindset, and I think at first I tried to approach it like my Instagram, like a very controlled image. But it was really nerve racking because at the time a lot of my following didn’t even have a clue that I was transgender! And for the early stages of my Youtube channel I never really addressed it, I mean I guess it was clear to people obviously but looking back I swear I was so incognito.
I really did relate to Youtube after I did come out as transgender on my channel because it was the first time I personally really said it out loud. It was a really raw and emotional video and I thought really made me love the platform. I kind of just recorded it, posted it and had no idea what was going to happen, to me it has always been a confessional and more like a diary and that’s what I started viewing it as, as soon as I dropped the “I am transgender” video because I didn’t realize how many people could watch, and could share just the message of what I’m going through.
And what came from the video was not only people supporting me but people gave me advice, growing up in Virginia I had never met or known a Trans person ever, like barely even saw a drag queen, there’s just not a lot of that scene in Virginia. But being exposed to all of this information on the world wide web was really eye opening and showed that Youtube is really the most effective to people.
Ever since then I’ve just stopped trying to follow people and their influence and just decided to be fucking real. So I started showing people staples being pulled out of my god damn skull, or talked about the weird things that happen during a boob job. Being real with people is going to have an affect on them and that’s what I want. Whether I’m helping someone going through the same situation or I’m helping explain to people who don’t understand what trans is I’m affecting them.
I feel like when I first started the Trans community was more hush hush, I remember having to basically go on the dark internet type of pages to just find answers to my questions on hormone therapy and like where to go for it. I was just so fed up with it I was like, why is being Transgender so hard? Like not only physically and emotionally but just the act of trying to do it. I just couldn’t find the answers to do anything and was so frustrated, I would never want anyone else to have to go through this. I just felt like if I could make this easier for just one person or that I could make this more known about that I could initiate a change.
What was the first physical change that you went through?
Hormones was really the first physical change because my body was like “hold the fuck up.” But it was really actually beautiful to see how powerful your body is. And I didn’t really do any plastic surgery at first. Everyone is obsessed with that aspect and I really didn’t do anything until maybe a year after hormones.
The hormones really did a lot of the work for me, it allowed my body to transform in ways I never thought possible. I developed breast tissue within the first month, I was fully at a B-cup, I never even thought about going in for a breast consultation until later. My face got so much more feminine, my eyes just softened and were different, I just had this new glow, and I know I’m making this sound like the best thing ever but there were also downsides to it.
Now all of a sudden my body is becoming soft, I was a gymnast all of high school and was rock solid, now my body and my muscles are changing, and my weight and fat is shifting in different areas and my hair isn’t growing as fast. I was getting hips and a butt and although that was so amazing at first, as soon as I started getting the dreaded gut, like the little food baby pouch thing, I was like, “Damn, I need to figure this out.”
What do you say when someone calls you extra?
You know, it’s so funny. I don’t really like it when people call me extra, and the only reason why I say that is because to me, being extra is being unapologetic. Like there are so many different adjectives that you could use instead of being extra and I feel like people have generalized being extra as this one common thing and when I hear it I’m just like “ugh.”
I mean obviously being me, I’m a ball of energy, I do what I want and I feel like I’ve always just been a wild card in a lot of situations and I feel like that’s why people call me extra. But you have to realize that I’ve lived my life for 18 years at that point completely not being myself, and all of a sudden I transform into the person I never thought I’d be able to be and I had nothing holding me back. And what this did for me was it really helped me understand who I am and the values I hold, so when people call me extra I’m like, “Yeah I’m fucking extra.” I’m treating the sidewalk as my god damn runway, I’m going to get coffee in a fucking full length gown and have my hair blowing in the wind, and I’m just like, you know why? Because I fucking can and I will!
And I think one of the most important things people can’t be afraid of is being ugly, because if you’re being ugly then you’ll never care about what people think about you. But I mean I guess I will take extra at the end of the day over many other names, but I feel like sometimes for me it’s thrown out as being this horrible thing. Like when I think about it girls had those early years where they could go anywhere in a tutu or a cowgirl outfit and people wouldn’t say shit but I never had those years! So this is me making up for it, so if I go to get Korean BBQ in a 40 inch fucking pink ass wig deal with it.
How many tattoos do you have and what do they represent?
I only have three, my first one was the one on my sternum, and that one is a dragon, and honestly dragons have always meant so much to me. They represent so many traits such as intelligence, competence, control, power, and independence. Dragons are these creatures that are nonexistent for now, I’ll go with that, but have played such a role in history throughout so many cultures and has been played out as being ultimately this undeniable powerful force.
But I started with the middle one kind of as a reminder to myself, I got it right after I had gotten through a lot at school and was kind of on my own and felt like myself for the first time. And I love that it’s front and center because it’s intimidating, it’s just right there staring you down and warding off bad luck.
I got my biggest one which I thought would be my first one, and that’s on my back, and I honestly thought it was going to be my one and only tattoo but shit happens. I’ve always wanted a back dragon tattoo, one because it’s really sexy, it’s epic, and I hand designed each of the different pieces of my tattoo with the artist, and that’s the only artist I’ve trusted with my body.
For me each tattoo represents someone, I feel like my front tattoo is my father, because it’s so masculine and right in your face, and I know it sounds really weird to talk about my dad being in between my tits but it’s very close to my heart and it protects me.
And opposed to that my infamous red back dragon tattoo is definitely more my mother, the detailing is more feminine, it’s in red ink, and its just such a powerful feeling knowing that my mother has my back no matter what. Most people never even really see their back tattoos but I make a point of knowing mines there.
And the last tattoo I have is on my wrist, it says “dragon” in Arabic, and that’s just more to go with the dragon theme. I also love when Middle Eastern men stop me and ask what it says, because when I say dragon they’re always so thrown off like, why does this girl have dragon written on her wrist wtf!
What is the most important aspect of your self care routine?
I’m a big big confidence person, during my transition I guess you could say I wasn’t as polished or reformed as I am today. But I always crave that fire in me that makes me feel untouchable. And it’s not even being braggy I just love having confidence in myself, it’s the best weapon you can have. I feel like anytime that sensation takes a dip I have to dig into my self-care routine and get it back. I need to get back into that zen harmony and get my flow, my self back.
And when I’m feeling off I’ll translate my confidence into my makeup, I can guarantee 99.9999% of the time if I’m posting and my makeup looks bomb or just extra good it’s because I’m going through something. It’ll just make me want to paint that much harder and take that extra time to just make myself feel great.
Is there any trans person in the public eye that you really admire and why?
You know I admire all of my brothers and sister in the public eye, it isn’t easy for any of us. I just feel like there’s so many great leaders right now. I love all the work Laverne Cox has been doing for the community. I feel like the more I hear people from the community speak out, the more it reminds me I have to play a role and contribute more.
Sometimes I forget, I guess because I just got out of college and I’m so young, but my voice is so powerful and it can be used to be effective and stand for something. I just have to be a little more mature and be involved and aware of what’s happening. I mean honestly anyone in the spotlight that’s my brother or sister I admire and I root for and I think we all just have to have each other’s backs.
You’re stranded on a deserted island, you can only bring 5 things, what do you bring?
1. A really epic wig (maybe like a really long, wavy, rainbow moment)
2. A really sexy Amazonian, warrior armor type of get up
3. Of course some great heels
4. A good ass bikini
5. A vote off the island
What is your song right now?
Boys boys boys by Charlie XCX, I know people are probably so over it but I don’t give a fuck! I will skip down Sunset Boulevard still singing that song.
What’s next for you, where do you see yourself going with your career?
You know, I feel like I’ve always had a plan for everything that’s going to happen in my life. My first step was going to college and studying musical theater, but for the past two years I just feel like I’ve let the journey take it’s course and I’ve just been going with it.
But in a way I know staying true to myself I’ll find my own lane and not focusing too much on others has really helped me improve myself overall. I just feel like in all honesty I have no plan, I’m living off the idea that life opens up when you do. I mean of course I want to keep having a big voice in the beauty and social community.
But what I will say is I really want to explore music, it was a huge side in my past, and I kind of just left it all behind as I was transitioning because it really held me down in masculinity because I was trained as a male singer. So now coming back to that and training to have a voice that fits the new me would be epic and I mean I wouldn’t hate being the first transgender pop star, just because I’m not fucking extra!
Photography by Kristyna Archer
Styling by Jake Webb, Select Management Group