Nikita Dragun has laid an egg — a purple one caked in crystals, at that.
The Asian-American beauty influencer, who has accumulated millions of online followers for sharing her journey as a transgender woman, is launching Dragun Beauty, a cosmetics company. The label, which launches March 25, is just one of a few created and owned by a transgender person. According to Dragun, it is for transgender people — and for all.
“I’ve always been obsessed with the art of transformation,” said Dragun, the self-appointed “chief dragun officer” of Dragun Beauty. “As an artist, I was more obsessed with how makeup could change your face and that you could be the architect of your own beauty. Transitioning, it was the biggest thing for me to hide male features and make them more feminine and be able to play with my face to be more passable to people.”
Dragun Beauty, which has been in the works for at least a year, makes its debut with two complexion products. The first, called the DragunFire Skin Perfecting Potion, $25, is a customizable color corrector formulated with vitamins E and A. The second product is the DragunHeart Transformation Face Powder, $35, which incorporates cocoa seed butter. Both items are vegan and cruelty-free, and come as sets that are packaged in eggs. The DragunEgg Transformation Kit retails for $55, while a blinged-out version of the egg goes for $105. All products will be available on Dragunbeauty.com.
Dragun, who started her YouTube channel nearly four years ago, now counts 2 million YouTube subscribers, 562,000 Twitter followers and 3.9 million followers on Instagram, her first social media platform. Her YouTube channel took off about three years ago when she shared a video in which she admitted to being transgender for the first time.
“I had moved to L.A. by myself and I sat down in front of a camera and I said, ‘I am transgender,’” Dragun said. “That was the first time I ever said it out loud, the first time I ever thought it. I thought, if I just record a video and post it, then I’m gonna have to face it. It went viral overnight. It was such a whirlwind of emotion, like, what did I do? That was the first time I ever saw so many responses from around the world of people being like, ‘I relate to this.’ Before then, no one even knew I was trans, everyone thought I was just a regular girl.”
In December 2018, she went viral once more, this time on Twitter, for speaking out against Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of L Brands, who told Vogue in an interview that he wouldn’t put trans people in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show “because the show is a fantasy.”
Dragun’s response? She filmed a video in which she dressed as a Victoria’s Secret Angel — wings, included — and paraded around a mansion to the tune of “Carol of the Bells.” The video has garnered more than 9.5 million views on Twitter.
As a beauty influencer, Dragun has strategically opted to forgo product collaborations with beauty brands — collaborations are essentially a rite of passage in the beauty influencer world — save for a capsule of synthetic wigs she created with Bellami. Despite interest from “every single major makeup brand that you can think of,” she said, she chose to focus her efforts on creating a brand of her own.
“The market in general is so oversaturated,” Dragun said. “Every couple of months we see another thing come out. I don’t knock anyone’s hustle, but I didn’t want to slap my name on anything that wasn’t authentic to me. I was like, why am I gonna slave away for another brand and not have full creative control? Why not stand on my own two feet and do this myself?”
Complexion proved a tough start; creating a shade range in a post-Fenty world is no small feat. The color corrector, said Dragun, is “universal.”
“It’s one thing to have shade range, but it doesn’t really mean that you have the right shades,” she explained. “As a person in the industry, as well as a makeup lover, a lot of times we see brands pressured to do things because of the status quo instead of being genuine and wanting to create and be inclusive. I wouldn’t throw the name universal onto my color corrector if it wasn’t really that.”
Last year, she graduated with a degree in beauty industry merchandise and marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, where she used her studies and class assignments to further Dragun Beauty. She is the brand’s sole investor and leads a team of people across various departments, including visual, business, production and customer service.
“Honey, if it says Dragun Beauty, honey, know that is Nikita’s dragon, period,” Dragun said. “This is all me. That’s why all my products come in this dragon egg literally ‘cause I’m like, I laid an egg for you, girl. Every little last detail is so Nikita and extra and wild. I’m creating things I’ve always wanted to see in the beauty industry. If you want some little influencer palette with 12 bronze shades or a lipstick, there’s hundreds of those out there. But if you want a transformation kit that comes inside of a mother effin’ dragon egg, you know where to come to.”