Culture

Everything you need to know about Nikita Dragun as Netflix steps in to the Hype House

Maggie Baska January 7, 2022
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Nikita Dragun is seen in a nude dress with pear-like accents at the Grammy Awards in 2020

Nikita Dragun attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on 26 January 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. (David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty)

Trans YouTuber and beauty influencer Nikita Dragun is part of the cast of new Netflix reality soap series Hype House.

Hype House is a reality series that gives an inside look at the lives of some of the internet’s biggest influencers. The show delves into their work, friendships, personal lives and the conflicts they experience as they live together in a multi-million dollar Los Angeles mansion.

The official trailer shows how Hype House is constantly bustling with people, and Dragun describes it as a “fraternity filled with people who have millions of followers and dollars and like a ring light”.

Bustle lists the full cast as Nikita Dragun, Thomas Petrou, Chase Hudson, Alex Warren, Kouvr Annon, Ryland Storms, Calvin Goldby, Patrick Huston, Connor Yates, Larray (Larri Merritt), Mia Hayward, Jack Wright, Michael Sanzone, Sienna Mae Gomez and Vinnie Hacker all appear on the show.

The trailer makes clear that Nikita Dragun will become embroiled in controversy, showing a stand-off between Dragun and Larray. Larray declares he wants “her to understand that she’s hurting others”. Right afterwards, Dragun drops a mysterious bombshell that people “get cancelled over this stuff”.

 

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It’s not the first time that Nikita Dragun has courted drama online – far from it, in fact. Here’s everything you need to know.

Nikita Dragun made her name on YouTube

Dragun made a name for herself in the YouTube beauty community as a model and make-up artist. She came out publicly as trans in an emotional video in December 2015.

In the years since, she has amassed a whopping 3.6 million followers on YouTube and over 9 million on Instagram. She even launched her own make-up line in 2019 and marketed it as “the first Trans owned beauty brand for Trans people and ALL people”.

The controversies

Nikita Dragun was accused of wearing “blackface” in a 2017 Jeffree Star Cosmestics campaign, in which her skin was far, far darker than it naturally is.

Dragun told Seventeen she was “disappointed” by the backlash against the campaign and called it “unfortunate” that people chose to “interpret and liken my image in Jeffree Star’s campaign to blackface” – a response which only prompted more criticism.

In 2019, she faced claims of cultural appropriation after she attended New York Fashion Week wearing box braids, a hairstyle traditionally associated with Black women.

Last year, fans accused Dragun of blackfishing – using make-up, fake tan and styling to appear to appear Black . She defended herself on social media with a picture from her childhood, and explained that she tans easily because she is Mexican and Vietnamese. That didn’t cut it for many, who argued that she was clearly using tan or make-up to darken her skin.

Just a few months later, Dragun reportedly asked fans “what race” she should be on a social media post.

Fellow YouTuber Tyler Oakley called out a bunch of social media stars – including Dragun – in 2020 for apparently ignoring COVID restrictions and social distancing rules to party during lockdown.

Dragun faced fierce backlash for breaking COVID-19 restrictions yet again in 2021 when she held a lavish, maskless birthday pary in January 2021.

Hype House member Petrou uploaded a YouTube video on 31 January in which he said he and other members of the collective attended Dragun’s party. 

Nikita Dragun has been targeted with horrific transphobia

Just a few months later, internet personality Taylor Caniff repeatedly misgendered Dragun and attempted to use her trans identity to embarrass a man escorting her to a car.

After the clip went viral, Dragun posted a tearful video in which she said that her “livelihood is constantly threatened” by living her truth as a trans woman.

“I try to be strong for you guys and hold my head up high and act like I’m not terrified that something like this will happen to me,” Nikita Dragun said “This is how trans people die.”

She added it just takes “one ignorant, transphobic comment to threaten my entire livelihood”. Dragun called on her fans to “stop trans hate because it leads to trans violence”, and “people lose their lives or even worse, they take their own lives” because of such hate.

Hype House premieres on Netflix on 7 January.

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