Besides being drop dead gorgeous, Gigi Gorgeous has redefined what the term means altogether. With killer looks, an endless supply of solid advice, and a loyal following, she has brought transgender issues to the forefront by simply being herself. The YouTube star turned media personality turned model turned actress is more than just a quadruple threat, she’s a Jill of all trades, and a master of just about all of them. And from coming out as gay to coming out as transgender to coming out as lesbian, she’s been through almost everything. Her fabulous life comes to the silver screen in the appropriately named documentary, This Is Everything, which is premiering at Sundance Film Festival this month and will launch exclusively on YouTube Red early this year. We sat down with Gigi to discuss her epic past year, and what she has planned for 2017 and beyond.
First off, congratulations! What can you tell us about your documentary, This Is Everything?
It is a very personal and in-depth look at my life. It includes things that I haven’t really touched on before, like things with my family. Really, it touches on everything, hence the title. I honestly couldn’t be more excited for people to see it. I am very nervous. I haven’t even actually seen it yet, but I have faith in the director, Barbara Kopple.
What are some of the key ingredients to your success?
Being honest and open. With having shared my life on YouTube for so many years, I’ve noticed that personal videos and videos that reach out to people are the most remembered. When I meet people in person, those are always the videos they bring up. Also, being consistent. You know that if you’re posting once a month on YouTube, it is to going to go well for you. Just creating content and keeping the ball rolling is key.
In what ways have you used your Internet fame to bring light to LGBTQ issues?
I would say mainly sharing my story. I’ve noticed a lot people, whether they’re homophobic or transphobic, have switched their mindsets and come more over to our side, if you will. So I would definitely say sharing my story, and putting a face and a name to this transition and to this lifestyle.
What are some issues you would say the transgender community has overcome this past year?
I think that this has been one of the most revolutionary years for the trans* community. I think mainly it has become a household topic; everyone knows what a transgender person is. Whereas I don’t think last year many people did. Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner definitely had something to do with that. But I think our lack of visibility is something we’ve overcome, and it’s something we’ve had to overcome for a very long time. Because just getting the terminology and the education out there is super important, and I think having trans* people on TV and in movies helps.
What are some of the biggest challenges the community faces in 2017?
Well, the President-elect; everyone, especially the LGBTQ+ community, sees this as a challenge and it will be. But I am staying positive that he continues all of the hard work many have put in toward our road to equality.
After running into Lady Gaga at the AMAs, do you think anything could top that?
Oh my god! I don’t know. I’m still shook at the fact that she spoke to me and came up to me. It was such a surreal moment for me. My little TV self was just dying. She’s just such a huge inspiration for me, the community, for the entire world really. It was huge. I don’t know who would be a bigger one. Maybe Celine Dion, because my mom and I are huge fans.
What did she say to you?
I was walking backstage to go over the script and get ready to present. My back was turned, and I felt someone tap my shoulder. I turned around and she’s standing right there in front of me. I thought she was going to be shorter, but she was standing eye to eye with me. She was like ‘Hi, how are you? I know who you are, and I’m a fan of your work.’ It was crazy.
It has been magical, honestly. Back in high school—in my younger years—I could have never imagined that my life could be so filled with love and light, honesty and fun. Living your most authentic self and coming out as a transgender woman is so empowering. It feels longer than three years, to be honest. It feels like I’ve always been living like this. I wish that I had done it sooner.
How does it feel to come out three times?
It’s crazy to say that, but that goes back to me being always honest and open. I guess I just say it feels great to learn more about myself, and to grow every single day. I’m changing every day.
Was there one coming out experience that was more difficult than the others?
I would definitely have to say that coming out as transgender was the hardest. It was raw and it was real, and a lot of people were shocked by it. It was just the right time though; I had to do it for me.
What is your biggest accomplishment, since your transition?
I would say moving to LA, and I would definitely say landing the movie deal. It was a huge moment for me when I found out the movie was happening. We had an award-wining director behind it. It was so validating for me to know that after filming all of these years—keeping it in the vault—that this movie was going to happen and people were going to see my story.
With 2.4 million subscribers, where do you see your YouTube channel going?
I would love to do more collaborations with other YouTube channels. That’s something I think I’m slacking on a little bit. I want to do more fun stuff as well. I love doing sit down, talk-to-the-camera discussions. I did a talk show kind of thing for Transgender Awareness Week. I want to keep making videos and keep working with what makes me passionate.
Who would you say are some of the YouTubers who are killing it right now?
I’ve always love Lilly [Singh], IISuperwomanII; she’s from Toronto. I’ve supported her since the beginning. She’s on another level right now, and I’m so proud of her. I am really loving the NikkieTutorials. She’s a makeup artist, and I think her skills are unreal. She’s such a little goofball, she always makes me laugh. I love watching her videos.
You were detained this past August in Dubai for simply being who you are. Can you describe what you took away from that experience, as well as what advice you would give to someone in a similar situation?
It was one of the most terrifying situations. I am so blessed to have had friends and family around me at the time. But I would definitely say to anyone in a similar situation to be aware of your surroundings. It is kind of a helpless feeling, but make sure you know what is going on around you. Even if you don’t speak the language, just be careful and stay alert. Do your research, and try not to find yourself in a situation like that—especially if you are traveling alone.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
I hope to still be working on YouTube. I’m building an empire really; I want to do everything. I am such a workaholic; I never want to stop.
What would a Gigi Gorgeous presidency look like?
One word: Equality.
As someone who is from Canada, what is the coldest temperature you’ve ever faced?
When I was younger, I was a diver and competed nationally. We traveled to the northwest regions of Canada, and that was insane. I think it was like minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Maybe to eat less candy. I can’t help it, I eat candy every day.
FYI: Her favorites are Skittles and chocolate. I personally suggest finding a different resolution, Gigi. V
by Kevin Schmidt