There are many body-positive influencers making a name for themselves, but few stand out the way Nikki Garza does. Maybe it’s her effervescent personality or the hilarious way she approaches issues, so many of us struggle with. Perhaps it’s that and the fact that she continues to be bold and beautiful without sacrificing an ounce of who she is. Either way, Garza is the kind of influencer everyone should be paying attention – both for who she is, and what she represents.
In celebration of Pride Month, we talked to the TikTok star about the beauty and challenges of growing her platform, breaking from the pressures within Latinidad, fitting a mold, bringing her own LGBTQ+ pride to her channel, and having fun with makeup. It’s all about putting your twist on things – whether it’s with Ulta Beauty Collection Bouncy Cream Eyeshadow, Tarte Maneater Waterproof Mascara, or Benefit Cosmetics 24-Hr Brow Setter Eyebrow Gel with Lamination Effect. It’s not just about the product and the ability to experiment, it’s about the person, and Nikki is proof of that.
Growing a community and doing it while being your most authentic self is probably super hard, and super rewarding. What can you tell us about that?
The whole reason I started on social media is that it was an outlet to get things out of my own head. And as my content and the community started to grow, I was like, oh, wow, this isn’t just helping me. This is other people seeing it and reacting like, yeah, this is also me. I also see myself this way. I am also going through all these things.
I started getting messages from tweens, teenagers. I get messages from women in their 70s. I got messages from non-binary people. And the messages were saying things like, the way you are so vulnerable and authentic in your body journey has made me step back and reflect on my own relationship with my body. And I think that’s been the most rewarding.
One thing that came to mind as I was scrolling through your TikTok was about the challenges of being Latine, and the expectations that come with that. How was it trying to break out of the box of the perception of Latinidad for people outside the community and even for our own people?
I feel like I’m not the Latine people expect, but who is, right? I’m Colombian and proud Colombian, but I’m not Sofia Vergara or Shakira. Those are the two Colombians people think about. But we come in multitudes of body shapes, of skin colors, of everything. In the beginning, when my mom was watching my videos, she would always tell me, could we wear some more clothes? And I was like, we could, but I don’t want to.
For me, I’m an actor. Growing up, Latinas in the media were very stereotypical. I wondered is there even a place for me in the acting world? And even at a young age, I didn’t think my body or me would ever conform to the stereotypes. So now my whole point in anything I do, whether it’s social media or the roles that I pick when I do acting jobs, is that I want to be the representation that I didn’t see growing up. So, las gorditas can see like, yes, I can do that. I can be an actor. I can do social media. I can just be a gordita and be successful in that body.
You do all of this, and you have fun. You have fun with clothes, you have fun with makeup. Is there any product you use or want to highlight?
You know, I think it’s all of it. I have fun with everything because growing up, especially when you’re plus size, everything was so limited. So, a lot of what I do now is trying to heal the inner child. I never got to experience and play with fashion when I was younger. I think now I’m coming to terms with all these fun things I wish I could have worn or things that I wish were in my size when I was younger. Now I get to play. So, it’s almost like I’m playing dress up because I didn’t have the ability to a decade ago. I feel like we’re playing with makeup, we’re playing with clothes, we’re playing with everything.
There’s this thing that people do where they are like, well, if you’re gordita, you can’t wear these things, but you also can’t look good. You can’t wear makeup. We don’t want to see you. That’s why a lot of things I wear are tight, and bright colors. Because for too long I was meant to blend in, and I don’t want to. That’s not me. If that’s who you are as a person, great for you, but that’s not who I am. And I was forced into that role for so long. So now I’m like, no, I’m out here and you’re going to see me.
Being a woman, and queer, and Latina, that’s a lot of expectations each separate box puts on you. And yet you’re still out there being so authentic. Is that a choice you’re making?
I think when I first started making content, it was a little more deliberate about all the communities that I represent. I wanted to hit on being plus size. I wanted to hit on being woman. I wanted to hit on being Latina. I wanted to hit on being queer. But at the end of the day, I am all those things without thinking about it. I am. So now realize that when I make content, you are getting all of that. Sometimes (my content) might be a little gay, sometimes it might be a little more plus size, it might be a little Latino. But all of it together is who I am. And I want to celebrate all those aspects of me, but also never just focus on one, because in my day to day, I’m never thinking I am just one of those things.
Nikki Garza is not just an influencer, she’s a role model, and for PRIDE Month, there are some specific items out there that can help you express your authentic self with products from brands that support the LGBTQ+ community. The L.A. Girl Shockwave Eyeliner or the NYX Professional Makeup Limited Edition Pride Ultimate Eye Paint, both products from brands that support the LGBTQ+ community, are perfect for this (Find more here). And, to complete the look, L’Oréal Voluminous Original Mascara and NYX Professional Makeup Limited Edition Pride Matte Setting Spray will leave you ready for that picture – and whatever statement you want to make.
You can find Nikki on TikTok.
Belleza Remix is a Remezcla platform presented by Ulta Beauty that celebrates Latine beauty through the diverse cultures, countries and rituals that make us all unique. Nikki Garza on Finding Beauty Within Community, Makeup & More is just one of many stories of Latine Beauty. Shop picks below and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with Ulta Beauty year-round and especially during Pride here.