The trans beauty creator on coming out and loving yourself
Some may argue that the local beauty community is saturated. This alone can be frustrating for aspiring creators, but this can be a source of encouragement to many—that there’s much to celebrate about this tight-knit, vibrant community and, if you keep showing up, you may just see your hard work bear fruit.
Kylie Celebre showed up in our hour-long video call wearing a full face, an alluring look with custom flower petal lashes, a recreation of Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty look by Priscilla Ono. She first started creating beauty videos inspired by YouTubers Elena Genevinne and Nikita Dragun; seeing their makeup transformations on mainstream media paved way for her to do her own. She shares, “It feels good to see someone fully transformed and feel good about themselves.”
But there’s more to Kylie than just her viral TikTok videos and witty product reviews. Coming out as a trans woman and as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community took a lot of courage. In celebration of National Coming Out Day, she shares her story in an exclusive one-on-one.
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Wonder: How did you start getting into beauty? Any fond memory from when you were just starting to discover makeup?
Kylie: I started doing makeup at around 14 years old. I actually come from a family of actors and actresses, so it was more of me thinking of it [as] a way [I could] get out of their shadow. I wanted to do something of my own. I actually did some acting when I was younger; I did some commercials and some movies but it wasn’t really my thing. I really wanted to do makeup. It’s something I look for when I wake up in the morning.
I started with my mom’s makeup bag. I would go to my room and do it myself. I told her I wanted more stuff then she would buy me, patingi-tingi and, all of a sudden, I’d gotten more engagement on social media.
W: How has using makeup empower you and help you gain a sense of your “true self?”
K: It’s such a good tool to be able to express yourself [creatively] and express how you feel on a certain day. Like when I’d feel sad, I would do a sad look—and put tears on my makeup look; ganun. It really depends on what I feel on a certain day. Makeup is a tool also to make me feel confident about myself regardless if I have zero makeup on.
W: Any local brands we should keep our eyes on? And standout products from releases this year?
K: I have been with Colourette for a long time now; they got me in 2017. They really support diversity of all color, gender and skin tones—everything. I can literally see, even with the owner, that they speak for the brand. Another new brand I would really root for is Killay, it’s so iconic. Kasi alam mo ‘yun, some brands really focus on something so serious. I really support the brand, they post memes, as in everything’s so funny. I love a brand that is witty and it also works.
For makeup products, Scout Beauty’s Sleek Stick in Nude Taste, my signature lipstick, and Glitz Bish’s lip gloss. Also Issy & Co.’s Cream Blush in Stunner and their Brow Refiner and Brow Pencil in Ash Brown. There’s really something about a brand when they’re really nice; they’re not intimidating at all. For skincare, I’ve been using Fresh Formula, their Glow Boost series. It’s such a good product, it really works for me. And I actually use Katty Mera. They’re all affordable brands, I don’t really like using expensive skincare.
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W: What’s your coming out story?
K: I actually grew up in a family of Christians. But my family is very open-minded, in terms of having someone who’s like me. I think it was more of like, they’re used to having [members of] LGBT [amongst] their friends. It didn’t take long for them to be able to understand me and to be able to accept me as their family member, especially my mom. Most of the time, si Mama ‘yung tumutulong sa’kin to be able to create some of my looks, like she would do my hair, she would cut my bangs. I remember when I was 14, I told her I wanted to get this black slit dress and, honestly, I really forced her to get it. She was really accepting of the fact that I wanted to wear it, and then I got it and I was able to wear it. Until this day, I still have the black slit dress. I feel it’s like the most iconic thing ever.
This is a really funny story. I came out three times—as bi, as gay and as a trans woman. It’s crazy ’cause [my family] really went through all my phases. I feel like I’m one of the few lucky ones [who belong to] a family of accepting people. I don’t want anybody to feel like people are hindering them from what they feel or for who they are.
I didn’t go through so much sadness in my childhood, it wasn’t that bad, so I’m really thankful to my family for supporting me. I always feel for people who are going through it; I wouldn’t want anyone to ever feel that way.
W: What would you say to anyone who wants to come out in lockdown but is held back by being at home?
K: You really need to talk to your friends—your friends who actually support you. One of the things I believe [in] is other people start believing in you when you start believing in yourself. It’s really about having a good support system regardless if they’re your family [or not]. They could be your friends, they could be someone you know who [is] also in your situation.
It’s really about learning to understand yourself more and giving yourself the confidence to be able to express yourself, especially to your family or someone who you want to come out to. It’s really about learning to love yourself. Kailangan talaga kapalan mo lang talaga mukha mo to be able to let them know [who you are].
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W: Any struggles you experience as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly in the beauty industry? How are overcoming them?
K: Well, I’ve been doing the male-to-female transformation videos lately, and one of my videos actually became viral on TikTok. One of the comments that I really get is they call me bro or kuya. I don’t think it’s really their intention [to offend], I’m pretty sure they don’t know that I’m trans. One of the things that I could say is that you just really need to believe in yourself, that you’re “this person,” that you’re a woman regardless of what people tell you. It’s fighting for yourself, for who you are and what you believe [in].
May mga days when I feel bad, when I don’t feel “woman enough” especially with dating. When I started dating, it was difficult, because I always have to let people know that I’m “this person,” that there’s a side of me where I was born male. It’s just really about educating people and letting them understand your situation, understanding who you are and making them know that this is the new normal. Sometimes, it really gets to me but I always find myself loving myself more.
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These days, there’s plenty of talk about self-love, and we’re here for it. In a time where we’re conditioned to look virtually similar to beauty standards imposed by mainstream media, we’re looking at those who break the mold.
Art Alexandra Lara