Thoughts (lots and lots of thoughts!) on Ingrid Nilsen coming out

I've watched the video of wildly successful Internet creature Ingrid Nilsen announcing she's gay at least six times. Because it's surprising. Because it's inspirational. Because because because.

Ingrid is a huge beauty blogger. I've always thought she seemed like a sweet, fun, carefree person. Maybe a bit too intimidatingly perfect, like we'd sit at opposite sides of the cafeteria in high school, if you know what I mean.

When I saw the thumbnail of the video, and even for the first couple of minutes, I thought, Is this real? Wow. Whoa. Really?

And that's exactly why her coming out is such a big effing deal. For all my trumpeting of gay rights, for all my lack of biases, for all my assertions about sexual fluidity, I still was taken completely off guard by this super cutesy girly girl coming out, because she fits zero stereotypes. And that is powerful. It is powerful for anyone coming to terms with their sexuality to see a beautiful, cool, successful young woman with a Pinterest-worthy lifestyle who also happens to be a lesbian. It is powerful for anyone with homophobic views to see that gay people are just people, and they come in all types, including ones you'd never guess. Sometimes it's the androgynous goth girl with a pixie cut, and sometimes it's the homecoming queen.

Visibility is so important to acceptance. In the hyper-feminized, aspirational and very straight world of beauty vlogging, an out lesbian with such a huge audience is game-changing. And in the wider world, it blows little bigoted minds and forces reevaluation when they find themselves warmed up to someone who fits in some box they've decided to hate.

Defiance of expectations is powerful. Visibility is powerful. And, as Ingrid explains, giving yourself your best chance while making no further apologies about who you are is powerful.

Throughout the video, Ingrid talks about her earliest memories of childhood crushes — all on girls — how she tried to suppress her feelings by dating men even when she felt like she couldn't give herself fully to a man, and how her relationships just felt tolerable. As in, OK, I can work with this, it's not the worst thing.

That is so friggin' sad. No way to live, people. No way to live.

This girl whose whole Internet persona is bubbly and perky says that her whole life has been her building a prison that kept her trapped in a life of quiet sadness. And that just goes to show that you can never know all the secrets of any human heart, no matter how big or frequent the smiles on the outside are.

That is no way to live.

Everything she says about the denial and how she was finally forced to come to terms with her orientation makes so much sense. And my reaction when I was watching echoed what she said at the end of the video: "I am so excited!"

I am wildly excited for this woman whom I have never met. Now she gets to be herself. She doesn't have to hide anymore. People in her real life and people around the world who she has never met are sending mad love her way. And all her wasted energy used up on lying to herself and the world can now be spent on meeting her true self and meeting girls. Because now she gets to DATE GIRLS! She gets to experience what she's denied herself, all that fun, scary, wonderful, real chemistry, and love that's not one-sided. She gets to go find someone who complements her and gives her butterflies, and we maybe get to live vicariously and see snippets of that in her videos.

Which brings me to #hagrid.

Ingrid was a guest on Hannah Hart's "My Drunk Kitchen." Based on myriad webidence, it looks like Hannah, who is an out lesbian, and Ingrid have been hanging out a lot lately. Then after Ingrid came out of the closet, her next appearance was on Hannah's channel. Which got people talking. And shipping. Because they kind of look adorable together, don't they? And they have adorably nerdy stuff in common, yeah? And Hannah gently took issue with Ingrid calling herself a "lipstick lesbian," telling her, "You just came out. You don't need to put yourself in a box."

And speaking of lipstick, Ingrid's went from full-on to gone between segments of the episode. Hmm. Hmm hmm. So is Hannah just taking a newly out gaybie under her wing as a supportive friend, or is this the next hottest YouTube couple? Or should we all just chill with our merged-name hashtags and let Ingrid take a breath before we start being behind-the-keyboard matchmakers? I say the latter ... but they're still awfully cute together, don't you think?

To Ingrid: Congratulations. Bask in the joy of living authentically. Don't feel pressured to "follow someone else's recipe" or settle down too quickly, even if you are now the most eligible 20-something lesbian in the world and hot girls are lining up to meet you. Best of luck on giving yourself your best chance.

No one deserves to live a life of quiet sadness.


  1. "And that's exactly why her coming out is such a big effing deal. For all my trumpeting of gay rights, for all my lack of biases, for all my assertions about sexual fluidity, I still was taken completely off guard by this super cutesy girly girl coming out, because she fits zero stereotypes."

    THIS so much! Great post. People underestimate the importance of visibility too. So many people asking "why even come out?" etc.

  2. Thank you! The people who ask "Why even come out?" are basically saying gays should be seen and not heard. Um, why even post pictures of your straight weddings on Facebook, for example? Do we need to know you're straight? No one asks that kind of question because it's ridiculous.