Preteen vlogger Nikki Christou inspires millions with her YouTube videos and confidence despite her facial malformation.
When I was 11, I wasn't allowed to wear makeup, and I certainly wouldn't have had the poise, confidence, or knowledge to instruct others in how to apply it (I'm not even sure I could do that now!). But Nikki Christou, an 11-year-old vlogger from the UK, is doing all that and more.
The videos on Nikki's YouTube channel offer helpful tips on beauty products, makeup application, baking, and many other topics. She's got 35,000 subscribers and her videos have had more than 2 million views. These videos are funny, interesting, and useful, but what really shines in all of them is Nikki.
Nikki was born with a condition called Arteriovenous Malformation or AVM. With this condition there are "abnormal, snarled tangles of blood vessels that cause multiple irregular connections between the arteries and veins." When she was 6, Nikki's condition worsened, making one side of her face swell painfully and causing her to bleed from her nose and gums. She started making videos as a hobby to fill the time while she was at home because of her illness. The positive response to her videos boosted her confidence and revealed the potential she had for connecting with others.
"[My illness] was really scary and I did feel sorry for myself at first," says Nikki. "But then I realized there are so many things I can do."
Nikki's family has set up the Butterfly AVM charity to raise money to help with treatments for others with AVM, and Nikki's delighted that she's doing something she loves and helping others.
Her fans talk a lot about inner and outer beauty in the comments on Nikki's YouTube channel, and one person even posted this one in response to a People.com article about Nikki:
"This is amazing. I myself have a craniofacial condition where the bone structure in my face/skull didn't form correctly. I've had 3 surgeries to correct it. Despite my very mild case (and not noticeable to anyone really), I am extremely self-conscious about what I look like and consider myself ugly. I am a 30 year old woman and I am amazed by this girl's strength and confidence. I could never do what she's done and feel so proud of her."
I, too, am amazed by Nikki's strength and confidence, and I can't wait to see what she'll do next!
Jamie Pacton lives in the Pacific Northwest where she drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at www.jamiepacton.com and Twitter @jamiepacton.