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‘Eurovision’ gets first transgender host in YouTube star Nikkie de Jager

Nikkie de Jager is a popular Dutch social media star. Source: Credits: KOERS VON CREMER/NPO/NOS/AVROTROS

Her makeup tutorials are popular amongst 13.8 million subscribers on YouTube and 14.5 million followers on Instagram. Even more people will get to know her this week when she walks onto the stage as the first transgender hostess in ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ history.

The dark clouds of COVID-19 bore a silver lining for Nikkie de Jager.

In last year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which got cancelled because of COVID-19, her role was mainly online. But her contribution to the alternative show, Eurovision Shine A Light, was very well received. As a result, Nikkie will host the 65th Eurovision Song Contest on stage as well as online.


Highlights:

  • Dutch YouTube star Nikkie de Jager to host 'Eurovision Song Contest'
  • Nikkie is the first transgender person to host the music contest
  • Her coming out video has nearly 37 million views, which she talked about on ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show’


Big show, big deal

“I’ll be on stage with Edsilia Rombley, Jan Smit and Chantal Janzen. I’ll have my own LookLab studios online, where I’ll invite delegations and artists to talk about their rehearsals, what they have in store for us, and ultimately who they will give their 12 points to. It’s a dream coming true,” she told SBS Dutch from the Netherlands.

With the first semi-final slotted for 19 May, the YouTube star is trying to keep her head cool.

‘’We’ve had our first big rehearsals with clothing and all, and that was the moment I realised, ‘oh, it’s happening soon’, but I’m still okay,” she laughed.

Close to 200 people have worked to build a massive stage at the venue, Ahoy, in Rotterdam. A 52-metre wide and 12-metre high TV screen is part of setup.

“The stage is really big, it’s insane. I remember the first time we took to the stage for rehearsal, and I thought wow I can’t even sing and I’m on a stage like this anyway,” Nikkie said sharing her excitement.

The stage of this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam
The stage of this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.
Credits: NPO/NOS/AVROTROS NATHAN REINDS

Nikkie’s journey so far

Nikkie started her YouTube channel, Nikkie Tutorials, at the age of 14, which now has over 13.8 million subscribers. Another 14.5 million people follow her on Instagram. Global stars like Lady Gaga, Jessie J and Kim Kardashian have featured in her videos.

With that kind of fan following, one might assume she is accustomed to having an audience in millions.

“We don’t see them (the social media audience), but you do feel the pressure. It’s the same with my channel – basically, I’m talking to a camera or a small audience, but never to millions of people. But what I find exciting is that the countdown you hear in your ear and when the red light goes on, you have to make it happen,” said Nikkie

Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest is Nikkie’s first big television job.

She has always watched the show and scored her personal favorites at home. After seeing Duncan Laurence win for the Netherlands in 2019, she tweeted: ‘I am hosting next year!'

She thought that she had “set the bar a bit too high” for herself. “But I still got a call and the click was there. I got the online role first, and now I got promoted. I totally bluffed myself into it,” she laughed.

Nikkie de Jager's cheeky tweet about hosting the 'Eurovision'
Nikkie de Jager's cheeky tweet about hosting the 'Eurovision'
@NikkieTutorials / Twitter

Not a smooth ride

Getting this job came as a welcome change for Nikkie after a rough time.

At a very young age, she thought she was born in the wrong body. Nikkie started wearing dresses and let her hair grow. When she turned 14, she received hormone treatments to get a more feminine shape.

Five years later, Nikkie underwent gender reassignment surgery.

In January 2020, she was blackmailed, leaving her with no choice but to reveal to the world that she was transgender. Her coming out video has now been viewed nearly 37 million on YouTube.

A couple of days later, she appeared on the The Ellen Degeneres Show to talk about that video, which added to her fame.

Writing history

Young Nikkie could have never imagned that one day she would create history as the first ever transgender hostess of the Eurovision Song Contest.

“I think it’s an amazing honour that I’ve been able to get this platform and inspire around the world... And I think there are a lot of people out there taking inspiration from me, by seeing it’s okay to live your truth, to be yourself and still be able to do awesome things in life as hosting Eurovision is. I’m just really thankful that the European Broadcast Union trusted me with this role and I’m hoping I’m making them proud,” Nikke said.

Australia’s go at Eurovision

That Australian singer Montaigne can’t travel to join the other contestants in Rotterdam due to the border closure, makes Nikkie sad.

“Enough focus has been put on that already. I want to focus on her story, her song and her performance, because in the end, she’s still sent in a clip and did everything she could within her power, and that’s all that matters,” said Nikkie.

About Australia's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, Nikkie says, “I love it! I think it’s amazing how you guys have been fans of Eurovision for so long and we always had this live connection with you guys. And then out of nowhere, it was like, ‘guess what, we are joining’ and you guys never left! And I hope you never leave because I’ve always loved your entries and I’m all for it,” Nikkie says enthusiastically. 

Listen to SBS Dutch’s interview with Nikkie de Jager in English

Listen to SBS Dutch’s interview with Nikkie de Jager in Dutch

montaigne, Eurovision 2021, singing contest, Filipino culture, karaoke
“I’m very excited to reveal Technicolour on the “Eurovision stage”! It’s colourful and shiny and I’m very proud of it,” shares Montaigne
SBS

Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live on SBS:

Semi Final 1 – Wednesday 19 May, 5am (AEST) - featuring Montaigne
Semi Final 2 – Friday 21 May, 5am (AEST)
Grand Final – Sunday 23 May, 5am (AEST)

Source SBS Dutch