the IG post that ended mikayla

the IG post that ended mikayla

Inside the meteoric rise of Mikayla Nogueira, the TikTok mega-influencer whose reputation for authenticity may soon come crashing down

  • Over the past year, Mikayla Nogueira has become one of TikTok's most beloved beauty influencers.
  • She developed a reputation for authenticity and honesty, earning her a following of 14 million. 
  • But in recent months she's been involved in a series of controversies that could change everything.

It's April 2022, and Mikayla Nogueira is one of the biggest emerging names in the TikTok beauty world. 

With a reputation for posting make-up reviews with a personal feel and her signature Boston accent, she was dubbed "the realest influencer on TikTok" by Glamour Magazine, who interviewed her at the time, when she had amassed an impressive 11 million followers 

Nine months later, Nogueira's time as the internet's favorite beauty guru may be running out.

In a rapid turn of events, involving a controversial sponsored post for a L'Oréal mascara and accusations that she edited photos of her body (which she has since denied), she has spiraled out of favor in the online beauty community. Fans who once held her to a standard of honesty and openness have turned against her and accused her of deceiving followers.

Here's how 24-year-old Nogueira skyrocketed to fame as an influencer, and began to fall from grace.

"Growing up, I was never encouraged to pursue a career in the beauty industry," Nogueira told Insider in an interview published in April 2022 as an as-told-to essay. 

The influencer told Insider that she felt out of place growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, where her love of big lashes and glitter did not feel as common as it might have been in LA or New York. 

Before launching her TikTok account in 2020, Nogueira had been posting beauty content "for fun" on Tumblr and YouTube for over a decade (these accounts appear to no longer be publicly available), but she did not pursue content creation as a career because she felt discouraged by family members who did not understand the beauty industry, she told Insider. 

As Nogueira's TikTok following grew, she was offered more opportunities to work with brands, including product collaborations with makeup brand Glamlite and skincare company Glow Recipe.

In January 2021, Nogueira shared a video sent to her by Selena Gomez, where the singer appeared to be a fan.

Nogueira told her viewers she was shocked and excited that Gomez knew who she was, and the pair appeared to develop an online friendship over the next few months, as Nogueira shared a clip of Gomez wishing her happy birthday in June. In September, Nogueira was given the opportunity to meet up with Gomez to promote the singer's brand, Rare Beauty, in a TikTok video the pair filmed together. 

In April 2022, Insider reported that Nogueira was invited to meet and film with Rihanna at an event for the singer's make-up brand, Fenty Beauty. 

In the viral TikTok, Nogueira said, "Literally just finished working, it's 5:19 — try being an influencer for a day, try it," before footage cut to a slideshow of Nogueira showing viewers designer bags, shoes, and sunglasses. Critics — including fellow influencers — criticized Nogueira for being out of touch with reality. 

In the original clip, Nogueira had outlined her schedule, starting from a 6 a.m. wake up to her 5:19 p.m. video, in response to a comment telling the influencer to try working a nine-to-five job. 

A few days later, TikTokers began to circulate what appeared to be screenshots and screen recordings of the comments section of 2018 Instagram posts by YouTuber Jacklyn Hill. The purported screenshots showed comments made by an account under Nogueira's username, saying "must be nice to be rich and all you do is film videos for YouTube" and "yikes." The comments do not appear beneath Hill's posts currently.

A little over a week after the clip went viral, Nogueira announced in a nine-minute TikTok that she would be taking a break from social media to focus on her mental health, and told viewers it was unrelated to the recent controversy.

Nogueira agreed that being an influencer was a "fucking sick ass job" and that it comes "with an extreme amount of fucking privilege, and blessings, and gratitude." She clarified that she didn't believe she worked harder than "everybody else," such as a "neurosurgeon" or a "teacher."

Huge names in the beauty influencer community, including Jeffree Star and James Charles, also weighed in on the drama. In the week following, a plethora of amateur sleuthing and experts weighing in videos have flooded social media. 

A quieter contingent did come to Nogueira's aid, commenting that "every beauty company uses false lashes in mascara ads. Why single her out???" and suggesting, "maybe she deserves a break."

Representatives for Mikayla Nogueira and L'Oréal did not respond to Insider's request for comment at the time. 

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