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.
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.