Gigi Gorgeous has spent the past four years documenting her transition for her 2.7 million subscribers on her wildly popular YouTube channel and through her critically acclaimed documentary. And now, she’s channeling those candid stories into her first memoir.
PEOPLE’s got the exclusive premiere of the cover for Gigi’s upcoming book, titled He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from My Transgender Journey.
In it, the 26-year-old Canadian beauty vlogger chronicles everything from her early years as an Olympic-bound diver, to her journey of opening up about her sexual and gender identity, and the pain she felt losing her mom at a tragically young age.
“Creating this book was a lot more emotional than I expected,” Gigi tells PEOPLE. “I sifted through so many old childhood and family photos uncovering all of these forgotten stories. Although it was incredibly nostalgic, I didn’t realize that I would be actually reliving everything I went through as my previous gender to now my current one. I had to relive the depression, I had to mourn death, but it all needed to be put down on paper.”
Though Gigi has been transparent about her stories in the past, she insists that “there was still so much that I didn’t have the courage to tell” previously.
“This book is truly such a milestone for me,” she adds. “Being as young as I am and to call this first book a ‘memoir’ is incredibly intimidating, as I know this is only the beginning of the growth I still have to achieve. But then I think about all of the life lessons, the many mistakes, the successes and victories, everything I’ve been through on my transgender journey and I know I had an obligation to share with the world what I have learned in the process.”
Continues Gigi, “There is a stigma and still such a taboo about going from ‘he’ to ‘she’ and it was important for me to tackle this head on, and be completely transparent in the process — not just for those in the community, but for everyone.”
With so much to say, coming up with a cover design wasn’t easy.
“How can you possibly choose something timeless and significant enough to represent such a meaningful journey?” Gigi tells PEOPLE. “This was one of the hardest parts of the book coming together.”
“I had been struggling over what the cover concept would be even up until I was on set to shoot,” she explains. “Suddenly I just knew. I immediately showed everyone the campaign right there on set, stressing the simplicity of the iconic image, balanced with the importance of never taking yourself too seriously.”
One of the things that was important for Gigi was making it an homage to the transgender community.
“The background is the transgender flag, the baby blue fading to pink, and also my pose is a playful nod to being an imperfect, trans woman — and also keeping up with my beauty rituals.”
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In the end, Gigi hopes readers are inspired by her story.
“It was important for me to put the word ‘mistakes’ in the title as I hope readers realize that no situation is impossible to overcome and with mistakes come knowledge and growth,” Gigi says. “The intertwining message in all of the glitz, glam and funny stories, is that what makes you special is also what makes you unique; it’s what makes you powerful, and don’t you ever forget that you are gorgeous both inside and out.”
“I am in no way perfect and still have so much more to learn,” she adds. “I hope this inspires them and gives them strength. I hope they get motivation from my setbacks, and might be able to laugh a little bit at some of the stories I never had the chance to tell before.”
He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from My Transgender Journey — from Harmony Books, a division of Penguin Random House — will be available April 2, 2019.