The 23-year-old makeup guru says becoming an instant beauty phenomenon feels "surreal"

By Kaitlyn Frey
June 13, 2021 10:00 AM
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Mikayla Jane
Credit: Mikayla Jane/Instagram

A little over a year ago, Mikayla Nogueira was wrapping up her senior year at Bryant University when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and changed the world. She hunkered down at home outside of Boston and in between virtual classes, decided to have some fun posting wildly creative makeup videos on TikTok. Almost instantly, the 23-year-old's content blew up on the platform leaving her followers wanting to see more of her candid product reviews, mesmerizing artistry and authentic personality.

Nogueira's TikTok page continued to explode and by summer, she decided to pursue a career in content creation full-time by utilizing the platform. Now, she's garnered over 5.7 million followers on TikTok alone and gets millions of views and hundreds of comments on all of the videos she posts.

"I am going to be honest I still have not fully grasped that I am a 'beauty guru' loved by over 5 million people. It is just a little difficult to wrap my head around it," Nogueira tells PEOPLE exclusively. "It's surreal."

It's no surprise that after many of her product recommendations led to sell-out viral makeup moments, offers from beauty brand started rolling in. But for Nogueira, the decision to collaborate with Glamlite Cosmetics, the Black-founded, indie makeup brand, was an easy one.

"There was nothing more important to me than working with an indie brand, rather than the large mass-produced companies that receive all the love. I wanted a true indie brand to be given the spotlight," she shares, adding that she also wanted the collection to be cruelty-free and vegan. "Glamlite Cosmetics is a brand that cares for their customers, their products, how they treat their employees and would give me the opportunity to bring my exact vision to life."

Launching today, Nogueira's Glamlite collection includes a rainbow-hued 30-pan eyeshadow palette ($42), lip glosses ($28), highlighter ($14) and false lashes ($12). Read on for our full conversation with Nogueira to get all the details about her makeup collab debut and find out what's next for the glam guru.

PEOPLE: Just one year ago you graduated from college and began making your first TikTok videos. How does it feel to now be launching your first makeup collection?

Mikayla Nogueira: I have always preached growing up how important it is to follow your dreams. There were many times where I was told that "dreams" are not realistic, but here we are. I think for people like me, people who see what they want and go after it, there is a sort of fate to those dreams you have growing up. I've worked really hard over the last year, posting hundreds of videos, pushing myself to limits I didn't think were possible and exceeding each of my expectations one after the other. From winning emerging makeup artist of the year at the American Influencer Awards, to being featured in Allure magazine and The Boston Globe, and now I am sharing my dream collaboration with the world. I feel over the moon and inexplicably happy.

PEOPLE: What was the inspiration for your collection?

MN: Simple, the inspiration is me. That was what I truly wanted for this collection. I wanted it to be the rawest and most authentic representation of who I am as a person. The brand gave me 100% creative freedom and control, allowing me to create the items exactly how I envisioned them.

Everything about this collection is so personal, from the aesthetic to the colors and to the names and the packaging. I wanted to be a true representation of who I am while also paying homage to where I grew up and what brings me joy.

PEOPLE: What was your reaction when you saw the products for the first time?

MG: When it was finished, I could not hold back tears. It was truly the most beautiful collection I had ever seen, because it was created with love and passion by me. When someone looks at this collection, they will instantly know I created it.

PEOPLE: How long has this collaboration been in the making?

MN: When Glamlite Cosmetics first asked me to collaborate with them, it instantly clicked in my head. A lot of brands have asked to work with me, including the biggest brands in the industry. But I wanted to work with a brand who genuinely cares about my growth and success. We started discussing this 10 months ago. Glamlite Cosmetics was actually the very first PR list that I was added to. I was so thrilled when they reached out to me. On top of that, they were one of the very first brands to offer to do a sponsored post with me. Seeing how much they believed in me meant a lot. Now we are launching the collection on my birthday, June 13. I am so excited that I am going to have the most incredible birthday ever.

PEOPLE: How does it feel to see such a positive reaction from your followers about this collaboration?

MN: I cannot believe the response. I was not sure what to expect or if people would even care. But I smiled from ear-to-ear the entire day after I announced I was coming out with a collaboration. To see how much support I have means everything to me. The initial announcement post had over 1,000 comments in five minutes. I could not believe it! And it received over 100,000 likes in just two hours. I feel so loved and I just truly hope the world will love this collection as much as I do.

PEOPLE: This past year must feel like a whirlwind. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

MN: My goal is to never change or be someone I am not. Of course, I want to continue to grow in the beauty industry. But what is important to me is creating the content that I want to create, keeping makeup fun and showing young girls, or anyone really, that you can do anything you set your mind to.

In five years I see myself married, with a home, several dogs and a cat and creating beauty content in New England. I want to continue to teach others about beauty, inspire others and who knows, [maybe] create my own makeup line someday. I just live day by day. That's just how I like it. I love sharing my life with the world. I love making others smile and laugh. I just want to be Mikayla.