12-year-old YouTuber Nikki Lilly on positivity, bullying and life with AVM
DtL: Hi Nikki! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Nikki: I was diagnosed with a condition called AVM (a rare condition that’s characterised by an abnormal connection between arteries and veins) when I was six years old. It isolated me for a while, as I felt like a misfit and lacked in confidence but I realised I couldn’t let my myself live that way anymore. So, I took up new hobbies such as art, baking, makeup artistry and singing.
DtL: What inspired you to set up your own YouTube channel?
Nikki: I think being at home a lot more often got me feeling quite bored, and so my dad gave me the idea of starting a channel. It’s a great place to combine all of my hobbies.
DtL: What is it like to be so young with such a successful YouTube channel?
Nikki: It feels overwhelming and amazing at the same time! Four years ago I never in a million years thought I would get this far sharing my happiness and positivity with my viewers aka best friends.
DtL: Who taught you to do your makeup?
Nikki: I taught myself to apply makeup – I idolise the makeup artists on YouTube who have taught me more advanced makeup tips and tricks.
DtL: What are your most prominent challenges living with AVM, and how do you overcome them?
Nikki: To be honest, from a young age I have faced quite a lot of challenges, but the hardest and most isolating have been my life-threatening nose bleeds that can start any time, any place and just ruin my whole day. Just having AVM brings such intense, nauseating pain to my forehead and right eye/face. But, I always try and see the positives every day and try my best to take my mind off of my challenges by doing things such as yoga, baking and painting.
DtL: What advice would you give to others living with AVM?
Nikki: Just know, although our condition is rare, there is someone facing the same challenges, and feeling the same feelings as you out there; it will get better – just try to remain positive and be the best version of yourself you can be, letting your beauty shine out of the inside.
DtL: Have you ever experienced bullying/trolling/cyberbullying? If so how did you deal with the experience?
Nikki: Yes I have been bullied – not physically, but verbally in person as well as online. The cons of having a YouTube channel is the hate and negativity projected towards any human being who isn’t deemed ‘perfect’. I get called ugly, chubby and some people tell me to stop making videos and to fix my face! But the funny thing is, these things used to get to me but now I just feel sorry for these haters because they have nothing better to do than to try and make others feel worthless. Really they are the ones with the actual insecurities.
DtL: What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing bullying/trolling/cyberbullying?
Nikki: The people attacking you are actually really insecure and are not happy in their own life – they pick you apart to make themselves feel better, but they will soon realise that this behaviour won’t change the way they feel inside. You are beautiful inside and out, and the most powerful beauty you have is your inner beauty, so let it shine!
DtL: What has been your proudest moment so far?
Nikki: My proudest moments so far include winning a Diana Award for fundraising for a charity that my parents and I set up when I was seven to raise money and awareness for people living with AVM, and hopefully one day find a cure! Also, winning a WellChild Award in 2013 for being the most inspirational child in Britain – it was given to me by Prince Harry! And last but not least, getting through every day and trying my very best no matter what big bumps I might encounter along the way.
DtL: Is there anything you would like to add?
Nikki: Lastly take each day as it comes and don’t let negative people drag you down, do more of what makes you happy so you can be the best, kindest and most positive version of yourself!
Check out Nikki Lilly on her YouTube channel!