Meet Neil Shibata, a 20-year-old social media creator from Vancouver, Canada, who has amassed over 2 million followers on TikTok by simply being himself.
“I would say it’s mainly [through my] appearance that I show my creativity,” Neil tells Very Good Light.
On TikTok, Neil expresses his individuality through moody short videos and makeup looks. He also shares a side of himself that is gender-bending, often appearing in full glam makeup, wigs, and skirts.
“I consider myself a man and that I’m one gender but I don’t like to have to dress as one gender or look like one gender,” he says.
On creating content
When creating content, Neil is inspired by the over-the-top personalities of Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and David Bowie, who notably express themselves in bold, in-your-face ways.
“I’ve been putting a lot into my appearance with makeup and clothes, and I’m trying out all these different things and seeing what works,” he says.
On Neil’s TikTok and Instagram, you can see him in cutting-edge and dramatic makeup looks, which he says he learned from social media friends like Patrick Starrr and Plastique Tiara. However, Neil admits that expressing his gender-bending personality on social media has come with some backlash.
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“When I first posted a photo of the makeup Patrick Starrr did on me, I lost something like 10,000 followers on Instagram just from that post.”
Neil was able to turn what many would view as a loss into a funny TikTok post, which resulted in him gaining back 100,000 followers on Instagram.
@neilshibataToxic masculinity took the wheel♬ Moon (And It Went Like) – Kid Francescoli
“Transferring followers is really hard,” he says. But ever since being more active in the beauty and LGBTQ communities, Neil has been able to cultivate a wider audience that appreciates his creativity in makeup and fashion.
When creating content, Neil says the process is very spontaneous. “I will wake up and I’ll be on my TikTok For You page and I’ll be like, ‘Oh I’ll do this,’ and then I’ll shower and then film it.”
Since he lives by himself in Vancouver, Canada, Neil has to film and plan all his content by himself. “I think my audience likes seeing spontaneity and my natural self.”
On his style
Neil describes his style as fluid yet inconsistent. “One day I’ll dress more stereotypical masculine, and then the next week I’ll wear a crop top.” He explores various styles from skater boy, to punk, to clean and crisp, which you can see on Instagram.
“I don’t have a specific style, which I think is more fun,” he says.
On his beauty routine
When he wears makeup, Neil likes to start with the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil ($52), and then go in with the One Size Secure the Blur Makeup Primer ($30). “That’s my favorite primer right now and I feel like that’s been helping a lot.” For blush, he uses the Patrick Ta Major Beauty Headlines Cream and Powder Duo ($34). For contour, he uses the MAC Studio Fix Foundation Stick ($33), and for mascara, he uses the Maybelline Sky High Mascara ($8).
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Tips for an emerging TikToker
If you’re interested in growing your own social media platform or even just have the confidence to post something, Neil says that “getting that confidence is the hardest part.”
Neil’s advice? Overlook the secondary judgment from friends and family and just go for it.