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YouTuber Nikki Lilly: "Ugly is such a blunt word"

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Media CaptionNikki Lilly spoke with Chloe Tilley in Victoria Derbyshire about the ups and downs of being a YouTube star.

YouTube star Nikki Lilly, 15, has interviewed a prime minister, beat Junior Bake Off and made a ukulele version of Here Comes the Sun that would have made George Harrison proud.

Now she will be officially recognized at next month's British Academy Children's Awards, where she will become the youngest to receive a special Bafta award.

Then it will take more than a few Internet trolls that have labeled it "ugly" to ruin your day.

Confidence boost

At age six, the host was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation – a life-threatening medical condition that began to affect her appearance and cause serious health problems.

Two years later, as a way to deal with the sudden changes, she began posting videos of herself on YouTube. She initially turned off the comments section and found that making the videos really helped boost her confidence.

Now, seven years later, more than one million followers regularly watch her teach makeup, talk about cyber bullying, and generally have fun with her family, like a "regular teenager."

Nikki, who has had more than 40 operations, says she has learned a lot about herself and others along the way.

"Once you get online, you're exposing yourself to the world," she told BBC Two's Victoria Derbyshire show on Thursday. "Then you will get the positives with the negatives.

"Even the most beautiful girl or guy in the world always gets something.

"I think when I started it was a lot of you're ugly – ugly is just such a blunt word."

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Nikki Lilly

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Bake Off Champions: Nadiya Hussain and Nikki Lilly

She added, "At that time, it impressed me a lot more because my confidence was so much lower than it is now and it was created through making videos.

"I understand so often that it's just something I've become almost immune to. That doesn't mean it doesn't reach me." [but] I think I realized that people say horrible things – it's a lot more about them than you.

"It is very sad and cowardly that they feel the need to post horrible things to someone else because they are very sad in their lives and think oh if I am mean to that person, I hope I feel better about myself , and my life I'm unhappy with. "

Her TV career began in 2016, when she was crowned CBBC Junior Bake Off winner and the same year she received the Child of Courage Award at the Pride of Britain Awards.

Since 2018, she has hosted her own CBBC show, Nikki Lilly Meets … interviewing influential figures such as then-Prime Minister Theresa May and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"Important to be yourself"

Bafta said his next gong, which was once by artists such as Jacqueline Wilson, Peter Firmin, Newsround and Chuckle Brothers, is the highest honor of the Children's Awards.

YouTuber and the activist have admitted that she is "so excited to work with Bafta".

Helen Blakeman, chairman of the Bafta children's committee, believes Nikki is "a pioneer in her generation."

"I am delighted to see Nikki's work and her excellent courage and the hopeful message she has spread to so many other young people to be recognized in this way," she said in a statement.

Nikki was twice the subject of CBBC's My Life documentaries; First in 2016 with Born to Vlog, which was nominated for Bafta and won the International Emmy Kids Award, and again in 2018 with I Will Survive.

As she uses her vlogging platform to spread "positive messages," she is also aware of the social pressures and pitfalls that accompany sites like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, as well as the good stuff.

"Although it looks different, I didn't try to move," she explained.

"Today we live in this rectified world on social media, and children are always subjected to brilliant images of how they think reality and social media are not reality.

"I think it's so important to be yourself, because why should you fit this model of how it should be, or how it should act, or how it should be?

"Everyone is different and everyone is unique. If we lived in a world where everyone looked the same and acted the same and everyone had the same tastes, it would be a really boring world."

The British Academy Children's Awards ceremony takes place on Sunday, December 1st at The Brewery in London.

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