Dylan Mulvaney, the Broadway actor, transgender activist and TikTok star who is sharing her transition journey on the social media platform, has a message for those who send hateful words her way: She is a real person.
Mulvaney — who gained over 8 million followers on TikTok as fans follow her transition — sat down with TODAY’S Jill Martin for an episode of the TODAY All Day series “The New Rules," where she opened up about being on the receiving end of hurtful messages after she began sharing her experiences.
“I really struggle with the people that don’t think I should be doing these things or think that what I’m doing is evil or that,” she shared.
When Martin asked if the performer cares what people think about her, the 25-year-old replied, “I do. I’m very sensitive and I think because my now job is online for millions of people watching, it opens me up to a lot of hate.”
Mulvaney said she does not understand why social media users who don’t know her personally choose to criticize her for doing something that makes her happy and does not impact them.
The discussion also included founder and CEO of jewelry brand ByChari Chari Cuthbert as well as the first Black C-suite executive at Netflix and author Bozoma Saint John, who praised the social media star for revealing she is not immune to hate and negativity.
“I think that so many people pretend like they don’t and they really do and that’s actually more harmful,” the author said.
Instead of ignoring the messages, Mulvaney said she directly calls out her “haters.”
“I actually made a video talking to my haters saying like, ‘Hey, just you know, you do make me cry,’” she explained. “Because some people, I think, look at online creators or ‘influencers’ — I hate that word — as these characters.”
She added, “And babe, I’m a real person.”
The actor wondered if there was a point in the other women's lives when the three women stopped caring about others’ opinions.
Saint John said there is not a “magical” age or time. “So don’t wait for that birthday,” she laughed.