In the eyes of those around her, Nike Young has always been a star.
In 1994, she was born in New York, one of the biggest breeding grounds for the stars of today. People like Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga are only a few of the more recognizable names of the legends that New York has produced.
For Young, that was only the start. Around age 5, she and her family packed up and relocated to Atlanta for a couple years. When she turned 7, the family moved once more, this time to Broward County, Florida, where she would spend the rest of her childhood.
Being from the city of all cities, Young found it difficult to adjust to her new environment. Everything was so different, from the way they spoke to the culture and pace of life in South Florida.
Coming from up north and moving to the south made it harder to connect with her classmates. Although she is Jamaican and so many Caribbean people live in South Florida, it wasn’t until high school when Young finally started to feel a sense of belonging after she started meeting people who shared a similar background.
While today Young serves as a model for all independent, free-spirited young girls, she wasn’t always this way. High school is also when her journey to self-love and confidence began. Growing up, Young was known for being a smart kid and excelling in school. But at some point in her educational career, she began losing interest in school.
“I was always groomed as being the smart one in my family, like I’m the baby,” Young said. “I always got really good grades and I was in all these advanced classes. Then it got too hard. I didn’t want to be the smart one, because it was a lot of pressure for me and I didn’t feel like it really stuck with me. I didn’t really care about academics like that. I love to learn and I love learning new things, but I’m not really structured.”
Anyone who knows her personally, knows that Young will always move to the beat of her own drums. After she graduated high school, she continued on to college at Florida International University where she met her now boyfriend, Michael Curry.
In college, Young had just begun expressing herself and becoming more creative with the natural hairstyles that she would try. So much so that she would frequently receive compliments on her hair and her personal style.
During her adolescent years, she was never accustomed to receiving as much attention as she did when she started experimenting with her hair in college. But as time went on she started to see a path for herself to create content showing other Black women how to style their natural hair.
It wasn’t until after college when Young began uploading her content to social media and taking it seriously, and she reconnected with her old college friend, Curry, who had moved to Tallahassee after transferring to Florida A&M University.
As she kept posting her content, she gained more and more attention online, and Curry says the person seen online, as @nikethegawdess on Instagram, is the same person behind the account and the same person he met all those years ago.
While her following grew and her social status changed, Young remained the same.
“I think watching her confidence grow, not only herself as an individual, but her creativity,” Curry said. “To see her go from second-guessing if this concept would work to ‘Alright this is going to pop and if I do this and this, people will like it because at the end of the day, I’m me for real.’ To see her embrace that ‘I’m Nike,’ has been a beautiful experience,” Curry said.
Young’s older sister, Isoke Young, has also enjoyed the experience of watching her blossom into the person she was always meant to be.
“Honestly, it’s been great to see her evolution,” Isoke said. “When she first started, I felt like it was just natural for her to do it, because she’s always been very charismatic and outgoing. But, I think, to see the progress from where she began to now is great to see how much she has grown even as a person.”
A couple years ago, Young saw an opportunity for up-and-coming influencers to be a part of the Sephora Squad, which is extremely huge in the world of self-care and wellness. Although she didn’t make it the first time, she didn’t let that discourage her from re-applying the following year when she did make the team.
Young says that during the first go-round she didn’t feel ready, but over that year she really took the time to lock in with her passion. This translated to better content ideas and the support she received from her friends, family and followers is what led her to becoming a Sephora Squad member for the year 2022.
Although her time with the squad is limited, Young plans to continue using her platform to instill confidence in other young girls and pursue an acting career of her own.