'I'm a TikTok 'Catfish'—My Transformations Shock Millions'

I live with my grandparents and when I was younger, I used to watch my grandma and aunt getting ready to go out. They would sit on the floor in front of a big mirror, and up until I was around 10, I would sit behind them and watch. I loved it. I was mesmerized by them straightening their hair and doing their makeup.

My grandma used to keep all her makeup in a cookie tin, and by the age of 11, I'd take her tin when she went out and put on a bit of her makeup. A few years later, I started watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. My cousin had her own makeup, so I would practice on her and I could do it straight away because I had watched these videos over and over.

I started posting my own makeup transformations and makeup tutorials on TikTok in 2020. I am transgender so I haven't always worn make up myself. It is a big thing to come out as transgender, especially in a small town like Doncaster in England where I am from. Calling me by my new name was hard for my grandparents to begin with, but they just let me get on with it as they want me to be happy. It's amazing that I have very supportive friends too. My transgender birthday, as I call it, is May 19, 2020.

When I first started sharing my makeup transformations, I didn't expect the reaction I got or for so many people to watch. I was a bit shocked when it started blowing up, but my attitude is that everyone looks different with and without makeup. So, I decided not to shave my face for three days and make the camera angle worse. I did it to be a bit different, and for the shock factor.

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My most popular video so far is with a TikTok friend of mine, Cally H. It's a "catfish" video where we start in glam and then all of a sudden we have no makeup on and are pulling ugly faces. It has 37million views so far and my followers skyrocketed after that. Another two videos I've posted since, with and without glam, now have 26million and 29million views and got me 200,000 more followers. It's crazy. I don't know what shocks people the most, I think it's because they don't expect that much of a transformation; they don't think makeup can do that.

I didn't give myself the name "catfish", I used the hashtag on one of my videos and people just took it and ran with it, and I went along with it. I got verified on TikTok recently and that was thanks to me running with being called catfish, so it does help me.

The original definition of catfish is someone being a completely different person to who they present themselves as online, but people are now saying that those who look different with and without makeup are also catfish. In that sense, I would say that I am a catfish because I do pile on makeup and I do like to look different. But it is exaggerated online. I make myself look worse on purpose.

'Catfish' Jordyn Transforms Herself on TikTok
Jordyn Lyne pictured make up free (left) and after she has applied her glam (right). Lyne began posting her makeup transformations on TikTok in 2020. Jordyn Lyne

TikTok can be quite a negative platform when it comes to comments. People comment asking if these transformations are legal and say things like, "This is why you should take your girl swimming on a first date." I get people calling me "bearded monster."

I don't really care, because I do this for a reaction; good and bad comments boost my video. If people are taking two seconds out of their day to comment, I'm not going to let it ruin my life. It's just a comment. I think they're on social media because they're bored and want attention, and they're not getting it in real life. I see it as a reflection of them to be honest. In fact, I would tell them to please keep commenting hate, because it boosts my video and gets me more followers!

The reaction to me is never, ever negative in person, it's only negative online because people can hide behind computer screens and phone screens. In person, people tell me they love my videos and that my makeup is amazing. When I go to different cities in the U.K., people come up, ask if I'm "that girl from TikTok" and ask to take a picture with me.

'Catfish' Jordyn Transforms Herself on TikTok
Jordyn Lyne says she has "leaned into" being called a catfish because of her dramatic transformations using make up. Jordyn Lyne

I also get a lot of positive comments on TikTok; people saying that they wish they could do their makeup like me, and asking me to teach them. A lot of people want to know how I transform myself. It is a drastic transformation, because to start with, my hair is in a bun and I have a beard and I'm pulling an awful face. My makeup takes an hour to 90 minutes, but there is a process of shaving my face beforehand and doing my hair afterwards, so it probably takes two hours altogether. But I think it's nice to put effort into yourself and practice self care. My makeup is not something I would discuss with a partner, I'd probably just take it off and say, "If you don't like me then leave."

I am confident without my makeup and I do love myself. I don't wear makeup if I'm going to the shop or to get my nails done. But this is now my job and I am able to earn good money, so, I like to put in as much time and effort as I can and make the best video possible.

I like to show my facial hair because it's not only trans people that have to deal with facial hair and shave it every day, there are cisgender women with polycystic ovary syndrome who grow hair on their face. I get a lot of messages from people saying they appreciate my videos and it makes them feel better that they're not the only one going through this.

Everyone looks different with and without makeup, even if it's just a small change. People often say to me that they could never show their natural face like I do, but it's just you.

Jordyn Lyne is a TikTok content creator. You can follow her on TikTok @jordynlyne and on Instagram @jordynlyne.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

As told to Jenny Haward.