Why we're loving this boy who wears makeup

After dropping our jaws with an incredible performance, Ellen guest Reuben de Maid earns a standing ovation for his inspirational message.
Reuben de Maid performs "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," on the Ellen show

Photo: Ellentube

Growing up can be rough, especially when you don’t fit into the gender roles society and history have spent years normalizing. This means that for a boy who loves makeup, just being yourself can take an immense amount of bravery. That’s why we’re loving Reuben de Maid, the 12-year-old powerhouse performer who displayed this bravery to Ellen audiences everywhere earlier last week.

Decked out in a suit, tie, and full-face makeup, de Maid dropped jaws with his rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” from Broadway’s Dreamgirls, earning a standing ovation from the studio audience.

“I’ve been singing since I could talk,” said the adorable de Maid to Ellen DeGeneres. His other passion? Makeup!

“Ever since I was 8, I was just so interested in it,” he said of his makeup obsession. “I would just watch my phone for hours on end, learning from tutorials and blogs.”

Yup, he learned, alright! DeGeneres shared a few photos of the wunderkind’s looks, complete with expert highlighting and contouring, and a winged-eye that could rival goddess Adele’s.

“That’s really impressive, that’s really talented,” DeGeneres commented while looking at the photos with a modest de Maid.

Reuben de Maid's makeup

Photo: @reubendemaid_1 via Instagram

However, not everyone has been impressed with the young singer’s chosen aesthetic.

“I used to get bullied a lot,” he said when asked if the other kids at his school were supportive of his choice to don the glam. “In my drama group I used to get hit, punched and kicked.”

After withstanding the bullying for two months, de Maid said he’d had enough.

“I tried to brush it off,” he said, “But brushing it off just doesn’t work. So, I stood up to them.”

After facing his bullies and telling his mom about his struggles, de Maid was transferred to a new school, where he hasn’t had to face the same intolerance. Now, the new star is only looking forward.

While he would love to stay on the stage, de Maid also has goals of becoming “like a Kardashian,” and run his very own makeup brand and YouTube channel with his sister, teaching his own makeup tutorials.

“Good for you for not stopping being who you are” said DeGeneres, speaking for all of us. “That’s really tough.”

Ellen DeGeneres talks to Reuben de Maid

Photo: Ellentube

To further support de Maid’s goals of becoming a makeup blogger, DeGeneres gifted her ecstatic guest with a YouTube channel starter kit, complete with a laptop, new makeup, lighting, and, of course, a Kardashian themed backdrop.

We love that kids like Reuben are being celebrated for doing what can feel impossible in the face of bullying—staying true to themselves. This positive message of self-acceptance and perseverance definitely gets a standing ovation from us!

Read more:
11 kids’ books that challenge gender stereotypes
An open letter to the kids bullying my daughter
Traditional gender roles: Boys will be boys 

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