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TikToker Mikayla Nogueira faces backlash for previously saying that being an influencer is hard

Nogueira, who has over 13.5 million followers on TikTok, went viral after one of her 2021 videos, which has since been removed, resurfaced on Reddit and TikTok.
Mikayla Nogueira at The Grove on March 19, 2022 in Los Angeles.
Mikayla Nogueira at The Grove on March 19 in Los Angeles.Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for L'Oreal Paris file

Mikayla Nogueira, a TikToker known for her makeup videos, is facing backlash for a video she posted in 2021 where she complained that being an influencer is not easy.

“I literally just finished work and it’s 5:19. Try being an influencer for a day. Try it,” Nogueira, 24, said in a now-deleted video, which has since been reposted on Reddit and clipped on TikTok by other users.

A TikTok clip of the video, which first resurfaced on the platform about six days ago, has since amassed more than 6 million views and inspired an entire Reddit thread discussing Nogueira’s comments.

It has reignited debate online about whether influencers are tone-deaf when it comes to work.

TikTok influencer Tara Lynn, who goes by @taraswrld, recently garnered similar scrutiny after asking in a now-deleted video if anyone had a job and saying all of her friends stay in bed all day. In a video responding to the backlash on Aug. 31, Lynn said she was "just joking" and "talking about my friends," specifically those on BeReal. She said she didn’t mean to say she had “the hardest job in the world.”“Yeah, I run around all day doing mundane errands ... I’m not like, hard at work in the fields. I was just joking."

In Nogueira’s full video, which she originally posted on her second account, @eatwithmikayla, the influencer is seen eating a salad while responding to a person’s comment criticizing her. “Poor you,” the person wrote. “Report to a job 9-5 lol.” 

Nogueira, who has over 13.5 million followers on TikTok, responded to the comment directly, saying, “The people who say it’s easy are so far out of their minds.”

“It is not for everybody,” she said. “In fact it’s for a very small handful of people who can actually do this job. … You do not want to have this job. I’m just saying.”

Nogueira did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment. As of Monday afternoon, she had not issued a public statement regarding the backlash.

Still, her comments from last year continue to permeate the internet.

Many online who are not influencers took issue with her previous remark.

“it just feels very out of touch to be complaining to working class people about how being and influencer is hard…i have 0 sympathy for you???” one person wrote on Twitter. 

“Having access to that type of social capital gives you a life of luxury and comfort that a vast majority of the world does not have,” another Twitter user noted

Others who are not full-time influencers uploaded videos using the audio from Nogueira’s clip to showcase their day-to-day jobs.

“Mikayla.. babes… If I could trade being a full time worker and a full time student for being an influencer.. I would,” one user who goes by icedcoffeejen said in a video.

“Healthcare workers listening to this audio after working 13 hours each day,” another user, annapuddle, wrote in a video where she used Nogueira’s audio to highlight how hard those in her field work.

Some influencers said while they agree working in the creator economy can be hard, they find Nogueira’s commentary to lack self-awareness.

“I’m being so incredibly serious when I say this, any influencer who tells you this job is hard is either lying or just straight up lazy,” Wisdom Kaye, who has over 8.5 million followers on TikTok, said

He said while he can spend 10 to 24 hours on one video, his job is easy. “You get to wake up whenever you want. You get to work for as long as you want. You can clock in, clock out as you please. You have no boss. You have no co-workers. ... You've got unlimited vacation days,” he said in his video.

Those who came to Nogueira’s defense said they believe the criticism has gotten out of control.

“This app is so fake, man. This app is so, so, so fake. Mikayla Nogueira’s audio is spiraling out of control,” user @dianabideamusic said. “It’s taken all these influencers that scream about mental health maybe .5 seconds to hop on the bandwagon and tear her down.”

The user pointed out that Nogueira previously worked at Ulta before becoming a full-time influencer and that she knows the difficulties of customer service jobs. A LinkedIn page for Nogueira says she worked as a “Prestige Beauty Advisor” at Ulta Beauty from April 2019 to October 2020. A spokesperson for Ulta confirmed in an email to NBC News that Nogueira was previously an employee at the company.

Danisha Carter, who has 1.6 million followers on the app, suggested Nogueira was most likely just overwhelmed by her job. While influencers should be held accountable for their statements, Carter said Nogueira was probably not acting in bad faith when making the comments.

Still, Carter said, “I genuinely feel like the easiest solution to all of this would have been to just not make the comparison.” 

“I cannot for the life of me grasp why for the past couple of weeks or months influencers have been even comparing their jobs to regular jobs,” Carter said. “You can share your gripes about influencing, and there are many to have, without bringing anyone or anything else into the equation.”