Popular beauty influencer Nikita Dragun has faced backlash after she started selling a candle with a picture of her resembling the Virgin Mary.
Nikita Dragun is a popular makeup artist and beauty YouTuber. She has 3.32 million subscribers on YouTube and a further 7.5 million followers on Instagram.
More recently, Nikita has found a following on TikTok and is often seen hanging out with members of Hype House like Bryce Hall.
Nikita’s shop, Dragun Beauty, recently released a product called “Saint Pussystunt Candle” with Nikita’s face, edited to look like a saint. But outrage has exploded onto Twitter and Instagram as users claim that her use of religious imagery is “disrespectful” to Catholicism.
Nikita posted a short video of the candle to the Dragun Beauty Instagram page, claiming that the product was so popular that it had sold out in three minutes. But a comment with nearly 5,000 likes said: “To everyone who bought them... wtf do yall not care if an influencer disrespects a whole ass religion???? Like whaat??”
Another commenter wrote: “The fact that she disregarded everybody’s feelings and still posting this disrespectful shit to our religion speaks volumes”
On Twitter, users have accused Nikita of “profiting” and “appropriating” Catholicism and asked the YouTuber to respond to the criticism or take the product off her website.
Nikita Dragun really made a candle with her picture on it like profiting off religion?? pic.twitter.com/GzoEGo1xN7
— Maryelin Ramos (@MaryelinRamos1) July 10, 2020
Prayer candles, or votive candles, are typically used in Catholicism and New age rituals and are lit in churches or homes. Lighting one is symbolic of calling on the guidance of whichever saint is depicted.
However, in the last few years, the celebrity prayer candle has risen in popularity as a gift item with Etsy shops and boutiques selling prayer candles replacing the saints with images of celebrities and influencers.
But, these shops and sellers have by no means escaped criticism of appropriation. In 2017, Kim Kardashian West faced backlash for promoting a prayer candle with her own face on.
Nikita has not explicitly addressed the outrage and continues to promote Dragun Beauty products.