Who is YouTuber Kris Tyson? MrBeast’s longtime friend whose trans journey is inspiring millions

By Jack Ramage

Updated Feb 21, 2024 at 12:51 PM

Reading time: 5 minutes

Would you sit in a pit of snakes for $10,000? How about staying confined to a circle on the floor for 100 days for $500,000? Or, even worse, sitting through an hour of Piers Morgan’s talk show for $1,000,000? If you guessed this sounds like something from a brainstorming session for a MrBeast video, you’d be right. Except for that last one, of course; not even The Beast himself could conjure up something so sadistic.

MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, is a man who needs no introductions. But, for those of you reading who have been living under a rock, or have just emerged from a decade-long internet detox, let me fill you in. MrBeast is one of the most successful YouTubers on the planet. And while Donaldson is the head honcho and face of the channel, there are many others in the ‘Beast Gang’ doing the heavy lifting too.

One of those is Kris Tyson, formerly Chris Tyson, who has worked with MrBeast from day one. Her story is arguably the most uplifting out of the bunch. And while many die-hard MrBeast fans will already know about her transition journey, many others are still unaware of her situation. So buckle in as we take a brief dive into what happened to Kris from MrBeast, and how she has become one of the most inspirational trans influencers on the internet.

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Who is Kris Tyson from MrBeast?

Kris Tyson, formerly Chris Tyson, is an American influencer and content creator. She is most widely known for her affiliation with the YouTube titan, MrBeast. According to the MrBeast Wiki, Kris Tyson was born on 1st July 1996, making her 27 years old. Tyson grew up in North Carolina and still lives there today.

Before her transition, Kris initially described herself as a “country boy” and grew up taking part in a local Boy Scout group. She is known by fans to be the most vulnerable of the MrBeast gang, and arguably the most useful when it comes to survival challenges… It seems those Boy Scout days came in useful after all.

Kris Tyson and MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, created the original MrBeast YouTube channel in 2012. It has since grown to become one of the most successful channels on the platform, amassing over 239 million subscribers. Outside of YouTube, Tyson has a hefty fanbase on Instagram, with a following of over 2 million.

She is one of the most influential members of the Beast Gang, the creative collective behind the MrBeast channel and brand. Aside from Kris and Jimmy, other current members of the group include Chandler Hallow, Karl Jacobs, Nolan Hansen, and Tareq Salameh.

In March 2022, Tyson shared a tweet showing her nails being done, marking one of the first instances of her publicly showing feminine traits. In the video $1 vs $500,000 Plane Ticket!, published 1 April 2023, many commented on her changed appearance compared to previous videos, leading fans to ask: what happened to Chris from Mr Beast?

The answer? She was bravely taking steps to become her true self. Posting on social media not long after the clip was published, Kris announced she had been taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for approximately two months before the video’s upload. In a following post, she stated that she would temporarily go by any pronouns and voiced support for informed consensual HRT for gender non-conforming individuals.

“After a lot of talking with a therapist and a lot of self-reflection, I realised it was really just this societal pressure of, ‘You’re Chris from MrBeast. You’re the guy that starts the fires. You’re the guy that builds the stuff.’”

She later announced in an interview on Anthony Padilla’s internet-talkshow/podcast, who is best known for being the co-founder of the classic mid-2000s era YouTube channel, Smosh: “My whole life I’ve enjoyed doing those things, but I’ve never really felt like ‘the guy.’”

When did Kris Tyson come out as trans?

Kris Tyson publically came out as transgender in July 2023, following starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in January 2023. During her appearance on Padilla’s show, the YouTube star announced a significant personal update: she had transitioned her pronouns and altered the spelling of her name, now identifying as Kris Tyson instead of Chris Tyson.

In a heartfelt and bold announcement, Kris opened up to Padilla about her situation: “I am a woman! She/her.” The 27-year-old went on to mention that she had not previously shared this information publicly but had been fully confident in the decision for over a year.

“For the longest time, even to say it to the closest friends, it would make my hands shake I’d get so nervous. But now I can say I’m a woman. I’m happy to say I’m a woman. It’s honestly so freeing,” she continued. “If your way to confidence is to wear a dress, wear a dress. If your way to confidence is to get so swole you look like a bodybuilder, do that.”

So, what does Kris Tyson look like now? Her hormone replacement therapy has drastically changed the shape of her face, she’s also rocking longer hair too. In January 2024, the YouTube star, known for her appearances alongside MrBeast on the platform, shared a before-and-after selfie on X which showed her one-year transformation since beginning HRT in January 2023. Have a look below:

Kris Tyson’s transition journey in the public eye

Transitioning in the public eye unfolds differently compared to transitioning in private, as noted by Kris, who described her experience as “crazy” and highlighted being subjected to sensationalist headlines and tabloidization. “I was trying to take a break,” she told Padilla. “It wasn’t affecting me too badly, but I didn’t want to be consumed by all the media attention focused on myself.”

Even during her break from social media, she noticed that Google continued to recommend articles about her. “[I was] constantly being fed with headlines that were blatantly wrong—it wasn’t all hate, it was from both sides. But there were a lot of people that didn’t know how to talk about trans people.”

“It’s a hot-button issue right now,” Kris added, explaining that many online have been “putting in their two cents” about it. “I think what made a lot of people focus on it is that I’m just living my life—I’m not saying or doing anything. I’m just saying ‘Hey, I’m on HRT, I’m a lot happier now’.”

This level of authenticity has greatly benefited Kris in her transition journey, while also raising awareness among her fans about transgender issues. “In terms of PR and marketing, consumers connect with an influencer through their sharing of their most authentic story,” Tom Seidel, from the communications agency Earnies, told SCREENSHOT.

“Transitioning and sharing that journey on social media is essentially the epitome of authenticity—it’s deeply personal. I can’t relate to Kris’ situation on a personal level, but I can appreciate the vulnerability of sharing her journey,” Seidel continued.

Tyson also expressed that she feared how others would react to her situation, particularly when we consider her past: growing up in a small conservative town to later becoming a global content creator with millions watching. However, many have also commended Tyson for her bravery, including MrBeast himself, and other famous influencers.

Transitioning with a large online following can also serve to educate those who may be from small conservative towns like Tyson’s own upbringing, where trans and queer rights are less visible. “There’s something to be said about transitioning in the public eye, being visible to people from rural areas across the US or even the UK,” Seidel added. “People now have access to trans influencers and see their transition journey in a way that feels more relatable to them. It can open their eyes to different perspectives.”

“People also relate to MrBeast and his brand,” Seidel continues, emphasising that the sheer size of his audience transcends generational and geographic boundaries: “Kris Tyson having that strong connection to MrBeast increases her relatability and engagement. This creates a snowball effect where showcasing a different narrative about yourself can lead to increased acceptance. It inevitably encourages people, especially younger individuals or male audiences, to engage more with trans issues and rights.”

But, on the other hand, transitioning while having an audience of over 2 million followers has its downsides. “It’s a huge platform,” Seidel noted. “You also open yourself up to the potential of a lot of hate, a lot of vile messages that might come your way.” While individuals with a smaller digital presence may navigate their transition journey differently, there’s something commendable about bravely embracing one’s true gender identity despite the scrutiny of millions.

As one of the most high-profile influencers to have transitioned, Tyson from MrBeast is not only setting an example for her fans but also using her platform to educate others about trans issues and voice support for the positive benefits HRT can have for gender non-conforming individuals. “Informed consent HRT saved my and many others’ lives,” Tyson wrote on X in April. “The hurdles [gender nonconforming] people have to jump through to get life-saving gender-affirming healthcare in a 1st world country is wild to me. Just let people make informed decisions about their own bodies.”

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