At 13 years old, Nayla Hayes has become a multimillionaire and her secret to success: NFTs.
The young artist started selling her artwork of diverse women—from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Lucille Ball, and everyday women—with elongated necks as non-fungible tokens or NFTs.
In case you didn't know, NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital properties like drawings, a meme, GIF, video, etc., that are bought with cryptocurrency. Given their unique nature and how ownership of the item lies solely with one person, these tokens are typically expensive.
Hayes sold her "Long Neckie Lady" portrait in March for $6,621.70 on Instagram and sold another drawing the month before for $3,920.05.
When she was younger, Hayes was fascinated with the Brontosaurus dinosaur, thus the elongated neck in her 3,000 portraits.
"At first, I just wanted to put two things that I love together, and that was a Brontosaurus and women. I wanted to show how beautiful and strong women were, and I thought of the brontosaurs as that as well," the 13-year-old said.
"I didn't know what to call it, so I just thought of them as 'long neckies,'" she added.
Hayes started drawing the portraits on her smartphone, which was given to her at nine years old by her mom, Latoya.
“I could see how passionate she was about her art and I just thought like, if I could support her in any way. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Latoya said.
When the young artist would draw, she only showed them to her family and friends, feeling nervous that people wouldn't like it or think it was "weird."
With a little encouragement from her uncle, Hayes and Latoya looked into NFTs to see if it was lucrative.
"When I first heard about NFTs, I was kind of like, I honestly don't know about this but I've been wanting to put my art out for a while so it was a good platform to do it," the 13-year-old said.
Hayes also never thought she would be as successful as she is now. "I just thought it would be cool to put my art out there and show people but to see how people react to it, I was never expecting it to blow up like this."
Since finding success, Hayes had been named Time Magazine's first Artist in Residence, an honor given to those who are advancing their careers with NFTs.