During a time when interviews, classes and jobs can be done from the comfort of your own home, everyone has had one pass time in common — TikTok. The mobile app launched in 2016 and gained popularity once the worldwide pandemic was at its highest point this year. While most of us simply indulged in the videos for hours and hours, others were able to make careers out of becoming content creators on the app. A lucky few could say their video “went viral,” but this fame is usually short-lived and does not reap any rewards, unless creators get a large amount of followers from the video.
For those who gained a following, they were able to make money through campaigns and sponsorships. Although it is extremely hard to gain a following as large as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, some of Kent State’s very own have been able to attain a platform on the popular app.
Accounting major, Mike Dascenzo, is known for posting videos he likes to call “Car Talks.” These videos take place in his car, where he delivers an inspirational message or quote that he feels needs to be shared with a larger audience. With nearly 160,000 followers and 4.5 million likes, Dascenzo’s motif is self-regard.
“Don’t just post what’s hot, post what you like, and eventually the views will come. Be you, be genuine, don’t be fake,” he said.
Although Dascenzo mainly focuses on his car talk videos, he has a strong interest in fashion and art. When brainstorming ideas for our video collaboration, he was more than happy to model some outfits inspired by the approaching fall season. Working with transitions and timing throughout the shooting process was probably the most difficult part, and I could see why Dascenzo takes his work so seriously. It shows when a creator takes the time to ensure their videos are edited and timed out correctly — this is what brings in the likes and followers.
To share one of Dascenzo’s hard-hitting quotes, “Sometimes the reason nothing good is happening to you, is because you’re the good thing that needs to happen to others.”
Theater Performance major, Jojo Radecky, is known for her videos acting as a member of “The Plastics,” Karen Smith (specifically the Broadway version of “Mean Girls”). In these videos, she performs musical numbers from the hit musical or acts as the “Mean Girls” role through voiceovers where she portrays the character’s ditsy mannerisms and iconic quotes. With over 30,000 followers and two million likes, Radecky’s take on fame does not equate to having a high volume of followers.
“People think that followers equals fans but it really doesn’t,” she said. “I have 33.8k right now, and I have a lot of fans surprisingly which is really weird. They would ask me on my livestreams to make merch, and once I hit 30k I thought it would be a nice surprise.”
Radecky proves that if you have a dream or goal in life, you need to work for it. In her case, attaining her dream role on Broadway as Karen Smith is becoming more of a reality as she makes new connections through her work on TikTok.
Although both Dascenzo and Radecky could not live off the money they have brought in from TikTok, and they have not received any invitations to live in an L.A. based creator house, they both continue to post frequently because they enjoy the outlet the app provides for them. They both hope that through their collaboration with A Magazine they can reach a larger audience of Kent State students and A Mag’s readers.
Don’t forget to follow A Mag on TikTok to see our content creators in action. Follow us for videos related to beauty, fashion, and culture.
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Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor in chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.