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I reached 50k followers on TikTok...Now What?

While some scroll on TikTok out of boredom or for entertainment, I use this platform as a passion project and a side hustle (though it does not pay the bills). As many of you may or may not know, I am a TikToker! Though I still find it funny to identify with this term, quarantine pushed me to put myself out there and begin creating content. What started as funny videos on Latino/Hispanic trends and songs led me to go viral and within months of revamping my account.

This video of me introducing myself to a class in the United States and not knowing English was an idea that popped in my head since I went through a similar situation back in 2004. I had no clue this video would resonate with thousands of people and help me find a niche audience of bilingual, Latinx youth who also have gone through similar struggles. The moment my notifications began blowing up from that video, I thought to myself 'Wait, did I do something right? Are people really connecting with this?"

From being embarrassed to read English out loud in front of the class to making friends despite the language barrier and even getting lost while switching classes and on the bus — these videos show struggles that many immigrants go through. Besides these TikToks of struggling to 'fit in,' I also make other videos regarding the Latino/Hispanic experience in the U.S. Some focus on being a first generation student while others deal with controversial topics such as people denying their Latinx identity or not knowing what makes a Latino a Latino.

Many of my TikToks are based on traumatic and scarring moments of when I had just moved here. Now it is funny to add a comedic spin on them and remember some of my major struggles as a kid because there were plenty. At eight years old, it was not easy to adjust to living in the U.S. and learning a whole new language, lifestyle, and environment. I remember pretending to be sick every morning and begging my mom not to put me on the bus.

When someone asks me on my weekly TikTok lives (yes, I live stream once a week to engage with my followers) what inspired me to make this type of content I always say the same answer. I make these videos to inspire other Latinx youth who have similar stories and to connect with them. I also make them to create conversations surrounding topics that many of us went through. One of the best parts for me after uploading a video is to skim through the comments to see what similar or shared experiences someone may have with one of my videos. The not so best part is the hate comments. TikTok has definitely taught me to deal with hate from the youngins. It is definitely a skill one needs to learn to manage as their following and viewership grows though at times it is hard.

This is a kind message I received from Bryan Ventura, one of my followers.

There is something unique about connecting with people all over the country over shared experiences. One of my followers put it this way “Lo que callamos por no saber Ingles.” This translates to "What we all keep quiet for not knowing English." As kids who move to the U.S. from all paths of life, we don’t just learn English and adjust to the American lifestyle from one day to another. For some, it takes a year or two while for others it takes longer and there are a lot of hurdles we must overcome to be seen as "equal" as our American counterparts.

And yes, I also make videos about the not so positive aspects of school such as skipping class or getting into fights. Not only do I enjoy making these mini-series, but I also show that not everything in school is fun and games especially as you grow older.

Whenever someone googles ‘how to be successful on TikTok’ or ‘how to go viral’ a major concept that appears is that one needs to find their audience and stick to making content catered to them. This may be hard to figure out when many think of the platform as a place full of dancers and comedians. It does take some time to figure out but I like to think that I have mastered this in a way with my school videos. And at times I do get burnt out from making school videos because I am 24 and my elementary and middle school days were more than a decade ago.

I never wanted to become “TikTok famous,” (if I am even that), get over 1 million likes and more than 50k followers in less than a year, and even have a brand deal (shoutout to The Coldest Water). These things just happened over time and I have to say I have enjoyed building a community through this platform and to become a voice for the Latinx people.

Would I have gone viral or all these followers if Covid-19 had not happened? Probably not. But I am grateful to have found a niche audience that appreciates my content and a platform that allows me to showcase my goofy, comedic side. Where do I go from here? The future will tell. As long as I can make someone smile, laugh, or identify with my videos I am satisfied. 

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