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Rising Stars: Meet Elina Yael

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elina Yael.

Hi Elina, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
During quarantine, I had been making dance videos on TikTok, really just having fun with the app, not really taking it so seriously but still putting my face out there hoping that I would get some response from viewers. I gained probably about 30k followers during that time.

Fast forward to the fall of 2020 which was my sophomore year of college, I moved into my first off-campus apartment with two girls, and let’s just say it was a really bad situation that really took a toll on my mental health. Without going into too much detail during that time I just felt super heartbroken since I had lost all of these friends that I made freshman year who I thought would be in my life forever.

I felt like I had finally found a group of people who I was comfortable being myself with, had fun with, and genuinely loved and cared about. Losing that all in a blink of an eye made me feel super lonely and hopeless, not to mention that losing all of these friends because of this roommate situation felt super unfair.

I was devastated about it and decided that I would turn this negative experience into an opportunity for growth and success, becoming a version of myself that I could be even prouder of. Moving out of my apartment completely isolated me from the rest of my friends since we were all a part of the same social group.

So there I was, a sophomore in college during the pandemic without many friends and nothing to do with my time besides attending Zoom classes and those were getting super tedious and boring and hard to stay interested in. By this time I sort of felt like I had spent all of the quarantine making these videos and really I didn’t want all of that to go to waste, so I just kept making videos and posting them to Tiktok.

Now that I had my own space I could really make as much noise as I wanted to and move around my apartment how I wanted without getting complaints or being made to feel bad about what my friends thought was an insignificant hobby that wouldn’t take me anywhere.

I really just treated my apartment as a working studio, constantly creating content whenever I wasn’t in class because it helped fuel my creativity. Then one day in December I posted a video of me lip-synching a short part of a song, being my expressive self, and making facial expressions that people weren’t used to seeing.

I became known for these dramatic expressions and began to create my brand around that because I had so much fun making these videos, and some people seemed to think what I was doing was super satisfying to watch. I receive more hate than love at first, but I told myself that the hate was a result of people seeing something they weren’t used to, meaning I was bringing something new to the table.

People questioned why I felt so comfortable posting things they deemed “embarrassing” saying that they had “second-hand embarrassment” for me (I thought this was pretty ridiculous because I wasn’t even experiencing first-hand embarrassment!

From there, that became the purpose of my platform—showing all sides of myself (sexy, goofy, weird, clever, creative, scary, makeup, no makeup, pajamas, dressed-up) and making sure people understood that I embraced all of these aspects of myself because, although very different, they were all ME.

I think some people really connected to this and found their own comfort and confidence in watching me express myself in this way even with all of the hate I got, which would have seemed emotionally damaging, but honestly, I think I was partially riding the high of getting all this attention and hopefully finally turning all this hard work I did into a way to profit and support myself as a college student.

Now I am at almost 2 million followers on Tiktok.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
This road has been anything but smooth. Having a presence on social media means getting hate and criticism from countless people each day.

There are also times when I experience creative blocks and have no idea what to post, sometimes forcing myself to post content I wasn’t proud of and didn’t put my heart into just so I could keep up the views and make myself marketable to brands who may want to work with me. This is still something I struggle with. I have content that I am super proud of, but my soul into and my creativity.

But, sometimes you need to participate in trends that will help build your audience, even though it isn’t content that represents who I am as a creator, because building a larger audience had literally become my job.

Jealousy is also a really hard aspect of this job as you watch creators who once had fewer followers than you build a larger audience, leaving me wondering what I’m doing wrong and why I’m not as likable, or why my growth has stopped.

But all it takes is a little re-centering of my mind and reminding myself of my worth as an entertainer and online companion to those I built this community with, to who I am the most grateful.

It’s always hard finding the motivation to keep creating when your videos aren’t getting the same amount of views and likes as they once did, but you push through this and it becomes all the more worth it.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I do many things, but I like to sum it up by saying that I present all aspects of myself to the world without shame. I’ll create makeup transitions and blow people away with all the different ways I can make myself look.

I post a lot of acting POVs, which essentially means I might lip-sync audio from a TV show or song and create a backstory to go along with it. I’m probably most famous for my dramatic lipsyncs to songs by Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, and countless other artists.

I have also done character lipsyncs from shows like Adventure Time (Most famous for my Lumpy Space Princess impression) or Fish Hooks (Shellsea). Oh! I should also mention that a large portion of my following was actually gained from when I had jaw surgery!

I had these metal bars in my mouth, which I called “mouth jewelry” and they fascinated people and made them want to follow my recovery journey (which I had also gone through a year prior, 2 jaw surgeries took a big toll on me but turned into something positive!).

What makes you happy?
When I get comments and direct messages from people who watch my content saying that I’ve given them confidence, helped make them more comfortable being themselves, or even when they tell me that I’ve made their day or made them laugh.

I just love knowing that people are really responding to what I’m putting out there and finding comfort and healing in my content.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kai Erber

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