1. How did you become “TikTok Famous"?
So, I started about three months ago. One of my friends told me "Alright Mitchell you’ve gotta download TikTok," and I’m thinking "No! It’s too cringey, it’s too young," but [then I said] "Fine!" So I spent about two weeks or so just watching and getting obsessed with TikTok and loving it so much. My first couple [videos] were just kind of stupid, silly, I was just that basic TikTok person. Then, I was like, "Maybe I’ll try once in a while." So, I made one video that did well ... it got over a million views. So I was like, "Okay, we’re doing something here."
2. What drew you to TikTok?
I had always kind of been into acting a little bit, but I had never wanted to pursue it as a career. I knew I had creativity, but I never knew how to express it. So, I finally found something that fit me. It's such a fun app, I love creating and I’m happy to be in the position I am with a fanbase and everything else.
3. So, how fast did this happen? How has this affected your relationships?
I graduated high school with 15,000 followers on TikTok. At that point it was weird, but really throughout the summer was when I really had time ... I actually lost a couple of friends due to TikTok. Followers do something to people and they kind of look at you differently ... I’ve gotten people that recognize me from Tik Tok. It’s a little bit fun, and I can’t complain because this is what I do, but [it gives me social anxiety] ... With friends now, it's hard when I get introduced as a TikTok person because then they see me differently. But, it’s really awesome when it's an actual genuine person who doesn’t really care.
4. What has your experience been as a creator so far?
This summer I went to VidCon and I met a lot of people with follower bases and [some] were just standoffish. It's almost like a senior is to a freshman. You kind of just get that vibe where it's like you know they’re above you and they act like it. It’s very similar to that, but on another level with social media. I really didn’t like that. So, whenever I meet creators it's refreshing to get a down-to-earth person who isn't there for the followers but to just create content ... iIt's so much fun to be around others that use [TikTok] as much as I do.
5. What opportunities have you gotten from TikTok?
TikTok actually invited me to the VMAs [Video Music Awards] to walk the red carpet. Ironically, it was [during] LMU’s orientation day and the first day of class. It was one of the hardest no’s I’ve had to hear from my mom and dad, but I did see their point. I couldn’t imagine not only starting off my educational career on the wrong foot but also my social career. Coming to LMU a week late, setting up your dorm and then immediately going to class ... like, that would be so weird. Just coming in a week late and I’m like "That kid who went to the VMAs" — it just wouldn’t have gone over well. So, even though it was a really cool opportunity [I had to turn it down].
6. Do you consider yourself a comedian? Do you want to go into comedy?
My next step would probably be YouTube. TikTok’s so new, it just turned one. So, they haven’t found too many ways to monetize their videos, but YouTube is very solid. So, I would love to move to something like that where I can maybe showcase a little more of my personality. As far as [being a comedian], one of my friends told me about the Open Mic night and was like "Oh my god you should do stand-up!" It’s fun to think about opportunities like that. I love to make people laugh; I love people in general.
7. How did you decide to come to LMU?
I was obsessed with Pepperdine! It's where "Zoey 101" was filmed and it's in Malibu. I told my college counselor [I was visiting Pepperdine] and he said, "While you're there I’m going to want you to check out LMU." So, on the way to the airport we saw LMU and we went in and we did a campus tour and that hit it. Of course it was a beautiful campus, but I felt good about the academics, [and] the student vibe was much better than Pepperdine. It was more active, more lively. So, I put it in the back of my head and after all of my college searches I was like "This is it, how could I say no?"
8. And that all works out now because you’re in LA, right?
Right! I’m visiting the [TikTok Headquarters] tomorrow!
9. What’s your major?
Entrepreneurship. I kind of want to shift it. My family does entrepreneurship, so it was a safe bet. But, I’d love to get into something like marketing. I kind of wish LMU had something like a social media club.
10. What are you looking forward to most at LMU this year?
I think it would be really cool to create a social media club. I don’t know who I’d talk to about that, but [I] am definitely going to try to find some people to arrange that. I’d love to learn more about marketing [myself], marketing in general, advertising and kind of helping that social media career. I mean I’ve liked things before, but social media is such a passion. I love making people laugh. I love meeting other creators. I love [collaborating]. I love traveling. I hate desks, like I hate 9-5. [Social media] is just perfect for me. The only thing is, it’s unreliable and that's why I’m here at LMU to get a little stable cushion. I couldn’t be happier where I am.