If you haven’t downloaded Tik Tok and spent hours scrolling through funny videos, you’re simply missing out. Behind the framework of Tik Tok is hundreds of thousands of young creators who are trying to gain virality. I wanted to dive deeper into one of Tik Tok’s most followed creators and how she did it and how it’s changed her life.
Meet Mikaila Murphy: a 21 year old content creator and professional dancer who was born and raised in Michigan. Murphy’s best known by her username: MikailaDancer- per her insanely talented dance videos.
Her dance videos and twerk tutorials on Tik Tok and Instagram have gained her a whopping 12 million fans in under a year’s time. Although Mikaila has been dancing since she was three years old, she only gained worldwide virality recently. From reaching nearly a half of a million people through Snapchat Spotlight to scoring nearly 300 million Tik Tok likes, Murphy’s dance videos are gaining traction like no other.
I had a chance to sit down with Mikaila and break down her social media success. Here’s what she had to say:
Cox: Have you always dreamt of becoming a social media influencer?
Murphy: I honestly always have! I’ve always had a really big personality and always loved making funny and corny skits as a kid! I used to record literally anything and everything that I could!! My uncle used to always tell me I needed to make a YouTube channel because my stuff was so funny!!
Cox: How has Tik Tok changed your life?
Murphy: I was a full time college student majoring in dance, and working at Target 2 years ago! I was miserable, I was bored, and I felt like I was kind of stuck!! I didn’t know how I would ever be able to turn dance into a career, and be stable enough to live a good life and provide for my future family.
I hated being in school, I felt like it was holding me back in a way, but I had no clue how to actually get out with a good plan! So I started posting on tiktok and within one year it completely changed my life! It started making me enough money to the point that I got to drop out of school, move to LA, and really start focusing on and following my dreams! Now I’m happier than ever doing what I love, all because of TikTok!
Cox: I’ve spoken to numerous influencers and one thing they always mention is that views and virality are like a drug and are addicting. Do you agree? Does being a creator take a toll on your mental health? If so, what are your coping mechanisms to ensure your mental health is a priority.
Murphy: I definitely agree! I used to post all the time and never care, but now engagement is SO important because that’s what gets me paid. Engagement is what catches the big brands eyes, so if my content isn’t performing well, it definitely worries me! I always post just hoping for that next big viral video to keep me growing!
Being a creator definitely takes a toll on my mental health, there’s so much stress and hate involved everyday and it’s impossible to get away from it. No matter how hard you try, it’s literally always in your face!
So I’ve just worked really hard on loving myself, being stronger, and understanding that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay!! It’s important to take time for myself, to surround myself with good people, and to just speak positivity into existence! I love journaling, talking to friends, swimming, and taking bubble baths with candles lit to help take care of myself mentally. It’s been a hard journey for sure, but it’s also been such an amazing journey.
Cox: If you had to give any piece of advice for any aspiring influencer, what would it be?
Murphy: To just keep creating and to post every single day no matter how good or bad content performs! You might post 1,000 videos and have no success but all it will take is that 1!!!
So don’t get discouraged and just keep posting! Also post what YOU love! Not what others want. The people watching can definitely tell when you’re being authentic to yourself, and when you’re not.
Cox: How do you handle the hate?
Murphy: I’ve just learned that typically the most hate comes from people who are in a dark space and/or from people who are very insecure. So I just pray for them and wish them well! At the end of the day, their hate is just pushing my content more and making me more money anyways!!
Cox: What are some new and exciting things that you have going on that we should be looking forward to?
Murphy: MUSIC!!! I’m releasing music soon! I’m so beyond excited to share what I have in store for everyone!! I have a single on the way with a whole EP to follow!! So make sure you all stay tuned. It’s coming very, very soon. I also have some more things up my sleeve, but you’re going to have to wait for all of that!
Cox: Tell me about your confidence journey and how it’s helped you get to where you are now
Murphy: Before really diving deep into social media, I was a pretty insecure person. I didn’t fully love myself and I relied on other people to make me happy, over making myself happy. Which obviously the only person you really have forever is yourself, so that was clearly a problem.
So I used my social media to help me! I started being very vulnerable and posting what I love. I never really liked makeup so I started posting a lot bare faced, I love being sexy and super feminine so I started posting different sexy styles of dance that make me feel confident, and I really just made a positive platform where people can be themselves and feel the positivity!!
I stopped caring about what others thought and just started doing what I LOVE to do and it changed my life. I’m now the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been and it’s all thanks to social media. The best part is I’m able to help so many others as well! The amount of messages I get from so many people telling me how much I help them learn to be confident and love themselves unapologetically makes this whole thing worth it!!
Cox: How do you manage your time as an influencer? Does it get tough?
Murphy: It’s so hard! I feel like I can never take a break!! I haven’t had a day off from filming in almost 2 years! Even Christmas Day I’m filming because it’s Christmas content!! Who doesn’t love that?
I feel like when I get right on track I fall behind again because I’m constantly slammed with so much work!! I don’t think people realize how much work it really is to be a social media influencer!! I have promos to film, brand deals to film, dance classes to take, songs to write, songs to sing, merch to create, phone calls to take, concepts to come up with, people to collaborate with, and so much more!
I still struggle with my time management! I have a few to-do lists, and really just go with the flow and hope for the best! It’s definitely a lot, but I’m so beyond grateful and blessed to be able to do all of this. I love what I do and I love all of my supporters! Without them, none of this would be possible!!