From Trojan to TikTok Star

Hamili+calls+her+3.6+million+followers+%22chicken+nuggets%22+after+she+started+one+of+her+videos+with+the+intro+%22What%27s+popping%2C+chicken+nuggets%3F%22%0A%28Photo+Courtesy%3A+Six+Degrees+of+Influence%29

Hamili calls her 3.6 million followers “chicken nuggets” after she started one of her videos with the intro “What’s popping, chicken nuggets?” (Photo Courtesy: Six Degrees of Influence)

Emily Zimmerman

     Tik Tok is an app, released in September of 2016, that allows for users to view and share short videos in genres such as comedy, drama, and education. These videos can be as short as 3 seconds or as long as a minute. In September of 2019, Senior Maile Hamili joined the popular app. She began making videos on the app for fun and to make her friends laugh. However, to her surprise, her account has since gained a lot of attention, earning Hamili 3.6 million followers and a verification check mark. 

     “The thing that I enjoy about making content is when people show their appreciation for the effort that I put behind it and my supporters. That’s pretty much what I do it for because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Hamili. 

     Hamili creates Special Effects (SFX) makeup videos. These Tik Toks are typically horror themed. A day or two before she films, Hamili finds a sound, the music in the background of the video, that interests her. She then plans out what type of look she will do, and depending on that, she prepares prosthetics or any other material she may need. Then, Hamili usually films at night so it’s dark and she can use her LED lights.

     “My favorite tik tok. I posted this recent one. It was a makeup video. It was like, it threw off so much people because I did a transition where like, do you know what Attack on Titan is? Yeah, so that has to be one of my favorite tik toks ever, when I transitioned from innocent, to a whole entire Titan. That’s my favorite video so far,” Hamili said. 

     Hamili’s videos have collectively gained 73.2 million likes. Having such a big platform has allowed her to gain attention from all over.

     “My biggest achievement would probably be Cardi B retweeting my post. That was crazy. That and then Lizzo. She duetted one of my tik toks. Pretty much these huge celebrities noticing me. It’s kind of funny because I’m this small chick, on an island and these huge people up in the mainland. It’s pretty crazy,” said Hamili.

     Hamili says she gets recognized when she goes out due to having such a big platform on social media. While she has been able to build her platform here, Hamili does say that living in Hawai’i as a creator has it’s obstacles.

     “The thing is most of the creators are in the mainland. They can make collabs with each other because all the states are put together, they can just drive and meet up with each other, but I’m in the middle of the ocean,” Hamili said. ”They have to fly an entire plane to me and stuff. It’s hard trying to collab with other people, but other than that I’m pretty much, well, I kind of feel left out, because they’re so far away with all the other creators and stuff. But, I’m chilling.”

     Hamili intends to use her platform to be able to gain more recognition. She wants to continue to grow on social media so she can gain enough attention to reach her goal of eventually becoming a tattoo artist. She intends on going to college for art so she can own a two story building that contains both her art gallery and tattoo shop. Hamili has had the opportunity to express her artistic side to paint a mural for Jeans Warehouse Pearlridge. She was supposed to paint another mural for them for their Ala Moana location but because of COVID-19, she is unsure when that will happen, but she hopes there will be another mural of hers in the future.

     Away from Tik Tok, Hamili enjoys watching anime, spending time with family and friends and going to the beach.