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Mikayla Campinos on the Beauty, and Dark Side, of Social Media

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May 14 2024, Published 2:55 a.m. ET

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Mikayla Campinos is not afraid to say that social media has shaped her as a person. Having gone through the ups and downs of having a large platform at a young age, the influencer understands that the world of the internet can be both beautiful and cruel.

“I was exposed to this whole new world,” she says, “which was a big learning experience for me in many ways.”

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Mikayla began her journey into the world of social media at fourteen when she unexpectedly happened upon TikTok in early 2021. During this time, she says that she posted simple everyday videos, such as lip syncs, making videos that followed popular trends, and, in her own words, “just having fun.” One morning, out of nowhere, a video of her eating a chocolate cookie skyrocketed to one million views overnight and she realized she could potentially shape herself as an influencer.

“I was shocked,” she says, “but also continued to post like normal.”

Since that time, she has grown her TikTok account to 870,000 followers. With over 44.4 million likes on her TikTok platform, it’s clear that her content resonates with people, especially those who view authentic content as something they can relate to.

However, for as much internet acknowledgment as she has garnered, Mikayla says that she has encountered the dark side of social media, mainly when it comes to her privacy. When people began to approach her in public spaces to ask for photos or to film TikToks, she would always say yes. Unfortunately, she says that some people have taken it too far, to the point where she’s been followed in public, her phone number and address have been leaked, and her family has been harassed.

“That’s when I think it got really scary to me,” Mikayla says. “I had never thought of myself differently compared to any other teenage girl my age. I just did TikTok like everyone else. Nobody else I knew had to deal with what I did.”

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Mikayla’s new challenge is balancing her privacy as she continues to grow her online platform. She has since moved cities and says that she keeps her circle of people “very small,” in part because she feels certain people dehumanize creators and go to extreme lengths to compromise their personal information.

“Creators already post their whole lives on the Internet, but people always want more,” she says.

However, even with the unfortunate side of internet celebrity, Mikayla has taken positives from it, mainly in her fanbase. As someone who grew up following and looking up to various YouTubers, she says she understands that certain “spark” that one receives when their favorite creator interacts with them and tries to replicate that when interacting with her fans.

“I express myself with my feelings and experiences in my relatable content,” she says. “I express myself with my art, I express myself through posting about my life on social media.”

Her favorite part of everything she’s done, however, is growing her platform, and creating a sense of community with her audience.

“I love meeting people,” she says. “It feels like I’ve started a family on the Internet.”

If her interactions on TikTok and Instagram show anything, it’s that Mikayla has created the community most could only dream of.

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