We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.
TikTok is a stage, and Bailey Spinn (@baileyspinn) is using it to put her acting and music skills to the test.
The 20-year-old is known for posting acting challenges for her 14 million followers. Her challenges include only speaking in TikTok lingo, using song lyrics to tell a story, and speaking in rhyme. Spinn writes her own skits in “POV” style, imagining scenarios like what it would be like to wake up in a different year, or what would happen if you were given one of your soulmate’s senses.
Spinn is also now exploring another one of her passions: music. On April 6, she released her debut single, pop punk anthem “Romance is Dead,” which will be followed by two more singles in April and May leading up to an EP release this summer.
Spinn has also been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community. Growing up as a closeted pansexual in conservative Virginia, she now often speaks about her identity with her followers. In an interview with Passionfruit, Spinn explained how her identity empowered her career pursuits. She also shared insights on some of her most successful videos and how she pursued her music career.
The following interview is condensed and edited for clarity.
What was it like trying to express yourself online in a town where your identity was repressed?
I grew up being pushed down. People would make fun of me for my skin, my looks, and my weight. Pushing myself to post online every day was not something I was comfortable with, but it was a dream in the back of my head, and that’s what kept me going. I knew that once I saw success, I could keep going with it. It was something I wanted ever since I was a kid. I saw that opportunity, and that’s what allowed me to express myself even more. The excitement of reaching out to people and making new friends made me excited, too.
How did you find the confidence to start posting on social media?
I have always liked making silly content in my room. I was bored during quarantine, and I saw someone do a video that spoke to me and seemed kind of fun. I figured, what’s stopping me right now from making this video? I had nothing else to do. You couldn’t leave the house. You couldn’t even go on a walk. I loved doing makeup at the time, too. So I just got fully ready and made myself feel pretty. I had a ring light, set it up, and made the video. That’s when my confidence exploded because I realized I could do this. The only thing that was stopping me was me.
What was your first viral video?
It was a POV about being able to taste whatever your soulmate tastes. The series is supposed to be comedic, like [how I’d react if the soulmate was] eating hot sauce. I did a lot of innuendos, a lot of things that would make it funny and satirical. I wasn’t trying to be serious. That was the first video to ever reach one million views for me. I didn’t expect it to resonate with anyone, but people took a liking to the series very quickly.
Why do you think your POVs resonate with viewers?
The videos are lighthearted, comedic, and easy to watch. They can boost people’s moods and help them escape. You can watch my video and suddenly, you’re learning about a girl and her soulmate instead of focusing on your homework, for example. They’re short-form stories where you don’t have to worry about whose side you’re on. You just get to watch. They’re pretty straightforward, and people get addicted to them. Once you get into a series, you just keep watching.
What’s your secret to creating viral content?
I feel like the videos that go viral are the ones I barely think about. I do a lot of comedy improv. Those videos always perform the best because I’m being authentic. Whenever I’ve scripted, my videos don’t connect with people as well. I also struggle with remembering lines. I love just opening my camera and seeing what comes out.
What software or hardware tools do you use to produce videos?
I use my iPhone camera. I definitely could improve my video quality a bit on my TikTok. I use TikTok editing features because they’ve upgraded them, and my videos don’t require intense editing.
Sometimes, I use CapCut if I’m feeling spicy. I use the iMovie app on my phone to edit for my YouTube channel. I don’t like to go too crazy. Some of the tools out there are really expensive, and they get confusing when they have so many features. I’m just trying to cut a clip in half!
What made you decide to break into music?
I’ve always loved music. I started creating content because I was obsessed with theater. … But I was too anxious to ever tell anyone that I thought I could sing.
I realized at the beginning of 2022 that I was keeping myself in a box, and there was nothing stopping me from singing. I had every platform available to me to start singing and playing the guitar. I bought myself an electric guitar and took vocal lessons. That was a big leap for me because before, I could barely send a video to my manager of me singing. My vocal coach helped me build confidence. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop.
You purposely left out gender pronouns in your upcoming songs. What inspired that decision?
I’ve felt excluded many times in my life. I’m sure other people have as well. Every time I listen to songs, I wish that I could fully relate to them. Since I’m pansexual, I like a lot of different people, and sometimes, the pronouns in songs don’t match up with how I’m feeling or who I’m feeling it about.
When making my music, I left pronouns completely out of the picture so that I wouldn’t be blocking off any groups from being able to listen and relate. I don’t think the pronouns need to be in there. My songs get the message across without them. They’re a safe space for everyone.
What is the main message behind your music you hope listeners will take away?
I really hope that people take my music seriously. It’s difficult to make the jump from being a TikToker to being a full-blown musician coming out with a lot of songs. I hope that people will see my true passion for music and that I’m not just doing this to grab attention. I’m trying to build a space where people can listen to my music, feel the exact same thing I’m feeling and relate to me. I want to create a community for everyone.