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.
M3GAN—a new horror film tinged with comedy about an artificial intelligence doll—haunted and entertained audiences across movie theaters and social media alike since its December 2022 debut.
Behind the voice of the leading doll character is 18-year-old actress Jenna Davis (@itsjennadavis), who is also a creator and influencer. Davis garnered a massive social media following for vlogs, song covers, takes on current trends, and nods to her acting career—with over 4.4 million followers on TikTok, 2 million on Instagram, and 2 million on YouTube.
Davis is a seasoned actress, well-known for playing Sienna on Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home and starring in several other children-and-teen-targeted television shows, including Vampirina, Treehouse Detectives, Chicken Girls, and A Girl Named Jo.
In an interview with Passionfruit, Davis discussed how her social media career folded into her acting pursuits. She also described what it’s like starring in a movie in a digital age, how viral content helped further the success of M3GAN, tips for other creators, and more.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What is it like juggling a career as a content creator and actress?
I enjoy both outlets of creativity. It feels like a blessing that I’m able to express myself. But it can be difficult to juggle at times. I take college classes and do music on top of acting and social media. Scheduling can be difficult because someone may want me on one date, and someone may want me on the other. I have to make sure I’m keeping track of everything.
But I like being able to blend social media and acting. My audiences combine. So if people watch my content, they can also watch M3GAN and other productions I’m a part of.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different. In the industry, everything is extremely unpredictable. One day you could be on set, one day you could be in the studio, and one day you could be auditioning. Nothing is ever repetitive. It’s always new, but that’s what makes it fun. Your whole life can change in a second.
I take online classes every day, whether in the morning or evening. I enjoy working out, so I squeeze that in there. … And then typically, I’ll do a few pieces of content a day, like brand deals. I’m always just filming, trying to get content out there and engage my audience.
Do you find it easier to grow on social media because you are already an established actress? Do people recognize you from movies and TV when they come across your account?
Social media is so big, and there’s so many creators now, it can be difficult to find people. Some people will see my content and recognize me. But when it comes to M3GAN or acting projects I’ve been a part of that don’t feature my face, it can be difficult. When people see M3GAN, unless they search it up, they don’t hear my voice and recognize it. Some people recognize me more from Raven’s Home. Some people find my account and then later realize acting is a part of my journey.
What are your favorite hardware and software tools for content creation?
Most of the time, it’s me, my ring light, my Canon M50, and my iPhone! I use the DIVA Ring Light. I don’t like to go overboard with my equipment. I don’t use any crazy hardware or tools for content creation. I’ve used my camera and ring light for years. I’m satisfied with the quality and how it performs, so I’ve kept it!
Do you have any specific tips for engaging with fans?
It’s so important to be yourself and be consistent. Your audience won’t stick around if you never post. I also try to be as engaging as I can with my audience. I truly love to get to know more about my followers. I reply to comments, do weekly live streams, and create content that allows them to relate to or express something about themselves.
What types of videos did you create related to your new movie, M3GAN?
I mainly stick to trending audios and give them a comedic twist on TikTok. I thought of different sounds that would be fun to incorporate M3GAN into. There was this one song where you had to say “for real” [over the song “On BS” by Drake and 21 Savage]. I said it in M3GAN’s voice so people could make that connection. I love coming up with ways to try and bring people to the film.
Clips from M3GAN have gone viral on TikTok. In your eyes, what is it about your character that is generating so much online traction?
M3GAN is someone who fits in this generation. She has an Instagram and a TikTok. She has a personality that a lot of people are enjoying because she’s sassy, but she can also be pretty psycho at some points. … It’s really just how fun the film is that has attracted so many people, whether young or old. I’ve seen 11-year-olds watching it, and it’s a horror film!
What tips do you have for people who want to blend an acting career with a social media career?
Don’t be afraid, and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. Create and be consistent. Consistency is everything, especially on social media. Have fun with it and show who you are. People are going to fall in love with you if you’re yourself. Don’t be afraid to hide that. Embrace it.