Despite the “overnight” success enjoyed by many Gen Z influencers in 2022, viral fame isn’t for everyone. Where the highs include growth and connection with a global audience, and previously inconceivable career opportunities, inevitably come from the lows. But Olivia Ponton, with her 7.8 million TikTok and 3.5 million Instagram followers, takes both the highs and the lows in her stride – trying to be the best version of herself going. of road. We caught up with the creator, model and new NUDESTIX Ambassador to discuss being a role model, the pros and cons of social media, and coming out as a member of the LGBTQI+ community – in front of an audience of more than 10 million people.
In Naples, Florida, TikTok fame was understandably off the charts for Olivia growing up. Her heart set on attending Florida International University to pursue interior and international design studies, the now model and designer explains how the trajectory of her life has changed in recent years: [obviously] didn’t even end up going to college,” she says. “TikTok has completely opened my eyes to a new world and brought me so many life-changing opportunities.” One of them worked with NUDESTIX, as an ambassador and investor. “I was immediately drawn to [the brand]”, she explains of the partnership – which included the formulation of her dream shade, aptly named Sweet Cheeks. “I love the natural glow that cream-based formulas give you,” says Olivia – part of the inspiration behind developing her own shade.” Growing up in Florida, I’m used to having that glow after the beach all the time. When I moved to New York, I unfortunately lost that in the winter. So I wanted to create a product that would give the same effect.
And while moving from Florida to New York is undoubtedly a big change, so is this decision based on pursuing a career as a TikTok model — a career move that five years ago , was essentially not an option. Now at the top of her game, Olivia thinks to herself, “I wish I knew how much this was going to affect me. Living in my hometown, I was very sad and thought my life was nothing more than my hometown. Now I know how this amazing platform has given me the opportunity to reach millions of people across the world in different counties and I know that every person has their own path,” she says. Part of Olivia’s journey has been becoming a member of the LGBTQI+ community, while extremely intimidating at first, it has helped solidify her connection with her audience and followers, eliminating negativity in the process. “It was honestly terrifying at first, to have so many followers. I was so scared of [everyone’s] opinions… but luckily I got so much love. It was absolutely amazing to finally be able to express who I loved,” she says.
Drawing on her own experience, which she considers extremely positive, her goal is to be a good role model for her predominantly female audience. “I feel like when I was younger I never really had someone in the modeling space who was super real on social media. The girls I looked up to were perfect, everything time,” she says. Her goal now — “sometimes it’s okay to show that you’re not perfect.” Whether it’s encouraging a healthy relationship with food [she credits her personal attitude shift to starting to cook for herself], talking about her own sexuality or sharing information about the LGBTQI+ community, Olivia explains that the biggest learning she wants to pass on to her followers is “that other people’s opinions about you shouldn’t matter”, she says. “Growing up, we constantly seek validation from others when at the end of the day, all you really need to do is love yourself.” But, she’s the first to admit it’s not an easy journey. “Having [so many] opinion on [me] in [my] the comments section was definitely used to mess with my mind [health]she says, but now explains that she’s “reached a good place.” It doesn’t affect me.
A naturally positive and bubbly online character, Olivia explains that being a good role model comes naturally to her. “It doesn’t feel like a responsibility,” she says, although she takes it very seriously. Despite the overwhelming nature of having “so many eyes on you at once,” she explains the opportunity to be a role model”[is] something i am happy and honored to be able to [be for people]. Through my work, I can meet younger girls who have personally told me how much I have influenced their lives. Every time it makes me realize the impact [my content] has on others.
Having worked with brands ranging from American Eagle to Savage x Fenty and Herve Leger, Olivia’s trajectory is clearly on the rise…and with her ever-growing following and contagious positivity, it’s absolutely no surprise.
Shop NUDESTIX x Olivia Ponton from May 18, 2022, exclusively at Sephora Australia online.