Introducing our Valentine’s special
Her’s February Digital Cover Star is none other than Lauren Whelan
If you have an account on TikTok, it’s likely that you’ve stumbled across Lauren’s page, got hooked, and started following her.
It’s not every day you meet the person behind an account that amasses millions of followers and fans. In real life, she is as down to earth and social as she comes across in her ‘Get Ready With Me’ videos.
Isn’t that the mystery of content creators? You never really know if their on-screen personality is the same off-screen.
After all, it is a job, and you wouldn’t blame them for splitting themselves into two.
With Lauren, I learned quickly that it’s all her.
She has taught her followers so much about beauty, so it’s a foreign sight for me to see her having her glam done by someone else.
An extremely talented duo, consisting of makeup artist Cian Macken and hair stylist Kon Kelly, get to work on the content creator’s face and fierce red hair as we delve into the how and why of what makes Lauren a household name across multiple demographics.
Where did it all begin?
Downloading TikTok for fun at 16 is something millions of teenagers do – for a small few, it has the potential to develop into a full-time job.
Lauren, who was a Transition Year student at the time, began using TikTok out of boredom and never predicted it would take off for her in the way it did.
Today, the influencer has secured the attention of upwards of 1.7 million followers on the platform, which, given the enormous volumes of content uploaded to the app daily, is no easy feat.
“I was pumping out videos when I should have been studying.”Lauren Whelan
When most of us were baking banana bread and hosting quizzes via Zoom, Lauren threw herself into content creation during the Covid-19 pandemic, as she explains: “I was pumping out videos when I should have been studying. I then got reached out to by my first agency [in 2020] and that was the point where I was kind of like, ‘Oh, people can do this for a living’.”
During this time of online growth, the 22-year-old – who now appears on millions of FYP’s on the app everyday – began to see that this could lead to real career prospects and opportunities.
It was at this point that Lauren made a decision that would alter the course of her life: Changing her CAO choices to align with content creation. She ended up switching her CAO choice from Sports Rehab to Media and PR.
Upon reflection, Lauren admits that this life-changing choice means her course worked in tandem with her budding online career, giving her a better understanding of how to navigate it.
Finding her niche
If you’re an avid viewer of Lauren’s content, you’ll know that she loves a long-form video just as much as she loves taking part in a quick video trend.
This format, for me, resembles Molly-Mae Hague’s vlogs; she sits down, takes her time, does her makeup or goes about her day and chats, going well over the usual 60-second timeframe that many use on TikTok.
By doing this, the viewer also gets to take in Lauren’s content at a slower pace, meaning they can get to know her a little bit better than the average creator.
The 22-year-old shares everything with her community: cleaning her bedroom, doing her makeup, mental health days, ‘Get Ready With Me’s’ and so on, but her real focus is beauty.
She admits that beauty content is predominately what she watches as a social media user. This is what led her to do what she loves most with her content and the numbers on her videos would suggest that people also absolutely adore it too.
“I was quite surprised that when I was doing those longer videos, they were doing better than my shorter videos. People have always said that long-form content doesn’t really work anymore. But I think it’s like coming back. Like it came out, everyone’s attention spans got a little shorter… They’re getting longer again!
Over the years, her TikTok account has maintained popularity with a variety of videos that range from 10 seconds all the way to eight minutes, with her follower count steadily rising.
Like most teenagers who venture into something different, it can come with a lack of understanding or mockery from your peers. Having thick skin is something that is necessary to thrive in the content creation space, where anonymous trolls run rampant.
When Lauren decided to lean into the possibility of making a name for herself online, she experienced trolling for the first time. She says, “when I started, I was in school, and doing something a little bit different when you’re in school is a little bit scary.
“I would walk through the halls, and people would be shouting things like, “TikTok! TikTok! Renegade! Renegade!” at me.
“Anyone doing better than you, isn’t going to hate on you.”Lauren Whelan
“It was just like the people in the year under me. But it’s still a little bit intimidating, and there could have been another person at school that might have wanted to do that [content creation], but because they saw how people were talking to me, they might not have pursued it. Anyone doing better than you, isn’t going to hate on you.”
This logic could also have been applied to Lauren if she been a little less strong or sure of herself. If that had been the case, we may never have gotten to meet and know one of Ireland’s top creators.
While trolling seems to be fizzling out – to a degree – Lauren still faces criticism, but she says her followers and supporters outweigh the worthless opinions of online bullies, as she explains: “It’s something I’ve gotten so used to, and maybe at the beginning, I did get like a little bit of hate or just nasty comments. It’s not so bad anymore.
“I actually wouldn’t change anything about my job for the world because it might be tough at the beginning, but like any job, you learn and you adapt. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing until I can’t do it anymore and I don’t really see this job going out anytime soon.
People who used to say, ‘Oh, it’s not like a long lasting career. It’s not gonna last, but it seems to be!”
With this mindset, fans gained a fierce and sassy TikTok girlfriend for life.
“The best thing about my job is that people come up and chat to me like, ‘Oh, I see you passed you driving test!’ or ‘I got this product because of you.’ It’s like we’re all friends. They’ll talk to me like know each other… And it feels like we do!”
Given Lauren’s love of longer-form video and sharing her life, the natural next step has to be TV – whether it’s presenting or participating in reality TV shows. We see more of her life than most other influencers offer up through her eight-minute videos, but it’s still just a glimpse all the same.
Lauren immediately echoes my thoughts, expressing her desire to take to the small screen: “I love ‘Living With Lucy’! I know it’s not the same thing, but she’s going into people’s lives and trying to understand what their lives are like. That’s so interesting to me.
“I think I’d like to do that at some point. I’ve always said I wanted to do a bit more TV, even presenting,” she continues.
Dancing With The Stars
With a background in dance and gymnastics, I have to wonder if she’ll follow in her pal and fellow creator, Miriam Mullins’, footsteps and take to the dancefloor on screen? “I’ve also said for like the last three years, ‘Get me on Dancing With The Stars!’ I would just love it.
“One of my New Year’s resolutions was to like get back into dancing. I feel like I said that when you get older, you kind of lose your hobbies a little bit. I don’t do any of the things I loved when I was younger; I would do horse riding, dancing, gymnastics, and drawing, and I don’t do any of that anymore.
“I think I need to get back into my hobbies, and dancing is something I’d love to get back into. If that opportunity arose, I would absolutely take it.”
As we embrace Lauren in the online space, we hope to welcome her onto our TVs very soon. We may also be hearing the Carlow native’s voice in the podcasting world very soon. The social media star revealed she has plans in the pipeline to take over the podcasting space in 2024 with a co-host but she remains tight-lipped on the details for now.
When it drops, we will be ready.
Makeup by Cian Macken
Hair by Kon Kelly
Photography by Her’s Amber O’Shea
Behind the Scenes Content by Her’s Tríona Collins
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- Her chats to Shanice Griffin on feeling the fear and doing it anyway