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04th Sep 2023

Her chats to Shanice Griffin on feeling the fear and doing it anyway

Jody Coffey

“It’s better to say ‘oh well’ than ‘what if?'”

I sit down across from Shanice Griffin having her hair blowdried for the Her Digital Cover by celebrity hairstylist Lydia O’Caroll, and it just looks right.

Immediately, you can tell she would easily fit right into the world of stardom, but we’ll get to that later.

The 24-year-old, since 2019, has amassed over 40,000 followers on Instagram and close to 500,000 followers on TikTok for her original content.

Shanice is somewhat of a jack of all trades as a digital creator; dance, music, art, fashion, humour – you name it, the Dublin native can do it.

Where it all began

“But how did you get into this world? What inspired you to take the leap?” I asked. Well, it seems we have Gary Vaynerchuck, a.k.a. Gary Vee, to thank every time we see Shanice grace our FYPs.

Shanice has been following the Chairman of Vayner Media since 2015 and describes him as one of her ‘favourite’ people, so it’s no wonder she took his incredibly foresighted advice.

She began posting in August of 2019, and by December of that year, she had gained a following of 10,000.

We all know what came next; Lockdown.

“Obviously everyone was at home. They’re on their phones. So it was a good time to be posting content. He [Gary Vee] came out saying that TikTok is going to be the next big platform, and I was like, ‘This man is 99.9% right all the time.’

“So, I was like, ‘Yeah. I’m going to hop on that trend; if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.'”

And boy, did it work.

In 2020, Shanice was invited on Tea With Gary Vee with her digital hero, where she thanked him for the advice to jump on the TikTok bandwagon before it took off.

Seeking the advice from the Internet guru, she asked if she should follow a niche or continue to post content in all of her interests. If you follow Shanice, you already know she’s not a girl to be pigeonholed so, you know what Vee’s advice was.

@itshanice_ Obsessed with your dance!! @Liam Maughan ?‍? #paintthetownred #dojacat ♬ Paint The Town Red – Doja Cat

Musical beginnings

Last month, Shanice performed live for the first time with EV Wilde and DJ David Ryan’s cover of James Blunt’s ‘1973’ during the Live on the Harbour music festival in Dun Laoghaire.

Describing her segue into music as something she ‘fell into’ this year, and despite her visible confidence on stage during Dublin rap duo, Versatile’s set, she said the reality backstage at Live on The Harbour was a lot different.

“When I tell you my insides felt like they were going to fall out, I was shaking that much before I went on stage. But it was one of those things where I wanted to feel the fear and do it anyway,” she confesses.

“So I was like, what’s the worst that can happen? I go up on stage and have a Pitch Perfect moment where I puke all over everyone. Like that’s the worst thing that can happen,” Shanice laughs.

It’s her humour and honesty around her fear that reveal to me why she is so popular right now – her achievements, despite the fact I can’t carry a tune or dance, make me feel like I can relate to her.

Speaking about performing live, she says her fears and nerves dissipated as soon as she put her feet on that stage and the experience brought home what she loves most and connected her right back to her childhood.

“It felt so good because I used to dance on stage all the time when I was younger, and like that, I’d be nervous before going on stage. But when I’m on stage, it just vanishes.”

Even Beyonce getting nervous is something Shanice reminds herself of whenever she feels those stage fears cropping up, but ultimately her mum’s advice is that ‘nerves are a good thing’ rings through in those moments.

Fans & foes

When Shanice posted a video of her live performance, she learned that the Irish will always have your back and support you.

“I’ve gotten so many lovely comments from people. Even on the day when I was there, I had people coming up to me being like, ‘I’m so proud of you for doing that,’ or ‘your video saying that you were really nervous – that’s such a good thing to do.’

“I forget that there are real people behind the accounts that follow me. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when you just see a profile picture and a name. When people actually say it in person, it’s like, ‘Oh, you are paying attention.'”

In parallel, sadly, where good exists, badness lurks in the shadows—more often than not under a fake profile on Instagram.

Shanice, despite being widely popular and well liked in the real and digital world, has been the target of trolling since her success started to grow.

This is something she doesn’t allow to discourage her, in fact, she says she ‘feels sorry’ for anyone who feels the need to make disparaging comments online.

“I’ve gotten loads of nasty comments, but I’ve always been an empathetic person, so I know when someone says something mean to me, they have deeper issues of their own.

“So, it’s a thing of trying not to take it personally and reminding myself that everyone has their own demon that they’re battling. I feel sorry for them.”

Content & Confidence

You may be wondering where the Bluebell-born TikTok sensation gets her confidence, because I certainly found myself selfishly wanting to know her secret.

Watching her content is like watching your little sister dance in the living room or going shopping with a close pal, so once Shanice revealed the steps she takes before coming on camera, everything about her content made sense.

“A lot of people are afraid of the camera, like it’s their biggest enemy. You just need to think of the camera as your friend. I want people to feel like they’re on the journey with me.

“Whenever I go to make content or TikTok, or whatever it may be, I always try to put myself in a position where I want the person on the other end of the screen to feel like they’re on FaceTime with me as a friend. I don’t want to feel forced or scripted in any way.”

There you have it. It turns out that changing your mindset around the camera is key, and judging by the numbers on Shanice’s videos, I’d take that advice and run if you’re thinking of a career online.

It’s no surprise that Shanice reveals herself as an Aquarius; clever, truthful, assertive, confident, progressive, and innovative are all things that ring through both online and in person.

These are also traits that are necessary to survive in the ever-evolving world of content creation.

Acting dreams

Looking to the future, with so many possibilities before her, I found myself wondering what is next for the internet sensation, as her energy feels too big to be contained on a phone-sized screen.

Shanice emanates a Derry Girls vibe—fast-paced, no-holds-barred humour, and relatable—and she immediately laughs when I tell her I think this.

“I always get told that I look like Michelle [Mallon]. She’s amazing,” she reveals.

“I would absolutely love to. I’ve seen so many creators over the last few years building their portfolios because casting directors are searching for new talent on TikTok. So, 100%, I’m trying to grab that with both hands.”

She lives her life with the philosophy that it’s better to say ‘Oh, well’ than ‘What if?’ and this is something I have no hesitation believing when I ask Shanice what her ultimate goals are for the future.

With content creation, there is already an element of acting to it. It has to seem natural and be engaging as well as entertaining to keep your followers growing.

This bodes well for Shanice as one of her biggest goals is to see herself enter the movie or TV show industry, with Adam Sandler as her dream co-star.

The 24-year-old wants to ‘exhaust every avenue’ to see what works and what doesn’t.

In terms of genre, it comes as no surprise that she says comedy would be her top choice, but she is open to any and all opportunities that social media throws her way.

Since coming online, Shanice credits social media for ‘opening’ her up to a ‘whole new world of friendship’ and spoke of those friends, her mum and entire family, as well as Gary V, who have all been instrumental in helping her onto the path she is walking now.

“I feel like it’s also given me a lot more confidence. I would have been able to speak to people before and hold a conversation, but I feel like I can really engage with people properly now and get my point across.

“I don’t think I could do that a few years ago, as I’d be holding back in certain ways. I feel like I can be my full, authentic self now.

“The thing I love about it [content creation] as well is that literally anybody can do it. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how much money you have.”

Following my chat with Shanice, I immediately went and followed Gary Vee. Here’s hoping what he puts out there is as successful for me as it was for our Digital Cover Star.

We are so excited to see what’s next for the TikTok sensation.

Interviewee: Shanice Griffin @itshanice

Photography: Amber O’Shea @o.shea.o

Hair: Lydia O’Carroll @lydiaocarrollhairstylist

Make-up: Jenna Rachel Canning of Makeup-Junkies International @makeupjunkiesinternational

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