On an early October Monday, I was lucky enough to sit down (virtually, of course) with the, dare I say, spiciest, up-and-coming TikTok star, Sienna Mae Gomez (@siennamae – her main / @siennamaegomezz – her spam account) At 16 years-old, Sienna (also known as “Spicy Latina”) was bored during quarantine, and decided to make some fun, body-positivity content. Now, she’s amassed over 7 million followers and has had her picture taken by THE celebrity photographer (@bryant), been noticed by Lizzo, launched her YouTube channel, and will be releasing her own line of merchandise this week!
After a long school day for both of us, Sienna and I chatted about identity and influence, and of course, quarantine. By all accounts, Sienna has one of the best quarantine stories out there (unless you also made a viral TikTok account while you were locked in your house). She noted, “I started making these more positive videos, which started making me a more positive person.” I know, we’re obsessed with her, too.
Not only has Sienna made videos about body positivity, but she uses her platform to promote social justice and civic engagement, among other things. She has promoted voting and other ways to get involved (like pre-registering), and aided in raising awareness about the human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in China on a video that now has nearly five million views. On top of all of this, she is also a visibly Gen Z Latina. When I asked her what that means to her, to be known as a young Latinx influencer and powerhouse, she told me it was a “huge honor.” At a time of such discord and hate, Sienna is undoubtedly the social media messiah.
Since I’m on the older side of Gen Z as a 22-year-old, I was a bit worried to chat with Sienna. I had never gone on TikTok before, nor had I mastered a single dance – not even Renegade! Luckily, Sienna’s an expert. And, whether you knew it or not, she’s also a content creator who puts a lot of care and thought into what she makes. When I posited what differentiates her, Sienna told me that with her posts, she tries to incorporate meaning. Of course, like all of us, she has (and is more than allowed) her silly moments every now and then. But, with most of her content, she thinks, “What is somebody going to get out of this? Is this going to make someone’s day? What is the meaning behind this post? How is this helping?”
“Nobody wants to go on TikTok to feel worse about themselves.“Sienna Mae Gomez
TikTok, she explains, is in fact an escape. “Everyone has their stuff that they’re dealing with; in person, in life, and people go on social media to get away from that. Nobody wants to go on TikTok to feel worse about themselves. I try to keep it positive, authentic, and real.”
In the few weeks I was in contact with and setting up my interview with Sienna, her follower count more than doubled. “It’s so overwhelmingly fast,” she told me “…and I have the reassurance I am doing something right. I have a really great and loyal fanbase, and they’re coming back. I’m still learning and I’m growing… and I want to stick with it. I think it’s really important that influencers use their platforms for good causes.”
Not only is Sienna using her platform for good causes, but she’s using it for nutty ones too. Acorns, as her fans donned themselves semi-randomly, arose from Sienna’s iconic dance moves with her hands —the Squirrel Dance—which has become her brand. I don’t know about you, but she has single-handedly changed my recent emojis library (lots of 🐿💨) if I’m being honest.
When we asked what’s next, Sienna shared the imminent merch drop we are so excited about! She also shared that she hopes to, in a world where it is safe to do so, possibly have meet-ups, or maybe a tour. What she does know, she wants to meet fans in-person! For the time being, she plans to stay making authentic content. We know it won’t be long before Sienna is a household name!
JUV continues to be at the leading edge of what’s trending and who’s trending, where Gen Z stands and who they stan. (And we stan Sienna 1000%!) We were lucky enough to partner with Sienna for our #IAmTheVote campaign, and continue to make meaningful connections as a company with other stars and up-and-coming influencers through our influencer network, The Shoutout.
JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z.