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.
This week, we caught up with Kadija Moulton, aka sativadiva1997, via email. You may recognize Kadija from their “baked takes” on TikTok. In this notorious series, the former film student gets stoned and provides some much-needed film and television analysis. For example, which Squid Game characters could defeat them in a go-cart kart race? Which Anastasia characters could pilot a helicopter? Which Kung Fu Panda characters could parallel park a monster truck?
Kadija also showcases some incredible vintage outfits, hairstyles, and makeup looks. Their unique style of comedy and art has garnered the attention of over 329,000 followers on TikTok.
The interview below has been condensed and edited.
What’s the first thing you do to start your day online?
I try not to even look at my phone until after I’ve finished breakfast, but I also have a very bad habit of opening up TikTok and falling down the rabbit hole that is my For You page. It’s nice to sit back and see the latest trends going on, what my mutuals have been up to, and discover new creators without thinking about my own stuff. Due to the way my FYP is set up, I know I’m always in for a good laugh, and I love starting my day off in what internet scholars might refer to as “a silly goofy mood.”
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out as a creator?
I actually started my TikTok strictly as a way to document my outfits and makeup looks, if you can believe it. I wasn’t trying to do any sort of comedy or even use my actual voice at all, so I spent that first month or so just hiding behind trending sounds and doing videos where I didn’t speak, which was fun, but nothing like using my voice to create something of my own. I suppose I wish I could have known I was only one thoroughly unhinged, thirsty TikTok about Stanley Tucci away from changing my life (and digital footprint) forever.
When did you realize you’d broken through and become a successful creator?
I think success in terms of being a content creator really depends on what you’re measuring that term by. The amount of followers, likes, etc doesn’t hold much value for me personally, as I don’t have a particular goal in that regard and never imagined I’d ever get where I am now. In terms of monetization, I’m really fortunate to have had collaborations with truly phenomenal brands that have trusted me to create on their behalf, carte blanche. But I think success to me in this particular scope is all about my mental health, and maintaining a balance between being/creating online and being fully present in the physical world. I was having a really rough go of it this summer and I think I’ve only recently hit the point where I’m creating with respect to my own boundaries from a place of joy and fun as opposed to pressure from fans and a fear of becoming obsolete.
If you hadn’t become a creator, what would you be doing right now?
I graduated from USC last year with a degree in screenwriting, so I suppose I’d be doing something in that realm at an entry/assistant level. Writing professionally is still my ultimate goal, however, I’m very grateful for this bizzare influencer interlude that’s been going on for the past few months because I left film school feeling extremely burnt out on top of facing a full industry shutdown. Full-time content creation gave me the opportunity to connect with my creativity in a way that reminded me of why I love writing in the first place, albeit rather unconventionally. And I think I’m finally ready to get back out there and refocus my energy a bit more on my writing career. After all, I’ve got quite a few new stories to tell!
What’s one thing you do to manage your relationship with your fans?
I try to go Live on a semi-regular basis, which I think gives us a chance to just hang out in a less formal capacity(not that my TikToks are in any way formal, to begin with). Sometimes I do my makeup and answer questions, other times I’m just kinda bopping along to music and chatting about life and fandom-related stuff. It really depends on what I’m feeling up to on the day.
What do you think of the idea of cancel culture?
Cancel culture is complicated, for sure. People make mistakes, and depending on the offense and the scale of that person’s platform, dollars to donuts they’ll get dragged for it. I think that should be a wake-up call/opportunity to take accountability, apologize with sincerity, and do better—which I believe everyone deserves. People talk a lot about accountability, but I’ve yet to see someone who has gotten “cancelled” have that translate in a concrete way, especially when it comes to influencers. Most of them still have gigantic platforms, brand deals, and haven’t even apologized for the thing that got them cancelled in the first place. Some even benefit from being cancelled. I’ve noticed this to be especially true of individuals who have been exposed for wrongdoings against Black creators in regards to cultural appropriation, content theft, and slur usage. So as it stands, I think cancel culture is still in many ways, a myth.
How much of your true self do you show online?
I give a lot, perhaps at times too much, of my authentic self to my platform. That being said, I also have very strict boundaries. I don’t play games when it comes to my loved ones and I think posting about my private life in terms of family or my relationship with my significant other would be a mistake. Having haters comes with having a platform, but I have no interest in exposing people I care deeply for to that kind of energy for the sake of clout. On the flip side, people oftentimes mean well and are genuinely curious, but the undercurrent of that is still this sort of entitlement to know someone more than they’ve elected to share. Having a presence online can be very overwhelming, and I’m extremely thankful that my private life is not only still private but a stable, loving oasis away from that.
What’s one of the best interactions you’ve ever had with someone who follows you?
Oh, boy. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve gotten recognized in a public restroom! For some reason, I always meet the best people there. About a month ago I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday at a bar and I ran into a group of very lovely, very inebriated ladies that follow me on TikTok while waiting in line for the bathroom. For the first fifteen seconds it was just this crazy feedback loop of shocked, happy screaming between the five of us. They were so kind and respectful about asking for pictures, and we had a really fun chat about Baked Takes for a bit before going our separate ways (or stalls, I should say). I’m still quite flustered and embarrassed whenever it comes to being spotted in real life and I’m not sure when it’ll stop feeling like I’m in The Twilight Zone, but I definitely felt safe and loved that night.
What is your most treasured tool?
Easy. My mushroom bong.
What holds you accountable?
NSYNC put it best: it’s gonna be me. In that regard, I am my biggest fan and harshest critic. I manage myself, which means I have to be the one to set my schedule in terms of posting (the in-app Analytics page is a good friend of mine!). In terms of the content itself, what’s most important to me is that I’m enjoying the process of creation, and what I’m putting out into the world isn’t malicious or hurting anyone (including myself) in any way. In these times laughter is a gift, and if I can make even one person crack a smile with my content, I’ve done my job.
Thank you, Kadija, for talking with us!
We’ll be featuring a new Q&A with a creator every week, so shoot an email to [email protected] for a chance to be included.