Issey Moloney rewrites the narrative around modern influencer culture

The 17-year-old TikTok star talks to us about her blossoming career, her inspirations and her personal style.

There’s no denying that TikTok has a mighty grip across generations, but what’s so often overlooked is the intrinsic power of influence that comes from the app’s most passionate and relevant content creators – a precedent which is far from lost on the 17-year-old former TikTok star Issey Moloney. Having already garnered 5.7 million subscribers on the app, Issey ranked among the top ten content creators in the UK and has since carved out her own path in the influencer industry thanks to her reliability, style and his musical tastes.

While some of the biggest brands in the business have already taken on the teenage ascendancy, Issey has partnered with Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube, Jack Wills, Rimmel, Look Fantastic and more. Also using his platform for promotion, Issey helped Tion Wayne and Russ Million’s track “Body” become the first drill song to hit number one in the UK. Her video for the song has garnered over 10 million views, which has helped the catchy song rack up 71,000 chart sales and 10.7 million streams to date. Featuring up to eight tracks a week in her videos, her partnerships with labels like Universal and Warner & Sony have led her to work with artists like Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Elton John and Dua Lipa.

Speaking about his rise on the platform, Issey explains: “My parents are divorced, after a move and a new school, I felt out of place and I had a hard time making new friends. When the lockdown started I had mental health issues; I was open about it on TikTok and posted some pretty personal videos of myself crying, just to let people know that it’s really okay to express your emotions. As a result, I had a bit of trolling, but I got a lot more messages from people saying I made them feel less alone, and that made me want to keep going.”

On a mission to prove the often overlooked power of social media presence, Issey spoke to us about his experience on TikTok and what it takes to build a career in a digital world. For a look at Issey, his influences, and his on-trend style, scroll below…

Hi Issey, how are you? How has the past year been for you?
A lot of things happened. I went from finishing my GCSEs to leaving my parents’ house to live in London. It has been both overwhelming and exciting. So much happened in the last year that it was surreal, almost like a dream.

Let’s start at the beginning, when did you start creating TikToks?
In the beginning, TikTok was called musically and I started on this platform when I was nine years old. I had always liked this app just for its speed and for the fact that there was always something new to watch. It then moved to TikTok and I decided I wanted to be a creator on the app, but it wasn’t until the first covid lockdown that I started to get noticed. I wasn’t really concerned with how many views I had, it was more about how much I enjoyed creating content and helping others.

And you’re only 17! Do you feel pressure to be a medium on social media?
Most of the time I don’t! Sometimes I look at other people my age online or celebrities who are also my age and it sometimes makes me compare myself to them, but I don’t think it’s overall negative. I think it just makes me want to challenge myself more and set myself new goals. I feel like sometimes people try to pressure me to do or not do things online but I try to watch what everyone is commenting on and not just do what’s best for me and I take advice from friends and family, but I take advice from reviews quite often.

How do you juggle content creation and your education?
I decided to quit school for many reasons and I know most people would think it was because of social media, but there is much more than this reason. I feel like with education it’s important to stick around until you feel like you can’t really push yourself anymore, and I realized I found my passion in social media . I tried to continue that and college, but found the course I was taking wasn’t as difficult as doing it in real life. So I followed the same career path without a degree. But I recommend everyone to stay in school personally! I just didn’t see myself going to college in the future.

It’s fair to say that social media has completely changed your life, what has been the biggest change for you?
I think social media has changed my life in many ways yes! Both positively and negatively. I think one of the biggest benefits of social media for me has been being able to meet like-minded people and bond as a content creator on the app. I also feel like being on social media has matured me a lot because there are a lot of people making sure you don’t make any mistakes. You really have to look at yourself and do everything a normal teenager would do without the mistakes. Which is sometimes difficult because it’s so easy to make mistakes during this time in your life. That’s why I think it made me mature faster than other people my age because I have to be a role model for others and make sure I’m a good influence and help people.

Moving to London from Kent, how would you say it impacted your career?
Yes. Before I started making a career out of social media, I lived in Kent and lived in a small town called Benenden. So there was very little to do, which was good, but when I started social media there were so many new opportunities, but they were all in London. So I thought the best choice for my career would be to move to London. I also always wanted to live there when I was a kid, so it was amazing to finally be able to fulfill this dream of my life.

And you’ve worked with some amazing people in your career, what was your biggest pinch moment?
I think there were a lot of pinch moments for me more than I could name. But some of the biggest for me were when I attended the House of Gucci premiere because I was lucky enough to find myself in the same room as Lady Gaga who has been an icon to me for many years. of my childhood and which continued to be throughout my adolescence. So it was so surreal to be invited to watch the premiere.

Many people criticize TikToks influencers and stars for their careers, what would you say to these people?
I think it’s hard to figure out what to say because I know that before I became a creator myself, I had a really hard time understanding the influencer world and industry. Like when you look at them, you only see 15 seconds to a maximum of ten minutes of their lives, so it’s hard to judge everything from that. So the best advice I can give would be “you never know what it’s like until you’re in their shoes”. I think people sometimes have to remember that most of these influencers are also growing up and are teenagers who are going to make mistakes in life. We just have to remember that they are human too, and we shouldn’t be so hard on the little things unless they harm society.

Who do you think inspires you?
Bella Hadid, she grew up on social networks with TV and then moved on to modeling. I love her style, her kindness and her work as a model. I love how she continued to stay strong in her career no matter what people said and how many times people compared her to other models and her sister. She stayed true to herself and continued to pursue her dreams and achieve her goals.

What do you do next? What would be a dream for you?
I’m the type of person who likes to live in the moment, so I like to put everything into what I’m doing in that moment. A dream for me would be to pursue my career in modeling because I always wanted to be a model from a very young age, so I really want to work towards that this coming year.

Now let’s move on to fashion. It’s definitely another one of your passions, how would you describe your personal style?
I find that with my personal style I don’t like to limit myself. I prefer to change my style quite often and explore different looks and find a range of different designers.

Which brand do you think best represents you?
I don’t think any one brand represents me, I think many do but in different ways. If I had to choose one, it would be Prada because it is timeless and constantly evolving.

What is one item of clothing you couldn’t live without?
One piece of clothing that I couldn’t do without is a sweater, because you can wear one in any situation and they are also very comfortable – which is also very important with clothing.

And on the fashion side, who would you say is your icon?
I would say my icon is Emma Chamberlain, the way she dresses is so relevant and a lot of people can find inspiration in her outfits from everyday clothes. I also like the fact that she brings back old clothes from other generations.

Issey is managed by Cadence Talent.

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