In a candid conversation, social media influencer McKenzie Brooke shares her journey as a content creator and her perspectives on VidCon Anaheim and the creator economy.
McKenzie Brooke has been a digital content creator for approximately half a decade, initially making her mark on TikTok before extending her reach to encompass multiple platforms. What started as a personal venture grew into a family affair when her brother, followed by other family members, joined her. Currently, their content creation is a collective endeavor.
McKenzie’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. She transitioned from being a professional dancer sharing the stage with various artists to becoming a prominent social media influencer, producing content alongside those same artists.
While this year’s VidCon Anaheim is not McKenzie’s inaugural attendance – she was previously invited by Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok – it does mark her and her brother’s first appearance as featured creators at the event.
Her initial exposure to VidCon Anaheim came through an invitation from Invisalign, a principal sponsor of the event, which facilitated her and her family’s attendance. The visit offered them firsthand insight into the event’s atmosphere. Encouraged by the experience, McKenzie and her brother envisioned themselves as featured creators at the following year’s VidCon Anaheim, a dream that has since become reality.
Expressing her gratitude, McKenzie Brooke states, “We’re extraordinarily fortunate to be featured creators this year. It has been an astounding journey.”
VidCon Anaheim, Creators, And 2023: A Candid Conversation With McKenzie Brooke
Can you talk about your upcoming participation in the “Night of Awesome” panel at VidCon Anaheim? What should the audience look forward to from your part in the panel?
McKenzie Brooke and her brother are doing several things during this year’s VidCon Anaheim. One, they’re going against the Merrill twins in a Hungry Hungry Hippos competition. They’re also going to have a meet and greet and participate in a dance competition against other creators.
McKenzie Brooke is looking forward to connecting with her fans during her meet and greet. In fact, meeting all of her supporters is her favorite part of the convention. She shares, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.”
How do you feel VidCon Anaheim and similar events enhance the experiences and opportunities of creators like yourself?
For McKenzie, VidCon Anaheim and other similar events are helpful for creators because it gives them the opportunity to see other creators they’ve been following on social media for years and be friends with them. This also allows creators to create some great content together, given that creators live in different states.
“It’s a unique network opportunity because a lot of brands are there, as well,” she adds.
But to sum it all up, the event is going to be a lot of fun. McKenzie shares that whenever she walks out of the room, she sees someone whom she has been following on social media, and it’s like meeting a friend whom she never saw before in person but talked to several times online.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in navigating the creator economy, and how have you overcome them?
In the dynamic landscape of the creator economy, one of the most significant obstacles McKenzie has grappled with is handling online animosity. Childhood encounters with bullying armed her with the resilience necessary to navigate the often harsh terrain of digital spaces more adeptly than many of her peers.
McKenzie perceives the pervasive online hostility not as an insurmountable hurdle but as a challenge that can either be channeled into a positive catalyst or permitted to drag them into negativity. She, along with her brother, often echo a mantra they’ve adopted, “Hater aid is Powerade,” utilizing this metaphor to transform derision into a source of motivation and mutual support.
This optimistic perspective is a message they strive to disseminate on social media, stressing that from nine-to-five employees to pop icons like Ariana Grande, no one is immune to online scorn. Regardless of whether an individual has committed a perceived wrong or not, online hate arises from the subjective perspectives of others.
What opportunities do you see emerging in the creator economy that wasn’t available when you first started out?
When McKenzie started out about five years ago, collaborating wasn’t a huge thing. But something that has become so big nowadays is getting together with any type of creator. “I feel like that’s so common today, and everyone just finds a way to work together,” she adds.
How have platforms like Instagram and YouTube shaped your career and influence in the creator economy?
At the dawn of McKenzie’s career in the creator economy, approximately five years ago, the concept of collaboration wasn’t as pronounced as it is today. In contrast, the current landscape thrives on creative synergies spanning different types of creators, a development she describes as increasingly common, with professionals finding inventive ways to work together.
McKenzie credits platforms like Instagram and YouTube for transforming her professional trajectory. Initially, she was primarily a professional dancer. The advent of these platforms, however, enabled her to diversify her content, venturing into music production, for instance.
“It has been an amazing experience getting to transform into a dancer and now a musician — that’s something that social media has changed me for the better,”
McKenzie’s metamorphosis from dancer to musician is a testament to the transformative power of social media. As she eagerly anticipates the release of a new song in August, she acknowledges the influential role these platforms have played in her personal and professional life, helping her build a vast network of friends, family, and supporters.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, McKenzie foresees an upward trajectory in the creator economy. She predicts a rise in the number of creators, an expansion of their audiences, and a surge in brands eager to collaborate within the creator economy. Furthermore, she anticipates that more television stations and directors will turn to social media as a rich reservoir of global talent.
In terms of adapting her content creation strategies in response to these changes, McKenzie enjoys aligning her content with prevailing trends, albeit with a personalized touch. She identifies artificial intelligence (AI) as an emerging trend that’s set to play a significant role in social media.
Reflecting on the initial stages of her career, McKenzie imparts two pieces of advice she wishes she’d received. The first is to always remain authentic. This principle, ingrained in her from an early age, is one she and her brother continue to espouse today. The second is to exude kindness and confidence.
Moreover, she underscores the importance of consistency for aspiring creators, drawing parallels with the diligence required of dancers. To expand their platforms, learn, and grow, creators, she insists, must remain consistent.