Thanuska Subramaniam’s transformative journey from an unintentional content creator to a celebrated influencer underscores the power of authenticity in the digital realm. Navigating evolving trends while maintaining her unique voice, she’s also harnessed the support of CFG Agency to propel her growth. Dive deep into her story, her take on the future of influencer marketing, and the pivotal role of genuine content.
On Trends And Authenticity: Thanuska Subramaniam In Partnership With CFG Agency
Background and Beginnings
Can you take us back to the very beginning of your journey as a content creator? What motivated you to get started?
Thanuska Subramaniam began her content creation journey in January of 2018, a venture she described as unintentional. She recalled, “I was telling people it was a very unintentional path that I took.” Her partner, a videographer, encouraged her to create makeup tutorials, building on her lifelong relationship with makeup. Growing up, she often played with makeup, partly due to her mother’s job at a makeup warehouse.
When she released her first makeup tutorial video, it resonated with many viewers, especially with dark-skinned South Asian individuals who struggled to find makeup products matching their skin tone. Comments like “Finally, there’s a dark skin South Asian girl, doing makeup with products that actually suit her skin tone” validated her content’s impact. Such feedback motivated her to continue sharing product recommendations that suited similar skin tones.
Apart from makeup, Thanuska’s love for creative videos extended to concept videos that highlighted her outfits and makeup looks. The evolution of her content, especially in 2021, leaned into shorter-form videos or transitions, mirroring the shifting trends on platforms like Instagram. This shift in her content strategy saw a surge in her audience size, leading to more collaborations with brands and establishing her present-day status as a content creator.
How did you choose the platforms you are active on—namely Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube? Was it a strategic decision or more of an organic process?
Thanuska’s decision to use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube was largely organic. Initially, she used Instagram for personal snapshots but ventured into video after her partner’s encouragement. “I’ve always been super insecure about my eyebrows,” she shared, which led her to create an eyebrow tutorial on YouTube. She strategically chose YouTube for longer content, given its format.
On Instagram, her content combines tutorials with music and editing, while she’s still exploring her style on TikTok. Thanuska emphasizes that each platform has its own unique algorithm and content suitability.
What were some of the challenges you faced early on, and how did you overcome them?
In her early content creation days, Thanuska posted organically, not initially identifying as an influencer. It took a year before she encountered her first paid opportunity. Her main challenges stemmed from the unpredictable algorithms and the stress of tracking views and likes.
Despite slow growth on Instagram, she persisted, blending her authentic content with trending topics to boost engagement. Reflecting on her efforts and expectations, she candidly shared, “I stay up until 4, 5, 6 am in the morning, editing my videos, and they’re just not doing as well as I would’ve expected.”
Many creators go through a phase of experimentation before finding their groove. Was there a particular moment or piece of content that you felt was a turning point in your career?
Thanuska identified her pivot into transitions as a significant turning point in her content creation journey. Capitalizing on this trend at its peak, she recalls her first major transition video with her partner, which garnered almost two million views in just a few weeks. This success led to exponential growth, with each subsequent transition video achieving viral status.
What made these transitions even more special for her was the personal touch, as she described, “I was using my own creativity, literally sleeping in my bed at night, sometimes thinking, ‘Okay, what can I do.’” She thrived on challenging herself to innovate within this format, always pushing boundaries and exploring fresh ideas with her partner.
In your early days, what was your first viral moment or piece of content that gained significant traction? How did it make you feel?
Thanuska’s breakthrough came from a unique transition video featuring a windmill kick. This became her most viewed content and sparked a trend that others replicated. She expressed, “Just to see that I started a trend was very… it made me feel really good.” This success emphasized the value of originality in her work, and while she sometimes follows trends, she prioritizes creating authentic content.
Niche and Content Focus
You have a unique style that sets you apart. How did you arrive at your niche, and why did you decide to focus on the type of content you create?
While many creators focus on a specific niche, Thanuska embraces a more holistic approach. She explained, “I feel like I do everything… I like doing makeup tutorials, transitions, fashion posts, and even spontaneous outdoor concepts.”
For her, this diverse range of content truly represents who she is, showcasing her multifaceted personality. Though conventional advice suggests sticking to a niche for growth, Thanuska believes in staying authentic. She advises creators to pursue what they genuinely enjoy rather than merely following trends.
How would you describe the value proposition of your content for your audience? What do you think keeps them coming back?
Thanuska believes the key to her audience engagement lies in the genuine effort and authenticity she brings to her content. From the feedback she’s received, her followers value the dedication she puts into her work, ensuring each piece is well-thought-out and not rushed.
Thanuska prides herself on her perfectionism, striving for the highest quality in her content. This meticulousness is evident to her audience, building trust and appreciation.
Furthermore, she emphasizes the importance of authenticity and relatability. Over the years, she has become more comfortable in front of the camera, letting her true self shine. She transitioned from a camera-shy persona to being her “crazy obnoxious self” on screen, allowing her audience to connect with the real and raw version of her. This genuine representation resonates with viewers, as they see a consistent image of her, both online and in real life, making her content more relatable and engaging.
Can you talk about your content planning and creation process? Do you have a set routine, or is it more spontaneous?
Thanuska’s approach to content creation is a blend of spontaneity and structured planning. While she often gets struck by inspiration from external stimuli like audio or visuals, compelling her to create content on the spot, she also maintains a semblance of a schedule. This balance ensures she can react to timely or trendy subjects, yet also keeps her productivity consistent.
In her previous routine, she allocated specific days, like Mondays and Fridays or Tuesdays, dedicated solely to producing organic content. On other days, she focused on different work-related tasks. This structure helped her manage her time effectively.
However, Thanuska values spontaneity in her creative process. She believes it fosters creativity, allowing her to produce content that feels fresh and inspired. Whenever an idea strikes, she’s keen on capturing the moment and creating content around it. This “go with the flow” attitude ensures her content remains genuine and relatable to her audience.
As a creator, it’s often tempting to chase trends. How do you balance the pressure to conform with trends against the desire to stay authentic?
Thanuska highlights the tension many digital creators face between following online trends and maintaining authenticity. Modern social media algorithms favor trending content, nudging creators to adopt what’s currently popular to gain visibility.
However, Thanuska emphasizes the importance of finding a balance. Instead of fully embracing every trend or shunning them entirely for the sake of originality, she suggests weaving these trends into one’s unique narrative. Incorporating a trend doesn’t equate to losing authenticity; it’s about how creators adapt these trends to their style. But, it’s crucial to occasionally reconnect with one’s roots and original content forms. Exclusively pursuing trends can lead to a disconnect from one’s foundational voice and audience, making it imperative for creators to strike a harmonious balance.
Partnership with CFG Agency
You’re part of CFG Agency’s roster of talents. How did this partnership come about, and what advantages do you think it offers you as a creator?
Thanuska’s collaboration with the CFG Agency began when Katie from CFG showed an interest in having her on their roster. Initially, Thanuska was hesitant about the idea of affiliating with an agency, mainly because of the negative feedback she had heard from fellow creators in Canada. This skepticism made her prefer to handle her professional duties solo for a while.
But as her responsibilities grew, she found herself overwhelmed, juggling various roles from editing to management. Realizing the need for support, Thanuska revisited Katie’s proposal a few months later and decided to join CFG. This decision turned out to be a game-changer, relieving Thanuska of many administrative burdens and allowing her to focus on her true passion: content creation. The partnership has since been a rewarding experience for her.
Agencies often act as intermediaries between brands and creators. How has CFG Agency helped you in terms of brand collaborations and other business aspects?
Working with CFG Agency has significantly expanded Thanuska’s brand collaboration horizons. Despite her initial success in securing opportunities on her own, she felt the redundancy of these partnerships. With CFG Agency’s involvement, she ventured into bigger collaborations, including a notable one with Amazon, where she stated, “One of the first opportunities that CFG brought on was my collaboration with Amazon to drop… a dream partnership.”
CFG Agency also offered valuable performance insights across platforms and assisted in optimizing her content mix. Thanuska emphasized the agency’s positive influence, saying, “They really helped me…how to make my organic content better too.”
Beyond brand introductions, CFG Agency’s administrative support, especially in contract reviews, was a safeguard for Thanuska against past vulnerabilities of which brands had taken advantage.
The Creator Economy and Influencer Marketing
The creator economy is constantly evolving with new monetization methods, platforms, and tools. How do you stay updated and agile in this fast-paced environment?
Keeping up with the ever-evolving creator economy can be challenging. Thanuska mentioned, “Honestly, it’s really hard because these platforms are coming up with a new feature every other day.” She utilizes tools like later.com to stay updated and is informed about new trends through her agency. Additionally, she follows platforms such as Instagram’s ‘Creators’ page. Thanuska emphasized the importance of adaptability, noting, “Constantly learning because it’s constantly growing and evolving.”
What are your thoughts on the future of influencer marketing? Do you think it’s a sustainable model in the long term?
Thanuska expressed a strong conviction that influencer marketing is here to stay, particularly in fields such as the beauty and fashion sectors. It’s now commonplace for brands to debut their products through influencers. Thanuska reminisced about how advertisements were previously presented and emphasized that she primarily discovers them on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok nowadays. She speculated that emerging platforms might continue this trend of influencer marketing.
Although she didn’t have specific predictions about upcoming platforms, she acknowledged the prevailing influence of existing ones like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Additionally, Thanuska touched upon the rising role of AI, mentioning how she occasionally leverages it to craft captions for her content.
As you’ve gained experience and followers, have you felt an increased responsibility or pressure to use your platform for social or ethical issues? How do you handle that?
Asked about the weight of responsibility felt with growing followers, especially concerning social and ethical issues, Thanuska admitted it’s challenging. She acknowledged that having a large following does come with a sense of duty. However, she stressed the importance of authenticity. If there’s a social cause that resonates deeply with her, she believes in sharing it.
Thanuska observed that often followers pressure influencers to comment on various issues just because they have a platform. She doesn’t agree with this approach, emphasizing that influencers should discuss topics that genuinely matter to them. In her case, if an issue strikes a chord, she will voice her opinions on her platform.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the content creation world, especially in light of how saturated the market has become?
Thanuska emphasized the importance of just beginning. She encouraged newcomers to embrace their true selves, recalling her own hesitation when she began, questioning how she would differentiate herself amidst the multitude of creators.
However, Thanuska found that being genuine was her unique selling point. She urged aspiring content creators to consider what sets them apart and to incorporate that into their content. Thanuska warned against the influence of social media trends, which often pressure individuals to post in a particular manner. She believes that people can easily discern when someone is not being authentic online, so one’s true self should always shine through.
For the future, Thanuska is enthusiastic about evolving as a creator, highlighting the need to continuously innovate and leverage one’s authenticity. She doesn’t set rigid plans, preferring to go with the flow, guided by her belief in the power of manifestation. She hopes to attract various positive experiences in her career and eagerly anticipates the opportunities that will come her way.