Atikhun Kanjanakaset, known as @atikhunk on TikTok, was once a human biology student working in a lab. Now, the 24-year old is TikTok’s latest rising star, recently hitting the big million. Since starting his own account two years ago, Atikhun didn’t look at TikTok as a serious career move. But the platform has changed since. TikTok now showcases and pushes forward creatives from all over the world. A new era of content creators has been created, of which Atikhun is at the forefront.
“Relief, honestly, because I feel like after a million you can kind of chill a bit”, Atikhun described his reaction after reaching 1 million followers while we caught up. “I was just really stressing myself out about just trying to reach 1 million versus like, trying to make stuff that I liked. I felt like I was appeasing the audience or TikTok too much sometimes”. Any content creator will know the struggle of making content that will rack in views and followers versus making content that is true to them, Atikhun included. To find the balance, he takes a simple approach, “It’s more quality than quantity”. He stated “I still do take into account what the audience wants, but I try to be more thorough with my work. TikTok is a lot about quantity, but then I think I’ve reached the point where I can take time and spend a few days on a video and then post it”.
Honing in on TikTok’s anime and fashion community, Atikhun’s videos consist of tv show and movie-inspired outfits as well as styling videos. The opportunistic creator explained “When I was starting off on TikTok, I realised that if I made anime-style fashion content, I’d basically be categorised into two categories because TikTok has an anime community and a fashion community. So if I made a video that catered to both, I’d be able to get both audiences”.
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For the young content creator, TikTok is not only his passion but also his business. And while many underestimate the content creators on the platform, Atikhun is a force to be reckoned with. Speaking on the behind the scenes of his 60-second videos, Atikhun said “It’s usually two hours of filming and prep, like prepping all the clothes, steaming them, making sure everything’s camera ready. And then editing, like 4 to 10 hours. It depends how much effort I put into it, sometimes it’s shorter and then sometimes, the more clips I use the more I have to change them around and edit them. I didn’t have a lot of experience video editing before TikTok so it’s all a bit of a learning curve”.
And he’s come a long way since his early TikTok days. Posting videos pre-Charli D’Amelio, Atikhun only used the app for a bit of fun. In fact, the social star was on a very different route, receiving a degree in human biology and working in a lab. “I think in fall 2019, my friend that I met through Instagram convinced me to join TikTok”, he recalled. “I wasn’t really too into it because it was still really infantile and content was very different back then too. And I didn’t really do fashion content myself back then either, so I was just doing random TikTok content”. We try to forget about pre-quarantine TikTok.
While the sharp change from science to social media may be surprising to some, Atikhun was perhaps always meant to follow the path of fashion, one way or another. “My family has always had an interest in fashion, my grandmother and my mother’s side, especially. My mom was pretty much the stylist for all of my aunts”. Growing up, he just figured he liked fashion, but not enough for it to become a career. “But then as time went on, once I had a steady income, I realised I really like fashion. It’s always been a big part of my life. In high school and college, I would design clothes for my clubs, or my teams, you know, or at least [offer] some sort of help in the clothing department”. Since, he has curated his own style, being inspired by the likes of Tyler, The Creator and his pastel and floral designs, as well as “Asian fashion, Korean and Japanese fashion especially”.
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If it wasn’t clear enough yet, TikTok has created a blueprint for influencers. While the Instagram influencer reigned in the 2010s, the 2020s has given us the TikTok content creator, a new, more creative and more honest portrayal. “TikTok is really a force for creative people” while “Instagram was very face value” according to Atikhun. He explained that “TikTok really brings this sort of authenticity and realness to life and content. People romanticise their lives and it’s a really simple vlog of them doing stuff, but then it still does well. That stuff won’t really fly on Instagram”.
But with creative and thoughtful content comes the inevitable yet dreadful creative burnout. We’ve all experienced it. To combat this, Atikhun advised “taking a break”. Knowing when to take a step back and breathe a little is essential to creatives. “I get stuck in this one trap of thinking”, as the TikToker recalled his last burnout. To help, “I think talking to people, gaining some [outsider’s] perspective on how they see content, how they make content can really change the way I see myself”, he explained.
Social media creatives have an added pressure, that being the social media aspect of it all. Being “extremely unpredictable”, views, followers, likes can fluctuate so much from post to post. This though does not discourage our fashion influencer. Optimistic at heart, he confidently stated “But the difference between a good creator and a bad creator is how much you’re willing to overcome it and persevere. For me I have to realise it’s just one video and I have to just move on to the next one. It’s all a learning experience, and I do get better with each video”. In fact, “persistence” is the number one advice Atikhun could give.
And he knows what he’s talking about. With now over 1.1million dedicated followers across all his platforms, Atikhun is here to stay. Seeing himself continue to create content on the daily, the talented creative is also coming up with his own clothing, designed with the help of one of his friends. Dropping soon, Atikhun’s new endeavour is a natural continuation of his body of work, which has already been met with huge success – as it should.