For some, building an online presence and banking on that viral moment is the goal, but for Lola Clark it just happened, unassumingly, at age 15. While she was in school, a video of her singing along to the words “ya digg” blew up, and by the next morning Clark was the person to follow on TikTok.
Now aged 18, Lola Clark continues to carry her contagiously radiant energy with everything she does. Joining us from LA, where she is vacationing post-birthday celebrations, we caught up with Lola Clark to talk about her community of Zoobies, her journey since going viral and the realities of online hate.
Last few days in LA what should i do !!♬ original sound – sophi
Hey Lola, how are you doing? You’re LA now right?
Hello, I’m good thank you. Yeah I’m in LA for a bit. We’re staying at a family farmhouse in Hollywood Hills, a little family holiday.
How did you celebrate your eighteenth?
I had loads of dinners a couple of days before, which was cute. On my actual birthday I became really ill. I had a really bad stomach bug and a chest infection but I dragged myself out of it because I was in bed til like 4 p.m. I went go karting to make myself feel better. Then I went for dinner with my family, and in the evening I went out dancing with friends, which was fun.
I want to talk about your TikTok because that’s where you blew up. I love your username @scoobiezoobie. How did you come up with that?
I put it as a joke before anything that happened because I love Scooby Doo. The only thing I watched as a child was Scooby Doo. I saw loads of people’s different takes on the name, so I was like I’ll make my own one. The ‘zoobie’ just flowed with it. It just worked, it was catchy.
When I blew up, everyone really fixated on the name and I’ve always thought about changing it but it’s what my name is on TikTok. Everyone knows me as that.
What’s your favourite Scooby Doo movie?
I watched the silly cartoons when I was a child and then they got better as I grew up. They came out with all the movies. The Cyberchase one is one of my favourites but I scratched the disk and I cried for two weeks. The Egyptian one is so good. They’re just so entertaining.
Another thing that’s clearly entertaining is your “Ya Digg” video. You were pretty young when that blew up.
I had just turned 15 that month.
What was going through your mind when that video took off?
So I got my braces off and I felt like I looked like a horse. I thought I had horse teeth and I was really sad. I chose the first audio that came on my For You Page that morning. I was like, “you know what, I like this audio. I need to use it. I can make a cool transition.” I posted the video just before I went to school and then I checked my phone at break and I was like, “Oh my God guys, I’ve got 50 comments,” being really happy. Then I got home and I had a million views. All my favourite TikTokers were commenting, and I was like, “what’s going on? Why do you guys know who I am right now?” They all started to follow me and I was just like, “wow.” I got a call at like three in the morning from one of my friends who’s obsessed with Addison Rae. She has duetted it.
By the morning it was gone because she got bullied for the video. But it was so weird. I didn’t really comprehend it. I didn’t really think anything of it and then it just kept going and going.
By that point, did your mindset change on how you were going to approach TikTok?
I’ve always kind of had a business mindset. I’m the youngest child but I’m the bossiest. But when it happened, I was like, “I’ll just keep posting how I usually post,” thinking it would fizzle out, but it just kept going and people liked what I was posting. I read the comments and see what people wanted me to post and I will do those as well.
I had lots of emails and loads of brands being like, “we want to produce your merch, we want you to do a line with us,” but I didn’t want to do it just yet because I didn’t like what they were offering. I created my own brand Zoobie exactly a year after the initial video.
We’ve seen your videos evolve over the years. One of the main things is your style videos, but your style is hard to define, because you merge a bunch of different influences. Where do you get your style inspo from?
Growing up with two older sisters, I was always getting dressed up by them in their hand-me-downs. I started going really against it. Now I can appreciate it though.
Personally, I like comfort. I won’t wear heels with a dress because it’s just too painful. If I’m going out I’ll accessorise with really big sunglasses or really funky hats. Everyday though, I just stick with wearing Levi’s, that’s my vibe.
All blue just for you ♬ som original – pxdro
I get all my inspiration from old magazines from the ‘90s or 2000s. And also rap videos like Missy Elliott’s. A lot of other influences give me a lot of inspiration. I could name so many – they’re all so good with their individual style. My For You Page always has really stylish people. I feel like I want to recreate that.
One part of your job is that you kind of take on a creative director role of, and for, yourself. So when it comes to shooting photos for Instagram or directing the way you want to film a video, how do you come up with ideas for that?
Again, I get a lot of my inspiration from other influencers but my oldest sister helps me brainstorm a lot. We’ll sit down, we’ll make mood boards, we’ll drag stuff from Pinterest and magazines. We like to plan it all but we stay quite free with it. We never want it to be stressful.
My face is so obvious with my emotion. If I’m not happy taking a photo, you can tell. So taking photos with my sister makes me a lot less anxious. She knows my angles.
How much time would you say you spend on creating content from ideation to actually shooting it?
It really depends on the TikTok, because there could be a transitional one like my first one and that was so quick. Sometimes it is quick – grab the audio and jump on it. It will do either really well or will do really badly. Or you can put so much effort and time and even money into making a video. That takes a lot of planning, and also sitting there and doing it takes a while, but it won’t always perform well.
In the end, if you’re putting that much time into something, you want it to prove rewarding. With TikTok, I feel that. When I have a lot of free time, in halftimes or summer breaks like this, or when I have a burst of creativity, I’ll sit down and write everything down. I’m planning and I take my time. When I’m really busy with school though, I just do it when I can.
Have you started uni yet?
I just finished my A levels. I got my results this morning actually. I’m going to be doing a diagnostic foundation course in art and design next year at Central Saint Martins.
No matter who you are, no matter what you do, if you’re actively posting on social media you’re going to receive hate. How have you been able to deal with online hate, especially having started so young on social media?
People can be horrific online.
They don’t really know what they’re commenting and [how] it’s affecting a real person behind the screen. It did take a toll on my mental health but I’ve had a really good support circle. My family’s been really good about it. If they’ve seen a video where people are being mean, before I wake up and come downstairs they’ll make sure everyone’s really chill in the house and being really nice. My dad would get on TikTok and [start] arguing with everyone in the comments, which I find really funny. That always makes me giggle.
My mom always [told me], “You’re getting hate, you’re obviously doing something right.” There’s always gonna be people that don’t really like what you’re doing. Out of 100 comments, because there’s one that’s bad, and that’s gonna stick with you. The private messages that people don’t see are way worse than what they comment on your actual post. They’re just so brutal and disturbing, but I never really react to them. If you reply to those comments, then they’re like, “I’ve got her attention, I’m gonna do it more.”
I’ve never openly spoken out about my mental health online to my followers as much as I’d like to. People don’t really realise how young I was and I was still processing what was going on in my head, trying to sort out my own mental health before I could project it to other people.
If there’s one piece of advice you wanted to give to your Zoobies, what would it be?
You have to take yourself out of your comfort zone to experience new things. That was something I found tough, like going places by myself. I always found it scary, but I’d always like to try to do it. Also, never let other people’s opinions or the vibe they’re giving you make you stay still in your area. There’s nothing worse than not growing. I’d rather be humiliated for trying than regret for not trying.
You’re going to CSM while also doing social media so you’ve already got a lot on your plate. What’s next for you?
I’ve just changed agencies within the past month, so I’m hoping a lot of new things will come on to that. I haven’t decided about uni yet. Just doing a foundation will keep me in a routine because I like having a school routine. It always pulls me out of bed in the morning. I’d like to go full force into content creation by the school, but the only time I would really see people [while] doing that is when [I] go into events. I feel like it would be quite lonely. I think it would drive me slightly insane. So I haven’t fully thought about that after my foundation. But I just turned 18, I’m still young.
@scoobiezoobie Outfits of this week 🌟🎀 #ootw #fashion #grwm ♬ kendrick x radiohead – dwells
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