Queer TikTok Star Anna Shumate Talks Pride Month, How She Amassed Nearly 13M Followers on TikTok and More
Our Pride Month cover star Anna Shumate is not your average girl-next-door. She has risen to fame after downloading TikTok and thinking it would just be something funny. In no time, she was catapulted into fame, massing over 12 million followers. The increase in popularity came quickly for Shumate, but it was one that she was excited to embrace. She had over 20K subscribers on week one of uploading to the video streaming site, something she did not predict. She has also gained 2.3 million followers on Instagram as a result of her relatable personality.
The star is from Michigan but has relocated to Los Angeles, California. Hollywood was ready to welcome the likes of Charli D’Amelio to its city. She spent time in the Top Talent House where she and other TikTok stars made regular content for the large followings. They eventually migrated to Not A Content House but moved on from there as well. For Shumate, her mental health came before views, but in the process, she was able to create lifelong bonds she will forever appreciate.
The teen sensation has made herself known as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. This month of June, she is happy to declare herself a Queer role model to her fans and followers. As many have held hesitancy in embracing the LGBTQIA+ community, she explains why the notion is outdated and it’s time to normalize love in all forms. Social media has given her the chance and opportunity to spread this very message to her audience.
Since leaving, she has expanded her view by looking at brand deals and modeling offers. She has not only joined the brand COACH on their latest campaign but has become a member of the Coach Collective. In her exclusive interview with Contrast Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Michael D. Monroe, Anna Shumate goes through the campaign with her, more details on her rise in TikTok, and her thoughts on what Pride means to her.
Read the full interview below!
What do you think is the most important message you want to use your platform for? Express yourself and be authentic. There are too many people in this world for you to not be yourself.
What does Pride mean to you? I always associate the word PRIDE with PROUD. Be proud of the person you are now and the person you are becoming. To me, Pride is the celebration of being proud of who you are and unapologetically loving who you love.
Disney and Pixar’s new movie LIGHTYEAR is receiving a lot of backlash from people having issues with the same-sex kiss in the film. What do you have to say to the people who don’t support it? It always surprises me that there is still backlash on the representation of the LGBTQ+ community within any aspect of the entertainment industry. At this point to me, showing a same-sex kiss on screen, is the same thing as showing a man and woman kiss on screen. I would kindly ask that people “grow up” 😊.
What do you feel is a common misconception people have about you? I think a lot of people always think they know me because of the content that I am posting on online. I use different platforms or accounts to show different sides of myself. I would say my spam account on TikTok and my Snapchat are the truest sides of myself that I show on the internet… However, I definitely think everyone assumes I am going to be very outgoing when they first meet me, but I am normally very shy.
You’re currently a member of the Coach Collective. Tell me more about that! Working with COACH has been nothing short of a dream. They’ve been so open to letting me lead the charge on how I think I can present the COACH brand best to my audience through TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. They have truly given me complete control and creative freedom. If you haven’t yet, go check out this is year’s PRIDE collection from COACH because it is amazing.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face as an LGBTQ+ creator and how have you overcome that obstacle? I think one of the biggest obstacles I have faced as an LGBTQ+ creator is the constant pressure to definitively identify my sexuality on my platforms. I am 19 years old and still learning about myself every single day. Sexuality and figuring out who you are will always be a continuous journey. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can be with my supporters, but I think a lot of people get confused when I can’t give them a clear answer or when my taste changes. I am so grateful that social media has given not just me, but many creators, the a platform and voice to represent our community and destigmatize the conversation around sexuality.
Who are some celebrities that you would love to work with? I am so blessed to do what I do and I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many cool influencers and celebrities, but I would LOVE to work with Hailee Steinfeld… on literally any project ever.
You joined TikTok as a joke at first? Tell me what got you into the app to begin with! I joined TikTok because my friends and I started sending videos around to each other as jokes. In the spirit of that group chat, I started posting videos of myself on TikTok, simply for my friends and to make them laugh. One day, one of my videos started going viral and to see the growth on all my other videos and my following amazed me… and this was just me truly being myself. It was so intriguing to me to see how quickly I could grow a large following. Of course, I never expected my life to be what it is now. I am so grateful to be where I am currently in my career. I’m able to do what I love as a job.
What’s next for you? I’ve been working really hard to start elevating myself on my social platforms and push the boundaries out of my comfort zone. I’ve been working on building my modeling portfolio and truly becoming an everyday voice in the ever-growing gaming world. I have a lot of really fun and exciting projects coming up that I can’t wait to share with everyone.
The definition of Contrast is ‘to be strikingly different.’ What makes you strikingly different? I’ve always felt that I am just me – I’ve never thought of myself as different. I am really lucky because I feel like a lot of people can easily relate to me and that’s why I think my social following has grown into what it is. I think to determine what makes someone strikingly different isn’t based off of my own point of view, but how others perceive you. So thank you Contrast Magazine for identifying me as someone that is strikingly different.