Nat and Elasia on How TikTok Room Gained 1 Million Followers in Six Months
The first time I interviewed Nat and Elasia, the teens (they are 17 and 19, respectively, and prefer to not share their last names) had just stayed up all night documenting a giant Twitter blowout between Charli D’Amelio, ex-boyfriend Chase Hudson, and Nessa Barrett on TikTok Room, the pair’s TikTok tea account on Instagram. That incident, and their dogged determination to capture every detail of it, sent their follower count skyrocketing to over 1 million in July.
Less than six months later, the two have nearly 2 million followers. It’s been a relatively steady build. They agree that no drama has matched the D’Amelio-Hudson-Barrett rumble on July 7, and they engineered what might be their most high-profile moment since then, staging a voting competition, the TikTok Room Awards, in November. (Their followers submitted over 500,000 votes across 28 clever categories like Most Active With Fans, which went to Charli D’Amelio, and Least Problematic Male, which went to Jack Wright.) The TikTok Room audience is still mainly obsessed with D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Bryce Hall. And while Nat and Elasia have ramped up their sponsored posts with businesses, the account remains a side hustle while they’re still in school.
Still, some things are wildly different for the pair. With so many followers, posting has become a lot trickier. They have to be careful to verify information they share. They’re also subject to more criticism, from followers and influencers alike, as their editorial decisions are judged by people on both sides of every drama.
Internet fame aside, the women, who speak softly and succinctly over the phone, are just normal teenagers. Only their close friends know they’re behind the account, and more than once their teachers have caught them posting during class as they attempt to keep up with the 24/7 tea cycle.
We spoke about what their award show could look like next year, and how they’re adapting to their account’s exponential growth.
Between one million followers and now almost two million, what's the biggest thing about the account that has changed?
Nat: The fact that we have more followers and more people we have to consider when we post, and just the fact that we have to satisfy them. Satisfying them is really hard.
What do you mean by “satisfy” them?
Nat: Some things we post they're not happy with, but then if we don't post it, then people will not be happy. Like, you just can't win with it ever.
What's something that you now do differently?
Elasia: We're still really careful on what we post, that never changed, but now that we have more followers we've gotten a lot more careful. Sometimes we won't even post certain things if it's too risky.
What’s considered a risky post?
Nat: Just something that's like, not a hundred percent confirmed.
Elasia: Even if everyone else is posting it. They may have less followers than us so they can get away with posting it, but we have a lot of people watching us and so we could get in trouble for that.
You’ve also stopped doing promotions for personal accounts and are only working with businesses. What prompted that decision and what is the process like?
Elasia: We're just trying to clean up the page and be more professional.
Nat: We tell the companies to send content first to see if we approve it, and we check the identity of the company or the business to see if it's legit. As we've grown, we've been a lot more careful. We filter out a lot of people who reach out to us.
You also recently hosted the TikTok Room Awards, which is basically the People’s Choice Awards of TikTok. What was that like?
Nat: We had that idea since 2016 when we did Muser Shade Room. So we carried it over and people loved it.
Elasia: First we had to do nominations. And so I had to post on the page and our backup asking our followers what categories they want to see, and then I would pick the people who had the most likes or comments, and then we both had to put it in a document.
Nat: Next year, hopefully we can make it bigger, like have a production team behind it.
How do you balance TikTok Room with your schoolwork?
Nat: I still go to physical school. So it's hard. Like during the school day, I have to sometimes post in the middle of class, which is hard because teachers get mad.
TikTok Room is such an established part of TikTok culture now. Have you become friendly with any of the creators who you post about?
Nat: We keep like an appropriate relationship with the influencers. We don't want to go too far. It's a business.
Some creators, like Griffin Johnson, are vocal on TikTok and Twitter about not liking TikTok Room. How do you feel about that?
Nat: We blocked it out the first couple of times he did it and then finally we're like, we have to defend ourselves. We tweeted at him and then I think a couple months later he apologized publicly and then we accepted it.
Have you ever had to take a break from posting?
Nat: That's what I'm doing right now. If one of us gets busy or something, one of us will be like, “Hey, like can you post for a few days? I'm not feeling well.”
Elasia: It can get very overwhelming.