Influencers or Influenced: Teenagers Speak for Themselves
OVERSATURATED is a 6-part interview series by independent filmmaker, Ashley Good.
Through a series of interviews with individuals in front of, chasing, or inspired by the limelight, OVERSATURATED will explore a ménage of topics including: self-commodification, the chicken and the egg situation of the teenagers influencing celebrity culture and celebrity culture impacting teenagers, and the use of celebrity stories as a political distraction.
When discussing pop culture and social trends, teenagers are often pointed to as the ones who dictate what is “cool,” yet they are the demographic exposed to the most marketing… It’s sort of a chicken and the egg situation.
For the final chapter of Oversaturated, I had the opportunity to sit down with three actual teenagers, so that they could defend their entire generation to all of us old people who have no idea what is going on.
All jokes aside, these interviewees, Brooklyn, Gabby, and Kathy, are three incredibly well spoken and self-aware young women. This interview genuinely renewed my hope for the future, assuming the older generations don’t destroy everything first.
Disclaimer: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
This project is about exploring the throwaway nature of pop culture and how people are so quick to idolize people but then also throw them away out of boredom — or if they do something wrong. So many people tend to throw teenagers under the bus, like it’s your guys’ fault. “Oh it’s their fault, they dictate the trends, they decide what’s cool…” I personally blame marketers, so I thought I would actually speak to some people… some youngins, and get your thoughts on this!
So we’ll start with a super simple question — what are you guys in to, media-wise?
Kathy — I think for a lot of girls our age, we’re at that point where it’s all (about) teenage boys… Teenage boys on TV shows and stuff like that are relatable… I’ve had experiences where [I’ve] Idolized them for a month and [have been] super obsessed with them…and then the next month you move on to the next fad.
Brooklyn — You start to get really attached to these “idols.” As an example, Kathy and I actually really liked the cast of Stranger Things and the IT movie and so we were completely obsessed with these guys. And we started getting too involved in their lives. We took it really personally, everything they did, even though they didn’t know who we were.
Group — *Laughter*
Brooklyn — Gabby actually said something really interesting earlier…
Gabby — It’s not all too surprising how we pick it up and throw it away so quickly. With material things, it’s kind of the same. Especially on social media, everything is popping up — there’s new news every day — new things every day — and when you hear “This new thing is cool,” and “This new thing is cool,” moving on is pretty simple.
Brooklyn — What Gabby said is very true, because we’re in a world where there is stimulation everywhere… We just need to open up our phones, press a button, and we’re good for hours. … It’s all so fast, so it’s so easy to just move on to the next thing once we’re bored.
Kathy — I feel like as teenagers we don’t really have control over a lot in our lives, so social media and the people that we idolize is the one thing that we have and that we can control.
Gabby — Back to Brooklyn’s point… Do you remember when Vine came out? Those were really really popular, and those were just six second videos. You would watch one and then the next one and the next one and I found if I watched those with my sister for a long time, that watching movies became hard.
How old is your sister?
Gabby — She’s 16.
What catches your attention online?
Gabby — Honestly, anything interesting. If my favourite artist comes out with new music I will be into that for a long time… Anything newsworthy… Also anything that my friends are doing.
Brooklyn — It’s definitely marketing, things that have a lot of marketing will catch my eye. Like when I started watching the TV show Stranger Things … I [saw] this billboard on the side of a train and I was like, “Okay.” I had already heard a lot about it online, I saw edits on social media about it, and I just thought that I needed to see what all of the talk was about. Marketing is so crazy these days and its very prevalent. It’s really targeted towards teens and I think it’s mostly because we’re still developing — we are more easily influenced, you know? So by them targeting us, and of course we’re the generation that’s coming up, so they’re more focused on us.
Kathy — Same with Stranger Things. I didn’t start watching until half a year after and that was because all of the social media. It just went crazy. I had no idea what it was about. … It’s definitely a good show, but part of the reason I liked it was because I was part of the trend. It was like oh, I kind of have to like it. That forced me to be a part of it. If this was just a random show, I don’t know what my reaction would have been.
What were you into before Stranger Things?
Group — We can’t remember…
Brooklyn — It’s still a huge thing these days. You see the cast on talk shows and you see promotion, promotion, promotion… Everyone talks about them all the time. So thinking about what I was interested in before, frankly I don’t really remember!
Kathy — I think before I was into Stranger Things, I was really into YouTube and YouTubers. I felt that they were the most relatable thing out there. It was really popular. Like beauty gurus and all that — they were really relatable. And [now], a lot of those beauty gurus, I haven’t heard of them in years.
Brooklyn — There was this one YouTuber, I hadn’t watched her, but it was probably in Grade six… and everyone talked about her. Her name was Bethany Mota, and she came out with a clothing line. And although I didn’t know anything about this girl or who she was, I wanted that clothing line! I wanted it as much as my friends [wanted it] who watched her!
Gabby — I had never really been obsessed with shows before, so [I guess] I started watching shows just because of them. I was never really obsessed with anything before [Stranger Things] to be honest. My sisters started watching it and I thought “Oh this is really cool” so I wanted to hop on the trend.
Brooklyn — Adding on to that, I think Stranger Things really just happened to come around at the time when we were going through a lot of development just from a few years prior to that time, where it became less about pleasing our parents to where we became more focused on pleasing our peers. So we became more focused on what other people were doing, and of course that is like, vital for growing up. … In middle school, we started caring more about how we dressed, what other people thought of us, so the throwaway culture sort of developed because we were worried about “What will people think of me if I don’t like [this certain thing]?”
Are you guys familiar with “Beetle Mania” of the 60s?
Group — Yes.
Kathy — I remember before Stranger things, definitely the one that I was obsessed with music-wise, was One Direction.
Group — *Laughter* Oh yeah!
Kathy — I was in middle school and I used to be obsessed with them. I used to call them on my phone, just to see if they would reply… I would search up their fake numbers. *Laughs*
I’m sorry, but that is adorable.
Kathy — And now, I don’t even listen to any of their music. Well, barely. Which is kind of sad, that [I could] just throw them away that fast. But that’s just the movement of trends. After them it was Bethany Mota and then after Bethany Mota is was Stranger Things…
Brooklyn — [One Direction] had been a band that was around for a long time, [but] I was never obsessed with them until middle school when everyone was making that shift from parents to peers. One of my good friends listened to One Direction — it was all she talked about — so then I started getting into One Direction to please her. And then I became a huge One Direction fan, just because that one friend was such a friend.
Gabby — [Another] show that is really popular right now is the Handmaid’s Tale. My friend started watching that and she was telling me how good it is, and I was like oh “Maybe if you say it’s good I should check it out.” I’ve started watching that, and I’ve become quite obsessed with it. *Laughs* And before that, I don’t even really remember what I liked that much. I mean, it was Stranger Things for a while… That’s just another example of how it changes quite fast.
Do you watch any of the CW shows that are filmed in Vancouver? Like Sabrina or The 100? Or are those for old people? *Laughs*
Gabby — I watched The 100 when I was in Grade 6. It wasn’t really a phase, I just watched it when it was first on Netflix, and then when the [second season] came out I was already on to something else.
How do you feel about all of those shows where they’re “playing teenagers” but they’re clearly in their thirties?
Gabby — I don’t [really mind], but I have a problem when it is a 20 year old woman playing a 13 year old girl and it’s really sexualized. Like in Riverdale, it’s really weird [because] Betty and Veronica — I read the comics a lot when I was younger, it was fun because they were teenagers that were boy-obsessed and they were clothes shopping and they had fun — but in the show it’s a lot of relationship stuff and sexual weird stuff. Things like that. It really does influence people, especially young teenagers. They think “Maybe I should be like that,” because the [show] makes it seem normal.
At least you guys think very critically about what you watch. I just have to say, you are all such well spoken young women. I wasn’t sure what to expect speaking with all of you today about your interest, but I think that you are all way more self-realized than when I was your age. Can I ask, do you take sociology in school or anything like that?
Kathy — I took psychology, and it was super-duper interesting, but a lot about what we talked about was related to the past and the psychology of the people in the past, where as right now everything is changing [because of] social media and that’s not something that was discussed [in class], like how social media is effecting our brains and how we think.
Gabby — Maybe you think it (adults portraying teens) is weird, but [when you] hear certain things on social media or from your friends a bunch, you start to think that it’s [normal]. It’s one way that your peers and the media really do influence you.
Brooklyn — At this point, because we only see these older people playing our generation, it seems normal to us. I remember the newest Spider Man came out with Tom Holland and he was a 19 year old playing a 19 year old and everyone was like “Oh he looks like a baby they should have picked somebody older.” There was such a disconnect, because we are so used to seeing the older generation portray ours. … We’re seeing these [actors playing kids] that are supposed to be in Grade 9, starting high school and they are *Laughs* very attractive, and I think that sets us up as some sort of failure. We look at our peer group and think, that isn’t us. Why don’t boys like that go to our school? Why don’t I look like that?
Because you haven’t had Botox.
Brooklyn — Exactly! It’s just this older generation trying to portray ours. We idolize that a lot because it looks really cool. From the day we are born we’re like “Can’t wait to be older!” And we play with these baby dolls, pretending to play house… As we continue to grow, that doesn’t stop. We always look ahead to the future.
Bare with me because I’m kind of working through this thought, but do you think that the youth genuinely want to grow up, or do you think it’s related to the marketing that you are constantly exposed to? Like, your parents “market” to you by giving you a baby doll…
Gabby — When I was younger … A lot of my friends — from what I remember, we were very young — wanted to be an adult so [we] could do adult things. I wanted to be able to do the same things my parents were doing. Maybe sometimes it’s related to media influence. Like how in some shows teenagers have so much fun and seem to do things that other kids can’t do, but now that I’m almost out of high school, I’m like “Oh gosh, I want to be a kid again,” because there’s no stopping. You can’t go back.
Brooklyn — I’ve noticed that a lot of people regret … trying to be older all of the time. But when we act more mature, everyone always prides us on that. Our parents and their friends…
And I just did that, I’m so sorry!
Brooklyn — *Laughs* We love the praise, we always do! But we are always being [told by the media] to grow older. For me personally, I’m in Grade 11 of high school. I [spend a lot of time] looking towards the future, so I think things like “No I can’t post that on social media!” Because of college applications and all of that. But I also find that I am losing myself in the future and I am very not present. I have had a lot of turmoil with that recent… just trying to live in the moment more. …All of the shows with adults playing teenagers makes it seem like us being young isn’t valid. You see that [impact] with the younger generations too. … They seem to grow up even faster. Their clothes are much more revealing than what I would wear, but then my generation wears stuff that’s more revealing than Gabby’s generation, and so on and so on.
Gabby — We’re in the same generation!
I remember back when I was your age… Oh God it pains me to say that… But yeah, a year can make a big difference.
Kathy — I definitely feel like right now I am so un-present in what I am doing because I am thinking so much about the future and I think that social media does play a role in that… Another example from Riverdale… [It impacts] how I see high school. Like I should be having a relationship, I should be preparing for this and doing this, and I literally spend my entire day thinking about “Why am I not like that?” So then I am not present or enjoying where I am [at the moment].
Brooklyn — We are just very unfulfilled with where we are now, and if the “marketing” doesn’t change, it’s going to feel like this for our entire lives.
That’s very true. It’s quite ironic because you’re talking about being marketed to to feel older, but then when you hit a certain age, AKA your early twenties, it’s all “Use this cream, do this, do that” so that you look younger! Don’t you remember when you were young? Don’t you want to be young again? … There is such a trend now in that people in my generation are constantly being marketed to with nostalgia. Like, the Spice Girls are getting back together — that would be like if One Direction got back together ten years from now. It feels like, whether through marketing or society, we are always being pushed towards something we can no longer have or are no longer the appropriate age for. I am not sure if it is for money making reasons or a giant social distraction…
Gabby — It’s interesting how we want to think “Oh they’re just marketing to us to get our money,” but social media influencers and actors and such always market this stuff to us — skin creams to look younger, cut your hair, get Botox, stuff like that. … When you hear on social media from [influencers] like “Oh I got Botox, I got my lips filled…” It’s kind of hard not to think that if I wanted to change myself it would be easy enough to do.
Is plastic surgery a common thing for the Instagram influencers that you follow to talk about?
Gabby — Oh yeah. I remember when I was younger, it wasn’t that prevalent, but it’s an every day thing now.
How old are these people that you are following?
Kathy — Thirties? Twenties?
Gabby — I mostly follow YouTubers, photographers, and mostly fitness influencers. … I just follow them because they are interesting and they do give me motivation to do things [like be healthy]. But for someone that [relies] on social media, they might think “Oh I have to get this done, so that I can look like this…”
Brooklyn — The people that I follow on social media are usually young actors that I like from shows, and people that I idolize — or just people that I find attractive on Instagram. I will sometimes think “How can I be like that?” Sometimes when I scroll by them in my feed I’ll feel really…
Gabby — Inferior?
Brooklyn — Yeah, inferior! It won’t be good for myself esteem, when I see these people and think “I don’t look like that…” I want to look like that, and I just don’t. [Teens] are so easily influenced because we are still in a development stage. You think about losing weight, or getting your eye lashes done — all of these different treatments, just to make yourself look pretty. These celebrities are all pretty people, that’s the thing… So them marketing to us, we go along with that a lot easier.
Kathy — On social media I actually follow a lot of people my age that are on YouTube, like Emma Chamberlain and all of those people. And I feel like right now, they have a huge influence … because they’re a little older, but they’re mostly in the same generation [of us], and that’s more relatable. They also [portray] unrealistic standards because they are so rich. … They have eye lash extensions… They [seem to] vacation every single day… They don’t even go to school, because they’re homeschooled… It imposes unrealistic standards on us. Like why isn’t my life like that? I’m just at school, trying to get through life…
That is a crazy amount of pressure. I am trying to think back to pre-social media. Just to totally age myself — Facebook came out when I was in Grade 11. Well, it came out a bit before, but that was when they opened it up for high school students to sign up, and not just college students. And then a year or two later, it was open for everybody. And now Facebook is what your parents use and it’s just terrible.
Group — Yeah, it is.
We also had Myspace. You had to rank your friends. It was terrible. But pre-social media, most of the marketing we were exposed to were TV commercials or magazines. Friends would read Cosmo, which was terrible. Do people still read Cosmo?
Gabby — Not so much. I know when we were much younger we would read teen magazines. Those were a big influence.
Do you think magazines are still relevant at all or are they just a dying relic?
Brooklyn — I will pick up a magazine when I am sitting in the dentist office. But magazines are marketed towards the older generation. Newspapers are dying out too, because everything is all online.
Kathy — I feel like marketing has changes a lot because it used to be like “Buy this microwave, it works so well!” … The goal used be to just sell products. But now it’s like changing our brains and how they work. They try to market to us so that we think a certain why, and market so…instead of making us buy products, they’re trying to change the way we live. I feel like that’s a little scary to think about.
Group — Yeah.
It’s got to be frustrating, because social media is enjoyable, that’s why we all use it. I think everyone here uses Instagram. And yet, we’re all bombarded with so many different messages…
Brooklyn — For example, this [business] behind me…
Brooklyn — Yeah. I have never been in there. I have never tasted their drinks. But, I always see them on my friends Instagram. Or on any other social media. I always see that brand! … Even the brand of clothing I am wearing right now… Brandy Melville. It’s very expensive. Much too expensive. It’s all a one size kind of thing. The closest [location] is in Vancouver. It’s such a big thing.
Way to brag about your wardrobe.
Group — *Laughs*
Brooklyn — This is something that all of the “cool girls” wear… the influencers… You’ll see the influencers that are Brandy Melville models. You’ll [look at their posts] and think “That’s a cute top,” but you could also get that top at a thrift store for $2. Same with Aritzia, which is an extremely expensive store. All of my peers are wearing it, so I feel like I need to buy from there too. But I can’t afford it! But I want to be able to impress my peers…
Kathy — Starting high school, I felt like I couldn’t wear anything that was cheaper than what my friends were wearing. I dance, [which is all] very materialistic. You stand looking at yourself in a mirror for three hours in a row. It [made me] feel like I need to hit that standard. I need to buy Lululemon everything. I needed to be a certain size and all of that. … I have probably wasted 100s or 1000s of dollars on things I’m probably not even going to wear. Stuff I bought because I felt like I “had to.”
It’s all well and good for some adult to say “Don’t care what people think, just wear what you want,” but that’s just… out of touch.
Gabby — The only time I feel comfortable wearing what I like to wear is when I am [close to home], but when I walk around [downtown]… Just walking into the coffee shop [I felt self conscious]. …I do feel more confident the older that I get though.
I don’t know if it helps to hear but, most people, no matter their age, are so self involved and caught up in their own insecurities, that they aren’t paying attention to what anyone else is wearing anyway… So many adults look mature, like they have everything together, but so many of them are just kids on the inside. Most people don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t know if that makes you feel better, but it’s true. One day when that scary realization clicks for you, and you understand that know one knows what they’re doing, you’re going to be like “Oh my God…”
Gabby — When you are young, and influenced quite easily, it’s easy to be intimidated though.
And it’s important to feel like you fit in. I remember when I was a teenager, and yeah, you just want to fit in with your friends. Believe it or not, I was totally the weird kid that got made fun of. Can you believe it? So shocking! *Laughs* But eventually, you’ll get old and just not care anymore…
Brooklyn — With social media, we’re always putting our best face forward. Like, “We know what we’re doing!” And that goes for the older generations as well. [Similar to] when we’re seeing older [people] portray [teens] in these shows, we’re only seeing the best version of themselves. … So when we (teenagers) see these people on social media, we feel like we’re not valid. What we’re doing is not valid… We have this turmoil inside thinking that we should know that we’re doing, but we don’t. … Everyone is just trying to impress everyone.
You just explained why people like “likes” so much; it’s a form of validation.
Kathy — It’s easy to say we shouldn’t think this way, but in reality it’s so difficult not to think that way. Like, I could go up to Brooklyn and say “Be confident! You look gorgeous!” [When] in reality I [feel] the total opposite. It is so difficult… I don’t know how to think that way anymore, even though I can tell people to.
Do you watch reality TV shows?
Gabby — Whatever is on Netflix, so not really.
Brooklyn — I don’t watch reality TV shows, I usually watch Netflix as well.
Kathy — I actually do. I watch the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, stuff like that. And again, very unrealistic [portrayal] of what love is… Well, some of them do find love.
*Psst* They don’t find love.
Kathy — *Laughs* I just feel like [it’s an example] of how you shouldn’t find love… on a competition show.
Do you watch Keeping up with the Kardashians or is it just… aimed at old people?
Gabby — I don’t watch it. My friend does though.
Brooklyn — I know they watch it more in the States. Like, the Millennial generation kind of watches it. Growing up we all though we were “millennials”. *Laughs*
You’re Gen Y!
Brooklyn — Exactly! I’m thinking that reality TV shows are more towards them (millennials). I’m not even completely sure why our generation isn’t as attached to those reality TV shows where as [older people] are.
Gabby — Even though we don’t watch it, we are still quite influenced by it. I know when Kylie’s lip kit came out a few years ago, that was the rage for a long time.
Wasn’t that last year?
Gabby — I think it was a few years ago.
Time goes by way too fast…
Brooklyn — It was a few years ago.
Wow. (Kylie’s Lip Kit debuted in 2015, three years before this interview.) Life is fleeting, enjoy your youth.
Gabby — Then there was the whole trend of getting your lips bigger. Now it’s eye lashes. Because Kylie got her lip stuff taken out. So everyone was like, “That’s not the trend anymore.”
Kathy — I definitely think that Kylie Jenner and all of those people on her level on definitely really influential. Even though they’re like 20 years old — they have babies — we still compare ourselves to them. Their bodies, and even their faces… Even though we don’t even know if it’s real of not. *Laughs* We just want it. We’re never going to be satisfied with ourselves while this (marketing) is all going on.
How shocked would you be if you found out that Kylie Jenner was just a hologram?
Gabby — To be honest, probably not that much, considering how much the media lies.
Brooklyn — We like to think that the media doesn’t lie and everything, but we know Photoshop exists, we know people are Photoshopping their photos and all of that. It’s like what Kathy said earlier, we can say something so easily, but really putting that into action with ourselves and making that a reality is so much harder. So me seeing these photos on Instagram that are photoshopped, that doesn’t click right away. … Like with Kylie, you think “Yeah that’s what reality is,” even though [she uses lots of Photoshop].
So what makes you decide to unfollow somebody?
Gabby — To be honest, I think I’ve unfollowed about 2 people in my lifetime. With Instagram, there’s so much of it, that you forget who you do follow. And also, back to your first point, you do forget about [the people you follow]. Not that you [try to] throw them away, but you do move on.
Brooklyn — For me, I go through waves of confidence where I’ll think, “No, you know what, I’m just going to follow the people that I know personally that I love and who are energetic and youthful and real,” and then I start going through my Instagram follows page and I just think, “Oh, but this is a popular girl at my school…” I want her to be my friend.
Does she follow you?
Brooklyn — You know, probably not. That’s the sad reality. You know, you keep trying to impress these people though, and then you’ll see this actor, everybody follows her, so I should keep following her… But I will go through waves where I feel really set in myself and I just think, “I’m going to go through this, I’m going to make social media a happy place for me again.” Because so often, it isn’t a happy place. It gets to this cycle where we feel bad about ourselves, so we scroll, we post, we get the likes, we get the dopamine. It’s instant satisfaction. Then we start feeling bad about it, so we get off of it for a bit. But then we go back to it, because we get that instant satisfaction and that validation from it.
Kathy — I definitely remember when me and Brooklyn were obsessed with Millie Bobby Brown. Then there was a time when she was kind of changing… She was getting less popular. No one really cared about her. Her attitude started changing, stuff like that. So we unfollowed her because of that. But then, I later refollowed her because I thought “I kind of have to, I’m a Stranger Things fan” even though I don’t really like her content. There was a time when I did “cleanse” my social media because my social media was full of ads and people showing unrealistic things, and I wanted it to just be a place with my friends. But it’s gone back, and I don’t even know how that happened. All of a sudden I am following ads again.
Gabby — Back to Brooklyn’s point about only following who you are happy with… I know with my friends, if they do one thing, I’ll do it to. But it’s only because I didn’t think about it until they said so. Like how [Brooklyn] follows popular girls sometimes… I know when I first started using Instagram I was doing that too but then a friend asked, “Why do you follow her, do you even like her?” and I [realized] I don’t really, and she doesn’t follow me back! … So if watching someone’s stuff doesn’t make me happy, then .. you realize you should unfollow them.
You guys are making it sound like Instagram’s numbers are a lot more inflated — not really that unrealistic. You talk about following all of these people, even though you don’t care what they have to say. The numbers are pretty meaningless then.
Gabby — It is quite superficial. When I say in real life “Oh, they didn’t like my post back!” My friend will be like, “Who cares?” *Laughs* But you didn’t think about that before.
Kathy — For me at least, I am even scared to post sometimes. Because it’s like, “Oh, this isn’t going to get enough likes…” I know it’s wrong to think, but I just can’t get over it. I’ll tell other people that again, like “Just post it! You look great! It doesn’t matter.” But I probably wouldn’t [make that post]. I know it’s wrong, but it’s hard to get over it.
Now you don’t seem like the type of people to do this, but do you even troll or post negative comments on people’s pictures?
Gabby — Most of us grew up being exposed to bullying… I know I was… So even thinking about doing that is just, why would I want to do that to someone? It’s nothing that would help their day. I don’t like being mean! I would rather post nice comments to help their day.
Brooklyn — My cousin is growing up with this technology. He’s a few years younger. I see him using social media in a really toxic way. For me, in Grade 8, I had a fan account for Stranger Things. With this fan account, I would be posting and everything and I would use a fake name because I have always been very conscious of what I share on line. [My friends and I] grew up when the switch was made from those old projectors used in classrooms where you put down the piece of paper, to smart boards — we saw iPhones come out! … So, in Grade 8 when I had the fan account, there was this girl that I told about it. And she ended up trolling me on another account that she created. She would say “I know who you really are, I hacked your DMs…” She was using really vulgar language to me. It scared me a lot. Because this was exactly what I was afraid of. …It rattled me so much. I talked to another friend of mine, and she was like “Oh yeah, [this person] does this all of the time with other accounts.” But online, we can all be anonymous. Even with my fan account, I was not me. It’s so easy to just say whatever. So, going back to my cousin… He did the exact same thing that that girl did to me in Grade 8. He started talking to a boy in Gabby’s grade. He started saying things like “I know who your sister is…” and sending him pictures of him. So this boy DM’d me and said “Do you know this kid?” The boy explained everything to me, and it just really rattled me thinking that my cousin was able to do that, the same way that that girl had done to me. I had a huge talk with him and everything. It’s just really crazy, because it can get so toxic.
Kathy — I had a fan account before. I would like to keep what it was for anonymous… *Laughs* You don’t even know how easy it is to say what you want on there. Like, Grade 8 me. Maybe Grade 7 me, has definitely said some mean stuff. Because who is going to know it’s you? But now I would never even say what was close to that with my accounts.
What made you want to say mean things? I know it was a long time ago, but do you remember what you were feeling?
Kathy — Just, other people on fan accounts would say mean things. So I would just say it back, because who is going to know? It’s so easy to think no one is going to know, so I’m just going to say it. Whereas what you show to other people…. Me, I would never say anything like that. But it’s way easier than people think.
Gabby — Because you’re young and stupid, and when you have a phone and social media, and it’s so easy to type out… What are the consequences? That’s what people might think. I was lucky because my mom didn’t let us have social media or phones until Grade 10, so that did alleviate a lot of the embarrassing stuff that could have happened. Even my friend, she had multiple emails and she was like “I don’t even remember them!” And now kids are getting involved so much young… People that post those mean comments are just young kids, and people that have nothing else to do in their lives.
Going back to the “throw away” part of pop culture. It sounds like you don’t really “throw away” people, it’s just that you are exposed to so much stuff and so much content, that you get distracted by something else…
Brooklyn — Exactly. Everything marketed to us moves so fast. Our generation is constantly moving, because we’re growing up. [For older people], between like, 45 and 44, there isn’t much of a difference between those two ages. But between 16 and 15, it’s like a world of difference. We’re moving so fast, we’re all in different stages of our lives by the next month. People may think that there is a “throwaway culture” but we are just so stimulated all of the time — things are always changing — so we just [adapt].
Gabby — I don’t think we throw [people] away. Every so often I will listen to One Direction and be like “I remember this song!” or another old band that you haven’t thought of in a while. It’s just that … it’s hard to keep up. [Especially] when new things are thrown at you everyday.
Kathy — I used to think back to when we were obsessed with the It (movie) cast… I’ll DM Brooklyn and be like “Remember when we were so obsessed with these guys?” and I still love them because they were such a big part of my life at one time, but life moves so fast… I don’t have time to go back there when there are other things I need to focus on, and new influencers coming my way that I need to adapt to.
Brooklyn — Every once in a while, I’ll come across an edit of the cast and I’ll send it off to Kathy and we’ll have this deep conversation where we realize that we’ve grown so much since then, even though it’s even a matter of months. *Laughs* … We’ll still talk about it, even though so much has changed.
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