IN CONVERSATION WITH NIC KAUFMANN
With more than 20 million followers across all his social platforms, including 19.7 million on TikTok, Nic Kaufmann is a global and top Europe fashion/lifestyle creator born in Singapore and based in Germany.
Nic, tell us more about your beginnings as a social media creator. How did it all begin?
I originally started creating content on YouTube when I was 13 or 14, but as my responsibilities at school grew, that project slowly faded into history. Once I moved to Germany to study computer science at University, I decided to delve into the world of social media once again. With a lot of free time on my hands, I started to use TikTok in breaks between my university work and soon decided that I would be able to create these videos too. From that point on, the rest is history and you can still see my first videos on my TikTok profile today. As bad and cringeworthy as they are, I won’t be deleting them anytime soon because I think they are a part of my story on the internet.
You create content based off your experiences living in Asia, your Indian heritage and your followers, which has helped you create a community where all backgrounds are welcome. Why has incorporating different cultures helped you gain edge over the rest of social media creators?
I never actually deliberately planned to ‘incorporate different cultures’, it happened naturally as my heritage and my childhood is simply a part of my identity as a person. However, I am happy to say that by incorporating these aspects of who I am, I have created a safe space on the internet where anybody is welcome and can share their story too. I am extremely proud of the community I have and the feeling of security within it.
What are in your opinion the bad sides of social media creation?
I think that the bad sides of being a social media creator are usually very relative to the individual themselves. However, the most common negative aspect of social media creation is the pressure on your mental health that comes from professionally pursuing social media creation. Especially on TikTok, where many creators are still young and have very impressionable minds. There are countless studies showing how harmful social media is to the mental health of the viewer, why should the same not apply to the creator?
You are drawn to fashion and work closely with many fashion brands, creating creative content for them. How do you look on this partnerships?
It’s a huge honor and dream for me to be working on many of these partnerships, but I don’t believe they are undeserved. I have worked hard to get to where I am and I am extremely grateful the brands I work with have recognized that. It’s honestly my dream job and I couldn’t be happier about it.
You are also very passionate about tackling gender stereotypes. Why is breaking gender stereotypes so important?
Once again, this isn’t something I had originally planned. I believe that gender stereotypes are quite arbitrary in modern-day society and that what you wear or do in your private life has no impact on the lives of others. That sentiment was naturally presented in my content when I made videos where I was obviously tackling a gender stereotype, even if it was unintentional. Nowadays, I do make it a point to talk about or present this topic from time to time because I feel like it is necessary in maintaining the safe space I have created on the internet. I want people to feel like they are welcome and appreciated without a regard to whether what they wear or do fits into their specific gender stereotype. I don’t believe these aspects define a person’s worth or value, so I choose to make them insignificant.
This year you won the ‘Style’ award at the About You Awards. In your opinion, what makes your style stand out?
I don’t personally believe the award was given to the person with the ‘best style’. Everyone nominated, including myself, obviously puts a lot of effort into their style and personally identifies themselves with what they wear. I think the award was based more on what was achieved in the fashion industry and the message the creator stands for, rather than an outright fashion contest.
You also appeared at the Business of Fashion Summit in New York this year, discussing fashion brands and TikTok. But, let us ask you what makes a TikTok moment viral?
Actually, I spoke on how fashion brands can better work together with TikTok creators to achieve their marketing goals.
Creating a viral TikTok moment comes down to inducing the strongest emotional reaction in the viewer through real and innovative content production. A strong emotional reaction provides real engagement which leads algorithms to push the content. Whether the emotional reaction is shock, excitement, anger or any other emotion, the point still stands that the viewer is not entertained if they did not feel something.
What would be your best advice to young upcoming social media creators?
My number one advice has nothing to do with creating content. For me, the most important thing for young creators to do is to meet as many people in the industry as possible. Not only can you draw inspiration and learn from other creative people you meet, but you can then also have a network of professionals with whom you can work with to create innovative concepts.
Nic, in addition to promoting other brands, you’re also working on launching your own. Tell us more about what you are planning?
As the brand is currently in the very early stages, and other projects currently still take priority over it, I don’t want to detail too much. What I am willing to comment on is that the brand will focus on innovation, especially when it comes to marketing strategies.
Your work is actually your private life, which can be hard to balance. What are you doing to have balance in your life? How do you think a perfect balance can be achieved?
I don’t personally believe that one has to balance work and life. I think the term work-life balance makes it seem like work is the devil on one shoulder and life is the positive side or the angel on the other. In my case, my work is my passion. At least the basics of it. When it comes to the business aspect, there are always things you have to do which are menial but at the core of it, my work is built on my passion for fashion.
interview by JANA LETONJA
photographer DANIEL SARS
styling MAGDALENA ROE
styling assistant ANANO SHALAMBERIDZE
hair WIARDI KOOPMEINERS
makeup THIRZA KING
production & light TIMOTHY HOENSON
production & light assistant JELLE HOMAN
video PABLO VAN WETTEN
casting TIMI LETONJA