Interview by Jana Letonja

Yesly Dimate has gained over 3.8M followers across social media since beginning posting videos on TikTok in 2022. She has grasped audiences through her acting POVs and consistent lifestyle vlogging that authentically captures what she does best: photography, modeling, beauty, fashion, and pop culture. Next up, we’ll be able to watch her in the indie romantic comedy ‘Before We Begin’.

Yesly, your career basically started because of TikTok. Have you ever expected to gain such popularity and so many followers in such a short time?

The short answer is no. I think that’s by far the most unexpected thing and I didn’t realize that many people would find me entertaining, but it’s a privilege to have such a big platform. It was intense and scary in the beginning with it happening so quickly, but I have become more comfortable with it as time has gone on. 

How has fame from TikTok and social media changed your life?

I think looking back even just a year ago today, I was a completely different person both mentally and physically. In general it has opened up so many doors. I have traveled, met many people and grown more confident in myself. 

Why did you decide to use TikTok as your main social media in particular?

This is actually a funny story because I never made a decision to start an account with the purpose of growing it. Eventually, I started committing to it and being consistent with my posting. Once I saw the feedback from the audience, I realized it was an opportunity to step into acting, which is something I have always been passionate about. It started with acting POVs, which were really fun to make. It was a way to showcase what I was interested in and put my love for acting out into the world. 

I love the TikTok community. They can be harsh at times, but also really fun and it garners a sense of community. I also love that TikTok has that discoverability aspect to it, it’s more chaotic and real in my opinion. Whereas Instagram showcases the highlights of my life, TikTok is more personal to me. I am letting the audience into my day to day life. 

These days, we are able to see a lot of negative impacts of social media, especially amongst young generations. How do you personally deal with negative feedback from it?

I have learned along the way that not everyone will love you and you can’t please everyone, which had the people pleaser in me screaming. I dont think I’ll ever get used to it, but you learn to adjust as you go. I could have so many positive comments and that one negative comment will eat me alive. It’s a learning experience every day and maybe one day I’ll wake up and not care about that one negative comment. But right now, I’m learning to not let it affect me as much. 

We are giving ourselves up to an audience on a daily basis, but I am very adamant that it is still okay to maintain your own space and privacy. It’s okay to take a step back sometimes. 

Your videos cover some of your biggest passions, like photography, modeling, beauty, fashion and pop culture. How do you decide on what you are going to share with your fans? What inspires your videos?

My moods are what inspires me. Some days I wake up and want to try outfits on, other days I want to do skits and play different characters or lip sync audios that are stuck in my head. I try and stay away from a niche that will tie me down to one thing because I love to explore new content and ideas. If i have to pick my favorite type of content to make, it would definitely be creating my acting videos. 

Like we mentioned, one of your passions is photography. What kind of photography excites you the most? Would you like to do it in a more professional way in the future as well?

I do like it a lot. I recently got a film camera and I’m trying to learn more about film photography. Capturing a single moment that you can’t see until you get it developed is always fun. Right now I don’t have anything specific I want to do with it, I just enjoy capturing moments in my life for fun to look back on. I actually have an entire photo album at home with all of my favorite photos I have taken in the past couple of years. 

I also love cinematography. I think the two go hand in hand and would love to incorporate that into my future endeavors.

How would you describe your relationship with fashion? How do you feel when wearing something completely out of your comfort zone?

I have always loved fashion. Previously I had always stuck to the safer side when choosing looks, my go-to outfit being denim and a white tee. However, lately I have been attending more fashion shows and exhibitions, and I’ve seen how people express themselves with what they wear and it has inspired me to try new things and use it as a way to express my taste and personality. Now I go through four outfit changes a day. 

Zoe Gofman, my stylist, has taught me that there is a story to tell through clothes and has honed in how to show my personality through clothing and with taking risks while staying to my personal style. I end up feeling really confident. 

What does term beauty represent to you? 

I hate that word, but I think it’s because of the modern day connotation around it. Beauty isn’t appearance to me, it was never how I thought about it. Beauty is in the things and experiences that make you happy. I find happiness beautiful. I find kindness beautiful. Beauty is a feeling, it’s a mindset that you have. Sometimes beauty is sitting on a fire escape in SoHo or sitting down to film myself getting ready. Feeling your best self is definitely beauty. 

I have been fortunate enough to learn about beauty in a different way through the opportunities I have been given. With my platform, I want to inspire people to find beauty through the things that make them happy. 

Soon, we’ll be able to see you in your first acting role, in the indie romantic comedy ‘Before We Begin’. Acting is something that was on your radar for a longer time now, right? 

Yes it has always been on my radar. Looking back, I always loved the idea of entertaining. During my childhood, I remember always wanting to make my mom smile. I was always putting on a show for my family, coming up with new performances for everyone to watch after dinner. 

Acting has always been a dream and passion of mine, but there is a lot of rejection that comes with it. It’s not the easiest thing to pursue, but after discovering myself through my journey on TikTok, I decided I wanted to do it full time. I am lucky enough to have now been on set for a couple of independent films, but I will always be grateful to TikTok for being my first ‘pseudo set’. It will always hold a special place in my heart as all the emotional growth and confidence I built started there. 

What is coming up next for you? What are your goals for your career?

I just wrapped production on two independent features that I am really excited to see come to fruition. This year, I really want to focus on storytelling, it’s always been a passion of mine, to be able to tell stories for people like me and bring them to life on screen. 

My ultimate goal is to inspire and motivate. Whether that be on my platform, on the big or small screen or even through using a certain product. It is important to me that I don’t take TikTok for granted, even though my main passion is acting. The emotionally growth I have gained and confidence I have built all came from TikTok. 

Talent: Yesly Dimate @yeslydimate
Photographer: Matthew Priestley @matthewtylerpriestley
Stylist: Zoe Gofman @zoegofman
Hair: Kale Teter @kaleteter @thewallgroup
Makeup: Netty Jordan @nettyjordan @crowdmgmt
Editor: Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Interview by Jana Letonja @janaletonja