Five Inuit content creators join TikTok bootcamp

TikTok Accelerator program to train 40 Indigenous social media stars

Five Inuit content creators are part of TikTok’s new Indigenous Creators Program where they will learn to grow their platforms, the company announced late last month. From top left clockwise: Brendalynn Trennert aka Inuk Trennert, Julia Ulayok Davis, Angela Aula, Willow Allen and Braden Johnston (Photos courtesy of TikTok and @inuk360, @juliaulayok, @inuk.beauty, @willow.allen, @kadlun)

By Nunatsiaq News

Five Inuit content creators have been selected to join the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators Program, the social media company announced late last month.

The six-week online training program from TikTok Canada and the National Screen Institute is designed to help participants grow their platform and learn how to better engage with their audience, National Screen Institute spokesperson Rachel Young said in a news release.

Among the 40 Indigenous creators selected, five are Inuit, according to the release from TikTok.

Angela Aula (@inuk.beauty) boasts 12,000 followers on her TikTok account, where she posts makeup and beauty tips. Originally from Nunavut, Aula has lived in Toronto for close to 30 years. “I try my best to represent my people any way that I can, doing makeup is one of them,” she said in a media release.

Braden Kadlun Johnston, 23, (@kadlun) shares personal accounts of his past battles with drug addiction and his recovery journey to his more than 109,000 followers.

“TikTok has become a creative outlet for me to express my journey through addiction and mental illness,” he said in a statement on the program website.

“It’s also been the mediator in my reconnection process with Inuit culture with my mother.”

Johnston grew up in Yellowknife but was born in Kugluktuk, and currently lives in Calgary where he attends Mount Royal University.

Brendalynn Trennert of Yellowknife, who also goes by Inuk Trennert, (@inuk360) shares behind-the-scenes footage of her work in fashion and design with her nearly 27,000 TikTok followers. She has decades of experience in sewing, and often posts videos of her jewelry available through her Inuk360 online shop.

In a statement, Trennert said she tries to use her social media to bring awareness to issues like mental health, suicide prevention, breaking the silence on domestic violence and drawing attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“And as an Indian Residential School Survivor, [I work] hard to have quality of work over quantity and learning how to not only survive but to thrive,” she said.

More than 10,000 people follow Julia Ulayok Davis (@juliaulayok) an Inuk singer, actress and composer who lives in Winnipeg.

She often posts videos of her singing original songs and covers and makes videos about her Inuit culture. She hopes to create an Inuit musical inspired by her own experiences and inspiration from traditional Inuit legends, she said in a statement.

Model Willow Allen (@willow.allen), from Inuvik, already has an impressive following of 500,000 on the platform.

Her modelling work has landed her on the cover of Elle Canada magazine and she’s appeared in campaigns for Canada Goose and Christian Louboutin.

Allen shares personal updates from her life and snapshots from her work in the fashion industry on her account.

 

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Give back on

    It is wonderful to see more indigenous representation and skills training. Now when will TikTok give these creators access to the creator fund in Canada? Otherwise they are just boosting their platform on the backs of unpaid indigenous talent.

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      • Posted by not gibberish on

        Look into the TikTok creator fund and you’ll understand what they are talking about. Do some research. It’s a good thing.

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        • Posted by Honestly though on

          If you can’t explain what you mean in plain language, don’t expect people to spend their day trying to decipher your cryptic messaging.

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          • Posted by Give back on

            I think it is a generational language gap that is the problem. It’s plain, but maybe not for anyone over the ages of 40 to 45 depending on social media savvy. The creator fund compensates TikTok influencers for their work (if they meet certain criteria). Canada is not among the countries with access to that fund. So it is great to train people for representation, but it’s not socially selfless if they are just boosting the platform and not getting the paid benefits others would. Get it now?

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            • Posted by Plonker on

              Thank you for the explanation. My thought is, of course the company is boosting the platform, in the same way users (creators) boost their own brands.

              When you bring up selflessness, I’m not sure what you are looking for?

              I suspect you might mean something like, you want to see your own ideals around ‘representation’ reflected in the process by which funds or influence training (or, access to influence perhaps?) is distributed.

              That said, why should any creator be compensated by TikTok?

              • Posted by Give back on

                Personally, I don’t think anyone should be compensated for being an influencer, but they are and times are a changin’

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                • Posted by Social Media Hacks your Brain on

                  They are paid by advertisers, not TikTk itself. Which is fine, but we should all be aware of what incentive and reward structures are embedded in that model.

                  ‘Creators’ (influencers as you say) are paid to exploit something: their attractiveness, their culture, an ability to entertain, and ultimately their ability to hold your attention. What TikTok wants to help them develop is a personal brand that can be used to sell YOUR attention to someone who wants to sell you a product.

                  Expect this incentive structure to distort, reduce and simplify (commodify) culture, not enhance or preserve it.

            • Posted by Confused reader on

              ‘Give back,’ i’m confused by a couple of your statements. At first you accused TikTok of “boosting their platform on the backs of unpaid indigenous talent” then say you “don’t think anyone should be compensated for being an influencer.”

              Don’t these statements contradict each other?

              • Posted by Give back on

                Not really a contradiction. My beliefs and the reality are different. So, no, I do not believe social media creators and influencers are real jobs. However, the world cares little about my beliefs and they are considered real paid jobs. So, therefore the indigenous influencers in Canada deserve the same opportunity for compensation.

                It’s just that my beliefs are outdated, which I recognize.

  2. Posted by Nunavut on

    Yay for the platform, but only 2 of them actually live in the north?
    And where is the Nunavut based content creator?

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  3. Posted by Other side of the story on

    People bragging about followers and being sponsored by some fancy make-up brand is what makes TikTok detrimental to the health of so many. Sure, these Inuit have seen some level of success, but what about the thousands who are suffering from mental health due to overuse of these platforms? These platforms are breeding grounds for abuse, harassment, and creating unrealistic expectations of beauty and affluence.

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    • Posted by Social Media Hacks your Brain on

      They absolutely feed mental health problems. Ask yourself what the reward and incentive structure looks like too. Nunatsiaq doesn’t like comments like this. I notice they are very selective in what we are allowed to say here, unsurprisingly.

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      • Posted by Not hateful enough on

        If you were slinging racism, sexism, homophobia or any other kind of hate they would put that up right away.

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  4. Posted by Kinakiaq on

    Braden Johnston represents Inuit embarrassingly when he fails in speaking Inuktut.

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    • Posted by Future Shock on

      Like it or not you may have to get used to it, these are not the Inuit of the past, but the ‘Inuit’ of the future.

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    • Posted by 867 on

      Useless comment… He’s from the NWT where barely anyone speaks Inuktut. Not his fault. He has overcome a lot and has gotten himself into University — something few Inuit have the opportunity to do

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    • Posted by Young Inuk on

      Most Inuit are learning how to speak Inuktut. heck, even non-inuit are learning the language. Be mindful that encouragement makes us want to keep learning. Not an ugly comment like this.

  5. Posted by Name Withheld on

    Majority in young Inuit lack speaking their own language. The main thing is they are trying to relearn it!!. Give them credit for it and focus on something else .

    Braden, I’ve seen your video’s and I think they are great!! Don’t let comments get to you. We cannot control what everyone thinks!!

  6. Posted by Nicole Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau on

    I am part of that program and I am Inuk as well

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  7. Posted by Inuk in the city on

    You forgot @arcticfrostbyte!!! Her name is Nicole Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau and she is also inuk!!

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