By Keith Johnson, Head Videographer
// Ever since it replaced the lip-syncing app musical.ly in 2018, TikTok has seen a rise in popularity, especially with many teenagers downloading the app in the past year. Many creators on the app gained hundreds of thousands of followers in recent weeks, creating a new type of celebrity: the TikTok star.
One of these stars is Conrad Rocha, an Acalanes class of 2018 graduate who currently has over 600 thousand followers on TikTok, as well a plethora of Instagram followers.
Acalanes Wellness Intake Specialist Casey Sasner hosted an Instagram livestream between her daughter Michaela Sasner and Rocha on April 28 as a way to entertain Acalanes students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the livestream, the two friends caught up with what they’ve been doing at college and discussing Rocha’s increasing fame on TikTok, which only started recently.
“I had 200 thousand followers on Feb. 18. On March 18, I had 300 thousand, and now I’ve been making videos consistently,” Rocha said. “Now I have almost 650 thousand [followers]”
Rocha mentioned that he originally downloaded TikTok to make one video and then deleted the app from his phone. It was only after his friends pressured him to get it again that he began to post more regularly on his account. However, there was one video in particular that caused his views and followers to skyrocket.
“I posted [the video] at 11:00 p.m., and then I went to sleep. I woke up, and it had 120 thousand likes. Today, that video has 8.8 million views and 1.5 million likes,” Rocha said.
Rocha mentioned his love for dancing began before TikTok’s existence, and that he now loves having a place to make dancing videos and meet other creators with similar interests.
“I always grew up dancing, so it’s nice that I can incorporate dancing into something I can do every day. I still study dance at school, but it’s cool that I can do something that I can share with other people,” Rocha said.
Rocha currently majors in Business in Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
“It’s a pretty small program and it focuses on going into the business of the entertainment industry,” Rocha said.
Sasner and Rocha mentioned doing another livestream in the future, possibly with some of their favorite teachers and other fellow students. As the livestream ended, Rocha reminded viewers how they can use their free time usefully.
“One thing I would focus on right now is exploring interests that you’re going to have in school,” Rocha said. “For some of you that are going into a degree that you haven’t really explored in high school, maybe [research] some of those things and [find] out more about what you want to go into.”
Watch the recap below!