– Article originally published on November 21, 2021.
In real life (or IRL as most English speakers say), Elisabeth, 27, lives in the south of France, near Montpellier, and works in the hotel sector. But on TikTok, @Eliefy is a hit with videos of her.
Crash tests of intriguing makeup products, hair styling tutorials or even fashion tips and tricks, Elie Fy stands out and excels especially in his personal development videos.
With the same eloquence as relaxation, he speaks of overcoming physical complexes, love, autonomy, loneliness and mental health. A girl who is simple and inspiring at the same time, far from the classic influencers whose content was rapidly complexed by dint of pouring into toxic positivity!
That’s why we wanted to ask Elie Fy some questions to better understand his work, as well as the difference between TikTok and other social networks. Express interview-portrait.
Interview with tiktoker @ElieFy
Madmoizelle: How and why did you get started on TikTok?
@ElieFy : I downloaded the app in 2019 and had very passive use of it in the beginning. Having started posting relatively erratically, I have been more serious about the start of the 2020-2021 year.
The pandemic clearly played a role, as suddenly many more of us were watching TikTok and even creating about it. I must have been influenced to buy a lot of trendy clothes on the platform (laughs) !
Since then, I’ve been developing content that’s mainly focused on style and personal development, because that’s also what I watch and enjoy on the app.
Why is it so important to combine fashion content and self-confidence, in your opinion?
It’s hard to feel elegant if you don’t have confidence in yourself. When we do not feel comfortable with our skin, we can buy the most beautiful clothes, even well cut, even retouched to fit perfectly, we will not feel comfortable anyway.
This is how you can end up being cannibalized by an item of clothing rather than being sublimated by it, in my opinion.
I couldn’t present looks and offer fashion advice without talking about self-esteem. And it is by dint of addressing personal development problems that I began to receive more and more positive comments and subscribers because they corresponded to my personality!
You also insist on your large size, which you now know how to use as an asset. But did it bother you before?
Yes, child and teenager, it has complicated me enormously. During my school, I was often not only the only black, but also the tallest, so I always stood out in spite of myself. I was much laughed at.
I often came home crying from school, regularly asking my mother for words of apology to avoid sports lessons where my difference aroused more wickedness …
I was also very thin, so I put two pants on top of each other to try and give myself a semblance of extra thickness, in hopes of being teased less.
Since I scared the kids, I started using it to defend other victims of school bullying. And little by little I learned to assert myself and to assume my size.
What helped you gain self-confidence and take on the style of clothing you like?
A friend entered me in the Miss Africa Montpellier contest. They contacted me, I was caught. We have been training for several months, with coaching and photo shoots. Gradually, I began to take a liking to myself and finished Première Dauphine in 2017.
From there I realized how much I had always repressed my interest in fashion. Before there were so many things that I didn’t allow myself to wear, like dresses or heels, telling myself it wasn’t for me, because I thought I didn’t have enough curves, or that I was too big!
Do you think it is more difficult to be successful in the flu market when you are a black woman, especially dark skinned?
I don’t live off the flu, so I don’t have enough experience to talk about the subject. What I know is that, when I arrived from Senegal in France at the age of 7, with my parents and my brother, I suffered a lot for not corresponding to the dominant beauty standards, especially from the heart.
There was a mixed-race girl in my first school, to whom I was always compared to demean myself, with colorism. I also suffered from bad bondage jokes, I was told they didn’t see me in the photos because I was too black, etc.
Today, my best revenge is to feel good about myself. And all the better if I can help other people feel represented on social networks. But these can have the perverse effect of trapping people in bubbles of taste, where white women would only see the content produced by white women and vice versa.
How maybe TikTok differs from other social networks, by the way?
The magical thing about TikTok in my opinion is that really everyone can find their place there, a community of common tastes, even if they may seem niche.
I also find a lot of benevolence, even in the comments, where people take the time to write down what they liked and why.
Like TikTok, it’s mostly video content, we can’t pretend : let’s hear your intonation, see how you move and also the most spontaneous content can be as big a hit as blockbusters.
In my eyes, Instagram is much more of a professional showcase, where it might be in your best interest to filter your personality. YouTube, it might take a lot of technical expertise to update, in terms of light and camera.
Are TikTok talents regarded as much as those of other platforms today?
It’s getting better and better, I think.
I don’t feel legitimate in the market yet, because I’m not necessarily trying to make a living at the moment. But what I see and a little sorry is that brands are too interested in the number of subscribers, without sufficiently considering our creativity, our editorial line, our artistic direction, and above all the quality of our relationship with our audience. .
Which TikTok are you most proud of so far?
My birthday video It’s kind of a vlog. I assume I wanted to pass it alone first, to spoil me, to make me happy.
I am showing my true self and am thrilled and honored that you resonate with other people. Some even ask me for long versions of this type of video for YouTube, so I think seriously about it.
If you could change one thing in the fashion industry, what would it be?
Let’s stop with standardized sizes, or let there be more solutions to dress all body types.
As a tall woman, I am too frustrated to struggle to find clothes in my size. Yet I know very well that I am thin. It is certainly much more complicated for people with other morphologies, or with disabilities.
And if you could change one thing about TikTok, what would it be?
I think the platform can still make progress in terms of moderation and security. It is not normal to find questionable adult comments in front of videos of young children that can make you think of pedophiles.
Front page photo credit: ElieFy.