You might know her from her well-known monthly hashtags such as #SarcasticSeptember, #OutrageousOctober, #NoisyNovember, and #DeafeningDecember. Her experience navigating the UK creative industry is certainly one of unique nature. This is the story of Tomike, owner of instagram’s top UK banter page, @yungtomtom.
From a young age Tomike has always been shy. But this soon escalated into severe social anxiety. This sparked an urge to form connections with other people, hence Tomike decided to open a twitter account weeks before her 12th birthday. This opened up a new door for her as she claims that “I was finally able to relate to people without the fear of judgement.” To get a feel of the era, during this time Tomike was a Drake fan and it was when fans would refer to themselves as #TeamDrizzy and #OVOFam. Tomike soon joined another rising social media platform – Instagram. Here she would post anything that she found funny on twitter. Starting off as a hobby this soon became a lifestyle. According to Tomike “Yungtomtom was (and always will be) my main account”. However she does own 4 active instagram accounts showcasing differing aspects of creativeness such as her writing, all with the common purpose of glorifying the goodness of God.
Fun fact: If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of @yungtomtom’s account you will find selfies of Tomike’s 12th birthday to when she was 13!
Tomike was running her account full-time whilst studying a degree at university. Maintaining a side hustle and simultaneously attending university can be extremely tough at times. Despite these pre-existing beliefs Tomike did not find it tough balancing her social media presence with university. Studying psychology at her university was not so demanding which limited her sense of discipline regarding her studies. In first year, at the age of 18 Tomike reached 30K followers, after this point there was a drastic increase in her work rate. Despite her success, Tomike was faced with many challenges such as battling the desire to live up to her audience’s expectations of her. As her banter page grew in status, the more Tomike felt as though she needed to put on a certain facade which stunted her personal development.
Some creatives choose to study a course that will enhance their skills within their desired sector. As Tomike studied psychology I was interested as to whether her course helped her pursue her current career path. Whilst she certainly does not believe that university was a complete waste of time, it did minimise her productivity in terms of her future such as building multiple streams of income. Nevertheless in her final year she fell in love with psychoanalysis. Tomike stated “I’m a lover of all things cryptic so I became fascinated with the concept of the subconscious.” This not only helped her understand herself better but also sparked a desire to become a qualified therapist in the near future. This is due to her belief that “a lot of the mental health issues that people suffer from are due to unresolved trauma that has seeped into the conscious after years of suppression.”
When it comes to very popular social media presences, one often wonders whether the rate at which the growth occurred had an effect on the owner’s motivation. Initially @yungtomtom was merely a hobby and hence was treated as such – “I nurtured it like it was a newborn baby which built a firm foundation for future interactions”. When Tomike reached 100,000 followers she decided to give back to those who had helped her along the way through free promos and giveaways. She regards networking as the root of her success. Although she was discouraged at times when looking at her counterparts who had started after her yet grew at a faster pace, she would constantly remind herself that “it’s bigger than me, it was never for the followers but the long term intentional impact.”
It is interesting to gain an insight into Tomike’s view on recognition in the UK creative scene given that she is a creative with such a huge following. The most underrated individuals in the world of social media? For Tomike this is mostly the people who work behind the scenes such as graphic designers, artist managers and web developers. She deems people who are at the forefront (eg. artists, influencers, models, content creators) to attract the audience’s recognition much more effectively. She prompts those at the forefront to do better for those in the background and encourages them not to forget their roots – “Well-known creatives in the UK need to start extending the ladder when they get to the top instead of kicking it down. It’s time to erase the crabs in a barrel mentality.”
What is Tomike’s biggest achievement so far in the creative industry? At the age of 16 she was offered the opportunity to collaborate with Uber in order to increase their exposure in the UK. The creative who gave her the offer had been a follower of @yungtomtom and was working with Uber’s social media team, thus creating an opportunity for her fellow black girl. Also Tomike is always ecstatic when she gets the following messages – “I got my whole family to follow your page” or “wait all my friends already follow you.” It means the world to Tomike that her work has spread across the nation and believes that this is only the beginning.
For all the fellow creatives eager to know what advice Tomike would give to upcoming creatives in the UK. Here it is: “Become your own biggest fan first! The way I was (and still am) a shameless self-plug is hilarious to the point it’s been ingrained in me. How can others support what you yourself are ashamed to? It begins with knowing that, regardless of whether someone likes, shares or retweets your content, God’s got you because you have positioned yourself in a way to receive. That gives me a peace that transcends all understanding. Remain consistent despite the odds, it all pays off eventually. The right person will soon reckon with your art.”
Interested in following Tomike’s journey?
- Instagram: @yungtomtom
- Other Instagram accounts: @unique.galore @unique.articulation @unique.pantheress
- Twitter: @uniquegalore
Written by: Claudia, founder of Space2Uplift
Follow us on Instagram – @space2uplift
Subscribe for more content down below!