Niamh O’Connor has opened up about her experience dealing with online trolls, after gaining a massive following on TikTok.
The Louth native spoke exclusively to Goss.ie, and explained her rapid rise to fame on the popular video sharing app.
“My little cousins had TikTok last Christmas and I hadn’t a clue what it was,” she admitted, “So I downloaded the app and started watching videos and thought – ‘Oh, maybe this is something I could do'”.
“I made one video where I spoke about my veneers and that video went viral and got about half a million views. Straight away, I just gained a lot of followers and there was no turning back.”
Since her first video, Niamh has gained over 154,000 followers on the app, which has invited a lot of negativity into her life.
“TikTok was originally something that I loved doing, but as the following grew – you’re put under more public scrutiny,” she said.
“The trolling has just been constant for months, and I go through waves where it doesn’t bother me or it does. I’m putting so much effort into the app and in return, I’m going into my comment section and seeing ‘you’re ugly, you’re fat’ – which just isn’t nice for anybody.”
“Originally, it did have an impact on my mental health so I went on a break a couple of months ago because I was getting threats and everything. But after that, I came back more resilient and I just accepted that if I’m going to be in the public eye I’m just going to have to put up with this.”
“I’ve put it down to the fact that I have a very strong personality, I’ve always been like Marmite – you either love me or you hate me, there’s no in between.”
The 23-year-old also pointed out that the majority of trolling comes from teenage boys.
“I think it’s an intimidation thing because maybe they’re not used to a woman being like ‘I’m going to do and say whatever I want and you’re not going to stop me.'”
“There’s a lot of sexism and misogyny in society at the moment, and if you look at the artists that teenage boys are listening to… it’s really misogynistic music and they’re looking up to these people. So that’s what I put it down to – intimidation.”
Niamh shared her words of advice to people who leave nasty comments on social media: “Just because someone has followers, doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.”
“You can have two million followers, but you’re still just a normal girl or boy – I think people forget that. There is a person sitting on the other end of that account and everything you say does have an effect.”
“There’s a massive difference between constructive criticism and hate, and I always try to convey that message. There’s a very fine line.”
Referring to the deaths of Kailum O’Connor and Lee McCabe, Niamh added: “We have already lost two Irish TikTokers this year and I don’t want there to be any more. Hopefully people do wake up and smell the coffee and realise that your words do have consequences.”
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On the latest episode of Goss Chats, @itsalirose sits down with @m.rbeauty who opens up about his upcoming wedding and his surrogacy plans. Plus the beauty guru gives us the best tips for dolling yourself up from home. #GossChats is sponsored by top Irish aesthetic clinic @haus_of_jejuve