You know her from her witty one-liners on Dance Moms, as well as being Chloe’s protective mother, but Christi Lukasiak is diving into some new projects since her stint on reality TV. Aside from managing her two daughters, Chloe and her sister Clara’s careers, Christi has added online course instructor to her already impressive resumé.
Her latest course, “TikTok: From Woah! to Pro” teaches young adults how to use TikTok in a branding sense, not just as an influencer. But, Christi’s not stopping there: she’s determined to be a wealth of knowledge for kids making their way into adulthood. Her next endeavor? A course all about adulting. Keep reading below for more details from our exclusive interview with Christi Lukasiak.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Favorite Summer Activity? Swimming. I shouldn’t say swimming, I like to perch next to the water.
Favorite Show to Binge Watch? We’ve been binge watching Schitt’s Creek right now. It’s really, really, really funny! I cannot believe I have not seen this show before this year…it’s amazing!
Favorite Part of Disney World? I like Magic Kingdom a lot and Fantasy Land.
Favorite Music Style? I literally like all music. Maybe because Chloe [Lukasiak, daughter] always danced to everything so I found an appreciation for different types of music. We’ve been listening to this Oldies station, this “Summer Feel-Good” station. But then I like classic rock, classical ballet music. Eclectic, I would say.
Exclusive Q&A with Christi Lukasiak
We see that you’ve been involved in TikTok. What would you say has been your biggest win and biggest failure with TikTok so far?
I would say my biggest failure has been trying to create my own brand, because at first I thought you had to be original. I didn’t realize that if you just jump on the trend out there, that everything performs much better. So, my biggest fail has been trying to do my own thing. My biggest win has probably been just being funny. Anytime I do one of the “Mean Girl Mom” skits, it’s great. I think just being funny is made for that platform.
We understand you have a whole course on TikTok. How did that come about?
Well, at the beginning of quarantine I got behind TikTok like everyone else. It was something to do, but then I realized quickly that I did not know much about it because it was new. [And] I felt like a lot of people were just like: if you weren’t a very defined niche of kid, there was a little bit of a learning curve. So, I started learning a bunch about it. I’ve actually wanted to put together an online course for a while. So I did, which was kind of out of left field. But, if you know me really well, then you’re not surprised. I’m a nerd, I really like to know as much as I can about everything!
What would say is your biggest piece of advice for someone starting out on TikTok?
Really take advantage of the trends. Look at what a trending sound is, a trending hashtag, make sure you pair them together. And don’t take yourself too seriously; it’s not a platform where you have to be really self-conscious. It’s a chance to have more fun and more personality, so the more personality you have, the better you perform.
Do you feel people who start social media should think of it from a business and branding perspective?
Yes, one hundred percent. I don’t care if you are 13 and you are building an Instagram just because you want your friends to look at it, it’s actually the first place any employer looks at in today’s society. I don’t think you necessarily have to have a business you’re building, but I think your online presence is your resumé and you have to treat it like a savings account. You have to put something into it, and look at it long-term because it will pay you back down the line if you treat it the right way. And I think so many women – I’ll say my age – all of a sudden want to do something online and think, “Oh, I want to stay home and I’m going to create an online business.” They’re starting from scratch, but if you’re mindful of your social media from the get-go, then you’re already building an audience; you don’t have to start from scratch. So, even if you think you have no interest in it, I think it’s really just a part of our culture now. You have to be really smart about it.
Speaking of being smart, it’s so easy to become addicted to social media without it being productive. Do you have any ideas on how to break an addiction like that?
Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in that. Just keeping an eye on all your usage on your phone. I make it a point to put my phone somewhere and leave it away from me, because I was getting to the point where I was so involved in what I was looking at, that my family was like “Hello?” So, even at night I’ll plug in my phone across the room. I’ve even started to leave it at home at times. I survive, and everything’s okay. My husband has his phone in case anything happens!
We know adulting is not easy. What are three struggles that you see most kids experience in the transition into adulthood?
I think there’s a lot of pressure where kids feel like they have to know everything. You feel like you hit this magical age of 18 or 22, where you graduate from college and you feel like you have to know everything. I think there’s this huge fear that you can’t pivot, that’s a big one. Kids think you have to have it all locked down at 20 and think “I know exactly what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.” You have plenty of time, and there’s going to be plenty of ways life will take you. So, you don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you’re doing. I think the biggest one I’m finding is they don’t know where to get good, trustworthy information. You will ask your friend for advice, but your friend probably doesn’t have experience in it. A lot of times, they don’t want to go ask their parents, because they feel like either their parents don’t get it or they want to prove that they can do it without them.
What do you wish that schools taught more of in terms of adulting?
Just basic everyday things. I know for instance, it’s really crazy…in our school district, they talk about teaching kids how to write a check in 3rd grade. How about addressing an envelope? Or, even more importantly, what’s an interest rate? How does that work; how do you get your taxes done? How do you fill out a W-4? That’s a big one. These are questions that people don’t know, so all of sudden Google becomes your parent, and you don’t know where the information is really coming from.
Most of the kids that graduate from high school and even college come out and they don’t know a lot of the everyday life things.
Yes and then they have this impending doom on them all the time because it’s so stressful. Then they can’t enjoy the fact they’re 22 years old and living part of their best time in life because they’re so stressed out.
We know that both your daughters Chloe and Clara are both so active on social media and YouTube. Do you help guide them with ideas for their videos?
I used to when they were younger. Clara’s only going to be 11 this month, so I still help her, but really she’s very independent. But Chloe, no. Chloe takes care of everything. But I think when she was 13, I would kind of take a look and think, “Oh, how about this, or how about that?” But they both have a really good sense of what they want to share.
They grew up on it, too!
They did. And I have to say, I don’t ever have to worry about either of my girls putting out anything that I would be worried about because they’re just so mindful of who they are as people. So, kind of what you see is what you get. They’re a little nerdy, and that’s okay. I appreciate that. And they’re not ashamed of that.
Now, we’ve seen that you collaborate with a lot of different brands. For someone just starting out, what’s the process like in getting these brand deals for social media?
The biggest thing is just start! As you’re starting out and you’re growing an audience, be really organic about things you truly like and use. Share that with your audience and talk about those types of things. When you have an opportunity to partner with a brand, if you’re doing it the right way, you’re obviously going to choose something that you organically would like. Your audience will have this level of trust that you’ve built with them. Then they will know that you’ve recommended these products before, so they’re more inclined to buy something that’s sponsored. And it’s the thing on social media, people want to know, they’re following you for a reason. So, tell them; be honest.
We know you have a new program coming out in the fall: “Adulting 101.” That’s exciting! How will this program differ from others online, and who should take it?
I think that it’s going to differ because, first of all, I don’t take things too seriously. I try to, I’m looking at it like these are my cyber children…I’m going to teach them the same things I teach my own kids. I’m very honest, I’m very upfront, I tell it like it is. But, I’m also trying to teach them in a way that makes sense, it’s easy, it’s not overwhelming. They can take it, apply it, and move on. It’s really anybody who feels like they could use a little extra help and who wants advice from a trustworthy person, but also delivered in a way that’s very honest like; this is the way it works. Easy.
You’re known for your one-liners on Dance Moms. We saw you retweet a reaction video to them. Which one do people mention to you the most, and is there a story behind it?
You know, I get a lot of them! Here’s the thing: I say crazy things all day long. It’s just the way I am, so I have a very hard time remembering what made air, and what didn’t. So, people will say things to me, and I’ll be like: “Did I say that? Did they show that?” And they did! The ones I get the most are…I said something once about Abby’s jewelry. I said, she divides them like “red plastic rhinestone junk, blue plastic rhinestone junk…” and I didn’t even think about what I was saying, and people love that.
I think the one I get the most is…one of the other Dance Moms was wearing a cowboy hat for no reason. She was running around being a lunatic that day, throwing shoes and cursing. I’m over there in the corner because I could not take her seriously in that stupid hat. And I said, “Jill’s running around and she’s throwing shoes and she’s cursing, and all I’m thinking is I can’t take you seriously wearing that hat!” And people will say that to me all the time!
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Kari Highman is a Beauty and Fashion Blogger at Feeling the Vibe Magazine. Otterbein Alum (2017) – English & Psychology. Always learning & creating. Avid fan of mid 2000’s TV & pop music. Comments or tips, email [email protected]