Beth McAlpine has amassed over 200,000 followers on TikTok. Their videos follow the trends on the app whilst often keeping them queer-focused. I managed to sit down with the creator and discuss social media, growing up queer, and celebrity crushes.
When you started your account did you have a goal? Did you expect to gain 200,000 followers?
It was a year ago I think that I started making TikToks and I was just making them for my friends and then one of my videos got a few likes and thought “oh this is a thing that could happen to me” and so I just kept going. I had no goal, and no idea of what was going to happen. I just kept growing, it was crazy.
What do you enjoy most about TikTok?
Everyone always speaks about how you’re on ‘this side’ of TikTok – the app shows you people like you and people who you can get along with. The number of times people will post something that just describes exactly how I feel in that moment, it feels insane. I also think it makes people feel more connected, especially when it comes to the LGBT+ community. For example, if you live in a place where there aren’t exactly a lot of queer people, you have this whole network of people you can communicate with and I think that’s great.
Did the internet help you when you were coming to terms with your identity?
Yeah definitely, every queer piece of media I consumed I thought “I need this because I don’t have that in real life.” With social media, people can just post about things, and they can do it anonymously and say, “oh I think I’m gay,” or, “I think I’m trans.” That helped me work out that one: I didn’t have to label myself, and two: that there wasn’t just straight and gay.
How have you been finding lockdown? Has TikTok been an outlet for you?
I’ve definitely been lucky; I haven’t had much difficulty with lockdown, and I haven’t lost anyone. Not being able to see anybody, but having TikTok, and all social media, has been a way to connect with people which has been so helpful. TikTok has been something to do, it’s my form of communication with people.
What are your favourite films/TV shows with LGBTQ+ characters and storylines?
I like ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’, it’s quite an old film with Daniel Day-Lewis. It’s about his character and his relationship with a Pakistani immigrant – it’s just so good. ‘Atypical’ is good, especially Casey because I’m in love with them (Writer’s Note: Who isn’t?). I literally have so many, but my mind’s gone blank! I’ve watched pretty much every piece of queer media so, any really.
Who are your celebrity crushes?
Julia Roberts – since birth, Bridgette Lundy-Paine, Hunter Schaefer, Zendaya – the whole cast of Euphoria to be fair.
What would your message be to LGBTQ+ youth?
It’s either going to sound pretentious or cringey but how you feel is the most important. Your first priority shouldn’t be how are people going to react, or how are you going to tell people. It should be how you feel about it, you shouldn’t try and simplify it and put yourself in a box just so other people will accept you. Your own mental health and safety should be your priority, rather than how you’re going to make [your identity] more consumable for other people.
You can find Beth’s TikTok account here.