Krystal Lake is the epitome of an all rounder. The influencer/creator/DJ started her impressive career in video creation for big titles like PinkNews and UNILAD. Her ability to stay on top of internet trend commentary is what has led her to become a successful influencer, with a following of half a million on TikTok. Covering topics around POC, LGBTQ+, feminism, and mental health topics, Krystal has asserted herself as an inspiring voice across many platforms. Radar chats to Krystal about how to take the jump into freelancing, how to beat the algorithm, and what it was like to be recognised by Forbes.
Chart your career from the start to now.
I still can't get over that my TikTok experiment during lockdown led to me having over half a million fans on TikTok. So many people and life interests lead e to where I'm at now. Before I was an influencer I used to lead video teams for different companies, such as NBC and PinkNews. I learned a lot about how to create viral content when I was working at UNILAD, which was the biggest media publisher on Facebook during the time I worked there. Then I learned a lot about news and what's "allowed" on news and what is not (we can blame misogyny and racism for a lot of the material that isn't allowed on the news or certain social media platforms.) At one point I was tired of being limited to what I can say or create when working at my corporate job, so decided I'm going to talk about real news, real history, and real problems on my own channel. I've always loved cracking algorithms, connecting with people, and discovering more about "the stuff schools don't teach" which reflects my life and those around me, like queer topics, minority, women, and mental health topics, so the influencer path seemed naturally fitting.
You have recently been added to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list - what was it like to receive this accolade?
I am still processing it. The first thing I thought was "WHAT? HOW DID THEY FIND ME?" I'm currently on a Forbes summit right now and I am surrounded by so many geniuses and people who are literally changing the world. That award was a reminder to keep on doing what I'm doing. I'm not going to lie, sometimes it feels lonely and closed off, because I don't actually see my supporters in real life when I'm creating content. I'm typically at my desk - make a video, and hit post. I don't see the smile forming on people's faces, or experience the hug after watching one of my videos, I usually see a "virtual like," which is amazing as well but that in-person experience hits different. Actually seeing the support in real life and hearing "wow your videos changed how I view myself" feels so great. I forget that I have an audience sometimes because the virtual world can feel empty or like it's not real. Seeing pages and people that I look up to, talk about my work fills my heart.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue freelancing in this industry?
Trust yourself. Freelancing is all about believing in yourself to follow your dreams rather than following your dreams through a company which may add a few restrictions to your work. It might be hard at first and it's a constant hustle to stay on top of your game, but you'll love that constant hustle because you're building the blocks to continue living your dream, or to reach your dream. Become aligned with what you want to do and go for it. I started my freelance work as a side hustle because I needed stable income from my corporate job, but at one point your side hustle will prove to show that it can be your main hustle and that's when you should break free and focus all your energy on building yourself up as a freelancer. You got this.
You have 500k followers on TikTok - what makes you excited about this platform? How do you learn the tricks of the algorithm?
TikTok is one of the most accepting platforms out there. I feel seen as a queer, black woman because there are so many tight-knit communities on TikTok. I feel so grateful that I can teach people to love themselves and I can teach others how to be a great allies and foster a community on my platform with people of different backgrounds. Cracking algorithms all boil down to understanding your audience and learning how to tell a good story. I've always loved understanding algorithms because it helps me understand people and the way we think, and what influences us to think the way we do. I started learning about how to decode algorithms through my old job at UNILAD, everything was focused on viral content. At one point I started to realise that it wasn't all about machines and bots trying to feed us content, I started to realise that the viewer is really in control of how these algorithm patterns work, it's all about understanding people. I'll go on forever on this topic because I really nerd out about it, but long story short, I love understanding people and connecting with people and social media is the hub of connection, and that's why I fell in love with social media and understanding algorithms.
Where do you find inspiration for content?
My life. Literally. I dig into topics that once hurt me and think "why did that hurt me?" 9 times out of 10 it boils down to hatred that was taught by media, schools, or society. This led me to create content such as: What is colorism, why do women shave, or queer heroes that your history book hid from you. I also think about chats that I would have with friends, and what they experience. A lot of my content also comes from reading what my followers deal with. I feel like my mind questions everything, so instead of keeping it all in my head, I make videos for others who are just as curious as me.
What magazine do you stockpile?
I have a few! Bricks Magazine, Salty, GUAP, DAZED, and Diva magazine. These magazines lift up so many minority voices and their communities are strong as hell! I love it!
What’s on your radar?
I have a series dropping soon in collaboration with TikTok, called Stereotypes. I'm excited and nervous at the same time haha. I'll have guests on the show and we'll be discussing what stereotypes they go through and how to break them so stay on the lookout for that! I'm hoping to change lives and minds with this project so I hope it does well.