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Creating Ciara: Growing up on the internet

By Kleona Amoyo Published Sep 02, 2022 5:00 am

When Ciara posted her handmade gown on Twitter, it went viral. Following this popularity, she wanted to share the process of creating the dress of her dreams by uploading a YouTube video. If you aren’t familiar with Ciara’s gown, you probably know her as Bianca Gan’s younger sister. That’s how I was acquainted with Ciara.

Before Ciara got into vlogging, Bianca had already established herself as a YouTuber. She didn’t want to get into the platform at first since her sister was already doing it, but then, it was one of the best ways to document and share her prom dress. So, she did. 

She didn’t know that the video would mark the beginning of her content creator journey. 

Young STAR caught up with Ciara to discuss her tech-savvy side, Tumblr girl roots, and fears as a YouTuber. 

YOUNG STAR: What have you been up to lately?

CIARA GAN: I’m an incoming senior studying management information systems. Many people wonder why I picked that up. It was my first plan since I was in seventh grade, so now that I’ve had it, I’m kind of stuck with it. (Laughs) I also just finished my UI/UX internship for Maya.

Alongside, I got a new room!

The handmade prom dress that sparked Ciara's beginnings as a content creator.

Your handmade prom dress sparked your beginnings as a content creator. Tell us more about how your influencer career started.

I’ve been on social media since I was 12, which is not the best age to be on. It might not be the safest place, but I love going on Tumblr. I was on Tumblr very young and loved seeing fandoms and aesthetics like grunge and pastel. 

I’ve always loved dressing up for pictures, taking pictures with my sisters, and curating my feed with different colors. I wanted to express myself more so that I could be seen. No one sees your artistic side when you’re in uniform.

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A post shared by CIARA GAN (@ciaraganart)

When I turned 17, I made my prom dress and documented it. During that time, my mindset was, “I’ll take the video and maybe post it one day.” That was my intention for starting YouTube. It was just another project for me to pursue. 

How do you manage to produce such high-quality content while balancing your schoolwork?

I generally do have a hard time. I don’t like to show it online, but I sometimes do. Everything online is an edited, filtered version of what you want to show people. 

It’s a unique experience to grow up on the internet. You see how much you’ve grown and how much things have changed. It’s also like growing up with your followers. It’s great to share your life online and find these people who appreciate that and want to share it with you. 

I balance school and YouTube, like hitting two birds with one stone. I do a “Study with Me” or “Week in My Life” video. I’m like, “Okay, I should study and film it.” My art videos are done in my free time, which is very rare. I just try my best to balance everything. I prioritize school first, and then the rest follows.

Who are your inspirations when creating?

I love Linh Truong. She’s so sweet; I’m, like, her number one fan. My inspirations are more international, but they’re mostly half Asian. I love Ava Jules, Haley Pham, Jimena Reno and Mina Le. 

Ciara Gan's channel has garnered over 200,000 subscribers.

For local creators, I have to watch my sister! I feel like I’m legally bound to. (Laughs) I watch Aika Agustin, Chelsea Valencia and Ashley Garcia. How they make their content inspires me because you can see how much hard work they put into it.

What would you say has been the highlight of your experience as a content creator?

It’s the people. I started YouTube with art, and many people began reaching out to me, saying, “I never picked up a paintbrush my whole life, and you’ve inspired me to start painting.” 

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A post shared by CIARA GAN (@ciaraganart)

Numbers and subscribers can only get you a surface-level kind of fulfillment. Touching one person’s life feels so much greater than just the numbers. I feel so warm inside. I feel like a mom saying, “Go, anak!” That’s definitely the highlight — the people I’ve met through my creations.

What is it like to document moments of your life and share them with 200k people?

At first, I was super shy to document my life because the internet is accessible to anyone. But now, I make videos because I want to remember what happened. 

It’s a unique experience to grow up on the internet. You see how much you’ve grown and how much things have changed. It’s also like growing up with your followers. It’s great to share your life online and find these people who appreciate that and want to share it with you. 

Since content creation is such a saturated industry, do you ever feel like you need to do more to keep up with others?

I want to make what I want to watch. I get imposter syndrome, but it only comes out when I view myself through the lens of other people. 

I often feel like I need to do more, not for others but for myself. I want to learn new things like editing and art. It just comes down to what you want to create and what you want people to appreciate from you.

Do you ever feel scared about being vulnerable in your content?

Yes, absolutely. I feel like it’s one of my biggest fears as a YouTuber. I’m always afraid of saying the wrong things. I overthink, whether my feelings make sense, are valid or are helpful. 

Certain content creators carry their vulnerability with grace in a way that makes you braver. I feel like they’ve helped me. It’s very comforting to find someone you don’t know going through the same thing. It makes the world feel a little smaller than it is.

Currently, how do you practice your growth as an artist?

Making art has always been for me. I make art every week, but I don’t post it all the time. Currently, I’m in the process of decorating my room.

I also have a series on my channel called Artchives (art archive). It’s where I usually practice any art form I want. 

In the future, I want to learn more about digital art, pottery and maybe live portrait drawing. Generally, I’m open to all kinds of media, especially in art. You can never go wrong or make bad artwork if you’re making it for yourself.