The Lonely Avocado x VTEEN exclusive interview with Shea Durazzo @sheadurazzo represented by Donnelle Branche, VP @dawnehl Twenty Six Entertainment photographed by Norrel Blair @nrrlblr. Head over to thelonelyavocado.com for part two of this interview!
Q) You have created quite the following for yourself online! What app would you say gave you the most success and which do you find was the most difficult to reach a new audience?
A) My Instagram is where I found a passion for creating content and posting pictures online. As I gained a following on my Instagram, it made me focus on becoming an influencer and content creator more seriously. It really wasn’t until TikTok came out that I really found a voice that I was comfortable with online. Dance and performance have always been a huge part of my life. I have been dancing since I was 13, so finding an app like TikTok that allowed me to showcase my passion was definitely inspiring. I started to put more effort into creating content on TikTok in 2019 and started steadily gaining traction for my dancing and “day in the life” type videos. It actually wasn’t until the start of quarantine when I really found my voice on TikTok. I started making silly dances and comedy videos with my baby sister, Nicolette. This is when my brand really started to grow on TikTok and the sibling duo of my sister and I became unstoppable. We found ourselves getting a lot closer as siblings and have gained up to 24 million views on some of our videos together. Finding success online with my sibling has been such a rewarding experience and has definitely helped me get through quarantine. However, as I’m growing up and coming into my own, it’s been difficult to distance myself from the sibling duo, and just become authentically “Shea”. Growing up as a queer artist, my 20s have taught me a lot, and I want my involvement on social media to reflect that change and growth. This year, one of my largest goals with my presence on TikTok and Instagram is to reach a newer and more mature audience and showcase the person I am becoming.
Q) What helps reset your mind when things get a bit too chaotic?
A) As a full-time student and influencer, things often get chaotic. Creating a schedule, lighting multiple essential oil candles, and surrounding myself with motivated individuals help me get my life back in order. During quarantine, I got into self-care and being okay with just being by myself. I’ve learned that it’s necessary to take time to reset and that not every day has to be a crazy busy day. This year I’ve gotten really into skincare and I find that face masks are the most relaxing way to reset. Some of my favorite brands are Lush, Drunk Elephant, and The Ordinary. Also, getting into a routine and forcing myself to stick to it has really helped me get through these crazy times.
Q) Things have been tough for so many people… What would you say is one major thing you have learned during the past year that has helped you the most?
A) This year has easily been one of the hardest years of my entire life. I experienced not only the hardships of quarantine but also my first loss of love, online schooling, as well as navigating life as a fresh 21-year-old in Los Angeles. This year has taught me that it’s important to be okay with just being by yourself and that it’s vital to like the person that you are becoming. I’ve learned that I can’t take validation from external sources, validation needs to come from within myself. I’ve done a lot of work on myself this year both physically and mentally and I’m super excited to say that I’ve never felt more confident in who I am.
Q) Fashion seems to play a large part in your life! Who would you name as your favorite fashion designers that keep you inspired?
A) I’ve always been obsessed with fashion and I take a lot of influence from fashion designers as well as streetwear Instagram accounts. Some brands that are creating some amazing pieces right now are Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Jaquemus, Dion Lee, and Louis Vuitton. I love the crossover between designer brands and streetwear styles and I think that playing with crazy prints and patterns is super innovative. When it comes to my personal style, I tend to go for a minimalistic look and then over-accessorize or have a key statement piece. I love when fashion pushes the boundaries of gender and expression. This summer I’m looking forward to crazy patterns, bright colors, and abnormal silhouettes.
Q) It has been so strange not having as much contact with people anymore. What does connection mean to you?
A) Connection means everything to me, especially working in and experiencing the fakeness of social media, I think it’s rare to find a genuine connection, and when you find it, it’s important to not let it go. There’s only so much time that we have in this world so it’s very important to me to curate long-lasting friendships and relationships that benefit everyone. This year, my goal is to be better at maintaining connections that are real, and distancing from toxic connections.
Q) Random Question! If you were given one superpower as a gift, which one would you ask for and why!?
A) I’m such a nerd but I would love to have the superpower of water bending based on the show “Avatar the Last Airbender”. I’m obsessed with the show and watched it over quarantine, and I think that it would be such a cool power to have, especially if I could blood-bend like the iconic character of Katara.