Newburgh resident Ashleigh Culiver downloaded the social media app TikTok at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Now she has 56.1K followers and 709.8K likes combined on her videos.
Culiver’s first video was posted Jan. 11, 2020 but it was a video posted on Sept. 3, 2020 that caused her TikTok profile to gain more traction. The video was a duet with another creator that involved acting.
The video also launched her “Ma” character that she has created. “Ma” is an Italian mother and her family is called “Da Family.” Culiver’s husband, Collin, also makes appearances as the character “Tony.” She said within a week of posting her duet video, she gained 10,000 followers.
Ashleigh Culiver said her inspiration for the Italian character comes from her family, and the cause of the love she wants to spread on the app.
Her videos involve a lot of improv, she said.
“A lot of people are shocked that I don’t always have an Italian accent,” she said. “People really loved the Italian family thing I was doing.”
Ashleigh Culiver has a background in acting, which is what she went to college to study. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Indiana.
“I love making people feel something. If you laughed, if you cried. I just want you to feel,” she said.
She said a large part of her TikTok presence is bringing in a family atmosphere.
“I wanted people to feel like they have somewhere they belong,” Ashleigh Culiver said. “I want them to know that if they don’t have a family, you do here. Or if you think you’re weird, you’re not. We all are. Weird is pretty much the new cool.”
She said some of her more popular videos have been duets with large creators like CallMeKris and series related to “Ma.”
Ashleigh Culiver has also posted impressions of famous people such as Jennifer Coolidge.
Ashleigh Culiver and her husband go live on the app every Sunday night, which she calls “Da Family Meeting.”
“People ask me on there if I have any advice for creating content,” she said. “At the end of the day, you have to be courageous. You have to step into the ring of life and you have to go for it. You are very much one-of-a-kind.”
Ashleigh Culiver said she sometimes gets “hate comments” but she tries to brush them off.
“People are going to hate on whatever they want to hate on, but they have other things going on in their own lives,” she said. “You just gotta do what you wanna do.”
TikTok’s algorithm has not been cracked by any creator on the app, she said.
“Some videos I spend hours on and think are so funny don’t make it to the For You Page,” she said. “The tip I have is don’t give up. Don’t stop because people aren’t seeing them.”
She said the one piece of advice she has for anyone feeling discouraged from posting videos is to not give up.
“If you’re feeling discouraged and all you want to do is create, don’t give up,” she said. “Know that what you have to offer to the world is worthy of being seen, loved and recognized. You are enough and what you’re putting out there is enough.”
When Ashleigh Culiver is not posting TikToks, she is a project manager for different companies, and has recently began working for Blackstrap Media Company in Evansville.
“I am ridiculously grateful that people find comfort in what I do,” she said. “I hope there’s more to come. I am hopeful that this is just the beginning.”
Karah Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org