Sarah Maddack has 1.1 million followers on TikTok, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that she didn’t start actively posting on the platform until last year. With a number of projects in the works, Maddack still found time to virtually sit down with Casting Networks and provide a window into the person behind all the followers. Keep reading for more on her journey of getting to the level she’s at today.
It’s great to virtually meet you, and could you start by sharing with us the @sarahmaddack “origin story” that led to your current status as a mega-influencer?
I grew up doing theater and have always been creative, but I fell in love with making and editing silly songs while I was in college. As far as TikTok, I downloaded the app in July of 2019 but was just a consumer at first. I told myself for months that I would eventually try posting some videos since I’ve always been a performer and comedian at heart. And since I’m a singer-songwriter, I wanted to put out original music videos.
I finally started posting my own content in January of 2020 but just stuck with the trends and doing comedic stuff. When the pandemic hit, though, I decided to try out some original music. One day, I found a slug on my rug and realized it was a catchy phrase so I went and wrote a song about it. I didn’t think too hard on it — just came up with a bunch of rhymes and made a little beat with my fist. After posting what I’d created, I experienced one of my videos blowing up for the first time, which created this little dopamine rush from having my talent affirmed by strangers instead of just my friends. Someone commented on that video with the suggestion to write a rap about a hippopotamus and an orange. Both those things are hard to rhyme, and the randomness of the idea made me laugh. So, I made that video (which took off even more), and I gained around 200,000 followers in under a month. Things started to pick up quickly from there.
And now you’re at the level where you’re creating and starring in your own commercials within the digital space for various companies. What’s that process like for you?
The best part of it is that my skill set lends itself so naturally to the process. My major in college was journalism with an emphasis in advertising so I love to study the psychology that goes into making ads. That includes what makes people watch them, as well as what affects their purchasing decisions. Plus, I have five combined years of experience interning and working full-time at a company called Southwestern Advantage, for which I sold educational children’s books. The job involved door-to-door sales for 80 hours a week during the summers, which was insanely challenging. But, it was also a transformative experience that taught me how to run a business, as well as gave me sales skills. Because of that work experience and my knowledge of advertising, I feel equipped to create ads for TikTok. Plus, I just enjoy the process. I always think about how I can make them engaging and entertaining as standalone content for my followers, as well as how I can make the brand happy and clearly showcase their product. Basically, I try and figure out a way to make everyone happy, like the Enneagram “Type 2” that I am.
It sounds like you’re well-equipped to make those types of commercial posts. Your content as a whole really displays your abilities with storytelling and performing comedy. Where did you learn those skills?
Well, everyone in my family is extremely animated so some of that just comes naturally. And a lot of my favorite memories from childhood involve my dad reading stories to my siblings and me because he’d change up some of the words on the spot and do different voices to make us laugh. It was a form of improv, which I’ve also done as a performer. Freestyling is part of my process for writing songs, which relates to improv, as well.
Before wrapping her interview, Maddack had one big suggestion to share with those interested in creating their own content on TikTok. “Pursue the ideas that make you laugh or amuse you or excite you,” the mega-influencer advised. “You’re not so special that you’re going to be the only one delighted by the creative work that you put out. So just do what you love.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.