From starting food trends to celebrating cultural moments and inspiring others, TikTok’s #APIFamily brings creativity, authenticity and pride to the platform’s vibrant community. To celebrate Asian Heritage Month, TikTok is honouring its #APIFamily with the debut of its first-time TikTok Asian and Pacific Islander Visionary Voices List, alongside an in-app #APIFamily programming hub that will feature #AsianMusic playlists, an exciting LIVE line-up starring musicians, dancers and artists, plus a spotlight series to recognize inspiring API creators, SMBs and community voices. We chatted with one of those voices, French-Chinese/Asian-American creative director, filmmaker and AR creator Laura Gouillon, known as the “Filter Queen” on TikTok, to learn more. —Vita Daily
Tell us a little about yourself to start
I’m Laura Gouillon, and I’m a creative director, filmmaker, and AR creator with a background in computer science and immersive filmmaking. I grew up in Northern California to French and Chinese parents, and am currently based in Montreal. In March 2022, I took the leap and decided to pursue becoming an independent creator. Now, I create fun and interactive AR experiences and videos à la “aesthetic sarcasm”, which have launched numerous viral trends such as the “Emoji Word Challenge” effect on TikTok and the “Today I wanted to eat a croissant” audio series. I love exploring the intersection of storytelling and AR, and pushing the boundaries of AR filmmaking. I enjoy leveraging my experience as a product manager in tech to partner with brands and artists to design, strategize, and deliver engaging AR marketing campaigns. Offline, I enjoy painting (IG @lauragouillon.art), drawing, playing the piano, playing tennis, and traveling.
How did you achieve (and continue to maintain) your amazing TikTok following / fame?
On TikTok, I engage with my community by creating positive and playful TikTok AR effects and sharing them through comedic videos. I take it a step further by actively co-creating with my audience, and delivering on their effect requests in the comments section. This close feedback loop and connection over a shared sense of humor has been very gratifying. It brings me joy to see millions of people around the world using my AR effects. I feel grateful to have built an audience of over 810k+ followers on TikTok who enjoy AR effects as much as I do.
What do you like about TikTok as a platform (as opposed to other forms of social media) and how do you use that platform to impact, influence, and inspire those that follow you?
TikTok as a platform has allowed me to reach new audiences and to build a global community of all ages that share my interests in AR effects and comedy. I love being able to create fun AR effects on TikTok that can be used by millions worldwide, and to start new trends and contribute to shaping the future of AR storytelling. Just like how film directors look to movie theaters to get their films in front of audiences, I use TikTok as a way for me to share my AR effects and videos with new audiences. On top of that, TikTok allows me to find inspiration, to expand my creator network, and to creatively express myself.
What topics do you cover / share most? Where do your passions lie?
I love to create playful and positive content that experiments with AR storytelling. I design new AR effects and incorporate them into short films while also leveraging my interests in music, art, and comedy. I am excited about the future of immersive filmmaking and beyond (like AR glasses!).
Have you ever had to deal with haters on social media? If so, what’s your approach?
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced a lot of hate on social media. In general, I make positive, uplifting, humorous content which can appeal to a wider audience. However, I do notice some folks will leave comments on my videos expressing how they wish I had made a certain AR effect differently, or to share that they don’t find me funny. I see this as part of the co-creation process, and at the end of the day, I have to remember to stay true to myself and focus on the positive support of my audience rather than the criticism of a select few “haters.”
What have some of the highlights of being so prominent on TikTok been for you?
The process of building AR effects on TikTok can be technically and creatively challenging, as well as time-consuming. But it can be so rewarding once I publish an AR effect and see millions of people around the world, of all ages and backgrounds, enjoying using it and having fun. It’s a fun surprise to see my AR effects inspire new trends, and it is not always a guarantee. Thanks to creating on TikTok, I’m able to partner with brands and artists on bringing their products, movies, music, etc to life through engaging social AR marketing campaigns, and to build a business that allows me to create remotely from anywhere in the world.
May is Asian Heritage Month–what is the significance to you, and how are you using your voice to create change, establish community and help members of the #APIFamily feel seen and understood.
May is special because I have a lot to celebrate. Mother’s day, my grandmother’s birthday, and Asian Heritage Month. I am honored to be nominated as a TikTok Visionary Voice for API Heritage month in the Industry Disruptor category, and I want to share this honor with my Chinese mother and grandmother from whom I receive my Asian heritage. As a half-French half-Chinese creator, being multicultural is part of my identity, and this inspires me to embrace communities of all backgrounds through my work.
For those of us outside the #APIFamily community, what can we do to become better allies?
I hope those outside the #APIFamily community recognize the incredible diversity within the #APIFamily and embrace connecting with API individuals and understanding how their unique cultures shape them as human beings, as creators, as friends.
With so many people following you on TikTok, who are some of your favourite #APIFamily accounts to follow?
There are so many talented #APIFamily creators to follow on TikTok! A couple of my favorites in no particular order include Laufey (@laufey), Stéphanie Cheng (@laparasian), Mei Pang (@meicrosoft), Zach King (@zachking), Aimee Song (@aimeesong), and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew (@shou.time).