With over 8.6M TikTok followers and 1.9M fans on Instagram as of publication, you could say Mark is quite well known in the world of Gen Z social media. If you ever asked someone if they've encountered Mark at least once on their For You Page on TikTok, the answer is likely a yes.
Meet Mark Anastasio
16-year-old Mark has a story of his own when it comes to who he is, his advocacy, and his plans for the future. In an interview with The Teen Magazine, Mark shares a bit more about who he is that the audience don't get to see as much on camera!
When did you first go viral on TikTok, and what was your initial reaction? Who was the first person you told about going viral- and what was their reaction?
“It was back in August 2019 after I was at soccer camp. We made a few videos and I remember seeing that by the time I left camp I had about 20K followers. I was pumped but didn’t realize it would blow up even more,” says Mark.
“I told the other guys I made the videos with, Maximo Rivano and Luca Lombardo. We just started making more videos after that and it picked up. I remember I made one right before school started and I said, “Last Tiktok before school. Make me famous!”. I was kind of joking but it actually happened.”
“I was pumped but didn’t realize it would blow up even more.... We just started making more videos after that and it picked up,” reflects Mark.
Along the way, you made some fellow TikTok friends; what is it like to be friends with viral TikTokers like you?
It's quite common for influencers to meet with other fellow influencers for collaborations- and Mark, too, have teamed up with TikTok friends for fun 15-second videos.
“Everyone I’ve met that is a social media influencer has been pretty chill. For the most part they’re just cool people to hang out with and have a good time,” answers Mark.
“It’s been a little bit more difficult connecting with people due to COVID-19, so that’s [sometimes] tough, but hopefully we’ll get back to normal and have some more in-person collaborations soon.”
On Personal Life
Has social media had an effect on your personal life? How has it affected you?
Having millions of people follow you and see your every move online must be quite a lot to take in- especially at an age like sixteen. When asked of how social media had an affect to his personal life, Mark responds, “A bit. When I’m in public some people notice me. Maybe not all of them, but some usually do.”
He continues, “People will come up to ask for pictures and usually they’re really nice about it, so it’s an awesome feeling.”
Balancing School With Social Media
What is it like to balance school with social media?
While Mark may be a TikTok influencer, he's still a student at school.
“[It's] not always the easiest thing to do especially since I’m a junior in high school now and the workload has ramped up a lot,” says Mark, “I also have to prepare for standardized tests for college. That’s one of the reasons I don’t post as much as I used to, and I also play soccer with practice four days a week and a game on the weekends.”
The Positive and Negative Aspects
“Positive aspects are that you can put a smile on people’s faces and if they’re having a bad day or there are other things going on in their lives that are negative, then they can look at some of my posts and hopefully it will brighten their day. I’ve gotten many DM’s and emails with fans mentioning that so that alone is motivation to stick with it. Also, it’s fun to make the videos and I can use the popularity to spread positive vibes, put a message out there that I think is cool, and also contribute to charitable causes.
The negatives are that there are times when it’s not easy to post due to other things going on in my life, or I’m exhausted from school or soccer practice, but as a social media influencer you feel you should put something out to your fans. I’ve made videos at 1 or 2AM on weekdays when I should probably be sleeping, and it’s because you feel some pressure to produce. Some other negatives relate to the influencer culture. Some influencers put their entire private life out on social media and feel absolutely comfortable with it, but I’m a little more reserved when it comes to putting everything out there. As an influencer, you need to be able to deal with negative reactions to the posts you make. There are going to be haters so you will get negative feedback, and for me- I typically don’t care about it so it doesn’t affect me personally- but I know there are some influencers who don’t take negativity well, and I kind of think you need to have a thick skin to get into this.
Finally, and probably one of the worst things about this lifestyle is that there are some younger influencers who drop out of school to do social media. Not many of the influencers out there can use this to make a living. For most, it can just end from one year to the next, and then they don’t go back to school and try to hang on. You need to finish school as a backup, since for most people this won’t last forever.”
“There are going to be haters so you will get negative feedback, and for me- I typically don’t care about it so it doesn’t affect me personally- but I know there are some influencers who don’t take negativity well, and I kind of think you need to have a thick skin to get into this.” says Mark.
Advice from Mark
“My advice would be to just try to do in life what you love doing but keep in mind that you also need to be practical about it, and have something else you can do as a backup even if it isn’t your absolute passion. Things don’t always work out so you need to adjust to that.”
What is something unexpected that came with becoming a social media content creator?
Of course, everything is bound to have some sort of unexpected surprises along the way. For Mark's social media ventures, he found out:
“Something unexpected as an influencer is that your life changes a bit because you get a lot more attention, and not all of it is good. You’d hope it would all be positive but the negative side also happens. You need to learn from any mistakes you’ve made and try to put the best content out you can.”
“Something unexpected as an influencer is that your life changes a bit because you get a lot more attention, and not all of it is good,” says Mark.
Merch & Advocacy For Breast Cancer Awareness
Mark has been vocal about his support for the Real Men Wear Pink campaign for the American Cancer Society- which you can find out more about here.
“Yeah, this is a really worthy cause, and we donated a portion of our most recent merch drop to the Real Men Wear Pink campaign for the American Cancer Society,” states Mark, “It’s a disease that affects many people not just in the US but around the world, and I have a relative that has been affected by it so being a candidate for it is really worthwhile.”
“For the top 10 contributors I’m scheduling live video sessions and for the next 10 highest I’m delivering some of my merchandise. Using social media as a way to be charitable is important, so I’ve done a number of events related to teen centers, rare diseases, breast cancer, and children’s hospitals up to this point.”
If you're looking to get Mark's merch, click here to shop!
Meet & Greets
What was it like to go on meets & greets and lives to see fans? You’ve said you’d be open to another public appearance- do you have one coming soon?
“Meet & greets are a great way to meet fans and I may have done a tour this past summer if COVID-19 had not happened, maybe even overseas. It’s great to connect with people and although you don’t get much time with each person it’s always cool to meet new people,” says Mark.
“I have a meet & greet called Clamour Live coming up in Dallas in April but that is tentative at this point. Hope to get there- I’m signed up, but it could be pushed out. Details about appearances, and other things about me can be found on markanastasio.com.”
Goals For The Future
What are your goals for the future? Is social media something you’d consider to be a prominent aspect of the upcoming years?
“It can be, but it needs to be balanced with other things going on in my life,” answers Mark.
“Like college and soccer. If some great opportunity in social media happened that I couldn’t say no to, then I could possibly jump on that, but right now I need to just take things day-by-day. College is really important to me, so I’m not going to overlook that. Even if I didn’t go to college immediately because some great opportunity came up, I’d still go at some point.”
“College is really important to me, so I’m not going to overlook that,” says Mark.
10 Quick Q’s with Mark Anastasio
Get to know Mark better with these fast paced fun facts about Mark!
1. What is your favorite dessert?
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to get back to Europe and see a country I haven’t been to like Spain. One of my good friends, and fellow social media influencer, Maximo Rivano has relatives in Barcelona, Spain so it’d be fire to get over there with him and Luca Lombardo, another good friend and influencer.
But there are so many awesome places around the world that it’s hard to choose one. Heading back to Italy and Argentina of course would be awesome but getting to England, Australia, Brazil, and Chile also would be insane. After a vaccine is available for COVID-19 hopefully I’ll be able to travel again.
3. Your favorite hobbies?
I play soccer, love the game but I played basketball for many years, so I still will shoot around from time-to-time. I’ve also been lifting weights quite a bit lately. I also have to admit that I do like gaming occasionally. And of course I can’t leave this out: making TikToks and Instagram posts.
Soccer version♬ Treasure - Jaylin -_-
4. What position do you play in soccer?
Left center back and left back. I’m left-footed and although I’ve played winger or striker at some points in my earlier days I was always good at defense, so I ended up there.
5. What is your favorite TikTok dance/challenge to do?
The dance to wet is probably my favorite.
6. Your role model?
7. Would you ever be interested in joining a TikTok house/collective?
This past summer I was out in Los Angeles at the Sway house for about a month and got a better feel for what it’s like to live in one of those houses. The LA lifestyle for a creator is pretty cool but it’s also better if you can just drop everything else in life and just do that. But that being said, all it takes is one month out there to see the upside and downside of that lifestyle. Not everyone is David Dobrik so stability isn’t a characteristic of that lifestyle for most people I don’t think.
It’s not easy for some people, like me, to do that. I have a lot of interest in soccer and hope to play in college. I also have an interest in math and sciences and I have some talent for that so it’s hard to just drop all of that and just concentrate on only making social media content. I want to ensure I have a way to earn a living if this social media stuff fades out. That being said, if it made sense to do it, or the right offer came along maybe it could be a possibility.
Tornado took my wifi so I gotta post a draft @noahbeck @blakegray♬ 24 - Money Man
8. Favorite Movie?
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I’ll probably be in college somewhere on the East or West coast.
10. What is something from your audience you appreciate the most?
I just love the feedback and the fact that many followers have stuck with me up to this point. I post content online for them, and although I haven’t been able to post as much as I did over the past 8 months I still put it out there for them. I hope they like it and I can put a smile on their face. I love all of them! Thanks for sticking with me!
Keep Up With Mark
Mark's Instagram can be found here at @markanastasio. You'll also find more information linked to his bio regarding his advocacy and support for Real Men Wear Pink fight against breast cancer for the American Cancer Society.
Mark's TikToks can be found at @markanastasio— filled with dances, collaborations with friends, sports, and much more!