Hanna Beth Proves Good Things Come From Wasting Your Teen Years on the Internet
If you asked a little girl 10 years ago what she wanted to be when she grew up, there’s no way in hell she would’ve said “an internet star.”
Influencers, Instagram models, and YouTubers weren’t a thing, let alone a thing you could get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do.
But when Myspace launched in 2006, there were a few select users who gained a serious fan base for no reason other than the fact that they got real af about their thoughts. One of those people was Hanna Beth.
We talked to the OG influencer about how Myspace launched her into a career she never knew existed, how social media has changed, and why she’s sick of being judged from her Instagram.
People regarded you as a Myspace Scene Queen back in the day. How did you get into Myspace in the first place?
So basically, when I was younger, I want to say around 16 or so, Livejournal and Myspace and all of those things were starting. Like most young teen girls, I had teen angst and I didn’t fit in and I was just the weird girl in school. I would use those social media outlets as a place to vent. I would just post about my life and I would put pictures and through that, I was able to get followers and meet people from other places and I kinda felt like I fit in.
I was like, “Oh, there’s a lot of people out there like me.” And I think just because I was so honest, and I used to dress so weird back then, but I think people were just attracted to that. Myspace was so cool, especially in the beginning, it was such a small community and it was a lot of people who were into the same things I was. It was just a cool way to branch out of what I was into, like, my small private school.
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When it was so small, in the beginning, you could like literally meet people that were in LA and be like, “oh wow, this person likes all the same music as me, their style is kinda similar,” and that’s kind of how it started, where it was just finding people that you could relate with, but then over the years it obviously turned into something way bigger, and my platform grew I think by far as like three or four hundred thousand. It really just kind of took off, I never thought in a million years, “Oh yeah, I’ll be able to make a career out of this.” All I knew was, I’m like, “I don’t want to go tocollege, I want to do something in fashion.” I wasn’t sure what, but I just knew college was the last thing I wanted to do because I hated school. I’m like, “I don’t want to go to more school, I’ve been in school forever.”
Did you ever feel pressure to go to college or were your parents pretty chill about it because they were both kind of in the creative industry also?
I never felt pressured. Both of my parents didn’t go to college and they both were successful and they were creatives in their own ways. Like, my dad, he had a production company that distributed commercials for a long time, art dealings, my mom’s a model and now she has a clothing line. I kind of just saw that they were able to do a lot without college, and I think college is great for some people, it just depends what you’re trying to do.
Back in the Myspace days you gained “friends” for being real, but social media has changed and lots of people feel pressure to be more fake. How do you think things have changed?
I think it’s a lot harder today just because social media is so much more prominent now than it was then. Before it was just Myspace, it wasn’t like you had Myspace and Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat, it was just one thing.
I also feel like now, maybe just because I was so young back then, so I didn’t really feel like I needed to hide how I feel or anything like that, but I feel like people, it’s like their whole persona needs to be perfect in their eyes. I know so many people, whether they’re in a relationship or just like doing anything and they’re not happy, but you go to their page and you’re like, “Oh my god, this person’s having like the best time ever, I’m so jealous.” And they’re the most depressed person ever. You honestly never know. Which is why I never trust anything on social media ever.
And it’s all photos. I feel like back in the day it was a lot more writing and blogging and stuff like that and it was more personal and everyone’s so disconnected now, that it’s all just like, “okay here’s a video, okay now move on.” It’s just very quick.
There is so much based on social media, it’s crazy. When Snapchat was first kind of becoming a thing, I didn’t really use it. I’d use it sometimes when I was at home or just like, in bed, and then people were like, “Oh, like, do you go out? Do you work?” I’m like yeah, I work my ass off, but my first thought isn’t to Snapchat everything so they know what I’m doing. But it’s crazy because people will like, judge you on that. People don’t realize how crazy that is.
What are some common misconceptions that people have about you that you feel are like totally off-base?
I did a TV show called “House of DVF,” and I was kind of like the edgy, dark one, and all of that, and I felt like it sucks because just because I have tattoos it automatically means I’m edgy. And just because I have dark hair, it means I’m Gothic.
I’m like, “okay, I might have tattoos but I’m wearing nice shit.” If I think of a Gothic, I think of heavy makeup and the white on their face and all of that, and a lot of people don’t know what that is, I don’t know why you’d think that.
Also, all these random people once they meet me are like, “Oh my god, you’re so nice, I thought you’d be so bitchy” And I’m like, “Why would you think I’m bitchy?”And they’re like, “Just from the kind of like vibe you give off on your Instagram.” And I’m like, “How could you just get a vibe from my Instagram?” It’s just photos and just selfies from photo shoots. How could you go, “Oh, that girl’s probably a bitch” and this whole way? I’m basically the opposite, so I always find that crazy.
People also think I’m always going to be tall because I photograph a lot taller than I am. So when they realize I’m 5’2”, they’re like, “Wait, you’re 5’2″?” I’m really small, but you wouldn’t know that looking at photos.
[These are the type of people] that like go online and talk crap to people and think that they know everything about their lives. Like, I’ve seen people who are going through a breakup or something and everyone’s just gonna be like, “I bet it’s this person’s fault.” You don’t know what that person’s feeling or what they’re going through or what really happened and it blows my mind that you think that it’s okay for you to chirp in and give your opinion about it. I could personally never do that, so I just find it crazy that people do. But I guess if you’re putting anything out on social media or to the world, you have to realize that you are making it public.
I’m sure you’ve developed like a hard shell to criticism and stuff like that.
I mean, I don’t get too much hate, but I’ll always get like a random thing like, “you’re so plastic, you’ve definitely had surgery.” And I’m like, “I haven’t, but okay.” And just things like that, I just erase it or ignore it.
Do you think that the Instagram models of today are the 2016 version of the Myspace Scene Queen or do you think it’s different because of how it’s like recognized as a career and how much goes into it?
I think it’s different now because I think it is more of a career and I think back then it wasn’t really a career, you weren’t getting companies like, “oh, can you put this on your Myspace page?” You weren’t booking campaigns off of social media. You go to castings now and they literally ask you how many followers you have. With Myspace it was like whatever, but now, with Youtube and Instagram, I feel like people really do care about that stuff. And also I feel like Myspace was really driven by music, like obviously the whole scene kid thing was a very big part of it as well, but when I think of Myspace, I don’t think of fashion and beauty, and when I think of Instagram, it’s really about fashion and beauty and fitness.
People didn’t really even think of beauty back then unless you were throwing glitter on your face or dying your hair.
Yeah, it wasn’t like “how to get this look” or anything like that. I mean the makeup in the scene world was fucking horrible. I look at photos and I’m like, “Why was it okay for [me to put] hot pink scene makeup all over my eyes?” It was so bad, but of course, I thought at the time, “This is amazing.”
I’m sure we’ll look back and say the same thing about stuff we’re doing now.
Obviously beauty has evolved and it’s so big on Instagram and Youtube and all of that. Some of those girls are insane. I love watching the videos, I’m like, “I don’t know how you’re doing that right now.” Like, I’m like pretty good at makeup, but some of these girls, it’s like insane how good they are at makeup.