Although she’s been posting since October 2015, it wasn’t until August 2017 when her famous video, “Pika pika,” was uploaded on Instagram, racking up over 1.4 million views and really putting her on the map.
What’s incredible is that the video was extremely random, but still managed to convey such a unique sense of humor. There was absolutely no context — she was simply filming an Instagram video when her mom unexpectedly interrupted her to eat dinner but she continued recording — yet the result is a true viral masterpiece. And as Cantonese speaker myself, her response to her mom in the dialect was something I personally appreciated.
Since that video, fruitypoppin has skyrocketed to fame, gaining over 1.1 million fans in less than 6 months. Every one of her posts is just as random as the next, and people can’t stop watching her, falling more and more in love with her with each new video. But it’s not just her sense of humor that people seem to adore about her — perhaps a big part of her success is also her openness to show the world her unfiltered, true self.
After watching a handful of her videos and seeing how authentic, creative, and funny she is, I knew I had to get an interview. I managed to get in contact through a friend who had initially introduced me to her on Instagram. From there, I got to know a little bit about the viral starlet.
Standing at 4 feet 11 inches, fruitypoppin, whose real name is Karen Ip, is a 17-year-old high school senior currently residing in Toronto, Canada. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Ip immigrated to Canada with her family when she was around four years old. She speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, but when it comes to her parents, she told NextShark that she speaks Cantonese to them “99% of the time.”
In a world where most people wouldn’t dream of posting selfies on social media that aren’t glammed up to perfection, her transparency comes as a breath of fresh air. Ip shared her reasons for why she’s not afraid to show the different sides of her.
“I find that many people try to follow and be just like those they look up to online, but only seeing the super perfect aspects of another person’s life online can be super bad for one’s self image! I know it was for me when I was younger.”
Ip wasn’t always this secure with herself regarding her looks. Like many Asian immigrants who come to America, there’s often a challenge in figuring out one’s identity when growing up as a minority.
“I’m very happy to be Asian, however, I haven’t always been confident with my heritage,” Ip said. “I very distinctly remember when I was maybe around 10, I asked my mom, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I was born Caucasian? I would be so pretty!’”
“It was sad. Don’t get me wrong though, It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being White, it’s the fact that I didn’t accept who I was,” she said. “Growing up, saw very little Asian representation in the media so I thought that way in order to be accepted in North America.”
Ip’s sentiments are something many Asian Americans can relate to. The lack of Asian representation in mainstream media can often skew the perception of what’s considered beautiful, especially to people of color in America.
“I started being proud [of my heritage] when I started to realize that it was pointless for me to try to be who I’m not,” she said. “So I started embracing who I am. I embrace my culture in hopes of letting other Asians know that they should be comfortable with who they are as well!”
Ip aims to be a role model for current and upcoming Asians in the West. She looks up to artists like Brian Immanuel (formerly Rich Chigga) and his management company 88rising for breaking barriers for Asians in the entertainment industry.
“They focus on building Asian community! Asians never had much representation in the music industry and I’m so happy that there are!” she said.
Despite her success, Ip is still focused on her schoolwork, staying “very single” right now. She plans to study Sociology in college after she graduates high school and shared her career plans.
“I would LOVE to pursue a career on social media full-time, but plan on completing my university education before I look into doing so!” she said. “I would love to create content on multiple platforms, maybe expand to YouTube!”
Be it a career in social media, content creation, or something completely unexpected, whatever Ip ends up doing with her life, I’m positive it will be lots of fun and full of laughter.