Social media can be a scary place full of trolls and negativity, but it’s also a great platform for individuals who wouldn’t otherwise have a voice – enter Douyin, the Chinese version of short video app TikTok. What was once an app full of tacky memes and repetitive dance routines is now steering towards a more welcoming place for creativity. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of the more interesting content creators on the app. They may not have millions of fans, but they’re still changing people’s perceptions about beauty, mental health, fashion and much more.
Videos from this 24-year-old ‘fat’ girl from Huaian are all about body positivity. Weighing 120kg, she wears hanfu (traditional Han attire) and hairstyles from the Tang dynasty, a time when being fat was the standard of beauty. Her profile reads ‘I am here to fight against all the bigots who are hostile towards us fatties.’ Rock on, sister.
Dressed in jeans, a hoodie and a mask, this Beijing-based vlogger started his first video after getting counselling for depression. He shares his deepest feelings, from taking antidepressants to his struggles to ‘come out’ to friends and family as a person suffering from depression. Disturbingly poignant but full of hope, the vlogger hopes his story can help society better understand mental illness.
This LA-based street fashion vlogger asks his ‘models’ their nationality, occupation and fashion inspiration. The reoccurring theme is, ‘How much did you spend to put the whole look together?’ Kind of cute and kind of fun, it’s like the Humans of New York project, but in video form.
4. @大胡子Henry 正在攀登珠峰中
Henry is a world traveller who’s conquering Mount Everest as you’re reading this (feeling lazy yet?). Entering his 40th-plus day of trekking up the mountain, Henry’s videos are pure eye candy – snow-capped mountains, green icy rivers and even an avalanche or two.
Shot with a low-definition camera, the videos of this vlogger transforming patches of barren land into beautiful gardens never cease to amaze. ‘Don’t abandon the land where you come from,’ he writes in his profile, hoping his videos inspire more young people to come back to the countryside.
6. @Ricky 和奶奶
The unexpected but totally adorable duo of a 32-year-old Chinese Aussie and his 93-year-old grandma make for some fun on-screen chemistry. Granny’s not camera shy at all – she sings, raps and goes along with whatever crazy idea her grandson throws at her. You really can’t tell who’s having more fun.
One of many outspoken drag queens on the app, Kaikai’s videos generally last only 15 seconds, but are completely mind-blowing. Following a before-and-after formula, this makeup wizard transforms himself into dashing divas with his skills. His behind-the-scenes videos, where he talks about all the hours he puts into his fierce lewks, are hilarious.
Equipped with a GoPro, this dude makes a living being sky high. Get goosebumps all over as he skydives out of planes and starts freefalling. The view is stunning, with blue skies for days. If you’re after a bit of an adrenaline rush, check him out.