Rounding out our 2021 Latinx Trailblazers list is Vane Peña, known on TikTok as @vanessafpena. Vane is a queer, Venezuelan nonbinary creator who uses their lighthearted humor to entertain their viewers. They love to tell stories to make their fans laugh, and they post relatable content about growing up Latinx. They are all about spreading positivity and encouraging people to always be unapologetically themselves.
Be sure to tune in to the El Grand Finale LIVE on October 15 at 5PM PT/ 8PM ET via @TikTok to hear more from Vane, and read below to find out more about their journey on TikTok!
What does it mean to you to be part of the Latinx community?
Being part of the Latinx community means telling the stories of the people who helped shape me. Its honoring my community, and spreading the good energy that makes Latinx’s stand out. Whether that be through jokes, stories, or flexing what makes our culture so unique.
How has your culture influenced or shaped you?
I carry my culture everywhere I go. It's a part of every second in my life. It's influenced the way I dress, the music I listen to, the way I speak, the foods I eat, and most importantly it has shaped the way that I treat people. Venezuelans, like other Latinos, make it a point to treat everybody like family, and really emphasize that sense of community with the people around us. My culture taught me to treat everyone with respect, and love, and to really take a second and learn from everyone around me. My culture raised me to think about others, and has helped me become a self-less, caring, and giving person. I love sharing our food, and our music, and using every aspect that makes me Latinx to bring people together.
How do you share your culture & community on and off of TikTok?
I share my culture by showing off our dances, our music, telling stories about back home and helping my people thrive. I love sharing our accents, our slang, our recipes, and everything else, so more people can learn about our culture.
How has the TikTok community inspired you?
The TikTok community has inspired me to share the little things. The community helped me realize that there are so many people who have these shared experiences and love hearing about everyone else’s. The community on TikTok is so supportive and admires what creators have to offer, so it’s helped me be more comfortable sharing the things that Im so proud of.
What video are you most proud of creating?
I think it's too hard to just pick one. I am very proud of a lot of videos that I've posted, because with every video, people tell me that I've somehow touched them. A very important series of videos to me are my "Gender Education" videos. Where I speak about being nonbinary, and how I've navigated my journey of self-discovery. I feel super proud knowing that those videos have helped other people come to terms with their identity, and explore themselves unapologetically the way that I wish I had when I was younger. It's especially nice when it's coming from people in my community however, just because I know the struggles of being queer and Latinx, so knowing that maybe I can help someone, or at least make them laugh is enough to make me feel proud of what I post.
What are some content creation tips you would offer to other creators?
A tip I always give out is to be yourself. It sounds sorta corny, but for the first few months that I started TikTok, I was posting the things I thought other people would enjoy instead of what I wanted to do myself. It's super important to be authentic to yourself, and make sure that you feel comfortable posting what you post. I recommend that you cater to yourself, because there really is a place for EVERYONE on TikTok, you just have to find your people.
Who are some Latinx creators that everyone should be following/watching?
@manny_delgado! He is so talented and hilarious.
[Trailblazer illustrations created by Brazillian artist Niege Borges for TikTok's Latinx Heritage Month celebration]