ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - If you don’t know model and TikTok content creator Karl Kugelmann, we have got you covered.
The 23-year-old from Cape Town, who garnered a big following of 5.4 million followers on TikTok, jumped on the video-sharing app as a strategic move.
Unsure what he wanted to do after high school, one thing he was certain about was that the corporate life was not for him.
“I had the opportunity to travel for modelling and I took that opportunity. The first place I went to was Asia. I was 19 at the time. From that first trip, I felt very easy or comfortable in the environment.”
The modelling gig paid off. Aware of his dreamy looks, he described himself as a person who loved travelling and the outdoors. Back then, he said, he had around 3,000 followers on the gram.
“The whole aspect of being a social media influencer was something I never thought of ever in my life.”
In this day and age in some professions, the number of people who follow you on social media matters.
“As a model, you need to build that up because there comes to a stage in your career where you are up against two or three guys for the same job. You all have a pretty decent portfolio. Then, how does the agency choose which model?”
Karl explained that getting modelling gigs in some circumstances was linked to your social media following. Because if clients were looking at a particular model, who for example had 20,000 followers, those followers were extra and “free exposure” for the brand.
A close friend mentioned to him a new app called TikTok. Sceptical at first and noticing how simple the content was, he gave it a shot.
“I posted my first video on the 1 August . From the start I had a really good interest and good engagement, and it literally blew up from there. On my fifth or six video, I hit my first million views. It was absolutely mind-blowing. I was completely shocked.”
In late 2019, TikTok was not as big locally as it was in the US. Karl thinks because he was new on the app, that lead to his huge engagement numbers.
“Why my engagement was boosting was because there weren’t too many people on TikTok at the time. The algorithm on the app wasn’t so selective to what content could do well. If it was received well by the audience, the algorithm would boost it. But now they are very selective in terms of what videos do well.”
He added that his actual aim was to increase his followers on Instagram. He found about 10% of people on TikTok were likely going to click and browse on his Instagram account.
“Once you get a bigger Instagram following those videos, likes and photos then go onto the explore page. From the explore page you then get more followers on your Instagram.”
With plans to extend his model profile more globally, particularly in the US, Karl was outmanoeuvring the industry by using a platform to expand his career opportunities.