- Amandha Amarasekara on all things content
Many people think becoming an influential content creator with a large platform and following is something that is down to either being good looking or lucky. This is far from the truth, however, and behind every famous content creator (attractive or otherwise) you will often find that these platforms have been the results of a lot of work.
Today, Brunch chatted with model and content creator Amandha Amarasekara, who over the last five years or so, has become one of Sri Lanka’s most recognised male models and a unique fashion and lifestyle-driven content creator with a following of over 25,000 on Instagram and over 100,000 on TikTok.
Going back to the beginning
Amandha became a model somewhat by accident after he ran into his agent, Brian Kerkoven of BK Model Management at an event and was encouraged to consider being a model. “He said ‘you have the height, so why don’t you try?’, and I was open to doing different things in my life at that point,” Amandha recalled. His first show was a nerve-wracking experience, the only review he received from that night was that he looked very stiff, a note he has since taken on board and rectified, and in the years since, he has walked every major runway in Colombo more than once, to glowing reviews.
Amandha’s branching out into content creation came hand-in-hand with his growth as a model. “It was not initially something I wanted to do,” he explained, adding: “During a show, a fellow model said to me ‘why don’t you do the Instagram thing?’ Back then Instagram was pretty new and Facebook and Instagram were at each others’ throats. They did also mention that if you get over 10,000 followers, Instagram starts paying you, so then I was just like ‘oh cool, money!’ and I decided to try it out. I started getting into researching guys in fashion and just seeing how it went, matching clothes, making possibilities, and I fell in love with it.”
Amandha’s TikTok platform, like many others, began because of the pandemic. His first impression of TikTok was interesting, to say the least. “I thought it was the weirdest platform,” Amandha said, thinking back, but at the encouragement of a friend, he decided to see where it could lead to, noting: “I tried one or two; this was TikTok which was still relevant in India and hadn’t been banned, and I had a massive reach there, which I found very interesting at that time because people here knew who I was but this was a different country and I had to build anew. I posted as much as I could on both TikTok and Instagram. Instagram was still fashion, but TikTok was more casual, more jumpy, and dancy.”
So how does he do it?
Having recently crossed the threshold of over 100,000 followers on TikTok, we asked Amandha what his favourite thing about making content is and how he approaches making content.
“The beautiful part of social media now, especially TikTok, is that you can be a strategist and plan your content and run it through other influencers or you can shoot a random thing that will go viral,” Amandha shared, noting that he tends to employ a mix of both approaches.
At one point in his TikTok content journey, Amandha would give himself daily goals in terms of the number of pieces of content he had to create, and so, with everyone thinking about making it big on TikTok these days, we asked him how much quantity matters when trying to make content that can make your platform go viral.
“I base it on that story of the vase where one team was asked to make the perfect vase and one team was asked to make as many vases as they could. In the end, the team who made the most vases came closest to making the perfect vase,” Amandha said, explaining that making so many pieces of content helps you understand the platform as a whole, what works and what doesn’t, and how your content can fit in. “I forced myself to do things I had no idea about. It did come to a point where I took putting out X pieces of content per day to an almost unhealthy standard, and if I didn’t then I’d be unhappy and lose sleep, which was not very good in the long run.”
Part of Amandha’s fervent approach to producing so many pieces of content each day was to do with his own personal and mental health struggles, with Amandha saying: “I was trying to run away from problems by drowning myself in work. I still think of creating content as work. It’s a job, and because I was trying to run away from problems I didn’t want to confront, I’d take it personally if I didn’t create enough and take an additional level of failure out on myself. How I dealt with this was through a lot of self-reflection on what the root cause of those problems were, and I also have very supportive friends. Also, once the world started opening up again, I had to go back into the world, and that gave me breathing space to take a step back and evaluate.”
Making it as a content creator
We asked Amandha, as someone whose content is enjoyed by literally hundreds of thousands of people, what he would say to those aspiring to become creators on the same scale.
“Content creating, in general, is the hardest thing to do because people are always under pressure when it comes to creating top content and staying relevant. There are things you want to say but you’re scared to. Lots of creators I know find it hard to jump through these hoops. Some don’t care and it’s hilarious to watch them, but others are always thinking twice, thrice, five times even about what they create and how.
“The only advice I can impart is, you can’t please everybody. No matter how much you try to be nice or friendly, some people will just not like your content. That said, make sure what you’re putting out there will not be mean to or ostracise anyone. You need to sincerely believe in your content and love it. Don’t do fashion if you’re not that into fashion. Do what you’re strong at and what you believe in because there will come a point where you will break and think to yourself ‘is this worth it?’ and loving and breathing the process is what will keep you going and trying new things. It will become a burden otherwise, and then it will become tedious. Only get into content creation if you love it.”