EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Sarah Jenkins

Sarah Jenkins is a digital content producer and content creator based out of Toronto, Ontario. Over the course of 2020, Jenkins garnered a lot of attention on TikTok by sharing daily vlogs of her life. Even with all the doom and bloom brought on by 2020, her TikTok vlogs have been a bright light for her over 68 000 followers.

I was so happy to interview Jenkins for my website. In this exclusive interview, we discussed her career as a digital content producer, posting on TikTok, and much more!

E: Could you please provide some background about yourself?

Sarah Jenkins (S): I grew up in a small town about an hour outside of Toronto. But moving to the city was all I had my heart set on while living there. I then attend Ryerson University and the RTA School of Media for my undergrad, as part of the first graduating class of the Sport Media program. From there, I worked for companies such as Yahoo! Sports and Sportsnet as a digital content producer. I currently work at CBC Sports as a Digital Studio Producer by day, and then make my own content on TikTok and Instagram by night.

E: What inspired you to become a digital content producer?

S: When I was growing up, I was always on Twitter- fangirl Twitter to be exact- and watched YouTube over traditional TV. I think that’s where my love and understanding for that type of content grew. While I was in school, a lot of what we learned was more traditional mediums such TV and radio. But I always wanted to make digital first content. Then I was able to carve out a career for myself doing so by creating a mix of social content and video content.

E: You primarily create content for sports. Why did you focus on this specific niche?

S: I played competitive hockey my entire life until I reached my max with concussions. I always played and loved sports, but I didn’t think of it as a career until after I wasn’t allowed to play anymore. But I realized I could still be involved with something I love- just in a different capacity.

E: Do you have a particular sport you enjoy creating content for the most?

S: Anything that falls under Olympic sports is my bread and butter because there are so many unique stories. These athletes aren’t competing for millions of dollars like professional athletes; they’re simply doing it for the love of the game, and for their country. So those stories are my favourite to tell.

E: What has been your greatest achievement during your career up to this point?

S: When I was in my final year of university, I produced a three-part documentary series in collaboration with SickKids Hospital, and also planned a gala fundraiser that raised over $20 000 for childhood cancer research. We also sold the documentary to Sportsnet, and they aired it across their national networks. I really haven’t done anything else that’s topped that.

E: What are the challenges that come with being a digital content producer?

S: Constantly having to be creative can be exhausting. You can’t really separate yourself from your work because it’s your thoughts, ideas, and creativity that are being put to the test. I find it hard to turn my brain off at night because I’m always thinking of other ways I could have done something, or how I can make it better for next time.

E: Who has been your favourite professional athlete to meet and why?

S: I was a producer on Danny Green’s podcast, Inside the Green Room with Danny Green, and that entire experience showed me that NBA players- among all pro athletes- are just regular people. Danny and I would just catch up about how his dogs were doing or any new restaurants he had tried out. You never really felt like you were talking to the biggest names in basketball. So I never really have favourites, but that entire experience was a favourite of mine.

E: What is one thing you wish to do and/or cover during your career?

S: I want to be on the ground covering the Olympics. That’s been my goal since I entered the Sport Media program at Ryerson, and it’s still my goal.

E: What advice do you have for anyone who wishes to become a digital content producer?

S: Have as many skills as possible. Companies rarely hire someone that can only do one specialty really well. They’re looking for diverse talent with a wide range of abilities. So learn to shoot, edit, Tweet, write- learn to do it all.

E: You garnered a ton of attention on TikTok initially. Why did you decide to post content there?

S: I had initially started posting on TikTok just for the purpose of learning the app better. I was a freelancer earlier this year, but the pandemic shutting down sports made me lose all my work.When that happened, I decided to use my time to post four TikToks a day so that I could maintain my creativity, as well as have something to do that felt productive.

E: You primarily share daily vlogs that share your life both on and off work. What made you decide to share your life on TikTok?

S: As I said earlier, I always loved YouTube. I really kicked myself for not doing when I was younger, so I figured I could adapt trends from there and bring them to this new platform. It all started with me sharing a day in my life at work, but then I realized not many people were daily vlogging on the app. So I decided to continue. I don’t think there was ever a moment I chose to share my life- it just sort of happened.

E: What challenges come with making vlogs?

S: Trying not to be too repetitive is my biggest struggle because I want to make the content interesting. But it’s also just my every day life; and especially right now, there’s not a lot I can do other than work, watch TV, and cook dinner. I also struggle with people not understanding that I choose not to show my entire life. If I post four one-minute vlogs, you’re only seeing a four minute highlight reel of my day. That’s not my entire life.

E: Since posting regularly on TikTok, what has the response from people been like?

S: It’s pretty funny because it feels like a double life. Not many people at work know or ask me about it because they’re not really my demographic. But I’ll have people from my hometown messaging me saying that their friends from university or work love my videos. It’s been bizarre because most of my following grew during lockdown. I didn’t see people or anything, so to come out of that in the summer with thousands of followers it really hit me that, Oh, that’s not just a number, they’re real people who know and care about your life.

E: What advice do you have for anyone thinking of making TikToks?

S: Just do it and stick to it. The app loves consistency.

E: What do you hope is next for you?

S: You can follow me on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter under the same name- @sarahjenkinsxo.

xo,

Elizabeth

Published by Elizabeth Sarah Larkin

Freelance Writer & Social Media Manager

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