Rocio Sanchez: [00:00:00] Welcome to Transition of Style, the podcast about fashion, identity, and how queer leaders are disrupting the fashion industry today. I’m your host, Rocio Sanchez. Feel free to use any pronouns for me. I’m a digital marketer with a specialization in queer business and fashion. And one of my areas of interest is social media and content creation.
Rocio Sanchez: But surprise, surprise, it’s not one of my favorite things to actually do. Because social media is such a fast-paced world and notorious for burning out its creators. And for queer and fem folks, social media can add an extra layer of vulnerability. But the thing about social media and what makes it so compelling is that certain aspects can genuinely be fun and creative, particularly when it comes to the fashion side of things.
Rocio Sanchez: Today we have Abby Luke, model and a TikTok influencer, who uses her platform to simply have fun with fashion, [00:01:00] establishing her personal brand online, while also staying true to Abby. So welcome Abby, and thank you for joining.
Abby Luke: Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.
Rocio Sanchez: Yes. How are you?
Abby Luke: I’m doing just fine. How are you doing? I know you’ve been running around.
Rocio Sanchez: Yes, yes. It’s been a busy day, but I’m, I’m really happy to be, capping my, evening, cause I’m here in Amsterdam, you’re in New York. So it’s really nice to talk to people from all over for this podcast and particularly talking to you. It’s really interesting to know that you have this career of being a model and a TikTok influencer, and clearly fashion plays a role in your content.
Rocio Sanchez: It’s very, very clear. You just start to scroll on your TikTok content and immediately it’s very much you just expressing yourself with fashion. It’s not this thing where you use words for it, it’s a visual thing. I really like that about your content.
Rocio Sanchez: But before all of that, and even during all of this, you were just you. But I’d love to learn about just you in particular and how did you develop your style?
Abby Luke: [00:02:00] It’s something that I’ve never had to like put into words before, so I’ll try to be finding the words for it as I’m explaining it to you. But, just for some background, I came out as bisexual at 22, and that was in the year 2020. So before all of that, I feel like I wasn’t dressing for myself necessarily because I was finding myself. I was in my early, late teens. And I lived in a very southern slash conservative environment, and so I would adapt to the environments that I was in. So I had very long hair. I, I wore a bunch of makeup all the time before I even went to like the grocery store.
Abby Luke: I would go out in heels and going into my twenties after I moved to New York and like, kind of learn more about myself and about different individuals and how people express themselves, not through their work or their art, they do it through what they wear, how they just go out to the grocery store. And I learned that that [00:03:00] wasn’t really me necessarily. I love to play with femininity. Dressing up, wearing heels, being sexy and fashionable. But I also learned to balance that with masculinity and finding my sweet spot in between those things and feeling more comfortable going out just me and, feeling way more comfortable in my own skin.
Abby Luke: So I feel like personally in my coming out journey, that’s kind of where that led me. And then I also got on TikTok around the same time as my coming out story, and so I was scrolling through my feed and just watching people posting these queer thirst traps that I do a lot of thirst traps now, so that’s where that came from.
Abby Luke: But I was just like, oh my gosh. You can just exist in your own skin and you can be hot and you can be confident. And it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what you look like, it’s just because you’re so confident and watching these individuals [00:04:00] express themselves that way, it like really pushed me to do the same. And I fell into that little thirst trap wormhole combined with my dance background and light video editing and stuff.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, we love to see it. I mean, it’s one of those things where it’s like somebody’s feeling themselves and you’re like, yes. And why not? I also could very much heavily relate to the whole performing femininity thing. I also was very much in that camp as well.
Rocio Sanchez: So definitely it’s worth acknowledging that yeah, that definitely affects how you develop your own style. You’re also literally a teenager, literally a kid just kind of absorbing what you can. And then eventually you come into your own and then you get on TikTok, right? And you’re still going through your own personal thing, and then you see other people, you’re getting influenced by it.
Abby Luke: Yeah, 100%.
Rocio Sanchez: That leads me to my next thing, which is just TikTok and you expressing your style. Can you speak more to the relationship between how you’ve developed your [00:05:00] style and your relationship to like TikTok and your community specifically?
Abby Luke: My style, it’s very sexy. TikTok both loves and hates that, so that’s been its own journey in its own way. But I learned the fun thing about clothes is that there’s not a specific, like. Shirt doesn’t have to be used as a shirt. You could wear it as a skirt. You could wear it as a scarf. You can play with it in any way you possibly want.
Abby Luke: So creating these videos allowed me to just play. And a lot of my outfits in the videos themselves, they’re not practical outfits that I can like wear out because they’re like tied in the back or pinned in the back. Like you can’t see what’s actually going on. But it allowed me to literally just put stuff on my body and create and joke around and be silly and fun.
Abby Luke: And I feel like a lot of people in the comments have really resonated with that and clocked like, oh. Well, corsets were a huge thing, I think 2021, like they [00:06:00] were like a huge thing. And so all my content was like corsets. And I think people seeing everybody just wear corsets as a shirt. It’s no longer lingerie. It is now like, oh, it’s sexy, it’s hot, but it’s also, it’s just clothes. And so I love to play a lot with lingerie as clothes. And again, TikTok sometimes doesn’t like that very much, but I love it. And I actually wear outfits like that out. If ever I go to like a bar or like to a show or something, like I wear lingerie as clothes and I think it’s really fun.
Rocio Sanchez: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I definitely see that. And I love you hinting at. Because TikTok, what it does, it’s, it’s very trendsetting or rather, there’s just trends all the time. Every day there’s a new trend, and so what you are doing is very much taking the trend and putting your spin on it.
Rocio Sanchez: Right. And people resonating with that. I think I’ve already used this word earlier which is, you’re a TikTok influencer, right? And you’ve said before to me, outside of this, [00:07:00] like, yeah, I’ll say it. Influencer, it’s, it gets a bad rap, the title.
Rocio Sanchez: But there’s a reason why people get connected to it. So why do you think people connect to your fun content?
Abby Luke: I think it has a lot to do with what influenced me before I started creating content. Like I said before, just watching individuals just feel so empowered by existing and by themselves. I see it in my comments all the time being like, you helped me, like, discover my sexuality, or, you helped me realize that like, this is the way I wanna dress, or like, this is the way I want to express myself, or, I wish I could do this.
Abby Luke: And then I comment back, I’m like, you can! Like, it’s the most wild thing to see people being inspired to just be themselves because that’s what happened to me. And that happens through the queer community as a whole. Obviously as a community there’s ups and there’s downs. When it comes to labels and all of that intricate stuff.
Abby Luke: But I [00:08:00] think the queer community on TikTok, specifically the women loving women community, cause that’s kind of the section I’m on. Watching each other learn about themselves, just by watching other people’s content is a really beautiful thing. So I think just being confident really helps other people do the same.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, I definitely can see that, I would also love to talk a little bit more about, your modeling, right? So that’s something that you do as well. And I know that it kind of like tag teamed it with TikTok as well.
Rocio Sanchez: Where does modeling fit into that?
Abby Luke: I feel like I wouldn’t be where I was with mo- this is a bold statement. I feel like I wouldn’t be where I was with modeling if I didn’t start creating content on TikTok. Because I started modeling before TikTok was even a thing that people downloaded and that was when I was dressing for a gaze that was not my own. And once I got on TikTok, and specifically after I posted this fem to masc transition video where I was just messing around, I’m like, I’m not masculine. Like [00:09:00] I’m NOT masculine. And then I play with this video and I’m like, oh, maybe I can be.
Abby Luke: And then my good photographer friend Josh was like we’re gonna get together. We’re gonna do a masculine photo shoot because you rocked that and we’re gonna play around with that. And I think now, because I started making those TikTok videos where I played around with masculinity, I combined the two in a beautiful way. And I don’t think I would be as comfortable modeling if I had never done that. Because I would still be posing and dressing myself for other people and not for myself.
Abby Luke: So I think TikTok played a huge role in that. As weird as that is to say.
Abby Luke: It’s interesting to see how it affects how you perceive yourself, how you perceive other people perceiving you. It’s like this whole surveillance kind of thing, and you’re just hyper aware of that. Especially when you’re a content creator, just being hyperaware of people always looking at you.
Rocio Sanchez: At any point someone’s scrolling and they’re seeing your content. [00:10:00] But it’s really interesting, particularly the modeling world. And I feel like that could be it’s own one hour long thing, right?
Rocio Sanchez: But, more on the topic of just online presence. I would love to know what has been the most eye-opening struggle that you’ve encountered as a content creator in fashion. Particularly as it relates to your identities, if you feel like it does.
Abby Luke: Yeah, I, I thought about this the other day where I was like, obviously it’s a huge struggle with community guidelines and my type of content, right? Cause it is very sexy and like, I don’t make content for minors. I don’t want minors looking at my content. So obviously the guidelines get a little bit stricter on that.
Abby Luke: So that’s obviously an obstacle. But I had a realization the other day that when I first started TikTok and I was cranking out 1, 2, 3 videos every single day. I really heavily relied on fast fashion, because I felt this [00:11:00] need to have new clothes in every video to crank out content as fast as I can.
Abby Luke: And I still struggle with this mindset, but I stopped buying fast fashion because don’t buy fast fashion, if you have the means to not. And my content slowed down. And I think that that is such an interesting thing because there’s so much pressure. Like you said, TikTok, it moves fast. There’s new trends every second of every day, you wanna hop on every single one.
Abby Luke: And if I don’t feel like I have what other people wanna see, cause I still struggle with that because, you know, I’m a person. if I don’t have what I think other people wanna see, sometimes I just don’t make videos. Or I’m like, oh, I’ve used this outfit a lot, but it’s my favorite outfit, so I’ll just stop filming in that outfit.
Abby Luke: That is honestly still one of the biggest struggles for me, because I’m not just buying a bunch of clothes from Shein, from websites I shouldn’t be buying a bunch of clothes from. I think that that’s honestly one of my biggest struggle for creating content [00:12:00] because I can’t just be buying clothes all the time. And I can’t do it in an ethical way because I don’t have the means to do it necessarily as often in an ethical way.
Abby Luke: So it’s just slowed down and that’s okay.
Rocio Sanchez: That is absolutely okay. I am such a champion as a digital marketer of saying it is literally okay if you post one video a week, like video content is so, so easy to underestimate how much work it takes to make one video.
Abby Luke: Yes, because we make it look so easy. We put out the content and I’m like, thank you so much for telling me that this doesn’t look hard, because that means I did my job right. However, it took me all day, two emotional breakdowns, and I had to refilm it the next day. It’s a lot.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah. Do you like edit here, then you send it to one device and then you send it to another device? Or do you do it all on your phone?
Abby Luke: So I used to do it mostly in the TikTok app because it was pretty good. It was good enough for that at the time. But we’re starting to [00:13:00] move past that being good enough for the times now because people are getting crazy good at content. And I do it all on my phone, yes, to answer your question. But I film it on like my camera app in 4k, like 60 FPS, take up all the storage on my phone and then I edit it in another app. And then after I’m done editing it, I have to delete all the videos cuz it takes up all my storage.
Abby Luke: I’ll have to do phone, laptop, edit in an actual editor device. Cause I have to keep up man. It’s so.
Rocio Sanchez: Or just get an editor. Some people out here just have editors.
Abby Luke: Just get an editor. Bro, if I could have an edit, that would be so nice.
Rocio Sanchez: It makes careers. This thing, it makes careers.
Abby Luke: It does.
Rocio Sanchez: People started out, it was YouTube to like Hollywood pipeline, YouTube to like music industry pipeline and now its TikTok to reality show pipeline. It’s all true, it’s all possible. We’re breaking down the barriers. To some people it’s, it’s ridiculous. But in some ways creating accessibility for [00:14:00] certain things. But I wanted to go back to the fast fashion bit. I respect that because the truth is, this podcast, the conversations that I want to have, are not necessarily like, oh look, there’s this queer person, aren’t they like the most amazing person and they can’t do anything wrong because they’re queer.
Rocio Sanchez: No, we’re in the fashion industry, and this fashion industry, the way that it’s set up and all of its partners, like content creation machines, are churning things out in a pace that we just, literally, physically, on a human level cannot comprehend and process in our own brains.
Rocio Sanchez: But we’re creating these systems where we’re meant to consume it, consuming as if there’s infinite resources in the world. That’s just not the case at all.
Abby Luke: Yeah. Absolutely. I see it not even just with clothes. I see it with fridge restock videos. I see it with all these hauls. They’re in every single corner of all of social media. Not just TikTok itself. Social media would be nothing without consumerism. Instagram’s [00:15:00] become a shopping app.
Abby Luke: People just buy and buy and buy, and companies are just like, oh, let me send you all this stuff to get other people to buy and buy and buy. And, it’s a really tricky market because, like everything, it has its issues and it can be extremely problematic and it’s so easy to fall into it.
Abby Luke: I mean, I’ve been partnered with a fast fashion company that I won’t name and, will I partner with them again? No, because now I’m not all about just cranking out content as fast as I can, as much as I can. I want to promote things that I like really, really believe in. And I, I feel right about using and promoting, like small businesses.
Abby Luke: But then it’s like, I’m not gonna reach out to a small business and be like, send me free stuff so I can make a video cause they’re a small business. So it’s just a weird back and forth.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, you’re still figuring out your value system in relation to this really hyper, super fast-paced environment. It was just amazing, like you blew up to and time to tell me your [00:16:00] follower count at this point, if you have,
Abby Luke: I, I think it’s like 620,000 right now. It’s been pretty steady at that number for a while.
Rocio Sanchez: I mean, it’s, it’s still quite a large number. Your mind is constantly like trying to keep up with that alone, and then just the pace of the algorithm itself. Then you go, no, no, no, no. No more fast fashion. I personally made that choice several years ago, and it really slows down everything.
Abby Luke: It’s called fast fashion! It’s because we use it at a high rate. Right? Cause it also, the quality is lacking so much that like you can only use it so many times, or it shrinks in the wash or like falls apart in the wash and then you have to keep going, so it does feel faster.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah, there’s just so many different changing factors. There’s not just changing fast-paced environment of the way the algorithm is built. But the politics as well, like TikTok might go down in the US. But also changes in you. Changes in you and you changing your values. And you also hinted at this earlier about, just people are getting [00:17:00] wildly good with editing.
Abby Luke: I’m so impressed. Yeah. I’m so impressed with all of the talent I’ve seen on this platform. It’s absolutely wild to watch it progress in the way it’s going.
Rocio Sanchez: Right. So, what do you project for TikTok? Or just how you are gonna keep using TikTok considering all these changes?
Abby Luke: I need to learn video editing or get an editor like you said, right? So, there’s one person in particular who, I don’t know her name, but she is very clearly trained in martial arts. She very clearly went to school for video editing and adds special effects and does transitions and these cute outfits.
Abby Luke: And she just seems like a really nice person and uses her martial arts intertwined with all of that, and that’s where it’s going. It’s going to this whole,
Rocio Sanchez: Multihyphenate, like doing everything.
Abby Luke: Yeah, this cinematic experience. Not with everybody obviously, but in the corner of TikTok I’m on because [00:18:00] I watch a lot of transition videos, cause I do a lot of transition videos.
Abby Luke: I see so many people who I’m like, this is a work of art. All TikTok is a work of art, but this specifically is like watching a short film or like a movie. And that’s where I project my corner of TikTok to be going. And it’s a thing that I’m like, that’s great, but oh my gosh, that means I need to pick up yet another skill. Which I’m capable of learning,
Abby Luke: I have the things that I can do it. It’s just a matter of, you mentioned this before, burnout, right? So it’s like, at what point am I driving myself absolutely batty trying to keep up with all these amazing people. And then, I mean, it’s literally impossible not to compare yourself, right?
Abby Luke: So if I’m looking up to a creator, I wanna be just like them, if not better. And that’s really hard on your, on your mental health. I see it going in a very cinematic direction and I’ve noticed people getting [00:19:00] wildly good at makeup. I am stuck in 2016 with my makeup and I need to catch up and I haven’t bought myself a new eyeshadow palette since high school.
Abby Luke: So I went online and I bought one the other day. Cause I’m like, I need to pick back up on makeup, which is easier for me than editing cuz I, I also do like painting and, other art. I also see people doing mediocre transitions, but incredible makeup. It doesn’t necessarily matter the type of video you’re doing, right?
Abby Luke: If you have some element in there that is like a wow factor, it’s gonna do well because it should. So I see the makeup and the cinematography
Rocio Sanchez: the cinematography
Abby Luke: just, through the roof.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah. It’s good that you mentioned on that particular corner. I’ve definitely seen non transition videos, there’s developments in so many different aspects. And what you’re seeing definitely is valid as well because, you’re literally there, you’re in that space. So I also like that you came full circle about the burnout thing because [00:20:00] absolutely like, thats not even a question anymore. There’s an epidemic on like, YouTube.
Rocio Sanchez: And it’s the same with TikTok. It’s just not feasible to do this kind of thing unless you have the resources for it.
Abby Luke: Yeah, I am burned out every second of every day. Getting myself to film a TikTok video now in 2023 as opposed to what it was in 2020. Not to mention it was lockdown, so I had all the time in the world, but . Getting myself to film a video now just feels like so much, even though it’s, sometimes it’s not.
Abby Luke: Sometimes it is, but other times it’s just a simple lip sync, no transition, nothing I just have to put on makeup. But the act of having to put on makeup, just feels so much harder now.
Rocio Sanchez: Again, going full circle about, you get yourself a new eyeshadow, but are you performing for, for something else or for yourself?
Abby Luke: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s a great question. It’s been something that I have been thinking about for a while. I used to do makeup all the time when I was in my teens. I didn’t do it well, but I thought I was ,right? And that’s all that mattered. It was [00:21:00] fun, I miss that.
Abby Luke: So I will say it is mostly because I miss learning new makeup and I like watching makeup progress the way it has and I wanna participate cause I, I love the look of it.
Rocio Sanchez: Yeah. It’s its own kind of art. Last thing that I wanted to mention, because you mentioned, feeling like you have to keep up in one way or another. And as we’ve talked about, you’re also a model, but we also didn’t mention that you’re also on Twitch. You’re branching out a little bit. So how do you see that playing out as well? Cause we’ve talked specifically about how you see it playing out on TikTok and you’re like, well, I could do this, this, and this and that. But just you in general, you, how are you gonna continue being Abby on different platforms?
Abby Luke: I feel like I have different personalities on different platforms. Like a little bit of myself on TikTok and then a little bit of myself- TikTok specifically is very just like sexy, confident, dance background, musical theater background.
Abby Luke: Just in general it’s very clear over there. And then Twitch is very much my goofy side. My hanging out with friends side, right? And then, [00:22:00] modeling. What would modeling be classified? I guess just my acting side. The confidence, the sexy and acting, and telling a story that way. I feel like I’m spreading myself as thin as I possibly can, but I like all of them and I wanna do all of them, so I do.
Rocio Sanchez: I’m a big fan of that. jack of all trades, but master of none. You could be a jack of all trades and master of some, like you can be a master of some things.
Abby Luke: I am a Capricorn, so there’s no way I’m gonna do something I’m not good at, right? So it’s very much like if I’m going to do it, it’s full send or I’m not doing it at all. So I think that that’s where the burnout comes in, because I just won’t start a project if I don’t think I can. Which is honestly, such a toxic mindset, right?
Abby Luke: I should just try it. But my Capricorn brain is like, no, if you don’t think you’re gonna give it 100% of you and all of your being, then don’t start it. Bad advice. Nobody take that advice, but that’s what I do.
Rocio Sanchez: I love it. Well, honestly, I wish you the best of luck. Obviously I don’t wish [00:23:00] any burnout, but this is exciting to, explore these different platforms. But of course, that’s the pitfall and the warning, but you know it very well cause you’ve been around for a while and you hear the stories all the time. I know it as well. thank you so much for sharing your story. I wanna ask one last thing. Who’s your favorite other queer content creator or person out there doing amazing stuff? Shout them out.
Abby Luke: Oh my gosh. I’ll take this opportunity to shout out a personal great friend of mine who, I’ve mentioned to you before. Cause I talk them up so much. Their name is Ang Chats, a n g e c h a t s. They’re gonna hate that I shouted them out, but they’re great. A non-binary YouTube creator, mainly who does interviews of actors from TV shows that focus a lot on diversity in all aspects.
Abby Luke: So they have very fun conversations, but also very serious and tough conversations as well when it comes to representation in media. So please go [00:24:00] give them a follow because they’re genuinely so great and just wanna change the world in the best way that they can.
Rocio Sanchez: it’s a new thing that I’m doing. I would love to just spread the love and the people I bring on to shout out other people, because queer folks are all, all over. So thank you so much. Where can people find you before we sign off?
Abby Luke: On literally any social platform you can think of. it’s always @justablu j u s t a b l u. Literally on every platform it’s the same name because branding.
Rocio Sanchez: Great. That’s fantastic. I will tell you that’s, that’s 10 outta 10 as a digital marketer.
Abby Luke: Thank you.
Rocio Sanchez: Thank you so much for being here. we’ll wrap it up here.
Abby Luke: Sweet. Thank you so much for having
Rocio Sanchez: Of course.
Rocio Sanchez: Transition of Style is brought to you by FC Podcasts, a division of Fashion Consort. Learn more about how FC Podcasts can help you with podcasting, from strategy and creation, to production and marketing at fcpodcasts.com. That’s [00:25:00] fcpodcasts.com. Thank you FC Podcasts, for making Transition of Style possible.
Rocio Sanchez: Now, back to the show.
Rocio Sanchez: Welcome back to Transition of Style. In this episode, you heard about Abby Luke’s unique journey with expressing her style on TikTok, which coincided with her own coming out journey in a unique way. Eventually, she ended up getting over half a million followers by just having fun. But we can’t ignore the obvious here.
TikTok is a rapidly changing environment and Abby has found herself in quite a predicament because of it. By slowing down her buying habits, she slowed down her output on TikTok. Anyone who knows anything about the TikTok algorithm knows that anything less than hyper frequent posting will significantly reduce your views and discoverability.
But what Abby has done reflects a growing trend with creators across the board, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and TikTokers [00:26:00] alike. Exercising adaptability by diversifying platforms. What Abby Luke has done by remaining on TikTok, but also continuing her presence on Instagram and now by starting a Twitch channel, has been to diversify her platform.
So what can we learn about Abby Luke’s digital presence? One, you can’t ever be too reliant on one platform for all your marketing needs. Any single algorithm change could mean the difference between you becoming an overnight sensation and you barely getting any traction for your videos you spent hours upon hours producing.
Two, we heard Abby mentioning how other creators are not just editing, but they’re also learning martial arts and adding wild animations. So, pinpoint what other people in your niche are doing and see if it’s worth you learning a new skill as well.
Rocio Sanchez: Just remember not to lose sight of what your audience loves about you. Sometimes videos with the lowest production value have the [00:27:00] most engagement. Keep this in mind. Abby signed off with saying you can find her
Abby Luke: On literally any social platform you can think of. it’s always @justablu j u s t a b l u. Literally on every platform it’s the same name because branding.
Rocio Sanchez: Because branding is absolutely correct. No matter what platform you decide to expand to, make sure to claim your branded handle even if you never end up posting on that platform. That way you could be consistent with your online presence.
Rocio Sanchez: That’s it for today’s episode of Transition of Style. If you like the podcast so far, be sure to rate it in your preferred podcast app. You can always stay up to date with the podcast by checking us out at TransitionofStyle. com or @TransitionofStyle on Instagram.
Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you next time.
NYC-based model and digital content creator Abby Luke caught a lot of attention in 2020 when she started to make content for TikTok. She flexed her styling, modeling, and editing skills on a daily basis. Years later, she now has 600,000+ followers on TikTok, 20,000 on Instagram, and a growing Twitch audience, as well.