This month, TikTok star Hannah Montoya is in the hot seat to answer our burning questions. In Next Question, Her Campus rapid-fire interviews emerging Gen Z talent about what it’s like to rule over the Internet.
The first thing I notice about Hannah Montoya is how, even though I’ve never met her, she seems extremely familiar. This may be a consequence of her POV TikToks, where she takes on the role of every annoying person you went to high school with (the “pick me girl,” the quirky girl who thinks she’s the “main character” in a YA novel), and your Aunt Jackie from New Jersey. It’s a format she’s mastered to the point of gaining 4 million followers — it’s easy to tell that she’s only going up from here, and it wouldn’t be outrageous to see her on Saturday Night Live one day. But despite the staggering size of her audience and the views and likes she racks up on each post, what strikes me the most about Montoya is how down-to-earth she is.
Currently attending college in North Carolina, Montoya’s been battling the age-old college girl struggle of curating aesthetic dorm decor. “This is therapy,” she jokes, gesturing to the neatly arranged wall of artwork behind her. She tells me about her love for Olivia Rodrigo, her 5 Seconds Of Summer phase (she still listens to them sometimes, she admits), and her belief in empowering women to feel more confident. Perhaps underneath all of the different characters in the Hannah Montoya Cinematic Universe, the most relatable person is Montoya herself.
Read on to find out how Montoya creates her iconic characters, why she’s so inspired by Gen Z, and the internet trend that she hopes sticks around.
1. WHAT’S ONE THING THE INTERNET DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT YOU WISH THEY DID?
Ooh, that’s a really good question. I guess that I am not my characters. At all. I love getting inspiration from the people around me and my environment. This doesn’t relate to Aunt Jackie, but typically I like to find the things that frustrate me a little bit, and then emphasize it and put humor into it so that it doesn’t annoy me as much. With the “pick me girl” videos or “pick me boy” videos, or “main character,” instead of getting so annoyed by it in real life, wouldn’t it be better to just laugh at it? So I like to make fun of that, and I’m nowhere near that type of person.
2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE GEN Z IN THREE WORDS?
Oh my gosh. I would probably say, number one, creative. I see so many people on social media doing things that blow my mind. Even kids that are so much younger than me, or anyone in my generation. I just cannot believe it. Like, Olivia Rodrigo? Oh my god. She’s amazing. I would say creative and talented for sure.
And then, honestly, witty. There are so many funny, talented people online, and it’s so cool that social media’s given them a platform. Because I feel like there’s so many comedian-type people that I just see on my For You page. I think everybody’s so funny.
3. WHICH ONLINE TREND ARE YOU TOTALLY OVER, AND WHICH IS HERE TO STAY?
Ooh. I see a lot of comparative comments where it’s like, Oh my god, you are literally doing dadada. People can have common traits! I see it all the time. It’s mainly on people who have more of a vlogger style, where all their comments will be flooded with, Oh, you’re trying so hard to be this YouTuber. But the internet is huge! Everybody has a personality and I don’t know if this is a new trend, but I’ve seen it so, so much recently. Even if people have the same accent, people are like, Oh, you’re copying so-and-so, and it’s like, they’re definitely from the same state!
These are really good questions. I love so much when people blatantly are confident. Like, without saying anything else. I love [how] Megan Thee Stallion popularized the “Hot Girl” thing. I love that more than anything. Because that’s so empowering. Instead of being more low-key about being confident in yourself and being a woman, I love calling yourself a hot girl. I think it’s funny, and I think it’s perfect.
4. WHAT ARE YOU MANIFESTING FOR THE NEXT STAGE OF YOUR CAREER?
I’ve always really wanted to get into acting, because I’ve done theater since I was young and then with social media, it’s helped me so much to channel that and have an outlet for it. And I’ve always wanted to get into longform comedy and sketch-writing, because that’s been something I’ve been super into since I was a little kid. I’d be writing the worst skits ever and performing them for my parents and my friends. It was so embarrassing. But it’s so cool to be able to do that right now and I definitely want to keep going with that in my career for sure.
5. WHAT ARE THE FIRST THREE SONGS ON YOUR SPOTIFY “ON REPEAT” PLAYLIST?
Hold on, I’m literally gonna pull it up because I have a playlist of songs I have been listening to like crazy. But right now, I just love women artists a lot. It just gets me pumped up. And it works for everywhere, like going to class, workouts — the rare times that I feel like I should work out. Also Harry Styles, I’m a huge Harry Styles fan.
“Need To Know” — Doja Cat
“Lights Up” — Harry Styles
“Body” — Megan Thee Stallion
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.