In Next Question, Her Campus rapid-fire interviews emerging Gen Z talent about what it’s like to rule over the Internet. This month, TikTok star Matt Taylor, aka @mattheperson, is in the hot seat to answer our burning questions.
You’ve seen Matt Taylor, better known as mattheperson on TikTok, all over your For You Page. You’ve watched his relatable comedic skits about Gen Z or spot-on impressions of your quirky friends and teachers, and you might even feel like you know him. But the 18-year-old creator says that people often forget there is, in fact, a person behind mattheperson. “No, I don’t exist,” he jokes when I bring this up, and we both laugh.
Taylor has made a name for himself among his generation, having gained upwards of 5 million followers on TikTok. His videos have made him a veritable spokesperson for Gen Z, though he’s endearingly bashful when I call him this. Though such a large platform can be overwhelming (“I do not get it,” he says modestly about the size of his audience) it’s also well-deserved. Beyond the sarcastic comedy he’s known for is a thoughtful and earnest teenager who tells me about his love for indie music and his worries about the limits of performative activism.
Fresh off a move to LA — we commiserate about the stress of moving and building IKEA furniture, another topic that’s been popping up in his TikToks lately — Taylor is gearing up for a new phase of collaboration that wouldn’t have been possible in his hometown of Tulsa, OK. Read on to learn more about Taylor’s take on Gen Z, his thoughts on current online trends, and the person behind mattheperson.
1. What’s one thing the Internet doesn’t know about you that you wish they did?
That I’m kind of awkward, but also kind of serious. Whenever people meet me in person, I feel like they’re just surprised that I’m a person. I’m always acting, so I think it’s weird to people that sometimes I’m also serious — hardly ever, especially not on social media, but it’s just kind of funny.
2. How would you describe Gen Z in three words?
Oh my god. Gen Z in three words. Impatient, sarcastic, scary.
It almost is scary. I feel like I’m almost too old now. I’m only 18, by the way, but I realized Gen Z goes to, like, eight years old. It’s pretty young, and I was like, dang. I’m middle Gen Z. Sometimes I make jokes, and people are like, “You’re thinking of older Gen Z,” and I’m, like, shoot! I’m already getting old!
3. Which online trend are you totally over, and which is here to stay?
I hate even calling this a trend, but we need to keep our energy high for the Black Lives Matter Movement. On TikTok and other social media, many people, including myself at times, were very vocal in the beginning about the movement, but have since moved on and let it become a “trend.” This is not okay. Black Lives Matter is not a trend. We must keep striving for equality and justice in our country.
And then something that should not be trending: Using people’s own audios and not being creative with it. Like, literally just taking an audio and doing the same thing. Normally I get it; I think it’s fun when people take an audio and are creative, but when it’s the same exact thing? We don’t need that anymore. Sometimes, I click on the audio and I’m like, “Okay, who’s the original?” and then I go like the original.
4. What are you manifesting for the next stage of your career?
Honestly, I’m so occupied with TikTok right now. I’m ready to settle in LA and meet new people. It’s so exciting now that everyone’s getting vaccinated. I’m taking it slow because it’s still kind of scary, but I’ve already met so many amazing people, and I’m just so excited to keep meeting people. Honestly, when it comes to meeting people, LA is the best.
5. What are the first three songs on your Spotify “On Repeat” playlist?
Oh my God, wait. I have to see this. I’ve looked at it, but I’m always scared to play it because I feel like it’s never good or I’m sick of the song. I swear, if it’s indie music… Oh, actually, it’s not bad at all!
“Meet Me At Our Spot” — THE ANXIETY, WILLOW, Tyler Cole
“Carnival” — The Cardigans
“Super Thicc” — Payday
Also “Ain’t Shit” by Doja Cat is next, the new one.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.