#GoalDigger Christianee Porter on InstaFame and Building Her Brand

Photos courtesy of Christianee Porter.

Photos courtesy of Christianee Porter.

No matter your make of melanin, there’s few things more unifying than the cast of characters we’ve all encountered in the book of life known as The Black Experience.

There’s that one black auntie who’s never here for it. The church mother who will read you to a degree even Hooked on Phonics® can’t comprehend, and our favorite saved, sanctified, cursing grandma whose wig is never quite right, pound cake stays on fleek, and she ‘bet not catch you in her pew on Sunday morning or legit ‘bows may be thrown. Well, roll all of that into one, sprinkle in a touch of #BlackGirlMagic and add a side of raw, kneeslapping comedy, and you’ve got Christianee Porter and her roster of viral sensations.

A Little Rock, AR native and the brainchild and face behind some of social media’s most beloved characters including Ms. Shirleen, Rontavious a.k.a. Velvetta and our favorite Beat Street reporter, Karen Dontcare, Porter’s journey to social A-lister is what lasting digital brands are made of — large followings, originality, plenty of buzz and quality content worth the hype.

So what’s life like once the Internet knows your name and your Instagram videos generate more than 100K views? To summarize, life is great. We chatted it up with the comedian, actress and singer on her life as a social celeb and her growth strategy to take her brand from the newsfeed to the big screen.

How did the character of Ms. Shirleen come about?

Shirleen’s temperament is my interpretation of my stepfather and my uncle as a woman. Her body language is from one of my mom’s sister’s and a host of people I have observed throughout the years.

How has your life changed since Ms. Shirleen became an Internet sensation?

Life has not changed at all for Ms. Shirleen. She has always been fabulous and famous in her own mind. For Christianee, it has provided my gift great exposure. It has put me in the presence of influential people and it is allowing me to fulfill my purpose. I lost a couple of friends and associates, and I had to get a quick lesson on losing people and moving forward. It has been an interesting transition, and I am learning to appreciate it all.

What are three things people would be surprised to learn about you?

I am an introvert. I love naps and I can find a resting place anywhere. I do not like taking selfies.

What would be your advice to someone hoping to “go viral?”

If you are hoping to go viral start to treat yourself as a business now. Set prices, set standards and set goals. Insta-famous does not mean insta-rich. You still have to work to be successful. Also expect people to feel entitled to what has manifested in your life solely because they know you or know someone that knows you. You owe them nothing, and do not feel bad about saying no. It’s healthy, [lol]!

Beyonce had Sasha Fierce, you have Itty. Some people may not know that you’re actually a very talented singer/songwriter. How would you describe your music style? 

Itty is not an alter ego like Sasha Fierce. Itty was just easier to spell and pronounce than Christianee (pronounced Chris-ta-knee). It is actually the nickname my mom calls me.

I would describe my music as indie meets pop meets R&B meets Neo-Soul meets contemporary Christian [lol]. It is a mixture of all my musical influences growing up and I really try not to define it because it would box me in.

Presumptively, juggling music, Ms. Shirleen and life must get hectic. How do you balance it all? Also, what would be your advice to young women struggling to balance their own lives?

Every morning I have a conversation with my Creator, and I ask Him to direct my day and guide my steps. I choose the days that I want to record my characters (Yung Velvetta, Karen Dontcare and Ms. Shirleen), and then I choose the days I want to work on cultivating my other gifts such as music, writing and dancing. I also have a calendar and someone to help me stay on top of things.

What’s next for Christianee?

What’s next for Christianee? Anything she is capable of imagining and putting forth the effort to see it come to pass. The plan is plays, televisions and movies. Acting is my passion and God was just gracious enough to make me a comedian. All I can say is stay tuned and do not put me in a box because I plan to be all over the entertainment world.

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