Meet Vanessa Brousseau aka @resilientinuk, changemaker and creator of TikTok

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Ontario-based Vanessa Brousseau goes through elasticinuk on TikTok where she shares personal stories with her nearly 90,000 followers about her education, culture, art and healing journey while raising awareness among women, girls and people Missing and Murdered Two-Spirit Women. Vanessa found TikTok during the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns and found a place in the app for her strong voice and opinions on what matters most to her – educating and making space for the next generation. agents of change.

Vanessa Brousseau aka elasticinuk says she still has at least 20 years of storytelling left to share. Photo submitted

Two Row Times caught up with Vanessa aka elasticinuk during this year’s National Indigenous History Month to discuss her passions, art and how she uses TikTok for change.

Jace: Where do you live?

Brousseau: Welland, Ont.

Jace: Where did you grow up?

Brousseau: I grew up in Timmins, Ontario, about 10 hours north of here. I also lived in the Attawapiskat First Nation. This is where my children come from. I had some remote life experiences.

Jace: How did you hear about TikTok?

Brousseau: It was when COVID first hit and we were all locked in our homes and had nothing to do. My sons were on the app for fun and I asked them why they were always laughing, then I tried it myself.

Jace: What made you choose TikTok as your primary platform?

Brousseau: I was already on Facebook and Instagram, but I never wanted to create videos or content like that. I really believe that the TikTok platform is very user-friendly. And I think that’s what encouraged me to start making videos. I am very dedicated to TikTok and everything I create is uploaded there first and then I will share it on my other social networks.

Jace: How would you describe your platform in a few sentences?

Brousseau: I love standing up for and sharing the truth about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and two-spirited people, as my sister has been missing for almost 19 years now. It will be 19 years in December. I also like to share my culture which is Inuit and Ojibwe. And I like to show my art. I healed myself through my art.

Jace: How does TikTok create space for Indigenous content creators to tell their own stories?

Brousseau: We have been silenced for so long. Especially aboriginal women. Being able to tell my truth, in my own way, with my voice, in my style, is huge. And that’s part of my healing journey as well.

Over the past year I’ve grown as a person on the platform and I think it’s starting to show in my confidence and my content – ​​and I have so much more to share. I’m very busy so it’s hard to have time to share but I’m in no rush. I have stories to share for another 20 years or so.

Vanessa Brousseau aka elasticinuk on TikTok is raising awareness online about missing and murdered women, girls and Two-Spirit people. Photo submitted

Jace: What is your goal on TikTok?

Brousseau: My goal is to make people known. TikTok posted a video for National Indigenous History Month and in it they called me a changemaker. I was so proud because that’s what I want to be called before anything else. I want to make change and not just on Tiktok. I have worked for the federal government for eight years and one of my volunteer positions there is co-chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. My job is to raise awareness and educate other employees. I am constantly trying to create awareness which I truly believe creates change.

Jace: Was there a specific content creator or video that inspired you to post yours?

Brousseau: What prompted me to post my first video was a video posted by Celina Myers alias celinaspookyboo. She’s an amazing content creator who set up a bunch of cardboard dresses on her front lawn for the National Indigenous MMIWG2S on May 5th. I saw it and I don’t know what clicked but I thought I could do it too. It’s the truth. This is my story. I thought I had to do this. It must come from our own people.

Jace: What age group(s) make up most of your followers?

Brousseau: I would say my viewers are 25 or younger. I like it because they are our agents of change for the future. I have a lot of young viewers and they are very direct with how they interact with me and the questions they ask. I love the relationship I’ve built with my followers. I also do presentations in secondary schools and I can speak with students there.

Jace: How do you present your authentic personality online?

Brousseau: I always try to remember where I come from. I think it’s very important to stay humble. I will listen to the drum music I recorded. I’m also a scent person, so I’m going to have my sage ground me. A lot of my videos are very emotional so I really need to make sure I can come back to myself because it’s hard. My sister has been missing for so long and it’s a reality I live with every day. I love my sister and it still feels like it happened yesterday. It’s hard for me to let those raw emotions out and then come back. Sometimes people don’t even see how difficult it is. Sometimes it takes 10 recordings to make a single video, but it’s important to be honest. People will see it if you’re not.

Jace: How do you stand out from other creators who offer similar content?

Brousseau: I want everyone to promote MMIW. The more the better, right? I think what stands out for me is that I did a lot of healing. I’ve done a lot of therapy and I’ve done a lot of work on myself and it shows when I speak. I also believe that I tell the truth and sometimes the truth is not pretty. I may lose subscribers or may not gain as many because I am very truthful and so is my content. I think it’s important to be true to yourself and who you are. I’m 43 so I have a lot of experiences in my life.

Jace: What types of videos do you have the most fun creating?

Brousseau: My art. I love making art videos. I work a lot with sealskin. So, I really enjoyed that. I really like doing different things and it’s part of my healing journey.

Jace: What advice would you give to a small content creator trying to grow on TikTok?

Brousseau: Don’t give up. If I had to give up every time I had no views or comments, or someone didn’t see me, don’t give up. And don’t forget to love yourself. It is important. Don’t compare yourself to others because no one is the same. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own unique qualities. It’s really important to be true to yourself and to be kind to yourself.

Jace: What would you say to a shy content creator to help them gain confidence?

Brousseau: First I write what I’m going to say. Whenever I make a video, I always write it down because I want to make sure my messages are clear and I’ve practiced them. Even though I have so many followers and am verified, I still sometimes struggle to hit that post button. I really do. I think people will judge me? Will people see another side of me that they won’t like this time around? As long as you are true to yourself, everyone will see it.

I exposed myself to some of my past abuse and things that happened to me and I was really scared to say those things out of fear of being judged or fear of being questioned more because I’m a very private person and I only want to share so many at a time. It’s hard to know the balance, but don’t be afraid to hit that post button.

Jace: What’s the biggest benefit of being listed as a creator on TikTok?

Brousseau: All the beautiful people I meet. I’m not joking with you, I’ve made some great relationships, and not just with the aboriginals. Non-natives and other different cultures too. I spent a weekend in Toronto recently during a festival and had a great time with a group of aunts. We did a bunch of videos that are outside of my normal content and it was just nice to take a break and have that support. I’m really looking forward to meeting even more people. You can increase your support so big and not even leave your house.

Jace: How do you deal with hate, racism and sexism online?

Brousseau: I understand too. I sometimes get really ignorant comments when it comes to my sister. Someone who says “hey, she’s dead” or “why don’t you stop talking about it?” Or, “who cares?” I delete it. I don’t spend my energy responding to these comments. I try to remember my grandfather’s seven teachings. One of them is to be kind and respectful and that’s what I try to do.

Follow Vanessa on TikTok @resilientinuk.

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