As I sat down and interviewed Michael Anthony, the words humble, kind, deserving and creative all came to mind. The reality of our conversation as you will see surprised me. A man at 22 years old has more to say than what you see on Tik Tok or Instagram. What would you do if you suddenly had thousands of people following you on social media overnight? We get to see what that can do and in this case its worthy of celebrating.
Michael Anthony (@anubace) had this happen to him from sharing a poem he had personally written on the popular social media app, TikTok because he was encouraged to “just try it” and little did he know that decision would change his world.
This expression had reached the eyes and hearts of many viewers which in turn, skyrocketed his following overnight. The poem is something that will always be a part of his journey, however his journey would become so much more different than he thought.
People adored his expression of vulnerability and compassion so they followed to get behind that kind of energy. The upbeat and encouraging attitude that Michael exudes is appreciated by his followers that one even mailed him a Spider-Man costume.
The whole “Spidy” get-up delivered right to his door because Michael just so happens to resemble the character, Peter Parker!
Once he put that Spider-Man costume on, his following grew even larger by being the superhero’s doppelgänger!
The next thing Michael knew he was in the depths of quarantine with half a million people subscribing to his 15-second clips on TikTok.
I wondered, how do you go about grasping the concept of becoming an overnight sensation.
Michael states he still can’t wrap his mind around the fact that many people are supporting him, but he embraces it the best way a 22-year-old can — kindly. I don’t blame him, that is a lot of people to adapt quickly too but he is doing it with grace.
Social media is only the influencer’s most recent success though. Michael graduated this year from Augustana College in the state of Illinois with not one, but TWO degrees.
Studying political science with a concentration in social theory and philosophy with a focus on logic, he is an accredited social presence that focuses his brand on spreading light and positivity.
Giving us all of the Spider-Man feels however, having a superhero presence comes with some surprises. You would come to believe that creating fun and harmless content would be accepted with only open arms, however, there are some moments that Michael would prefer to put past him.
Michael stated that he receives negativity from others but he doesn’t let it affect his core. Showing what kind of man Michael is he chooses to neutralize people’s negativity with positivity. Life is not about only positives. You need to have some negative to make the positive even better. Building everyone up, including the naysayers, to promote a healthier, safe, and happier social environment online which sets him apart from many people.
Mental health is an issue that is very close to his heart. He has experienced first hand the loss of a parent who struggled with mental health. Michael, has a passion for wanting people to take the stigma away from mental health issues. He wants to create a platform that allows people the freedom without shame to discuss this all to prevalent issue. Over the next few months Michael will be sharing more of his story. He will be creating forums and spaces for him to share his experiences buy recognizes that he wants to partner with people and programs that will help the people he is reaching out too. This is a conversation that needs to happen with all the right people in place and Michael wants to make sure he is able to help in as an effective and powerful way as possible.
This Michael’s ultimate goal of using his newfound influence to promote the awareness of mental health and diminish the shame surrounding it. This power of positivity he holds while also having the ability to neutralize the negativity makes him a superhero all on his own. No costume is needed. =)
Photography by: Marcos Covos
Hair and Makeup: Vee Matthews
Art Director: Coco Xixou
Stylist: Dexter James