Taz Zammit and Alessia Allfree

Taz Zammit and Alessia Allfree. Photo: Supplied

TikTok couple Taz and Alessia on navigating mental health and social media as content creators

"The crossover between us being women and also being queer has definitely had an impact on how we’ve been received on the internet."

Content warning: This article discusses mental health issues.

From dance routines to eating challenges and candid vlogs, Taz Zammit and Alessia Allfree have garnered an impressively dedicated social media following over the past four years.

With more than 960,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram collectively, the couple also wants to use their social media for good, with one area of particular interest being mental health advocacy.

"Since our couples account (@tazandalessia) started growing on social media back in 2020, we recognised something really special about our budding community that we also related to; we all wanted to make the world a better place by creating real impact," Taz and Alessia tell Missing Perspectives.

"We had always hoped we could use our platform for good, so in December 2020 we hosted our first 24-hour livestream fundraiser. We had no idea if anyone would watch let alone donate, but to our surprise we hit our target of raising $5,000 to support LGBT+ Youth in Australia. Since then we have hosted the 24 Hour Live annually in support of a charity that resonates with our audience and in turn raised over $21,000 for several important causes over the last three years."

Last year's 24 Hour Live supported ALLKND, a Gen Z mental health education facilitator. As Taz and Alessia support the organisation once again, by being part of ALLKND's 'Good Mates Championships', we decided to chat to the pair about navigating social media, mental health and careers as content creators.

How long have you been in the social media content creation space, and how did you get your start?

Together, we have been in the social media space for almost four years now. Our journey started back in 2020 during COVID lockdowns when we began our joint TikTok account before we had even made our relationship official! Since Taz’s personal social media accounts focused on her DJ'ing talents and Alessia’s focused on her makeup journey, we felt as though “couples” content wasn’t fitting for either of our pages and therefore created a separate account together.

There wasn’t much to do being stuck at home so we passed the time making TikToks together using trending sounds and audios and before we knew it, we had hit 50k followers in the first six months. 

That's a lot of followers! What's your favourite thing about engaging with your online fanbase and community?

A lot of social media influencers have a one-sided relationship with their fan-base but the thing we love most about our online community (called TeamTANDA) is that we hold space to get to know the people that follow us too. 

Speaking to our returning followers on live streams or in private events hosted in our app is truly the most fulfilling part about posting on social media. We become facilitators for our followers to make new friends and connections no matter where they are in the world. 

We also love the way that so many people within our community feel more inspired to be their true self after watching our relationship online. Many people have messaged us with their coming out stories, self discovery moments and relationship milestones that all involve us in some way. It's heartwarming and such an honour to be a part of so many people's lives and love stories. 

Being women in the social media space, have you faced challenges that have impacted your mental health and how have you navigated this?

Being women in the social media space we face online bullying, trolling and hateful comments daily. Whilst at times these interactions can affect our mood, the impact is not long lasting. 

The deeper issues we face are the ones more ingrained in our systems e.g. diversity in brand campaigns, the gender pay gap, oversexualisation of women and fetishisation of lesbian relationships. These tend to impact our mental health more since they affect our income, reputation and opportunities. We do our best to navigate this by educating the brands we work with, speaking candidly with our followers and showing up in a way that we feel proud of. 

Over the last few years, we have both invested in women-centred therapies that clear limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns that if left unchecked, could turn into more serious mental health disorders. We also lean on our friends and family for support when minor insecurities pop up. 

Has the intersectionality of being women and queer had an impact on how people react to you and your content online?

The crossover between us being women and also being queer has definitely had an impact on how we’ve been received on the internet. Early on in our social media journey, we noticed that a lot of comments on our videos and in our live streams were asking us to “kiss” to prove we’re in a relationship. These comments heavily tie in with the fact that lesbian couples are often fetishised in the media, so we have made a conscious effort for the last four years to not play into this stereotype.

In some ways, this has been a little sad. Our content has been consciously stripped of physical intimacy as we refrain from sharing our relationship in its entirety on the internet. However, as our online presence has grown, so has our comfortability with sharing glimpses of the affection we share offline, online. 

Because we’re a couple, navigating this has come down to the strong communication between us. It’s been important that we share openly and honestly with each other about what we’re willing to share online. 

Another way we’ve navigated this has been spending time with other lesbian couples. We noticed the more time we spent with couples “like us”, the more comfortable we became with sharing our affection online. 

Would you have any advice for other women who'd like to get into social media content creation? 

The incredible thing about social media is that the barriers to entry are minimal. All you need is your phone camera and an internet connection. The rest is a mixture of creativity and strategy which you will get better at the more you practise (and post). 

If you are reading this now and feel like you have a burning desire to enter this field, all you need to do is get started by posting content regularly. It’s really that easy to take the first step!

Manage your expectations, don’t expect a viral moment, a cult-like community or abundance of money at the start. Like any business/project, these are things you will build up to over time if that is where you put your attention. 

A lot of people are initially attracted to this industry because of the lifestyle, but we forget that in order to achieve that lifestyle a lot must be sacrificed over time. Success doesn't just happen overnight even though it may seem that way sometimes. 

Our last piece of advice is to consider protecting you and your family's privacy from the start of your journey. The larger you grow, the more you will want to limit access to personal information (things like where you work, where your family lives/works, etc) for safety reasons. You can also use keyword filters on social platforms to assist in muting personal information. 

And finally, who are your favourite online female creators? 

There are so many incredible female creators, it’s hard to pick just one so here are three…

Victoria and Lindsey always have us smiling. Watching them live their authentic life as a queer couple and progress through life's milestones together is so inspiring. 

Riley Hemson (@rileyj) is always a joy to watch! Her content is honest, hilarious and inspiring all at the same time. Each time she pops up on our feed she is doing something different and we love watching her evolve in different areas of life, it feels like we are on the journey with her! 

Renee Buckingham (@renee_buckingham) is such a ball of energy and her wholesome vibes come through in her content. Watching her makes us want to get more out of our day whilst prioritising our mental health. She truly makes you feel like you can have it all.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

For confidential support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue.