Nic Gonlas - Georgia Nomination by Quenton Delaney Photography by GSUstore Issue 45 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Nic, 19 is wrapping up his freshman year at Georgia Southern University majoring in Business with a minor in Theater! At the end of 2020 fall semester, Nic earned a spot on the Dean's List with his 3.7 GPA. Nic has made a name for himself as an influencer through his viral dance videos on TikTok but outside of social media he is focusing on his career as a model and actor. Nic loves social media, dancing and hanging out with his friends and family. Nic likes to surround himself around positive vibes, good people! Nic is currently signed to DJQ Artist Management and he's an inspiring teen and role model for all models and influencers.
Photography by Caleb
What would you most like to be interviewed about? I would love to talk about my journey as a Social Media Influencer, how it all got started, and how it has opened doors for me and led me into my greatest passion which is modeling and acting.
Tell us all about this. I started out with Musical.ly. I really enjoy dancing. It is probably one of my favorite things to do. I started making videos in my backyard. Once TikTok took over, I just continued on that platform. I spend a lot of my time working on creative and entertaining vids for my followers. Through a lot of hard work, I have built a fan base just slightly less than one million. I also merged over to the Instagram platform and currently have a following of 113K on Instagram. I am working on starting a YouTube platform soon.
What doors has it opened? As my social media influence expanded, I began to be contacted by management teams wanting to help further develop my career. I was able to sign with a manager who has really helped me find great opportunities to expand my horizons and getting in to acting and modeling.
How do you get to combine modeling and acting with being a SMI? It is a very busy life for sure. This is my first year of college so trying to balance college with staying socially active and driving to a lot of auditions for modeling and acting gigs can be quite the juggling act. I believe getting an education is very important so I have had times that I had to make the tough decisions to focus on school, but I think my family, my manager, and I all do a great job of making sure I have a healthy balance.
What are a few first steps to share with others who may want to get into the SMI business? I always tell people to just be themselves. We are all unique in our own way and find those qualities that make you unique, believe in yourself, and just be confident in putting yourself out there.
How has covid affected your roles both as an SMI and with modeling and acting? We were all greatly affected by Covid. It has been a long journey that challenged me in many ways. I always try to focus on the positive in things, so I took the opportunity while spending so much time at home to really focus on my social media and pay attention to what my fans wanted to see from me. It actually allowed me to have the time and energy to really expand my following and I tried really hard to put a smile on people's faces that viewed my videos and pictures because I know it has been a difficult time for all. The comments from fans that mean the most to me are when they tell me I put a smile on their face or made their day brighter. Covid did put a temporary slowdown on the modeling and acting gigs as so many things have had to shut down. As things have slowly begun to open back up, I have recently been able to have more opportunities to work on my modeling and acting passions.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I am the fifth child of nine. I grew up in a very challenging environment with limited material things and resources, but I have been able to overcome these challenges and I am the first in my family to go to college. I try to give it my best in whatever I do and always look for the positives in every person and every situation. I have looked at the obstacles in my life as life lessons and it has given me the determination and strength to stay focused on the goals I want to accomplish in life. I am very blessed to have a very supportive intimate group around me that are mentors, friends and family.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be on and why? I think I would talk about my family. I grew up in a very large household. We were very poor and had many struggles. I lost a sister at a very young age and there were many hard times. I was very blessed though because I was able to have an extended family and others who took me under their wing and made me part of their family too. By staying focused and positive and determined to show my family you can overcome all the things life throws at you, I am hoping it will inspire not only my siblings but other teens going through difficult times to believe in themselves and know they can overcome anything.
Photography by skilled_life
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? I grew up in a tough environment, so I had to grow up really fast and figure out how to take care of myself. I am the first in my family to finish high school and I just believe determination to bring myself out of that environment gave me the drive and inspiration to overcome.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Stay focused and positive and determined and you can overcome all odds.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I would like to have my college degree in Business Management and hope to either be running my own company or being a successful SMI.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? I love to play the keyboard. I also enjoy swimming, going to the beach, and traveling. Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? I can crack most any of my bones at any time to the point that it grosses people out.
3 Things on your bucket list: I would love to walk in New York Fashion Week. I am also focused and determined to be the first in my family to get a college degree. I also hope to visit California one day.
Who do you find inspiring? I would say my uncle. He was very supportive of me growing up. He always worked to keep our family together. I lost him very tragically this past fall shortly after I went off to college, but I know he watches over me.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I hope it is because of my positivity. I reached a very low point in my life at an early age and have had a lot of difficulties and tragedies in my life. I got through it but staying positive and believing the best was yet to come. I want to always portray that message to others. Stay positive and good things will gravitate towards that energy. I hope to always bring a smile to people and hope they find joy in my social content.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? I want to tell people to never give up on your dreams and if you are having a bad moment in life, remember tomorrow is just around the corner. Embrace your life and make it the best for you.
Look for Nic in issue 45 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!