Baby Ariel Is a Baby No More
At eighteen years old, Ariel (“Baby Ariel”) Martin is not just a digital star but a small screen movie actress and recording artist as well. Martin got her start as one of the top influencers on the app Musical.ly (now TikTok) in May 2015, where she posted expressive lip sync videos that acquired her over 29.7 million followers. In simpler terms: short, fifteen-second clips presented her as a bubbly, endlessly-creative “Everygirl” that fans couldn’t help but want to be friends with. That same year, Martin--naturally confident and driven--decided to launch an anti-bullying campaign called “#ArielMovement,” encouraging people to spread messages of positivity online using her hashtag. In 2017, she was recognized as one of the top entertainment influencers by Forbes, and she won Teen Choice Award for “Choice Muser” in both 2016 and 2017. In 2017, Martin began her music venture by releasing her first single “Aww,” followed by two more hits: “Perf” and “Say It,” a collaboration with fellow influencer Daniel Skye. In 2018, Martin partnered with EA Games for The Sims 4, where she was replicated as a Sim in The Sims 4: Get Famous. Later that year, she began to dabble in acting as Dru on the digital series on Brat Baby Doll Records. In 2019, Martin was cast as amateur detective Kenzie Messina in her first film on Nickelodeon, Bixler High Private Eye, and she is set to appear as Wynter in Disney Channel’s Zombies 2 in 2020. Not to mention, Martin is a published author of her highly-successful memoir, Dreaming Out Loud. With a slew of accomplishments under her belt, there’s no telling where the multi-talented star’s adventure will take her next. Below, she shares behind-the-scenes secrets on how she grew her platform, as well as some of her favorite on-set moments.
Why did you initially decide to start a Musical.ly account?
Four years ago, the summer going into my ninth-grade year, my house had just gotten flooded, so my brother and I wanted to find something fun to do. We were on our phones constantly, so we decided to download Musical.ly, which we found out about online. We started making these lip-sync videos every single day and fell in love with it instantly.
What was the video that made your page blow up?
I can’t remember the exact video, actually! I’m 99 percent sure it was a lip-sync video to a Nicki Minaj song because, in the beginning, she was literally the only artist I made Musical.ly videos to. It got featured on the homepage of the app.
What was your secret to making a viral Musical.ly video?
I went into the app loving what everybody else was doing, but I wanted to try something different and use the [video] effects they had in a different way. I used the fast motion, 2X speed, and I would move my arms, hands, or facial expressions around based on what the artists were talking about in the song. I think people just really enjoyed watching the videos. At least I hope they did!
Now that Musical.ly has transformed into TikTok, what advice do you have for people who are trying to grow their TikTok account?
Honestly, I'm still sitting here learning about TikTok. I've had to do my own research on it because I feel like it’s so new to me. What I've found works best, though, is when I'm just myself. When I have an idea, I film and post it. I don't second guess myself, and there are no boundaries on what to post and what not to post. The great thing about TikTok is that it’s open to any kind of video. Just be yourself, because there’s an audience out there who will want to watch you. Even if it's just your mom!
You recently made the switch from being a Musical.ly star to an actress. What made you decide to transform?
I don't think of it as a switch because acting is something that I've always wanted to do, ever since I was little. My mom was a theater actress, and acting was something that my family and I would do together. We would play improv games before bed every single night, or we would run through my mom’s scripts, and my brother and I would pick different characters to play. The timing for me to start acting just never seemed right. For the first two years doing Musical.ly, I was auditioning at the time, but, to be honest, I didn’t get any parts. Even though I really wanted to, it didn't happen. So I kept auditioning, taking lessons, practicing as much as possible, and preparing myself for the time that I would get a part and begin acting. And then, finally, I did [get cast]. Now, I’m ready for it.
You received your breakthrough role as Kenzie in the Nickelodeon film Bixler High Private Eye. What was that experience like for you?
Bixler High was really special because it was my first big character, and also because Jace [Norman] and I were the only actors on set 90% of the time. It was a very collaborative process. For each scene, we would get together as a group. Jace, the director, the producers, and I would discuss each scene, talk about our motivation behind it, block each one out. We would talk openly about our ideas of what we thought our character would do and how they would say things. It was the type of experience you don’t get as often as you should, so I’m very thankful for it.
Any memorable behind-the-scenes moments you can share?
There isn't one in particular, but what I do remember is that Jace and I would just laugh non-stop. It was an annoying amount of laughter, and we got yelled at so many times. The director had to pull us aside and say, "Hey guys, we’re running a tight schedule here and you need to stop cracking up," because there wasn’t a second we wouldn't be laughing. We would laugh until [the director] said action and then jump into the scene. I don't know how we did it, but we did.
Your next big role is in Disney’s Zombies 2. How does it feel to be cast in such a big Disney film?
It feels incredible. The experience was wonderful. I'm so thankful to be a part of the Disney family and to have gotten the chance to work with such a great cast.
What is your endgame? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish in the future?
There are so many things that I want to accomplish. I would say, as of right now, I'm looking to direct. That's a huge dream of mine. And hopefully, make an album soon!
This or That:
Disney or Nickelodeon? Stop, I can’t choose!
Pizza or pasta? Pasta.
Movies or TV? Movies.
New York or Los Angeles? Los Angeles.
Instagram or TikTok? Ooh! Don’t do me like that!
Follow Ariel on Social Media:
YouTube: Baby Ariel