If you’re like me and you’ve spent a majority of your time in quarantine mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, you likely came across the user annaxsitar. Anna Sitar was one of the first creators I saw regularly after first joining TikTok, and I still follow her after almost a year and a half.
The best way to describe Sitar is as a “lifestyle influencer.” Her content ranges from the latest trends to inspirational pep talks, from teasing viewers with her newest relationship to simply goofing off in front of the camera. Often, Sitar’s most popular videos have to do with her coffee addiction. In a series she calls “Another Day, Another Starbies,” she tries drinks that were recommended by fans or she gives the barista full control over the recipe based around a certain “vibe,” visits her local Starbucks so frequently that the baristas know her name, and any time we viewers see these interactions on camera, Sitar greets everyone with a simple and cheerful “hi, friend!” before asking how their day is going. Regardless of each video’s content, her positivity radiates off my screen in a way that has kept me watching after all this time.
You may be thinking, isn’t Sitar just one of the countless other influencers on TikTok? What exactly makes her special? Well, you’re right about one thing — she is definitely considered an influencer. Sitar lives in Los Angeles, loves making transition videos, has millions of followers, gets to work with popular brands and goes on all kinds of fabulous trips. At the risk of bashing other creators on the app, I think Sitar’s popularity comes from more than performing 30-second dances (though dancing isn’t entirely uncommon on her page). To me, her personality is what sets her apart from the rest of her ilk; her videos document her life in a wholesome and authentic way. In fact, she seems like someone that would become my best friend, if I ever got the chance to meet her.
Sitar and I have several things in common: She was born and raised here in Michigan (she went to Western Michigan University for undergrad); she loves going to Target, just like me; and she’s a big Taylor Swift fan — anyone who knows me knows how big of a Swiftie I am. But, the biggest thing I think we have in common is the fact that we’re both hopeless romantics. Another popular series of Sitar’s is her “I don’t want it” videos, in which she creates detailed scenarios about her future family, friends and significant other. If her life isn’t filled with these exact details playing out, she doesn’t want it. These videos are what brought me to Sitar’s page in the first place, mostly because I also have a crippling addiction to imagining the future.
Perhaps because we are so alike, I think I could learn a thing or two by being friends with Sitar, as there is a lot that I admire about her. First, she is always pushing herself to learn new things. She graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering and uses that degree in varying projects like building attachments for her car or remodeling her home. She’s also vocal about the importance of women in STEM fields, having been one of few girls in the majority of her engineering classes. Yet at the same time, she isn’t afraid to follow her passions — she’s currently working toward a master’s degree in film production. I am currently going after my dream career too (after a long time going back-and-forth about whether or not it was worth it), so seeing someone else taking that same plunge is encouraging.
I must not be the only one who has something to learn from Sitar, because she’s been making videos with the sole purpose of offering advice to her viewers. One recent series that gained a lot of positive traction was “Anna’s guide to feeling better after a breakup,” in which Sitar documented much of what she was feeling after her long-term relationship ended. Not only did these videos emphasize the importance of healing, they were also a refreshing break from all of the constant positivity. Life isn’t happy all the time, and Sitar allows audiences into her journey of accepting that herself. I don’t believe that Sitar was fishing for sympathy, but instead simply striving for authenticity. Having these kinds of reminders make it easier to relate to her, and not just be jealous of her.
Looking at the list of people I follow on TikTok, very few are “verified” big creators. Usually their content doesn’t match up with the videos I typically engage with, or even worse, I hardly ever see them on my “For You” page at all (through no fault of their own), which leads to me unfollowing. Sitar is clearly doing something right, as she’s kept me following her for this long. She may be catering to a much larger audience than any of my own videos do, but she has a way of presenting herself as a friend or older sister figure that I can easily connect with, and I’m sure I’m not the only one of her followers who feels this way.
Daily Arts Writer Hannah Carapellotti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.