Check out our interview with talented content creator, model, and Twitch streamer Mariah Casillas, popularly known as “LavaGrll.”
She rose to fame by winning season 3 of the hit YouTube series “Reality House,” competing against notable content creators like Tana Mongeau, Bryce Hall, and Kian Lawley. Mariah captivated audiences with her irresistible charm, exceptional talent, and infectious personality. Her capabilities shine through diverse content ranging from comedic skits to thought-provoking popular commentary.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Three words I would use to describe myself are athletic, honest, and “wild card.”
Why and when did you decide to use the name “LavaGrll?” Any specific meaning?
During Covid, I started dying my hair pink and sharing many photos on my social platforms. I soon began building a small but mighty fan base of loyal followers who kept up with my daily posts. My fans insisted that I was a “lava girl,” so I decided to embody and become her.
We’re sure you have been asked this a million times, but how did you enter the industry?
Covid and the pandemic negatively changed my life, like most, but also positively. I took some money I had saved up from financial aid and bought a PC. I firmly believed I could repay the money by being innovative and creative online. How right I was! I started Twitch streaming as a gamer, quickly became one of the few popular female streamers, and started making money through streaming. At first, it was enough to take 2-3 days off of work, but it was enough to keep me consistent. Eventually, I started making enough to consider my income and was able to quit my job to focus on streaming. Looking back now, I know I made the right decision and am proud of myself.
How has this changed your life?
Social Media has changed my life tremendously. Using the money I earned from Twitch and Instagram, I have been able to provide for my family, and that has been the most significant change. My success on social media also led to my first big break on the YouTube reality show “Reality House,” where my co-stars were mega influencers like Tana Mongeau and Bryce Hall. My appearance on that show has led to many other opportunities to grow my career.
How and when did you start modeling?
I’ve always loved the camera, but I didn’t start taking it seriously till about 2016. My first professional shoot was with Athleisure in 2017.
What is fun and rewarding about modeling? And what is not?
It’s fun and rewarding to see a vision come to life, especially when you and the photographer work together to make it come alive. It’s also a confidence-boosting experience if you want it to be. After a while, it can become easy to hyper-focus on your looks when it becomes your job, but luckily, I can disconnect quite often to keep that nice work-life balance.
Can you name a few brands you are working with or have worked with?
I have worked with brands such as Pretty Little Thing, Plug, Reflux Clothing, Boutine, and Drunk Elephant.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
I learned from my biggest failure that I will always win if I am unapologetically myself. Many people get so caught up in what other people want them to be that they don’t realize that the most successful and happy you will ever be is when you choose just to be you.
The most important thing when you are shooting is?
My environment. A positive/supportive environment creates such a fun workplace space, and it shows in the pictures.
Now let’s talk about Twitch and how big your name and exposure have grown over the last months. That’s amazing!
Twitch is so awesome. I want to return more regularly to Twitch streaming sometime shortly. I owe a lot of what I do today to Twitch. It’s where I started and what got me into social media and making an income online.
When did you decide to create your channel?
I created my own Twitch channel in early 2020. I kept getting contacted by gaming agencies saying I would be a good fit for their agency, so it gave me the confidence to start my channel and see how I would do and where it would lead!
What is different from your account to other accounts?
I think what worked in my favor was just truthfully being myself. I say I’m the most extroverted introvert, and instead of forcing myself to be one particular way, I’d just let all sides of me show and let the stream feed off that!
How often do you release new content?
I most often release content biweekly.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is traveling the world and sharing my adventures with my followers. I also think having a significant influence and engaging an audience on as large a scale as possible is another excellent and rewarding part of my job.
As a popular model and influencer, you are followed by so many people. How do you feel about that pressure of always doing the right thing and encouraging people to follow their dreams?
I don’t think I’ve completely felt that pressure entirely. I know I’m looked up to in some ways due to my following, and I understand the responsibility, but I don’t think I carry that weight or pressure quite yet.
Now talking about Instagram, can you share some tips for keeping your account interesting?
By just living life. Often I forget to photograph what I’m doing, but I think that’s for the best. Being hyper-focused on using my phone limits me from being able to enjoy the little moments that life has to offer.
I bet you get millions of it, but what are the best and worst Instagram DM pickup lines you received so far?
I’ve gotten a lot of terrible pickup lines in my DM’s, truthfully, but the worst was probably “Can I be your shark boy.” SO cringe!
I’m still waiting for the “best one” They all seem un-original and cheesy.
What would you be up to if you weren’t famous?
I’d probably be in college studying Communications and playing soccer!
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Every entrepreneur should read “Attached.” The book is full of good life lessons, advice, and just all around a good book.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Choose better friends and friends that will lift you and be there for you no matter your “status” or differences in what you like or enjoy. Find friends that don’t care what the “cool” thing is to do at the time and want to be themselves. Being “cool” isn’t as cool as you think. Being yourself and being passionate about what you love to do is the coolest thing.
How would your best friend describe you?
They would most likely describe me as a “wild card.” They would say I don’t like physical touch and know what I want and do what I want. I think they would sum me up because I’m just unapologetically me.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
I would have to say a good title to describe me and my life is “It just keeps getting better.” I think this is fitting because I’ve decided to try everything at least once in my lifetime. I want to experience life as much as possible and social media has granted me that possibility. I don’t measure richness with money or tangible items; I measure richness with memories.
What’s next for Mariah Casillas and LavaGrll in 2023?
This last portion of the year will be filled with new ventures I have not yet entered. In the following year, I want to work with more athletic brands and walk in a fashion show such as NYFW or Milan Fashion Week. I also want to step into acting and start auditioning and acting in major movies and TV shows. I would also like to have my own beachwear company.
What is your favorite healthy food?
My favorite healthy food would have to be veggies and hummus.
And your favorite cheat food?
My favorite cheat food is lasagna. I could eat lasagna all day.
How would you explain your fashion style?
My style is very versatile. I like what I like and have never just had one aesthetic I like. I would say my color palate is mostly “earthy.” I enjoy wearing colors that relate to nature, such as shades of greens, browns, and blues
What is your definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness is being present and unapologetically myself. When I am feeling good spiritually and being active, healthy, and around my immediate family and friends, I am at my happiest and my definition of happiness.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Betty White. I’ve studied her and her work and read stories about her, and I feel like she would just be hilarious and have me laughing a lot, but also have a lot of advice for me and treat me like I’m her own.
What would be your dream holiday, and who would you go with?
My dream holiday would be a month-long trip to Greece. I would go with my immediate family, my closest four friends, and my dog Henry.
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
A deal breaker on a first date is poor hygiene. They have to take care of themselves. A deal breaker would also be if they are often on their phone, and it’s hard to get their attention or keep up a conversation.
Best advice ever given?
The best advice I was ever given was simply “Love hard. Dance harder”
Do you support any charity?
Yes, I support El Centro de Administrad, the charity of my grandmother’s old work. The charity supports low-income families and donates money to them to help with their basic needs. I love contributing to them and seeing their always grateful reactions, especially when we do our Christmas campaign.
Where do you see yourself and your career five years from now?
I see myself in a home that I’ve been able to help design in some way. I am still working but also spending a lot of my time somewhere remotely, helping out in whatever ways I can. I would love to be helping build homes or farming! I’d hope to meet someone, a life partner to share these experiences with, but until then, my dog and I are all I need!
Regarding my career, I see myself walking in fashion shows worldwide, such as NYFW or Milan Fashion Week. I also see myself regularly auditioning, acting in major movies and TV shows, and running my successful beachwear company.
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
My favorite song to belt out is Cadillac Puss* – Kid Rock. I probably sing that a little too loud every time it is played. It’s such a catchy song.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is fantastic! I guess if you’re able to create a healthy balance between social media and life, it can be such a powerful tool for you to use
Where can we follow you?
Quote: You can’t tell who is the fool from afar
Movie: End game
Tv Series: Daisy Jones and the six
Favorite Food: Ceviche
Photo Credit: Luna Ellie @lunaelliee