Dana Hasson is into manifesting, which might be the easy way to explain how the 23-year-old got TikTok famous after starting her aptly-named @danahassonn TikTok account in July 2019, but it's not that simple. Figuring out what kind of content hits is a lot of work — and for Hasson, it’s a full-time job. After deciding not to hop on the dance trend TikTok stars like Addison Rae became famous for, Dana (pronounced like Donna) tried something different. "I started doing beauty, fashion, and food," she says.
The first week Hasson began posting TikToks, she went "viral," at least by her own standards. A video she posted on July 28, 2019 about lip gloss hit close to 7,000 views, and she was sold on the idea that TikTok could be a positive outlet for her. "It gave me such a boost of energy and confidence to really try and craft this out and see what I [could] do," she says. By August 2019, Hasson hit 50,000 views on a video of her doing her hair. From there, her videos quickly hit hundreds of thousands of views. As of April 2021, Hasson has more than 2 million followers on TikTok and 114,000 followers on Instagram. While her accounts did grow quickly, it didn’t happen overnight.
With food, I’m not a perfectionist. I just love doing whatever I want.
Hasson says it was her little brother who first brought her attention to the app. His experimenting on TikTok, along with a nudge from her mom, is what really pushed her to start an account. "My mom said to me, 'Listen, I think you should download the app and explore and see what happens,' so I did," Hasson says. "I remember Addison [Rae] had 300,000 followers at the time and I was like, 'Who is this girl? What is she doing?' Then it was like, you know what, I'm just gonna invest my time in [the app]. What do I have to lose?" From there, Hasson began posting up to five times per day and was constantly creating content.
Her account began as a mix of beauty tutorials and fashion looks, but she eventually leaned into recipe videos, which isn’t too surprising since the Israel-born creator studied fashion at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island — a school also known for its culinary arts program. Exploring her love of food through TikTok is the perfect no-pressure escape for Hasson. "I'm such a foodie," she says. "With food, I’m not a perfectionist. I just love doing whatever I want."
Food was always a hobby of mine. I never thought that would be my work.
It was an October 2019 TikTok — a "random mac and cheese recipe," as Hasson describes it — that first scored her 1 million views on a video. "I went to sleep, woke up the next day, and my notifications were going off. It was so cool. I got like 100,000 views, and it kept on going." The video eventually reached 1.6 million views, and it helped give Hasson the push she needed. "That's when I started to really explore with food. I always was passionate about beauty and fashion, but food was a hobby of mine. I never thought that would be my work," she says.
Hasson posts a pretty even mix of beauty/fashion and food videos, but it's her crave-worthy desserts — usually topped with a generous amount of edible glitter — that help her stand out. It can take her anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to create a recipe on TikTok, depending on how much cooling time it requires. "At least 95% of [the recipes are] from scratch," she says, adding, "I try to keep it as simple and easy as possible, so anyone [can] follow." Though it may seem that would require a lot of planning, Hasson insists her TikToks are posted on more of a whim. "When I'm inspired, it just comes to me, and I'm like, 'Ooh, I just want to make a chocolatey dessert!'" From there, Hasson grabs her phone, gathers the ingredients, and starts filming.
In one of her early food videos featuring a baked doughnut recipe, Hasson said, "It should look like this," while showcasing each step. It wasn't planned, but her natural reaction turned into her signature phrase.
Developing your ~thing~ isn’t always smooth sailing, though. Hasson says her signature phrase is also the reason she gets a lot of hate comments in her feed. "The feedback was so negative," she says.
Hasson's parents encouraged her to keep making videos and to use the saying, "It should look like this," to her advantage. "So, I kept on going ... and now it's what I'm known for," she says. Hasson also created an Instagram account for the infamous phrase, and it's where she shares the exact recipes to replicate her TikTok creations. While the comments skew more positive these days, she knows how to keep the negativity in check. "If someone is saying something negative, I'll just scroll down, and there's so many other positives that just scratch it out," Hasson says.
Bring something that you haven't seen before, or even something that you have seen, but in your own way.
Another lesson Hasson has learned along the way: how to avoid burnout. Dropping her posting schedule from multiple times per day to once a day has helped her grow her TikTok account into a full-time job. Hasson makes a living by sharing sponsored posts and videos that she works with brands to create. When she’s not working, Hasson loves taking Purre Barre classes, listening to podcasts, and — now that people are getting vaccinated for COVID-19 — seeing her friends in person again.
She also hopes to see more people from the TikTok community in person. "When I [meet people who watch my videos], I am so grateful and I, myself, get nervous," Hasson says. "It’s my dream to really see them and get to talk to them. I feel like it's a whole different vibe from [just seeing] their comments."
As for people trying to find their own niche in the vast world of TikTok? Hasson says to stick with what you're passionate about. When you get stuck, she suggests browsing Pinterest to get inspired and see what other people are doing. "TikTok has changed [from when I started] because there [are] way more people on the app, but there's room for everyone," she says. "Bring something that you haven't seen before, or even something that you have seen, but in your own way."
In Elite Daily's Life Behind the Likes series, we talk to the people you know on the internet to find out who's really behind the screens. Read more here.