BTB Ana | Public Image

 

Aside from publishing regular and engaging content, one of the main challenges of being an online influencer is keeping a good public image. But being attacked constantly by trolls and haters, as well as bombarded by unusual questions, doing such can be a bit challenging at times. Avid skater and actor Ana Coto join the Bunny Barbie to share her life in TikTok and how she keeps her authentic self regardless of any feedback from her followers. She also talks about her skating videos and tutorials, as well as her life in the middle of COVID-19. The two also delve into today’s world immersed in racism, discrimination, and sexism, discussing the unfortunate handling of the Atlanta shooting victims, the law against wearing a hijab publicly in Paris, and how Ana was refused to join a reality TV show just for being gay.

Listen to the podcast here:

Ana Coto

I’m doing an episode with Ana Coto. She’s like the roller-skating girl viral TikTok. She’s adorable. I’m excited to talk to her.

How are you?

I’m doing well. How about you?

I’m so good. Your voice is so soft.

Is it lower than you expected?

You’re a little softer than I expected.

Your voice is just as I expected.

I know because I talk so much in my videos.

Isn’t it funny that I’m like a mute person? I’m a mute maker.

It’s crazy. I’ve interviewed a few people too. Do you know the girl who does the foundation where she pours a ton on her face and everything?

Yes.

I interviewed her on my show and everyone in the comments was like, “We’ve never heard her talk before.” It’s so funny that some people like me, I feel like I’m more like a personality on my TikTok. I talk in 90% of my videos. Whereas you, you’re dancing and showing how amazing you are. It’s a different vibe.

The thing is, Bunny, that if any of my videos had been done to me trying to sing the songs, I would have gone viral for a very different reason. People would have been laughing and making fun of me not like, “She looks good.” No, it would have been like, “She cannot sing.” Like that Jenny From The Block video. I remember listening to it and you can hear me singing. It’s very embarrassing. Yes, I’m very tone deaf and my voice cracks when I sing as if I was in middle school like a boy going through puberty. On that video, the sound is so embarrassing. I think that the beautiful thing that I get to do is that I get to not talk. I can sing along and dance along and do more physical interpretations, which to me makes me feel very comfortable and safe. It’s more of a performance, but it is a shame that I don’t have a presence like you, for example, because I feel like I know you even though we just met. I feel like that’s beautiful. People sometimes don’t know who I am. How could they if ultimately, I’m doing a performance?

We’re on the same platform, but at the same time, I treat my platform like I’m facetiming a best friend so I feel people know me well. At the same time, yours is a performance and it’s more of a work of art. It’s the same thing with actresses. There are reality tv actresses and then there are actresses that are scripted. You don’t know the scripted actresses, but then you know the reality TV. It’s their real-life thing.

Speaking of reality TV, there’s this one chick on TikTok who does imitations of every Kardashian episode or that’s what she calls it.

I was tagged in it and it’s like Kim and her.

It’s so good in my opinion. The way that she does Kourtney holding a donut and she goes, “So yeah,” and talks about whatever else. She’s like, “Scott asked me this thing,” whatever, but the donut’s right here.

They’re on the phone and she’s like, “Yeah.”

It’s like, “Yeah,” but then above it, she goes, “No.”

Her voice is so on point for them. I wonder if she’s a voice actress.

I don’t actually hear that, “You sound just like,” you get those comments. I don’t hear that either.

You’re in California, though?

Yes.

I feel like it’s more common for my voice to sound in California. When I say, “Just,” or, “Rude,” I get that kind of sounds like them, but I don’t think that the tone of my voice sounds anything like them. Especially Kourtney, I feel like her voice is way more mellow and relaxed whereas I’m loud.

A higher pitch or, I don’t know about music enough to say if it’s a pitch or a decibel difference, but alas, I’ve always enjoyed your content. I respect that you say absolutely anything that you want. I reposted you on my story because people on Instagram were like, “Why are you blocking folks?” I’m like, “This is why.”

Why have that negative energy on your account? It makes no sense.

The thing is, I’m available to talk. I’m very accessible, but I don’t think it’s fair to assume that because we’re personalities on the internet, that we just have to take anything from anybody. I don’t think it’s our responsibility to be harassed and to be like, “I’m understanding of reasons why you’ve been abused, and maybe are abusing me. I understand that you are treating me like trash because you’ve been treated like trash. I’m really sorry about that.” Like, “What?”

It’s crazy. We’re a little bit older, but the teens on the app are like, “They signed up for this platform.” “No, they didn’t. No one signs up to be bullied.”

You brought up a good point being like, “I tell it to you like it is and these creators get tired and stop making content because they’re depressed and you’re bullying them. They have to take a break.” I’m like, “I empathize. I absolutely did that.” It’s like, “Maybe I should take a break because people don’t seem to know who I am and I don’t want to keep defending myself.”

I remember when you had the video where you were protesting a little bit and it just went. People were like, “Just because you’re white.” They were like, “This is very performative.” I remember looking at the comments and I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I could tell how genuine you are with your content. I’m not speaking for you, but I would assume that was your way of getting your views across and trying to help.

It was interesting because that wasn’t the only protest I went to. It was the only one I put online. It was an experiment. It was the first time I had been in this political climate with a platform. I was like, “I want to share this because,” also, I was with one of my black friends. There was a bunch of other people around them that I almost debated. I was like, “Do I put her on my page or will that seem ingenuine because it’s not me?” It’s like maybe it should be me that’s in view because I don’t want to assume that everyone else is okay with being on my TikTok or whatever. It’s more personal if it’s me, the one protesting, and not just me videoing the protests. That’s what I thought.

It was taken the reverse and it was interesting. Not only did they not notice that there weren’t just white people in the video. They didn’t notice that I was trying to advocate for Valley For Change. They protest every single day, not once a week, not once a month, every single day. Even if there are only 2, 4, 10 or 100 people, that’s amazing. I wanted to promote and talk about them and be like, “If you’re in the Valley, if you’re in LA and you want to be involved.” They play music at the protest. It’s supposed to be loud, bright and positive. I’ve even seen people drag one of my friends. It happened to one of my friends where he posted himself at a protest. He’s a black man being like, “Black Lives Matter,” and people still are like, “He’s performing.” “What?” Because he’s in a group of people that’s diverse.

Was he skating?

Yeah, because the Valley For Change protest is on roller skates. Everyone is on roller skates. It’s a big deal. Roller skating’s so big in the black community that you’re allowed to skate at these protests.

That’s his form of art.

BTB Ana | Public Image

Public Image: If everyone wears a mask, it feels like everyone is in this battle against COVID.

 

He was on his page putting his video out there when we were up and it was the same kind of protest. You can’t please everyone. You really can’t and so you have to stick to your guns.

That video went viral too?

Yeah. Not for the reason you’d want it to.

You especially, without people knowing your personality as much with your page being more art, I’m sure people are taking it the wrong way. Even with me, I posted a video of me and my friend. We had cupcakes in a park and then we were at a park outdoors. People are attacking us like, “They don’t have masks on.” We’re alone at a park. I get that Michigan or California shut down, but I’m like, “I’m in Florida.” My friends think I’m crazy that I don’t go to parties and do things that everyone else is doing. There are different social things that are going on in different parts of the US and I’ve been very careful. I’m the crazy one out of all of my friends that go do nothing like I haven’t done anything.

Which is misconstrued still, the fact that I haven’t done anything, people are like, “She’s so selfish. She’s not a part of the community. We haven’t even seen her in a year.” I’m like, “I haven’t gone out because of COVID.” I got vaccinated though. I’m excited. I’m a half vac. I’m almost there.

My husband got his and my nanny got hers. Hopefully, I will get mine, which I’m very excited about.

I was nervous.

Which one did you get?

Moderna, it’s the one that they had. What are you supposed to do? Be like, “No?” I’m like, “Sure. Right here.”

That was the two-shot one too?

Yeah.

Because the Johnson & Johnson one is one shot?

Yeah. I think it’s based on the location that you go to. I got surplus, so I went at closing time. It was extra and unused. I waited in a walk-up line or whatever. It was pretty easy. The rinks are closed. There are so many things that have been different that people forget that because I’m trying to post positive videos online doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory. I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to skate and have a good day when all this difficult stuff is happening. It’s not that I’m not aware that the bad stuff’s happening. It’s not that I don’t feel it or empathize or that it affects me. I don’t want to post videos of me being upset and crying on the internet. My goal is to post things that spread joy. I don’t think that’s a bad goal.

People ask me every time I post a video, it doesn’t matter what it’s about, women are always like, “What charities do you donate to?” On a video of me or whatever. I don’t like to talk about charity and things that I do because one, I don’t want it to seem like, “This is what I do and this is how I’m so much better than you and what I donate to and whatever.” It’s good to mention every once in a while, but it’s not the main focus of my platform. I’m not on here to be recording homeless people and giving them hotels. Some people do that. It’s crazy.

It’s bad taste to do that too.

There’s a video of me talking about homeschooling my son, they’re like, “What charities are you involved in?” It’s like, “Why do you keep bringing this up? I don’t want to keep talking about it.”

People sometimes need to hear stuff a thousand times before they understand. Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe people need us as creators to remind them constantly about the things that we’re doing. Maybe that’s how you affect change. You keep at it. I don’t know. I support this Plan International, they’re called. You donate monthly. $35, I think, is the minimum donation. We donate a little more than that. They send you a picture of one of the children that are being supported and like, the mission in Guatemala or whatever. Her name is Angelica, the child whose photo they sent me. They encourage you to write letters and stuff, which is something that I wanted to do when I was younger, yet I never did. Now that I’m an adult I do it. It’s gratifying. Have I ever talked about that in my videos? No.

It’s like, “Why?”

Maybe there’s a place to do it.

I would say I made maybe four videos on that like, “I’m on a board of a diaper bank. I have my own nonprofit.” They’re seeing things that I do. Especially with TikTok, over the holidays, I donated a lot to my fans and people that needed Christmas presents for their kids or whatever. I donated a lot to people that I felt like I could connect with rather than a charity, but that’s not something that I’m saying. I posted the video, and then there are 5,000 people in my DMs like, “I need to pay for my school. Can you send me $10,000?” I can’t win either way.

What nonprofit do you have?

Mine is homeschooling nonprofit. It’s local. When my son was little, I’ve always known that I wanted to homeschool him ever since he was born. I live in a community where the day that your kid is born, you put them on a preschool list and you try and get in the best preschools. It’s this whole thing. It felt icky to me. I was like, “I don’t want to leave my kid.” I never even imagined homeschooling. This came with the pre-schooling thing. I started pre-schooling at home and then it turned into like, “I can’t ever imagine letting my kids go to school.” With me and my husband having houses in different places and flying, I’m like, “Why would we wait until Friday to go somewhere when we can go on a Tuesday?”

He can go to school wherever you are.

We have our nanny, who used to be a preschool director. She’s been with us since he was born. She travels with us. He learns more. He’s learning how to fly an airplane at four years old learning. I want to experience life with him. My husband is 23 years older than me. He had him when he was almost 50. He turned 50 in the year he was one so I want him to experience life with my husband as well instead of being in school. When he was two years old, I started at a community center, my own nonprofit for all homeschoolers in our community. There are ones in the outskirts, but they’re far away. Each one’s 30 to 45 minutes away from where I live. I live in the nicest community in my area. I’m like, “Let’s set something up.”

I started with a preschool program. We had probably around 30 babies in this one class where my nanny was teaching in. Everyone’s like, “We need stuff for older kids,” so we expanded. It was the semester before COVID, we had tons of classes from 2 to 18 years old. There was entrepreneurship, hockey, soccer, science class, art and all these classes that kids could do different things and then COVID happened. We ended four weeks early and we went to virtual. We’re starting back up again. I’m excited. We’re doing outdoor classes to keep the kids more outdoors. We’re doing one other class of which is robotics, but it’ll be in a more outdoor environment, which my son’s super excited about.

What is he like?

He’s into space, airplanes and piloting. People would be like, “Do you want to be an astronaut?” He’s like, “I am an astronaut. I am a pilot.” I’m like, “Don’t offend him. He is a pilot. He flies an airplane. He’s an astronaut.” He calls himself an astronaut, pilot, pirate.

I love him. What’s his name?

Aden. Are you in LA?

Yeah.

I’ve got a place in LA that I’m moving into. I’m excited.

You’re going to have to tell me where and we can hang out when you’re here.

It’s in Beverly Hills.

Beautiful. I live in Silver Lake.

Where’s that?

It is not fair to assume the personalities of online influencers and harass them. Click To Tweet

It’s East Side. There’s a reservoir right near where I am. It’s a cute area. It’s always been like an artist neighborhood. It’s an iconic artist commune when Anthony was starting burgeoning when old Hollywood was the thing. I think Silverlake was like Beverly Hills, Bel Air. In Beverly Hills, lots of the houses are new but lots of them are very old and date back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. The movie stars might have lived in Bel Air or in Beverly Hills, but the art department or the production designer would have lived in Silver Lake.

My son would go crazy watching you skate around. He would love that so much.

I would love to teach him how to skate.

He has skates too. I have to bring them.

We’ll do it. I think that sounds great. One of my favorite things is to watch people learn how to skate. It was another issue online with people being like, “Ana’s not certified to teach.” I’m like, “Correct. I’m not.” I’m self-taught. I didn’t get a certification to teach.

Do you have to have one?

I don’t charge anybody to teach. People are just like, “I want to skate with you,” and you end up learning. It’s inevitable that you learn or you workshop with people, but it’s not a formal lesson where I’m like, “This many degrees and you’re going to rotate over this shoulder.” I don’t know the terminology even in the same way, but I taught myself how to skate by watching other people like I’m a dancer. You watch, you think about it. You observe, you think about it. You go to sleep and your brain processes and then the next day when you try, you’re a little bit better. Everybody is like that and it’s a natural process. I highly recommend going to a coach if you want to be a professional but my friends, my little cousins, and my mom takes lessons with me. When she comes to visit, she’s like, “We’re going to do a skate date. Do you have pads for me?” I don’t have to be certified to teach my mom how to roller skate.

I feel like that too with the makeup community. People will be like, “You don’t have your cosmetology license.” That has nothing to do with makeup.

I’m not bringing people to my house and charging them $400 for a facial. I rubbed my friend’s shoulders, like, “I promise I’m not a certified masseuse, I just like giving massages.” If someone wants to be a professional or something, you should go train with the best people.

Did you have an Instagram skating profile before TikTok?

Since I moved to LA to be an actress and I am still an actor, skating gave me this beautiful thing where, not to get off-topic, but skating gave me the beautiful thing where it released me of the need to book the acting job. I had my own thing. Once I was able to feel good about posting videos that people liked and that filled me up in a good way. I didn’t feel this pressure to get validation from other places in a way. My acting life thrived when I had this other hobby that was taking up a bunch of my time and making me happy. My Instagram was only dedicated to my personal life as an actress. I still kept a very private life. I had posted some videos of me skating and people liked them on IG, but when I discovered TikTok, when my friend Bailey was like, “Have you seen this? Look at this.”

There were probably already people skating on there, or no?

I didn’t see anybody on the For You page when you’re brand new to this thing and you’re scrolling through. It was all the big creators that you would expect. It was a lot of people in their closets or in their rooms or in their houses. I was like, “I have like a trillion videos of me skating at the rink. I’m going to make a skate diary. TikTok is only going to be my skate videos because I have so many that I don’t post on Insta. I’m going to put them there.” It worked out and that’s what happened. A lot of them were in the rinks. It wasn’t only like me skating outdoors. The skating outdoors one was what popped off.

Especially with COVID, you don’t go skate indoors anymore?

I haven’t been since COVID.

Did they open up?

I think one of the rings is going to open up. The other ones are technically closed even though they’ve closed and reopened before. I have faith that they will reopen, but a lot of the rinks are closed because they couldn’t afford to stay open, which is sad. I have to stay positive because I have to assume that the energy that is around roller skating, with this young generation being into it again and seeing it for the first time on a platform that they spend all their time. Them seeing that, maybe this influx will create people that are developing business plans to open their rinks. I have to believe that’s true.

Even your pages attribute to how successful it will be. I bought the Moxi skates. I’ve used them four times inside my house. This house we’re building in Wyoming has its own runway.

I’ve seen that house you’re building in Wyoming and it is gorgeous.

The streets are all super flat and nice to roller skate on. I’ve been waiting to bring my skates there.

A hangar is a roller rink.

Even the taxiway are brand new roads. I was like, “I’ll just wait to bring my skates there.”

I will go to Wyoming.

I’ll take you one time. That’s why we got a place in LA too. More business stuff for me, but it is close. It’s a two-hour flight for us. It’s super close. From Florida, it’s five hours, so it’s a lot.

It’s such a beautiful vibe to be like, “Citizen of the world.”

Before COVID, this was the number one argument. The only thing we disagreed on was that I didn’t want second homes. I’m like, “I don’t want to take care of another house while we’re not there. I want nothing to do with it. I want to go to Europe on a Monday. I want to go to Paris. I want to be all over,” and then COVID happened. In September 2020, we went to the Wyoming property, which we had auctioned at this charity event a long time ago. We donated money and we spent a week there. We were there for less than 24 hours and I was like, “I love this place. Let’s buy it.” It turned into LA too. With COVID, I don’t think we’re going to do anything the next years, traveling wise. I can’t imagine being normal in hotels and going in and out. It’s not going to be the same.

Even if you’re vaccinated, you still have to wear masks in public, presumably.

I’ve heard in California you still have to wear them in the streets and everything?

Yeah. For sure.

It’s not like that in Florida. Nobody cares.

I’m used to it now and I dig it in a way.

I like it too. Especially standing next to someone or someone’s walking over your table while you’re eating dinner, they should be wearing a mask on.

I like it. I feel safe. It feels like everyone’s watching each other’s backs if we’re all wearing masks. As soon as one person’s not, you want to be not as well. If I see someone not wearing a mask, I’m like, “That looks great. I don’t want to wear this,” but if everyone is doing it then it feels like we’re all in it together.

Florida has been crazy.

I was raised in Miami. Do you know this?

BTB Ana | Public Image

Public Image: Today’s interest of the new generation in skating may lead to many developing their own rinks for business in the future.

 

No.

I got there when I was four. I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Miami, and then moved to California, but I was in Miami the whole time, essentially, Puerto Rico and Miami.

Have you been back to Miami since COVID?

I’m going back for Mother’s Day in May 2021. That’s the first time.

It’s been nobody cares. Clubs have been fully open. No masks. Super Bowl, Diplo had a concert. It’s insane.

It is. Florida has always been crazy. I’m not here to make excuses for the whole state, but I get it. I’m literally from there, so I get it. The Cuban people, my own family were like, “It’s family. It’s Thanksgiving.” I’m like, “No. You guys.” They’re like, “It’s family. It’s Nochebuena. It’s Christmas.”

COVID doesn’t care.

My mom got COVID in Florida and got over it, thank Christ. My dad, too. He’s a business person. Got it while traveling but was fine. Thank goodness. He had some complications and had to take medicine for a long time after but luckily, fine. I’ve been blessed, but I was like, “Trust me.” I might get red thinking about it because it does cause a lot of conflict in my own family.

I agree. Me too. Even my stepkids were at school, and they’re still in physical college and the colleges, they don’t care. They’re just like, “Shut down.” Even them coming in and out of the house or being around, now, it’s not a big deal anymore because we’re on the other end of it. At the beginning, I was like a crazy person. I’m like, “No one’s coming in and out of the house.” How is that with our relationship with them?

You have the baby and Aden.

It was a lot.

I truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Me too finally.

It feels so nice. You remember when they were like, “It’s just going to be 2 to 3 weeks tops.”

I thought it was going to be three months. I was taking it so seriously that I thought everyone else was taking it seriously and it was going to end. I was getting mad at people that I knew. I know people that were partying through the entire thing. Never even took those first two weeks to stop. I’m like, “If we could all just stop.” I don’t know, because other countries like Italy completely shut down and now, they’re shutting down again. It’s like, “Can you stop it?” Now I think everyone in Florida has had it. It’s stopping because everyone’s immune at this point.

That checks out. If 70% of people have already had it, then that equals herd immunity, I think it’s called. It stops exploding. Groups of outbursts stop or whatever, if most people have had it or if most people are vaccinated. I thought that most people would get vaccinated and that would create herd immunity but no, I think most people are getting it.

Most people have had COVID and then it’s herd immunity. They say it doesn’t last that long so they still need to get vaccinated.

Your antibody?

Yeah. For like after you get it.

I actually don’t know. Do you know how long the vaccine lasts? Do we have to get this every however many years?

I don’t know, either. They say it’s three months for if you actually have COVID, but they don’t really know. I think they just do the antibody test and see. I’ve also heard that if COVID affects you worse, the longer your immunity is.

It’s wild. I didn’t even want to get the vaccine because of the misinformation that I assume was misinformation. All the stuff I was reading online, I was sure I’m not going to get vaccinated, and then I just decided I was like, “Whatever, I’m going to do it. Who knows? What if in five years?” We don’t know.

I feel like, for me and having the platform that I’m on, it would be very irresponsible not to get a vaccine. That’s why. Having my TikTok and platform is the main reason that I’m getting vaccinated, and for my husband and my family. I feel like it’s such a good thing to put out there that we are in this together.

It’s almost like we don’t realize that deciding, or just having a little bit of success, in this public sphere, I think that does come with a bit of responsibility because people will do what we’re doing. People will follow in your footsteps because there are young girls who do look up to you and if you tell them not to get vaccinated like they won’t. If you tell them you have, they might. It’s a lot of responsibility and pressure.

I want to be able to eat a cupcake with my friend at a park and not get yelled at.

It’s crazy how much people feel like they’re entitled to do that.

And be mad at other people for their decisions. Let’s say that people are saying it to me, like, “You go to school in person.” I see no one. People do things. My son doesn’t go to school. I’m self-contained unless I purposely go and see people. I know that I’m being safe. You have to respect other people’s decisions on who they want to spend their time with.

I like watching videos of you and one of your best friends. You guys met many moons ago and party girls or something. I love your friendship story.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the reality TV show stuff, but I was supposed to have a TV show.

I saw that part. You were in negotiations and not allowed to talk about it.

We had contracts with a network and it was two years. I finally decided to walk away because they kept pushing it on. I’ve decided that I’m self-producing my TV show. I have a whole film crew. I had a meeting with them and we are starting to film, which I’m super excited about. She’s on it. A few of the other girls you’ve seen on my TikTok are on it. My husband’s ex-wife is on it. It will be super fun.

Are you going to film a season and then pitch it?

I’m going to put it on YouTube. I’m filming the first episode, it’s like a pilot and probably some other home stuff. I love the freedom that this has brought me. It’s expensive. We’ve got eight film crew guys. It’s a big process. In the end, my goal with it is I don’t have to be on a network schedule. If I want to do a season in Wyoming, we go fly there for two weeks. I own it. I can sell brands to put product placement or this video is sponsored by whatever and have it paid for itself rather than being on a network.

This is what all reality TV show deals people have, they own you. Mine was for eleven years after I signed that contract. They want a percentage of every single thing that I make for eleven years. It’s insane. You’re giving them a big part of your life. They’re giving you exposure but, at this point, I don’t need their exposure. The people who want to watch me are going to watch it anyways. I’m doing rogue. No one has ever done this before. People do vlogs, but this is a TV show which no one has ever done before and put it on YouTube. I’m excited. We’ll see where it goes. I don’t see why I wouldn’t keep doing it. I can do seasons whenever I feel like doing them. The Kardashians, the one that’s coming out, they filmed in December. That’s not that current. I can do it and have a two-week or month latest buffer in between my content. It’s more relatable because it’s what’s going on in my life.

I’m going to watch it.

Online influencers must be more responsible with what they do, as younger people are likely to follow in their footsteps. Click To Tweet

It’s going to be fun. It’s hard for me to film what I wasn’t allowed to before with the other TV show contract. I can’t film the things that are in my head creatively with myself. I can’t do that. It’s going to be like my TikTok vibe a little bit. If I show stuff, I’ll voice it over a little bit. It’s going to be narrated a little bit by me but then the rest will be a point of view like a regular reality show like Kardashians but more of like a Sex and the City vibe where she’s narrating on her computer. It’s like, “This is what we’re doing today.” It’ll be a narrated reality TV show.

I’m into it. I like the semi-scripted element or the finding of the story once it’s in a post or your hands. It’s beautiful to not be on someone else’s schedule. If something happens, current events that you want to talk about, you have the freedom to do that. It’s beautiful. Being exclusive to the network, I didn’t realize.

It’s crazy. Do you do a lot of brand deals?

Yes.

Every single one of those, they have to approve. It could take a month before you even get approval to do this and then they still get a percentage of it, too. They’re like your manager but they’re not helping and doing anything. If you have a manager on top of it, you’re losing 30% of everything of your income. My husband’s like, “This is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to you.” I was thinking about this, I don’t think I would have had this idea to do my own show if I hadn’t been in the works of it in the past. They did me a favor. Even by bringing it to my attention that I should be doing a show and going so far into this process and knowing the whole back end of everything, I feel like they did me a big favor by teaching me how things work in the past and knowing what I do and don’t want from it.

I could put the pilot out. Let’s say Hulu comes to me and they want to produce it, but it’ll still be on my terms. If they want to give me $1 million to produce a season, that’s fine, but I will still own it at the end of the day and have creative control. They’re going to make me look like a crazy person, which is the reason that I joined TikTok. It was a year before I even joined TikTok. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night and I’m like, “What if they make me look like this crazy person, this mean girl? How are they going to spin me too low or take my worst moments? What if I drink too much and then I say the wrong thing?” It’s stressful.

The internet is like that. I don’t even have a reality show. There’s no one producing and spinning the stories.

The comments are spinning them.

Strangers online still want to be like, “Ana is such a mean girl.” I’m like, “Really? It seems like you guys know exactly who I am.”

That’s weird. You’re nice. All of your videos look super sweet.

It’s bizarre because I’m like, “Okay. That’s the vibe?” I have some work to do if that’s the vibe you guys are getting. It’s like, “Damn.” You don’t even need producers to spin the story. Trolls do it.

They do it for you.

I love this for you. I love being in control of the show and deciding when you’re ready to film and when you’re not, especially having a family and being busy. There’s stuff like that with my acting jobs where you read the script and it’s like, “That’s great.” You read the fine print and it’s like, “Must be available to relocate for six months while we’re shooting.” I’m like, “Do I? Am I? Do I want to leave to some random place for six months and uproot my life? I don’t know. Yes, I guess.” If I was given the option to be my own boss, I would take that. It’s a no-brainer.

Do you do things where you have to relocate?

I haven’t had to yet. I’ve gone out for stuff or got to auditions for things that I was like, “Fingers crossed that I don’t get this because I don’t think I want to move to Canada. I got this cute apartment. Why do I have to leave?” They’ll pay you to leave and stuff, but you know what I mean.

It’s being in control. At the end of the day, you’re the talent.

It causes a little bit of anxiety because I’m like, “I’m not the boss.” You’re the last to come onto the project and you’re the first to leave. You’re not producing it. You’re not in control. You’re not the director. You have to be amenable to this change, be there, and perform for these people. It’s your job. You have to be okay at the drop of a hat and be like, “It starts filming in three weeks. You have to leave.”

It’s a little scary.

The 22-year-old me has relocated. I went to Atlanta and I lived in Atlanta for some months. When I was doing a TV show pilot, the TV show got canceled. I didn’t have to stay there. I was eating Amy’s Soups a lot in my home. I had no buddies and no friends yet. I was busy. You’d get home from work late and you’d have to leave to work early the next day. There wasn’t time to go roller skating. You’re in your little work bubble. I’m grateful for those times that it happened. If given the choice that you can either go work for someone else and go move or you can produce your own show, it’ll be a lot harder to produce your own show, but I would love to do that.

You should do your roller skating show.

I do want to do a roller skate movie or a TV show. I don’t even need to be in it. I could also enjoy making it. I’m excited for you because that seems the best.

What are your favorite projects to do?

Anything.

Is there comedy?

I don’t turn down acting jobs. Everything is a learning experience. Everything will make me a better actress. I’ve done low-budget music videos. I’ve done big high-budget films. I’ve done low-budget horror movies. I’ve done student films. I have done network TV shows. I’ve done sketch comedy shows. It’s a little bit of everything.

Don’t you have a favorite?

No. I still feel I’m young in my acting career. I didn’t get a start when I was a kid. My acting goals, I haven’t met reached them yet. I’m looking forward to being an old lady on the screen like Olivia Coleman. I want to be mature in acting. At that point, I might be good because I would’ve been doing it for so long.

I’m sure you’re great now.

By the time I’m 60, I’m probably better. Fingers crossed, that’s my goal.

I’ve never been an actress or anything in that world. It’s crazy how they treat women once they get a certain age in movies, which I do feel like it’s changing a lot.

Don’t you feel it? You watch a show.

Like Big Little Lies, that kind of stuff.

That’s why that show exists because they made that show happen.

Do you think they paid for it or they had a company?

They’re executive producers of it, so they put up money for it. Now, they probably may have bajillion investors. In the beginning, I’m sure that was their project. They EP-ed it. Reese Witherspoon EP-ed many shows. She’s in charge of many shows and she stars in a lot of them, too. One of my favorite comedians on SNL is Chloe Fineman, who I was a fan of on Insta. She does such good Reese Witherspoon impressions. She does a bit where she forgets the names of her show because there are many. She’s like, “Big Little Fire. Little Fires.” She’ll be like, “I mean Big Lies, Big Fire Lies.” There’s another one but I can’t remember what it is. That’s the bit. She has many projects. She can’t keep them straight. It’s cute. I could see you doing that. I could see you having this show and another one and another project.

BTB Ana | Public Image

Public Image: Shows with a semi-scripted element give you more freedom in finding where the story goes yourself.

 

I could see myself producing other reality shows too in the future. I like to be in control. I have that personality. Reality TV needs a shake-up a little bit. It’s throwing glasses at each other and negative.

I have tea for you. One time, I was approached by a reality TV show. I was dating my ex-girlfriend at the time. I’ve dated gender-neutral people. I dated men cismen and also bi-men and women that never dated another woman after me, which was weird. I was like, “You all experimented with me and I resent it.” I’m flattered. They’re like, “You are the only girl.” This reality TV show approached me and it was like Love Island or something like this, “Do you want to do it?” I was like, “Do you want to do this thing? They approached us, it’s couples.” She was like, “You should say yes.” I was like, “Really?” She’s like, “You should say yes.” I did and I was like, “We’d love to do it. Here’s our picture.” They were like, “It’s straight couple.” They had the audacity to email me and be like, “No gays. Only straight people.” I was like, “Aren’t you guys making a reality show? Don’t you want it to be a little bit juicer? Girls could be flirting with each other instead of different men.”

That’s weird.

Talk about reality TV needing a shakeup.

When was this?

This was a few years ago.

Tila Tequila was several years ago.

Why haven’t there been more? Isn’t that weird? It’s hetero.

That’s weird.

I replied and I was like, “I’m not interested. Have a great day.”

Was it Love Island or was it something else?

It was like a version of it. It was Hawaii or something.

They do a lot of those. That would have been great TV. Did they want the couples to flirt with other people? Is that the premise of the show?

The thing was that they were bringing real couples into this place and then making it seem like they met on the show. They wanted to bring real couples that already had the chemistry that they would have been like, “You’re here.” People would have thought that they met on the island. I said the same thing. I was like, “Don’t you think it’s way more interesting, girls are supposed to be liking the boys?” What if the boy is like, “I choose you?” What if they choose me and I would be like, “Sorry, I choose Quinn?” The two girls would pop out. It would be amazing. They were not interested.

I wonder if they cast single people and couples, it’s probably is what it sounds like.

I don’t even know.

That’s super weird.

I was like, “You all missed out.”

It must have been on more of like NBC.

It’s like a conservative network behind whoever was casting.

I can’t believe they had the audacity to say that to you.

To be like, “You’re gay, so no.” I’m like, “First of all, I’m queer, which is not the same thing.” It’s prejudicial being like, “I’m queer.” I say that I’m gay but, like, “You can’t tell me I’m gay to not give me a job. That’s BS.”

That’s horrible.

I can say that about myself and you can’t in that context.

That’s bad. I’m surprised they even put that in the email. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. If you weren’t an actress, I would say maybe take that up.

I didn’t sue it. Who has time for that? I was like, “I’ll never watch your show.” I’m sure they don’t care. They’re successful. It’s a conservative network and that’s why it’s beautiful that you get to be your own boss.

I don’t have to do with a network schedule, I’m in their hands and everything that I do. If I want to do a vibrator ad, I’m going to do a vibrator ad. I don’t want to have to do their approval. The production company that I work with that was on our team is the biggest in the industry. They were saying that in one of the biggest shows in the industry, the reason why they have all these things in place where you have to get everything approved and all your brand deals and stuff like this is because of Taco Bell. Instead of putting an ad on the TV show and paying the network directly, they paid $200,000 to each of the cast members to do an ad eating Taco Bell on their Instagram pages.

They didn’t want to pay $1 million for an ad on the network. They took that offensively and then put all these rules in place that if you are with the network, they own you and they can say yes or no to anything. They want to get the money rather than you getting the money, even though they’re still getting a percentage. It’s shady. What I’m doing, there’s going to be a lot of people following in my footsteps. I don’t see how there couldn’t be. I’m being different and progressive. Who watches cable? Nobody’s watching cable. Most people would rather be on TikTok and then switch to YouTube then turn on the TV and watch E!.

Do you remember Quibi? I thought that was going to do well and then it crashed and burned. I was like, “Fair enough.” Maybe people don’t want to be on their phones more and watching television. YouTube is different. I can watch YouTube on my computer and on my TV.

I’m probably not going to take it up right away. Let’s say I’m on Season Three and I decide not to sign with any other network. Someone doesn’t pick it up and pay for production and stuff like that. Vimeo does its own apps for people. I had a meeting with them already. They found my TikTok and reached out to me. Martha Stewart does it.

They have shows.

They do. They copied Netflix and they build your own app. You could have The Bunny Barbie app and then it’s on Apple TV, Roku, The Fire Sticks, it’s on everything. You could download it. Instead of having the Apple TV, it’s The Bunny Barbie app.

That’s genius.

I might do that later on, but I’ll probably stick with YouTube. The only plus with that other than having your own app is they have better video quality than YouTube does. YouTube condenses it a little bit more. I’m not technical so I don’t know what that means.

That’s promising for the future if it does super well for example. That seems interesting. I love that. Vimeo is a cool platform. Every time I’ve done art films, it’s self-produced or my friends direct it. I did this short Vimeo. It’s always been the place where we put art into the world. When no one’s going to pay for it and you make something yourself, Vimeo is the place. They are cool. The staff there curates their staff pics well and they’re cool.

It is the women who take the worst of a society deep in judging thoughts about ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race. Click To Tweet

I like Vimeo, too. I like what they have going on.

You said not to bring up politics. You said you wanted to go to Paris. I read on the fricking news that Paris passed a law saying that women in hijabs can’t be in public. Women under the age of eighteen can’t wear hijabs in public. Mothers can’t accompany their children on field trips if they wear their hijabs. The legislation passed.

What’s the reasoning?

Complete Islamophobia, I don’t know. There’s no reason. I hope that changes. I hope that the backlash online changes.

Why would they even pass that?

Not a good look. I don’t know.

That’s disgusting.

There are lots of Islamic women in France.

In Europe in general.

It’s bizarre. I hated reading it.

That’s horrible.

It was disgusting.

Why do you care what a woman is wearing?

Every time, I feel like we take a step forward. Nike released the hijab swimsuits, which I was like, “Those are beautiful.” I cried when I saw that. It makes me emotional. To think that swimmers can’t take up a sport because of the system not providing them with a way to do it made me mad. There is this woman who’s on a college team and she goes, “This is an important week for athletes. This is the men’s training room. This is the women’s locker room and training room.” The men have all these professional gym equipments all over the room and then the women have one rack of little weights. She’s like, “Why is our training facility one little rack of dumbbells and all the men get all this equipment? That makes no sense.”

The Sports Federation released a statement saying, “There’s no space, that’s why the women don’t have as good of a training facility.” The chick puts a video out and she’s like, “No space? This is all the space we have. This is a giant empty warehouse. This is the court we train on. What is all this space?” It’s women who take the brunt of this, who aren’t respected. The more minority you are in women, be it like black women, Islamic women, the worse it is. Not only do you have to deal with the deep-seated misogyny that is rampant, but they’re also judging you because of your ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race. It’s insane.

Why wouldn’t they let women get to the men’s one too?

Maybe the men would take advantage or feel someone up or there would be some inappropriate thing because men are dogs. I love when men are like, “Not all men.” I’m like, “The classic pick me behavior.” Not all men but guess what? All women. All women have felt it from some men. I understand that not all men. For us to stay safe, we have to assume that any man on the street could potentially pose a threat. With all due respect, for me to stay safe, I have to assume all men until you prove me otherwise. Your discomfort is not more valued than my safety.

I agree, 100%. I don’t understand why guys are mad about that. You should be supporting it.

It’s like the white people think, “Not all white people.” Why are you saying not all white people? As it turns out, lots of white people are shitty to more people. Stop separating yourself. You won’t know by looking at them if a white person is going to be a racist asshole or not. It is up to us to not let that slide on their own front work. It wouldn’t be with my friends. Maybe I’m out on a job somewhere and I would have jobs with people. There are little microaggressions and macroaggressions that happen and it is how we deal with it in real life.

It causes them to stop.

That might affect might change. I remember a colleague talking about how someone’s pussy was tight, an Asian pussy. At the time, I remember never correcting her.

A woman said this?

Yes, a woman. She was trying to be complementary to this other lady and being like, “She has such a tight Japanese pussy.” A, the lady is not Japanese and B, that’s funny in insane aggression.

That’s super weird.

It’s like fetishizing. I didn’t know why it rubbed me the wrong way so much. Especially after all this stuff with AAPI people coming on and being like, “This is the environment that is not conducive to us feeling safe.” It was like, “I’ve witnessed that, for sure.” We have to be observant.

We have to correct people.

Next time someone says that you can be like, “That’s crass and disgusting. You shouldn’t have said that.” That’s a microaggression, if not a macroaggression. You’re fetishizing people. You have no idea. Japanese pussy is the same as your pussy. It’s rude. It’s gross.

Isn’t everyone’s pussy different?

It’s weird. I didn’t correct her. I internalized that and I regret it. I regret not saying something. You live and you learn. It stuck with me. I know I’ll never say it.

The past year has made us so much more aware and more allies than ever before. Being home and more access to TikTok where you’re seeing more diverse people and learning, there’s been so much. I’ve learned so much being on TikTok. I saw TikTok and it was a guy who stitched another guy. I kept getting tagged in it. The first one was like, “This is my story of being a white-looking black person.” It was a boy. It was his story. This other guy stitched it. The guy that stitched it was putting up his baby pictures and he was super tanned with blonde hair. People kept tagging me because he looked like my son.

His story, he’s like, “I work at a gym and this woman came in and she said, ‘All black people should be sterilized.’ She kept saying it and I said to her, ‘You’re talking about me. My dad is black. I wouldn’t be here.’” He was like, “It’s not that we have these stories and you’re a white person and you say that you never hear stuff like this. It’s that you’re never correcting stuff like this.” He’s like, “If she says it to me, she’s saying it to other people too. I’m not the first person she said it to. I’m probably the first person that’s corrected her.” It’s true. I genuinely don’t hang out with people that are like that. At the end of the day, if you do run into those people, it is your job to correct them.

The older I get, the more confident I am.

I’m sure it’s hard if you’re in a work environment too.

BTB Ana | Public Image

Public Image: Since you cannot know which people could potentially pose a threat nowadays, it is safe to assume everyone may do something wrong just for your safety.

 

When you’re younger, you have an instinct and you’re like, “Am I going to say it in the right way though? Am I going to make them defensive and shut down? Am I going to be rude? Am I going to get fired from this job?” It’s a lot of learning. I feel my privilege in those moments. I’ve dealt with the classic sexism thing or the classic misogyny thing. To be targeted like that, not really. That’s an insane, hard thing to understand. Ever since they’re little, people are dealing with these regressions.

Especially black men too, people automatically assume that they’re aggressive or anything like that. From a little kid, that’s sad. I saw a TikTok about this too. A black woman was like, “My son, they’re thinking that he’s aggressive or he’s whatever.” I was hysterically crying. It’s sad.

You and I might never have to teach our child how to stay safe in certain situations where other people would be safe. It’s insane to think that the reality and that we’re still fighting for children to be seen as children and not violent people because they’re wearing a hoodie or because they’re black. I see it day-to-day and I get mad about it. When a white person will shoot a school or something and they don’t call it terrorism, I get mad about it.

It’s terrorism. Even with the whole Asian hate thing, they wouldn’t call it a hate crime. It’s sad.

When I found out who the victims were from the Atlanta shootings, they made it seem like they were sex workers or something.

That’s what I assumed.

They had them being like, “He had a sex addiction.” He killed lots of people that were 50 or 60 and doing their jobs.

I thought he went into a massage parlor.

They were masseuses.

That is not what I heard about it.

When you look up the ages of these people and who they were, one of the women was in her early 60s and late 50s as well. One of the women that were in their early 60s had two sons who love her and who would post pictures of her on their Instagram. She’s smiling in one of these pictures next to her sons. One of them was graduating from college. They’re like, “Our mom was our rock.” She was not a sex worker. Even if she was, there’s still no point. She wasn’t.

They made it seem like they were. That’s sad. Even if she was, that doesn’t demean what he did.

I found a TikTok about the sports players, NCAA.

That is crazy. Why would they even release that statement? They should have said, “We’ve never been requested.” That would have been better than, “We don’t have space.” They have space. That’s embarrassing.

They should have apologized. They should have been, like, “We’re sorry. We’re going to remedy this problem right now.” The next day, they had a bunch of machines brought in. Paint them all pink for all we care. Do us another solid. Demean us a little bit more and make all the little cushions pink and glittery. At least make the machines work and let these women train for Christ’s sake. How is that not deep-seated systemic misogyny, downplaying these women athletes because they’re women?

They’re athletes.

They’re like, “They’ll be fine. They’re going to find a hubby soon and they’re going to give up on their sports and their dreams. Don’t worry, it’s fine. The men though need to be the breadwinners. We need to make sure that we keep them healthy and fit and training.”

That’s insane. They must practice the sport that they’re in and nothing else, maybe running.

I don’t know how they do it, that’s the thing. Maybe they do to the men’s weight room. Maybe they have to have gym memberships. I don’t know how it works. That video was clear on what the issue is.

This was such a good podcast. I’m glad you took the time to talk to me. This is amazing. This was cute. Also, do you have books everywhere?

Yes.

Are you a super reader? That is cute.

That’s my boyfriend’s workspace. All of our stuff is mixed in together. He has a giant Zine collection. I have a lot of books too.

I love that so much. I can’t wait to get to LA. We’ll have to hang out.

I’m looking forward to it. I promise I’m going to skate so much in that Wyoming space if you ever invite me.

I will bring you. You will love it so much. Imagine you doing a TikTok down the airport runway next to an airplane, that would be epic.

I’m envisioning an all-girl group. Do you remember that Lili film, the TikTok dance that came out which is from that Kpop band doing something called Lily film?

I don’t know. I am not a dancer.

I can envision five girls or five people on rollerskates doing that thing in that beautiful giant hanger with all of this. Spice Girls on rollerskates.

We’ll have to do a girls’ trip.

No pressure to skate.

I need to learn. I need some lessons.

No pressure at all. High heels are fine.

Why don’t you tell everyone where to find you?

I’m Ana Coto, also known as, Ana Octo. I am on TikTok and on IG. Thank you for following if you do already. Thank you, Bunny, for having me.

This was wonderful. I can’t wait to meet you.

I can’t wait to meet you too formally, in the flesh.

Thank you so much.

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