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When I graduated from the New School and started doing TikTok full-time, I was living in a tiny flex room of an apartment, and it was just bursting at the seams. I looked for a new place for months, and then this random unit went on the market in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood with the worst pictures possible, like disgusting—but I had a really good feeling about it. And so I went and saw it, and realized how massive the space was and—most important—how it would be perfect for me and everything I planned to do.

I knew I wanted my apartment to look like iCarly—I just love the crazy maximalism of that show. When I was growing up, my parents always rented, and we were in between a lot of different houses, so we never fully moved into a space until I was 17 and found my parents the home they live in now. Growing up, I was really eclectic, and I dreamed of super lived-in spaces because I never had one. So with this place, I just wanted to make something my own, no matter if I lost the deposit. 

Even though I loved the size of my new space, I hated the kitchen. I started thinking of things I could do to make it more me. The cabinets were made from a composite covered in a thick, rigid white plastic-wrap type of sealant. I knew I wanted to repaint them, but you can’t paint over that hard plastic. I did a bunch of research and found that if I took my Dyson hair dryer to the edges, the sealant started to pull up and I was able to rip it all off. Because the cabinets weren’t real wood, I had to get a special white paint sealer and repaint them with the green. The whole process took me around two weeks. Inspired by Colorful Kimmes, I also added a peel-and-stick backsplash that I got on Amazon (funnily enough, my TikTok about it got 2.2 million views and the stickers sold out, so now I can’t replace them) and floor decals to cover the gray tile floor. 

You’re gonna freak out when I tell you, but the name of the Backdrop paint I used on the cabinets is Pretty Ugly. I was originally going for a Dakota Johnson–style shade, and at first I thought: Well, this is kind of bright. But you know what? It’s different. It’s cool. But everybody who follows me thought it was a joke. They were like, “You’re kidding me; this is disgusting. Who wants to look at this every day? What are you doing to this apartment? You’re ruining it.” So many people on Twitter and Reddit were angry about it. Out of all the things I’ve done online, the thing that really elicited the most reaction was these green cabinets. And I was like, “You guys don’t get the vision. It’s gonna all come together!”

The backlash didn’t make me not like it—at all. Most of the stuff I do is not for everybody, and I wasn’t expecting it to be for everybody. I just didn’t expect people to create literal Facebook hate pages and for it to be a whole discourse. I was like, damn, this really elicited a lot of negative reactions. 

That’s the thing: If you’re pushing the envelope or on the cutting edge, you’re doing something different. Different doesn’t necessarily mean good and it doesn’t necessarily mean bad. It just means it’s different. And I have never been discouraged by being different. Plus I didn’t want people to love my space, mostly because it was for me—and most people don’t have the same style as I do.

But I didn’t think people would hate it so much, honestly. I really thought it was cute. I also think that because it was the first thing I did to my apartment—nothing else was done—it didn’t make sense. But now that all the other parts of the home are finished, it really fits cohesively. A lot of people are now like, “I get it.” But also a lot of people still think the kitchen sucks. And it’s crazy, because there’s so many other things I wanted to do to it—but it ended up being perfect. And that makes me happy.