Tiania Haneline, one of today’s top influencers, began a TikTok account with her daughter, Scarlett Smith, 5. Within Tiania and Scarlett’s content, are videos of Tiania doing Scarlett’s hair, while they both say affirmations as they look in the mirror. Tiania is also the mom to two boys, Walker and Reice. Tiania and Scarlett have a following on TikTok of over 5 million followers. In the beginning, Tiania would have never expected the reaction that she and Scarlett’s videos have received. Viewers being inspired by Tiania’s promotion of self love, she has inspired many to love themselves as they are. While both Tiania and Scarlett have made a big wave in the social media world, this is just the beginning for the dynamic duo.
Happy: So you and your daughter are very special, and your bond is, as well. We, as viewers and your fans, we can all see that. But, as a mom, what made you want to start making videos of your and Scarlett’s journey?
Tiania: Basically, my father has always affirmed me. He’s always done that growing up. So I always knew that’s what I wanted to do for my kids. I’ve also always been the one to videotape everything. I’ve consistently affirmed Scarlett because I got taught that from my father. So I am always saying, ‘you’re so beautiful. Oh, my God. I love your curls. I love your skin. It’s just so flawless.’ Then, after the pandemic started, (that’s when we got on TikTok in 2020), the George Floyd incident happened which led to Black Lives Matter… And it really opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. I said, ‘okay, I’ve got to get this girl to repeat this after me so she can really get it.’ And then I thought, ‘okay, why don’t I do it on camera? Maybe other people can really be able to use this.’ Other moms like me… There’s a lot of white moms that are raising biracial children that don’t quite get it.
Tiania: So I wanted to maybe help other women, like me, raising biracial children. I tell Scarlett that she’s ‘a Black girl,’ because she is a Black girl to me and to the world. So I just want her to know that her skin is beautiful and that her curls are beautiful. I just thought doing that on the platform [TikTok] would help other people. And it’s crazy the amount of love and support we’ve received. People tell us that we’ve change their lives and that they wish they had parents like me.. Or even people that do this [affirmations], now, because of us. So it’s a really cool thing.
Happy: That is a very cool thing. Scarlett is lucky to have you as a mom. As a woman with 4C hair, I know what a journey it is to love your hair and to see it as something that is actually beautiful and not an inconvenience. So knowing this made watching your videos, doing affirmations with Scarlett, that much more inspiring. What made you want to put such an emphasis on self love in Scarlett’s upbringing?
Tiania: I’m just literally constantly looking at her and being like, ‘you’re so beautiful.’ But I wanted to make sure she knew that, because I can tell her all day. But until you really repeat it, looking in the mirror and saying those things to yourself that you honestly sometimes don’t believe. But to have her saying them at a young age, to where she’s just going to be like, ‘I love my curls.’ She’s always saying that. I just wanted to make sure. And I’m telling you, when Black Lives Matter started… That’s when I said, ‘wow, okay. She has got to understand how amazing she is, as a Black girl.’ That’s when I really started getting her to love her curls, love her brown skin, and just everything. Her saying, ‘I am honest.’ We have a new affirmation all the time. Seeing women be down on themselves so much is what made me want to be like, ‘okay, I’ve got to do this.’ I really wanted her to be able to truly love herself.
Happy: So I love the videos where you bring the tie around Scarlet’s hair… It somehow makes a ponytail, in like 2 seconds, and she gets so excited. You can definitely see the excitement on her face. And so there’s such a stigma around non Black moms with Black children and if they’re able to do their hair. I don’t know if you’ve seen that episode of Keeping Up with The Kardashians, where she’d just had North, and she went to get lessons from Kim Kimble to learn how to do her hair. At the end of episode, Kim [Kardashian] gives North cornrows, and she’s so proud, and says, ‘I did it. I know how to do my daughter’s hair. This is something I needed to know how to do.’ And it’s such a touching moment to watch.
Happy: So how did you learn to do Scarlett’s hair? Is it something that came naturally to you, or did you learn it in a certain way?
Tiania: I’ve always been known how to braid hair, but not necessarily her [Scarlett’s] hair. You know what I’m saying? I could do loose braids or whatever. So when I found out that I was having a girl, I said, ‘okay, this girl’s hair is going to be freaking amazing.’ I was determined. So I watched a lot of YouTube videos, like, a lot. It was, basically, a trial and error kind of thing. Her texture changed from, like, three years old to four years old… it changes as it gets longer. I am always up for people, especially the Black community, giving me tips. Somebody told me other day, when I was washing her hair on live, they said, ‘don’t wash her ends. Wash her scalp, and just let the water go.’ Because for me… We wash every part of our hair in shampoo, but they would say, ‘no, just do that.’ A lot of people have given me different tips on how to care for her hair. So that was mainly what I did. And still today, I feel like I’m still learning.
Happy: Your following on TikTok is over 5 million followers, and your following on Instagram is over 200,000 followers. I think it’s so inspiring that you’ve been able to build a brand that has been based on being yourself and on helping your daughter be more confident. Do you ever show Scarlett the content or the comments that the both of you receive?
Tiania: If they are good? Yes. I try to shield her from that. That’s another thing that I’m kind of working on with her. When she does take over, and she reads the comments, I want her to be able to be as strong as where I’m at, now. Every once in a while, I think, ‘oh, man, that kind of hurt.’ I try, myself, not to read the comments because they can get a little out of hand. So I just cut it off. But I try to shield Scarlett from that as much as I can. There’s a minute amount of haters. There is a tremendous amount of love. So I love being able to read her some of the stuff that people have said. I’ll say, ‘they’re wearing their hair curly now because of you,’ or ‘they’re doing their affirmations because of you now.’ So I like to involve her in that kind of thing just to show her. Today, we went up to McDonald’s, and this little boy said, ‘oh, my gosh, Scarlett, do you know how famous you are?’ People, all the time, want to take pictures with Scarlett. She doesn’t grasp it yet. She doesn’t quite understand the whole thing yet. I mean, she knows that when people stare, she’ll say, ‘they know us from TikTok.’ I’ll say, ‘yeah, probably.’ I love being able to share with her some of the sweet things that people say.
Tiania: We go live a lot. So people get to see, ‘Tiana and Scarlett,’ and see us fussing or whatever. And it’s like, ‘I’m a mom. This is what I do. I have to reprimand her.’ So I’ll think, ‘okay, so we won’t go live when we do that.’ Because people will just say, ‘don’t you dare. That’s Scarlet. She can do no wrong.’
Happy: That’s so amazing.
Tiania: They’re so cute, though. Our followers are amazing. I love them. They’re so supportive and so loving and just really all around. It’s been a very humbling experience to really hear the stories of everybody. I’ve even had somebody tell me that they were thinking about ending themselves, and they said, ‘I saw your videos. I never thought that affirmations would help me. Here I am six months later, thriving and loving myself.’ So I get a messages like that all the time… it breaks me, man. I love it so much. And it’s all over the world. All over. I mean, I had somebody from Egypt message me. Egypt? It’s crazy. Countries I’ve never heard of in my entire life.
Happy: I think that your rawness and realness is a part of what has gifted you with such an amazing following… do you agree with that?
Tiania: Yeah, I really do feel that way. I feel like a lot of people can relate to women that are open about struggles of being a single mom. Raising a Black girl in this world that we’re in right now… I know I have to protect the brand in some ways, but I never want to change who I am when it comes to being that person that’s just open about different things that’s going on in life.
Tiania: So I like to share things with people that happen to us and hopefully can help somebody.
Happy: Completely. Also, as a person who grew up with a single mom, I find your videos so relatable because I think that the time that your mom spends doing your hair becomes very special, because that’s some of your very specific quality time together.
Tiania: Yes, for sure. A lot of time we spend together is us doing her hair while we just have our little ‘chitchat’.At first, I wasn’t doing affirmations while doing her hair. She would just be sitting on my lap or we would be on our way to school. And then I thought, ‘how cool would this be if I literally did it while I’m doing her hair?’ So we’re doing her hair. She’s looking in the mirror. So that’s when I started doing that. And then it kind of just went crazy after that.
Happy: That’s so awesome.
Tiania: It really is. I mean, we started in 2020, and to grow like this! I don’t think we can really wrap our heads around 5.7 million followers. That’s a lot of people. You know what I mean? We were watching a concert. I don’t know what concert it was, but we were watching a concert, and I said to Scarlett, ‘see all those people? Well, that times five, basically is what watches you.’ We’ll go live, and there’ll be about 100,000 people watching our live. That is crazy. I have to use that to the advantage of teaching.
Happy: So alongside your daughter, Scarlett, you also have two amazing sons. What is their reaction to your and Scarlett’s content and popularity?
Tiania: They love it. They just don’t want to be a part of it. They’re teenagers. They’re 16 years old and 14 years old. Literally, I have to slip them $100 to actually get them to participate in a video. They’re like, ‘what? You’re making a…? Okay, I will… here we go!’ They are super proud of everything. My son today, said, ‘mom!’ We just moved. He saw my room, and my room is glamorous. I said to myself, ‘I want my room to be freaking glamorous.’ He’s just so proud, because he’s been through a lot. He’s been with me when it was paycheck to paycheck and we were struggling.
Tiania: So it’s just like a super humbling experience to be able to go through this with them, you know what I mean? But they love it. They love everything that’s going on. They’re super supportive. They think it’s the coolest thing ever, but they just don’t want to be a part of it. Trust me.
Happy: That is so incredible.
Tiania: They just love Scarlett. They have a very good relationship with her. It’s the sweetest thing ever.
Happy: That’s awesome. She’s lucky to have two big brothers. I’m sure that they’re very inspired by everything you’re doing, right?
Tiania: It puts a little fire into them. They think, ‘wow, we see what you’re doing. What could I do?’ They say, ‘I’m going to do something like that.’ And I always say, ‘okay, let’s do it.’
Tiania: Then I will make them, sometimes, do some affirmations. They say, ‘I’m not doing that.’ I say, ‘do it! I am successful.’
Happy: That’s very cool. I feel like teenage boys doing affirmations is pretty great, right?
Tiania: They would never do it on camera, ever. I would have to pay them a lot of money.
Happy: So what is the affirmation that you and Scarlett say the most often?
Tiania: I would say, my personal one, is ‘I am calm,’ or ‘I am beautiful,’ I’ll look at myself and say, ‘wow, I am so beautiful right now.’ Because if I don’t say that, I’m going to say something bad. You know what I’m saying? When you wake up in the morning, you’re like, ‘oh, Lord, I’m beautiful.’ If not, it is going to be some not good words to myself. Scarlett’s favorite affirmation is ‘I love myself.’ How cute is that?
Happy: Yes, it is. Is there something about your relationship with your hair that made you want to uplift Scarlett’s relationship with hers?
Tiania: My hair is thin, and I don’t really like it. But with me, I can curl my hair. I can do this. I can do that. Whatever. But I’ve seen the way that girls are treated that wear their hair natural. I’m a big, huge fan of The Crown Act which addresses having to change your hair to get a job. That just baffles me because I didn’t know about that until a couple of years ago. I’ve really been trying to tell people about that. But anyways, I don’t think it was really with my hair. I think mainly it was just that I know how people are with girls with curly hair or that have big hair… Because Scarlett’s hair is big and beautiful. So I just want to make sure she knows how beautiful it is.
Happy: What is the lesson from you that you hope Scarlett will remember most from you?
Tiania: The biggest thing is not only just loving yourself. We do love ourselves. But to really be genuine and raw… My biggest thing is just be kind to people. I always think, ‘would you really want somebody to treat you like that or to say those things to you?’ I feel like if people were just positive…. Even my sister will say, ‘I don’t understand how you’re so positive, right now, after you just bought your TV, and it randomly broke on the move. She said, ‘you’re not freaking out.’ I just think, ‘what is that going to do for me?’ So I think the biggest lesson for Scarlett, from me, is to always find some way to stay positive in a negative situation.
Happy: What is your and Scarlett’s favorite song to make TikTok’s to?
Tiania: She loves “Brown Skin Girl,” by Beyonce. That’s one of our favorites. Scarlett loves that song. We went live, one time, we were playing it, and she did this whole dance and started singing it to the top of her lungs. I was bawling because it was the part where it says, “remember what Mama told me.” It’s the sweetest video. I have chills just thinking about it. It’s the sweetest video, and it got taken down on TikTok, which I was really not happy about. I guess because she was wearing a leotard. But it didn’t get taken down on Instagram, and it went crazy. Everybody was going crazy. This famous, African American ballerina reached out to us and said, ‘you have no idea what you’re doing for your daughter right now.’ It was just really cool. Yeah, we love “Brown Skin Girl.” But there’s not really a dance that kind of goes with that. So she says, ‘I’m just going to do my own.’ And I just say, ‘Okay. Go for it.’
Happy: I have actually seen that video and it definitely had me bawling too. I know you are so proud of her confidence.
Happy: How do you feel about getting advice on how to do Scarlett’s hair from the Black community?
Tiania: Yes. I love getting advice from the Black community.
Happy: At the end of the day, what is the ultimate goal for Scarlett and Tiania? What is the ultimate dream?
Tiania: When I ask Scarlett, ‘what do you want to do? What do you want to be? Because at this point, you can be whatever you want to be.’ About a year ago, she would say, ‘nothing.’ And now she says, ‘I want to be a superstar.’ I say, ‘you already kind of are.’ Then, she’ll respond, ‘I want to sing.’ And I’m like, ‘okay!’ And she’ll say, ‘but I want to make sure you’re right there beside me.’ Of course, I say, ‘okay, I’ll be right there beside you.’ Like, really? I bawled when she said that, because I sing. My whole family sings, right? So it’s like, ‘man, if she could sing, oh, my gosh.’ But my ultimate goal would be to somehow have an affirmation doll of Scarlett. There’s so many toys out there that are so meaningless. So if we had something where these little girls could go up to, if they were not feeling pretty that day… They would go to this doll, and that doll would say, ‘I am beautiful.’ So, I think my answer would be to basically have something for little girls to be able to either play with or, maybe, for their parents to learn from. I believe the ultimate goal is to basically keep changing the lives of little Black girls.
Happy: That is so inspirational. I have no doubt that Scarlett will be a superstar. And you are right. She already is one.
Tiania: Having little Black girls be able to grow up with mothers or their parents being able to teach them to love themselves. I say this because the amount of little girls, 10 years old to 15 years old, that message me. They say things like, ‘I wish you were my mom, because the way you love your daughter. I wish my mom loved me like that.’
Tiania: Or I have 50 and 60 year old women saying, ‘you have no idea what you are doing, because if my parents would have done that to me or if I would have done that to my child, then they would have not hated their brown skin or they would have not hated their curls.’ So, the ultimate goal, at the end of the day, is to have little girls be able to just be inspired by their own family. No matter what color they are. So whether it’s through somehow teaching, because a lot of people say, ‘I don’t even know where to start.’ And I say, ‘just look in the mirror.’ Start with yourself. Start with yourself as an adult and then bring your child into it. It’s hard to teach your child affirmations and to love themselves when you aren’t totally loving yourself yet.
Happy: I completely agree with that. Self love is so important and it is definitely something that starts with ourselves.
Tiania: But we teach each other. I feel like Scarlett and I have learned so much from each other. Our emotions are all over the
place. We’re on 5000 all day long. So, we learn how to control our emotions together. We’re learning to love ourselves together.