Michael Le has been dancing since age four long before he shot to fame as a bonafide TikTok star — Le’s fame is native to TikTok (i.e. he did not carry over his following from another social media app.
His 5-year-old brother, Jonathan (7 million followers) is featured in many of his videos and is the youngest content house member. He is a founder of the Shluv House (portmanteau of sorts for “self-love”).
Read about JustMaiko’s most successful brand sponsorships, his future plans and advice to aspiring social media moguls here:
1. Your escalator dance prank is currently the most shared video on TikTok with over 550K shares. What inspired you to come up with this idea?
I saw an escalator at my hometown and I was like “oh, that would be really cool if I could dance with my friend and he was going down and I was going up”!
During that time I was trying to get more creative with my videos, doing public videos, doing out-of-the-norm things, so with the escalator I just kinda visualized like the perfect TikTok and did it.
From there, I saw all my TikToks afterwards thrive from out-of-the-box content.
2. How do you typically find inspiration for your videos or your choreography?
As far as my videos, I get inspiration from the location itself — if I see something behind me or just the perfect backdrop. I never really plan it, it’s just whatever I feel inspired by at the time.
3. Since we’re still in the midst of a quarantine, has this time period prompted you to find any new interests or hobbies?
Definitely. The main thing is I’m really getting into YouTube now. So I’m helping out with my family’s brand ‘The Shluv Family’ and building our presence on all other platforms, promoting a whole different set of content on the various platforms.
4. How would you describe your dance style in three adjectives?
I would describe it as very outgoing. I have nine years of professional dancing, so I definitely have an understanding of and comfortability with my body. I would also say i am a dope blend of old school as well as new school dancing combined, along with just being very fluid and intricate. I think you can tell that I’m not “just a TikTok dancer”, but that I am an actual dancer as well.
My style is kinda Urban hip-hop and “new school”
5. How do fans respond to your sponsored posts versus regular posts?
It depends on how well I’m able to integrate it, but usually they do pretty well.
Take my Bang Energy videos for example — the sponsored element doesn’t affect those views at all.
6. What can your fans look forward to in the upcoming year? Any future projects you can tell us about?
The main thing is really pushing my YouTube channel because that’s something where I’m going to build a few series of different shows.
On my YouTube channel, I’m doing gaming content, prank videos with my brother, TikTok compilations, and challenge videos. It will be a mix of everything that I have wanted to do.
7. What are some of your long term goals as an influencer?
I want to just become a mogul where anything I touch just turns to gold!
People I look up include Kevin Hart, the Rock, and Will Smith.
Long-term, I definitely want to be a super-established YouTuber. I want to be one of the top YouTubers like I am now on TikTok. I want to take over YouTube. I definitely want to be the person who is able to “do it all” in a sense.
8. Because a lot of people do look up to you in many different ways, what kind of advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs or social media influencers?
My best advice would be to follow your passion.
The number one thing is to not only look at the views because it’s very easy to get sucked into that. If your mindset is, “I don’t have a lot of views so I am not doing well” then you get discouraged to continue.
The main thing is to know that everyone has something unique to them.
I mean everyone can be viral, be big, and create something. It’s just a matter of finding what you are actually good at and what you like to do.
Also, always looking for ways to better your content, and to make everything better than your last video.
9. What are the things you consider when deciding which brands to work with?
The main thing for me is if it’s on brand, then I’ll definitely take it.
Financials are important, too, (depending what the rate is) and if I have more or less control of the campaign, or if I’ll need a different type of compensation.
It really all depends on the scenario. Typically, I am pretty open to working with any brands as long as it coincides well with my own personal brand.
10. Which particular brand sponsorships or partnerships are you most proud of and why?
Definitely my Bang sponsorship as well as my Safeguard sponsorship.
My Bang sponsorship mainly because they have really helped me out in the last few years. I am one of their first influencers and I brought them on to TikTok. They have really helped me out financially and have been really good at listening to me as my own brand.
Then Safeguard because it became one of my biggest ads ever that hit over a hundred million views.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.