Kait Montalvan, a popular lifestyle and beauty TikToker, has taken a unique approach to her “get ready with me” (GRWM) videos. Like others in this genre, she showcases her makeup skills while speaking to the camera about her day. However, what sets Montalvan apart is her decision to use these videos as a way to reconnect with her Spanish-speaking roots.
TikTokers are using the “get ready with me” genre to practice and reconnect with their Spanish-speaking roots. By posting videos in Spanish, these content creators not only improve their language skills but also inspire others to do the same.
Montalvan explains, “I grew up speaking Spanish when I was much younger, but as I started going to school and spending less time with my Spanish-speaking grandmother, my comfort with the language began to fade. I started identifying as a ‘no sabo kid,’ which refers to Latin Americans who aren’t fluent in Spanish.”
The experience of being a “no sabo kid” is common among first-generation Latin Americans, but it can also come with a sense of shame. To address this, Montalvan started posting GRWM videos labeled as “going from no sabo kid to lo sé adult.”
For Montalvan, reconnecting with her Spanish roots is not just about personal growth, but also about preserving her family’s culture and connecting with her grandparents. She believes that being able to have meaningful conversations with them, without language barriers, is incredibly important.
Interestingly, TikTok has become an unexpected resource for language learning. While traditional educational resources can feel rigid, TikTok offers a conversational and immersive experience. Native speakers share videos, allowing language learners to observe and hear the language in use.
Rocio Castro-Videla, another lifestyle TikToker, shares a similar experience. As a child, she spoke Spanish but saw her skills decline as she started speaking English more frequently. Now, living in Miami, she feels the need to practice her Spanish again. Making Spanish language GRWM videos is one way she embraces this process.
Both Montalvan and Castro-Videla emphasize that speaking Spanish is not the sole factor of being Latinx or connected to their culture. However, they recognize the value of language in maintaining relationships with family members and preserving their heritage.
By utilizing platforms like TikTok, these TikTokers are setting an example of how social media can be a powerful tool for language learning, community building, and cultural preservation.