By MIKE NICHOLAS.

402,000 likes on Facebook. 31,000 subscribers on YouTube. 14,000 followers on Instagram. Caito Potatoe definitely qualifies for the title of Internet Sensation. We caught up with her to talk cyber bullying, positivity, and her mysterious partner in crime.

Want to listen to this interview instead? Click here for the podcast!

So this year you’re one of the Web Rangers. Can you tell us a bit about what that means?

So basically we are talking about cyber bullying and ways we can stop it, because it’s a terrible thing and I don’t think people talk about it much. So hopefully Web Rangers can put a stop to it and we can all help. To enter the competition, we want people to put in some creative ideas of how to stop cyber bullying… you can do a song, a website, a YouTube video – just anything cool and creative telling people what not to do online.


I’ve looked through your videos and I see mostly positive comments. Do you get a lot of hate? And how do you deal with it?

They are actually quite positive, which is really surprising, because I’m so over the top in my videos. When I created my page I knew that it was going to be either really positive or just really bad. Of course there are always going to be some awful comments online, but the thing is you just really need to kill them with kindness and just go “aw, thanks for this lovely comment!” You don’t bully them back and say “oh you’re a horrible person.” You just ignore it, block it, delete it so that you’re not in contact with that comment. You just need to have a positive outlook on it and I do my best to have that. I don’t let things get to me because there’s just no point.


What can we expect from the Web Rangers workshops?

We’re going to be having a lot of fun, giving advice on how we combat cyber bullying – and you’ll get to hang out with us. It’s just going to be a lot of fun, a really positive vibe and a really nice get-together. All together as a community really, and being educated on the subject.

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402,000 likes on Facebook. 31,000 subscribers on YouTube. 14,000 followers on Instagram. And almost 5,000 followers on Twitter. Where did it all start?

It’s quite insane. I’ve always enjoyed doing YouTube videos, but I never thought I’d ever have a following, but I just did it for a laugh and I wanted to be a bit different and out there. It started from one video that went crazy and it was this video I did about me getting a $200 parking ticket, because that was really insane and I couldn’t believe it. So I had to have a rant to everyone and tell everyone what happened. Then people just kept following me and watching my crappy videos. It’s honestly just so crazy, that’s the only word for it really. It’s just insane.


And also this year you were the host of X Factor Raw for the New Zealand version of The X Factor; how was that?

That was – OK, I’m using the word ‘crazy’ again. It was just really cool and I was so nervous doing it because that was my first proper job – like, I’ve never had an after school job or anything and I was so scared. It was actually so much fun and I met so many amazing people. I’m not a musical person whatsoever, like I can’t sing, I can’t do anything at all. I have a good taste in music… but honestly, just meeting all of these amazing people who are into the musical business, it was just an amazing opportunity.

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Were there any of the contestants or the judges you’ve kept in touch with after the show?

Yeah we’re all Facebook friends now, which is really cool! What was crazy was before I even started the job, I went over and did a test run, and Stan Walker came up to me saying “I watch your videos.” I just couldn’t believe it, because I only honestly think about my Nana and my Mum watching my videos, so I kind of forget there’s other people out there who watch my stuff.


We have to ask: Who is Tomatoe Potatoe?

Tomatoe Potatoe is my boyfriend. This is a funny story, because we’re right outside Burger Fuel right now and I told him I was going to chat to you, so I’m currently feeding him… but no, he is my boyfriend of nearly a year and we’re very happy. But lots of people actually think he’s my Dad, which really creeps me out!

He’s really lovely and he likes having his identity kept hidden because he kind of likes that people don’t know what he looks like. He has really taken this – I don’t know if I should call it fame or what – but this crazy following so well and I always say to him “I’m so sorry I’m not that normal”. He says “Noooo, it’d be boring if you were normal!”

He’s really great and I hope you get to see more of him because he’s really shy but he’s a really cool guy. I’d love to have him in my videos and stuff but he’s not really that keen on it as yet. He just thinks ‘let’s just keep this on the down-low’ and then you know, maybe on our one year anniversary, we all find out. We haven’t worked it out yet, but, I think there will be a point where we do show what he looks like, but at the moment we’re really enjoying just keeping it hidden.


What are your plans for when you leave school? What would you love to do?

I actually just recently left school because I’ve just been accepted into Whitecliffe’s, which is an art school… where I’ll be doing graphic design.


What tips or advice would you give to young people wanting to get into making videos on YouTube or Facebook?

I think that people who want to start doing videos, you need to have a positive attitude towards things, especially with cyber bullying – if you get mean comments, not to take them personally. You should just have heaps of fun. Caito Potatoe is just a over-exaggeration of myself, so if you want to do something fun, I really recommend doing that. But just take everything on board with a positive attitude and have fun!


If there’s a quote or an inspirational message you’d like to leave everyone with, what would it be?

I’ll probably leave it with ‘stay groovy!’


Read more about Web Rangers here

The Web Rangers Workshops are taking place all around New Zealand. Caito Potatoe will be attending along with Best Bits comedian, Rhys Mathewson and Instagram sensation, Liam WaveRider.

 

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Christchurch – Hagley Oval –13 July
Wellington – Toi Whakaari – 15 July
Auckland – Tapac– 17 July.

If you’re aged between 14-17, find out more and get involved here.

To watch Caito Potatoes’ videos, head to her Facebook and YouTube.
And don’t forget to check out the Web Rangers Facebook while you’re there!

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