Baby Ariel is all grown up. Being raised in an artsy family – a Cuban-Isareli mom, who was involved in theater and her Panamanian musician dad – Ariel Martin was always destined to be a star. The Zombies 2 actress first made a name for herself with her brother by putting out videos on Musical.ly (now TikTok) and then moved over to Instagram where she has close to 10 million followers. She loves all her followers but it was one in particular who caught her attention the most – Nicki Minaj. “She is my queen,” she tells HOLA! USA. “She's my icon. When I met Nicki, she told me that she watched my videos and followed me on Tik Tok. That was it for me.”
Keep reading to learn about the soon-to-be 20-year-old’s newfound Disney family, why she admires Selena Gomez and how saying “no” is the best thing she has done for her well-being.
HOLA! USA: How was filming Zombies 2?
Ariel Martin: “Filming was phenomenal. It was a little so scary because I was going to Canada with these people who I know did the first movie together already. It was a very safe space for all of us. We had game nights together, the entire cast. It was great.”
There are some amazing Latinas who got their start with Disney – Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera and so many more. Who did you look up to growing up?
“Selena Gomez, a thousand percent. She was my icon, and watching her on Wizards of Waverly Place was so cool because her character was so edgy and different. I just watched her, wanted to be her. She did a lot of what I'm doing now, which is crazy. She was singing and acting all at once, which I was like, okay, you know what? She can do it. I can do it too. It was very inspirational. I look up to people who are very honest, authentic and real, like Selena. She's nice, and she's kind. She's not going to put on a show.”
You are turning 20 this year. Will you continue with ‘baby’ Ariel?
“I don't know. It's me, and I have no reason to get rid of it just yet, but if it happens, and the time's right, it happens.”
You’re almost at 10 million followers on Instagram. What was it like when you hit your first million?
“It's so weird. I was shocked when five people followed me. The fact that there's almost 10 million people following me absolutely blows my mind. It's the coolest thing because I'm able to do what makes me happy and hope that I'm making other people happy in the process. We feel like really one big family on all of our platforms. We talk nonstop. I'm on my phone 24/7 - I engage so much.”
Are you very aware of the type of content you put out?
“With everything I do, I always try to be as vulnerable as possible. I’ve been okay with sharing my saddest times, my darkest times and also my happiest times because I think if we put on a mask and pretend like everything's okay always, then we're never going to see each other for who we really are. I think the more vulnerable I can be, the more comfortable.”
You also have a young fanbase…
“Even for me as a 19-year-old, I'll go online sometimes and look at, I don't know, some super famous people who are always looking perfect. To me it's like, okay, I'm happy they're happy, but I think we just need to be more authentic and honest with each other. Sometimes it's comforting to know, hey, you know what, I'm feeling sad, this person feels sad too, and it makes you feel like you're not alone.”
You seem pretty grounded. How do you stay so humble and down to earth?
“I got very lucky because I have really great people around me who even before social media, before everything, family is always number one. Super important. Family vacations. Every Friday we have Shabbat dinner. My grandparents live in my neighborhood. We do cousins trips. I got very lucky with the people around me, and I've also done a lot of things just for myself too and said no to a lot of things. I didn't for a while, but recently, like in 2020, like very recently, just trying to take more time for myself and say, it's okay to back off some times and go clear my head and make sure I'm okay.”
That’s a big theme we’ve noticed this year…
“You have to learn how to say no. It's very empowering. It's funny, at the beginning when I started all this, it was okay, yes, yes, yes to every opportunity. I think the more you say yes and the more you give yourself to other people, the more you lose in your own head. If you say no, you're keeping a little piece of yourself, and you're going to keep that happiness and that peace of mind.”