Sara Hopkins on the struggles of being a viral star

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As with any career, the life of a social star has its ups and downs. For many, it's trying to leave the safety blanket of a conventional career behind for the uncertainty of social stardom. That's the exact predicament Vine phenomenon Sara Hopkins found herself in. For a while, Sara Hopkins balanced a day job as a broadcast journalist with her side project of making Vines. But as she became more and more viral, the balancing act was tough to overcome. And at the end of the day, she had to decide between the two careers.

Hopkins is quick to note that it was one of the toughest decisions of her life. But we think her struggle really paid off. Now, Hopkins is one of the most sought-after influencers in the social space, all thanks to her hysterical six-second videos and incredible Snapchats. She's been able to captivate the attention of over 680 million people -- and that number only continues to grow every single second.

We recently sat down with the viral social star to talk about the decision that changed her career and life forever. Ahead, find out what pushed her to pursue Vine full time, how her life has changed since she changed professions, and more.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including more Sara Hopkins features, click here.

When did you decide to pursue social media full time?
It was last August when I cut off my career. I was in hard news and doing Vine at the same time and I was getting job offers for social stuff. This was something I was doing for fun anyways and I didn't even know if I could do it. I asked my boss and he said yes. I ended up doing an interview with NPR and I said some specific details about dollar amounts that I shouldn't have, and it exploded. I was called out on my journalistic integrity since I was getting sponsorship for Vines. And my HR rep told me I have to make a decision, so I quit. They actually created a job in the sales department for me that afternoon so that I could stay. I would stay on air but on the sales side of the station. I did that for a while, but after a while I asked if I could do it part time so that I could focus on social media. So I did and then down the line I realized that I should devote myself to full-time on the platform.

Was that an easy decision for you?
Not at all! I was calling my mom every day on the hour every hour, going back and forth. It was such a struggle. I was mentally and emotionally torn because that's why I had gone to school for and trained for and paid all the big bucks to Auburn University for. And I was just not using my degree if I was going to be a Viner. I didn't know what to do and I loved the people I worked with. I prayed about my decision and was like "Give me a sign!" And then finally I got one offer to do something that I couldn't refuse. I took that as a sign and I did it.

How has your life changed since changing your profession?
It's been the most insane thing in the world. I get to do things and meet people that I could never have ever imagined. I got to be VIP at a Rihanna concert with Coca Cola last year and I was like, "How did I get here?! What's happening?" I can't stop pinching myself. I went to Cannes, France and was having meetings on the beach. I just couldn't stop pinching myself. A million things have changed. My schedule is never the same and being my boss is at times very challenging because I am so scatterbrained. Overall, it's nothing that I would have expected.

What was the reaction from your family and friends when you made the switch from journalist to Viner?
My parents are really supportive. When I graduated college I told my dad that I wanted to make videos and he was like, "No, you're going to get a real job." And he didn't realize that it could be a real job and a potential career if I put my mind to it. Once I started getting offers he saw the light. And now they're the biggest fans that I could have ever asked for. They know everything I do on social media. My friends, half of them are always asking me to tag them in posts and the other half are like, "Do not take a picture of me!" It all depends. But everyone is genuinely supportive.

What's one piece of advice you wish you had received before becoming a Viner?
Don't give out dollar amounts. But I think if I didn't do that, it wouldn't have pushed me to make a decision so I think everything happens for a reason. So I would be not be afraid of messing up. And now, I do not care. But it would be to not worry about what other people are saying. I never let it get to me too much. I wouldn't be where I am now if I let every comment ever that's negative get to me. But there were times where I would deeply take what everyone was saying to me. So I wish I knew that in the very beginning.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including more Sara Hopkins features, click here.

For more past YouShouldKnow stars, scroll through the gallery below:

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Sara Hopkins on the struggles of being a viral star
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