Hina Sabatine Is TikTok’s Favorite “Lesbian Parent” & An Internet Tour De Force
This month, TikTok star Hina Sabatine aka k8sabz is in the hot seat to answer our burning questions. In Next Question, Her Campus rapid-fire interviews emerging Gen Z talent about what it’s like to rule over the Internet.
You might know Hina Sabatine, who goes by k8sabz on TikTok, as the iconic lesbian parent character that’s taken over your FYP. If not, you know them for their “zodiac signs as” astrology videos. Or for their comedic “if they were honest” skits, or their fashion videos, or as the polyglot who speaks eight (yes, eight) languages. With such a wide-ranging and Gen Z-specific variety of content, it’s no stretch to assume that Sabatine has caught your attention at one point or another. And they plan to keep it — both on TikTok and beyond.
Sabatine admittedly doesn’t share much about their personal life with their followers. “I have almost a pseudo-openness on the internet, where I want people to feel like they know me, but I’m also a very private person and that takes precedence over my entire personality,” they say. “Even with my friends, I’m very secretive.” Meanwhile, their professional life is taking off: with 1.3 million followers and counting, Sabatine has become a TikTok force to reckon with, and is also breaking into the mainstream with appearances on shows like HBO Max’s 12 Dates Of Christmas. They are constantly learning to navigate these two sides of themself as they examine the impact of their platform on both them and their audience, which includes many young, queer creators.
“Context is the key word for a lot of online life,” Sabatine tells me. “A lot of things about me on the internet are lacking that context. Without the context, you don’t really understand why certain things are happening or why you’re seeing what you’re seeing.” Read on to learn a bit of that context, as well as Sabatine’s aspirations for the future of queer representation, and why they think Gen Z is going to change the world.
1. WHAT’S ONE THING THE INTERNET DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT YOU WISH THEY DID?
The internet’s a curation of my best self: I’m funny, and my big break on TikTok was languages, so I got to show that I’m smart, and things like that. But a lot of the things that I feel like make me a person, and who I am, are where my morals and my values lie. I think of myself to be inherently good. I’m a very friendly and outgoing person, and I try to put my friends in front of myself. I contribute to causes that I care about, which I don’t really display on the internet, because what’s a good deed if you want credit for it, right? So I feel like there are a lot of things I do behind the scenes that are testaments to my character, but that I don’t really display on the internet.
But if I had to pick one, I would say that I am definitely a person who’s gone through a lot in my life. I had a dicey childhood. Coming out was a big deal, because my parents were very conservative and very — they weren’t strict, but my parents refer to me as a “free-range child.” They didn’t really discipline me, so it was a lot of growing up and figuring out things for myself. When I’m on TikTok live and people ask me for advice, I often get the comment, “You’re really wise,” and, “You’re really well-spoken,” and it’s because I grew up really fast. I think that the depth doesn’t really get translated across comedy, or even across more intellectual content. So I feel like maybe that’s something that’s missing.
And also, I’m not always funny. I’m pretty chill, a go-with-the-flow kind of person, and I feel like that’s a side of me that isn’t really marketable, so it’s not something I put on the internet, but that’s something I wish that people would see.
2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE GEN Z IN THREE WORDS?
Free-thinking, revolutionary, and liberated. It’s a lot of these — not to be, like, Gen Z — but Age of Aquarius terms where it’s very forward-thinking, very much thinking about concepts that we haven’t thought about in the past.
I look at Gen Z and they’re actually what inspired me to make the content that I make, because when I first joined TikTok, I was seeing these people on my For You Page, 16, 17, 18 years old, talking about being gay. And when I was 16, 17, 18, I was so deeply closeted, and they inspired me so much because I was like, man, I can’t even imagine being so openly queer at that age. But they’re so brave, and the way that they think about themselves and understand themselves and the world is so much more mature. It has surpassed what I was at 16. I’m so impressed with them.
They are people who stand up for other people, people who care about what’s going on in the world, and I truly believe that they are the generation that’s going to change the world for the better. Because Millennials kinda got stuck with the short end of the stick, but Gen Z, I feel like they really do have a fighting chance.
3. WHICH ONLINE TREND ARE YOU TOTALLY OVER, AND WHICH IS HERE TO STAY?
Okay, this is very niche, but it’s specifically on queer TikTok: the top and bottom discourse in lesbian TikTok. I’m like, guys. Give it a rest! You know that one trend going around a couple months ago and it was a song, and they were like, “Do it without moving the camera,” and you had to do “bottom eyes” and “top eyes”?
The queer lesbian top-bottom discourse literally makes me want to pull my hair out, because what it tells me is that you’re a virgin, and that you don’t know anything about lesbian sex. I feel like the misconception is, 99% of lesbian intimacy is vibing, and there’s not really a moment where you’re like, oh, I’m a top, I’m a bottom. But you go on the internet, and young people who aren’t as experienced in that field are driving top and bottom discourse in a place that does not need to be discussed — because seldom is there a true top or a true bottom in lesbianism. That’s probably my biggest ick. I have muted the sound.
On the other hand, I love slice-of-life videos like, A Day In My Life In New York City. I’m so nosy. I love videos where people are just making their bed and making themselves coffee, and it’s like, artfully filmed. I just love feeling like I’m involved in people’s intimate spheres like that. I wish everyone did that so I could see what everyone’s up to. It feels like you’re just a fly on the wall in someone’s life and I’m literally obsessed with that kind of content.
That trend, and I love all of the drag trends, just in general. There’s this one guy who does these amazing transitions, and he’s just like, some guy, and the next thing you know, he’s a fabulous drag queen. I’ve tried to do transition videos — it’s so much harder than it looks. I give people so much credit. It’s like math. Camera angles, hands… I’m like, this is a lot. This is a whole science that I haven’t unlocked yet. So props to them.
4. WHAT ARE YOU MANIFESTING FOR THE NEXT STAGE OF YOUR CAREER?
The reason I love doing what I do is because I feel like I get to be representation that I didn’t get when I was the age of my audience. Queer, nonbinary lesbian representation — that’s still quite new. HBO Max’s 12 Dates of Christmas put everyone’s pronouns in their bio because I was nonbinary, and it’s those kinds of moments that make me think, okay, me existing is creating a difference in some effect. And with that, I feel like my goal for the next step is just creating more queer representation in whatever way that looks.
My dream is to sell a TV show, to sell a comedic skit comedy show, to Netflix or a major streaming platform, and then casting queer people, hiring queer production, and just giving queer people a space to highlight their gifts and talents. Because going back to TikTok, TikTok is the only platform I can even think of in which queer people and queer voices, people of color, those voices are not suppressed by an algorithm, and in fact they’re uplifted. And people who resonate or relate to that kind of content will continually see that kind of content. It empowers queer creators, and I don’t know of a single other platform that empowers queer creators in the way that TikTok does.
So using this as a stepping stool, I want to create more mainstream queer content, because exposure is normalization, and the more that people see it, the more that people are like, oh yeah, this is totally normal. Like my lesbian parent series — that’s the most successful series on my TikTok, and I think that the novelty of it is that nobody’s ever seen a lesbian parent character in TV in the same way that my character is. And there’s so much unprecedented space for queer characters that writers could be taking a chance on, but they’re not because they’re afraid: oh, maybe this audience will be too niche if I make this a lesbian character. But no, look, there’s an interest for it. And with my platform, I hope to just show that there is a need, a desire, and an audience for queer representation that we just aren’t getting yet, and how successful they could be if they just took a chance on more queer representation.
5. WHAT ARE THE FIRST THREE SONGS ON YOUR SPOTIFY “ON REPEAT” PLAYLIST?
I would say consistently I listen to three songs. I probably listen to them every day.
“Shorty DooWop” — Baby Bash
“If You Want Me To Stay” — S.L.Y and the Family Stone
“Hurt Feelings” — Mac Miller
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The post Hina Sabatine Is TikTok’s Favorite “Lesbian Parent” & An Internet Tour De Force first appeared on Her Campus.