Lisa Dollan, also known as Yorkshire Peach is a Tik Tok creator with over half a million followers. Lisa makes content that compares the US with the UK, including taste tests, slang and cultural differences. Her name, Yorkshire Peach comes from her roots in Georgia, USA, as the state is known for its peaches, with the Yorkshire incorporated as she moved to Leeds when she was pregnant with her son, Lucas.
I first came across Lisa’s account some time ago now and loved seeing her draw comparisons between the countries. Having spent some of my university experience in Georgia, USA, and more time in Yorkshire, UK, I knew we’d have lots to chat about. It was lovely to meet a creator who is as down-to-earth as Lisa, and hilarious at the same time. She can be the light-hearted and funny Tik Tokker, and the sensitive, inspiring mother. I came away from speaking to her feeling reflective. She’s an incredible lady. Now on to the interview!
A lot of your brand is based on US vs UK content, take me back to where the story starts, in the US. What brought you over to the UK?
“I moved here to the UK almost 8 years ago from Columbus, Georgia. Most people don’t know that area so I normally say Atlanta as it’s about an hour away! People often confuse my home town with Columbus, Ohio, which is a much larger city!
My husband, Paul and I met in 2009/2010 at a business meeting in Edinburgh. I was over there for about 21 days, and we were both in financial services at the time. We got hanging out and talking until I asked him out on a first date! We hit it off instantly, as we had so much in common with things we like. I’m quite the social butterfly, and he’s more shy! Not to be cliche but it was love at first sight thing if you like. Our story started there and we were long-distance for several years after I fell in love with him, and fell in love with the UK very quickly. Paul was having some trouble getting his visa sorted, and after falling pregnant in 2014, we decided to move to his hometown, in Leeds so he could work with the new arrival coming! We were going to stay in the states for a bit longer but as I got more and more pregnant, we realised we had to go with no success with Paul’s visa.“
How did you find moving over to the UK?
“At this point, I was about 2 years sober from my previous addiction, so I was ready for a new beginning. Old places, old playmates. It was really good for me to move here on a fresh slate. When I moved here I instantly had friends because the recovery fellowship I’m in has meetings all over the place. I managed to meet people right away as they took me in.”
Do you think returning to the US would be on the cards?
“I think my husband would like to go back to the US. We live in his hometown where he has been for all of his years so he’s a bit like “ergh get me out of this village”, you know? So I think he’s itching to move back but I am a bit keener to stay here for obvious reasons if you watch my Tik Tok’s but I’d be open to it. I don’t think I’d go back down South but we may look at places out West or something like that. But then again, I’d like to be close to my Mom and Dad since I’m an only child and they’re getting older. I expect we will have a move coming up in the next few years but I don’t know whether it’ll be within Europe or heading back to the States… I’m not sure yet! I don’t know what’s on the cards for us, so we’ll see!”
Tell us about your career before Tik Tok?
“I stayed home with my son, Lucas for a while and suffered from some mental health issues after I had him. So that was a difficult time but the NHS was great hence why I’m such a huge advocate for the NHS and so passionate about it because they really stepped in and saved my life ultimately. Because of that I didn’t go back to work straight away and stayed home just to stay with him and get better. After this, I went into marketing which is what I went to university for and started doing digital/online marketing with an agency in Leeds. I did that for a few years until it packed in due to Covid-19.”
How did your Tik Tok journey start?
“I started my Tik Tok just before the lockdown after I saw a post on Facebook of a Tik Tok. At that point, the only social media I was on was Facebook! I landed on the app from there and started flicking through the videos as you do and immediately loved the layout of it. I loved how one person was singing then the next person was doing a cartwheel, then the next person was flipping! It was just all kinds of crazy stuff. I also liked the disconnect of the app as I didn’t know anyone on it, and they didn’t know me! That really attracted me to the platform because there was no judgement there. Initially, I opened the account to post videos about mental health and addiction with the things I have gone through, then that random KFC chicken goujon video came about! From there it just went a different way. I do try and sneak in some mental health/addiction videos sometimes when I can as that is where my passion lies but you do have to be careful on Tik Tok as there is a lot of trigger words that cause posts to get taken down, even when they are posted with good intentions.
I’m such a social person so I struggled a lot with my anxiety at the start of lockdown, so staying put in my house was really difficult. I found connecting with people on my live streams and Tik Tok really helped me keep that connection with people.”
Your first viral video was about KFC! For those who don’t know, tell us what the video was about, and how your account adapted from there?
“I went to KFC and tried to order chicken fingers and I had no idea that that video would be the one to go viral! I made a video calling them chicken ‘Goo-Lee-Ons’, mispronouncing goujons with so much confidence! I went to bed with 500 followers and woke up with 15,000 and the video had gone viral. The views just kept going up and up! That was the first time I thought ‘well, people seem to like this American vs UK thing’ and it just went from there! I continued to do lots of taste tests as well as discussing the social differences such as culture. Every day’s a school day! After being here for 7 years, you’d think the differences would start to run out but I still learn 5 to 10 a day!
I think a lot of Brits see America as Kim Kardashian and all of that, and it’s not. It’s the same for me, a lot of Americans think about the UK and just picture London and the Queen and think that’s it.
From there, I started posting some tasting videos and the growth has been gradual from there. There has been peaks and troughs. I’ve had a few viral videos in the last few months that has bumped me up quite quickly and recently being put in mainstream media has boosted me up too. I’ve recently been featured in The Independent, The Sun, LADBible and a few others which have driven people over to my accounts.”
What has been the most rewarding part of being a creator on Tik Tok?
“I’ve gone live a few times to share my recovery story, discussing what happened to me with my addiction to alcohol and prescription pills. The feedback from those lives is incredibly rewarding. I’ve had people message me saying they felt supported or helped people to not feel alone. During the lockdowns, many people suffered from mental health and addiction and where I am quite a vocal person, I feel it’s important for me to share my story so people don’t feel alone. Those moments are so rewarding, which is why I’d like to take my Tik Tok down that route or have a section for it, to be more focused on mental health.
I like doing the funny stuff but anything I can do to help people who are dealing with addiction or their mental health, my heart pulls towards that.”
On the other hand, what is the most difficult part of being a Tik Tok creator?
“You always get the odd troll! I used to get bothered by things but, A) as you grow, people somehow become nicer. They act different depending on whether you have 1,000 or 100,000… it’s sad but true. I don’t get near as much hate as I used to and B) I don’t have as much time to read through all the comments now to see them at all. People sometimes say “did you see what so-and-so said” and I have no idea what so-and-so said because I can sift through my comments as easily now! I do have the mentality ‘if you’re not getting hate, you’re not getting great’ so I think hate is just a part of growth. Most of it comes from jealousy, but if you put yourself out there in the social media world, you just have to grin and bear it. A chunk of my hate comes from Americans after I had a viral video explaining the huge costs of giving birth in the US. Those that didn’t like the video seemed to be quite patriotic and sensitive to the issue but not all of them are like that! The majority of my followers are from the UK though!”
What was the learning process like with coping with hate or trolls?
“I’ve had a year of it and there were definitely growing pains in the first few months where things would really bother me. I kind of made a decision then that if I was going to go on this path, I’d have to get some thick skin about me. Where I have had moments in my life where I was in really dark places, when I’ve been depressed, anxious or in the height of my addiction, I wasn’t a nice person. I said some nasty things to people I really care about. When I read hateful comments, I just think that person must be in a dark place. Not in a patronising way but for people to comment such horrific things, you question what’s happening in their personal lives. I just delete the comments when I see them. You never know nowadays if the comments are from a 13-year-old or a 50-year-old! Every once in a while a comment can bother me, but I delete it and after 20 minutes I will have moved on. The good far outweighs the bad.”
We all can see that your British audience loves your content, but how have your American viewers took to it?
“Well, there are some more liberal Americans who are a bit more like me where they see some cracks in the system with healthcare, gun policies and things like that. But then again I do get some saying “how could you turn your back on your country” and things like that but I just tend to ignore ones like that. A lot of people assume I now hate America but I don’t at all. There are tons of good people and good things there but I am going to share my truth and experience. I was failed by my doctors in the US, they prescribed me highly addictive painkillers for minor injuries. I don’t blame the doctors because I believe I was born an addict but I was prescribed medicines that you’d only get at the end of your life in the UK for an ingrown toenail. It led me to a really dark place.”
You raise a huge amount of awareness for mental health and addiction, why is it important to you to use your platform to talk about these topics?
“Using your platform: I’ve always been quite open and I know so many people are quite private but as I am open, I feel a duty to share. In the fellowship I’m in, we are all about anonymity and trust, no one could pay me enough to tell them some celebrities who have come through the fellowship doors. We don’t believe in that. We believe in anonymity. I am open about my struggles but that is a personal choice. As cliche as it sounds, I do recover out loud so others don’t feel alone. I have found Brits to be more private and quiet within their struggles. It isn’t the norm to say ‘I’m anxious’ or ‘I’m having suicidal thoughts’. I like to think that because I am open, others may see me and think ‘maybe this is something I can talk about’. I like sharing my stories online.”
What Tik Tokkers do you look up to?
“I love the body positivity Tik Tok accounts! I think about when I was young, you were only considered ‘beautiful’ if you were super thin, but that’s not the case anymore and I love that. We are starting to acknowledge that beauty comes in different forms. Liv, (@SelfLoveLiv) was one of the first Tik Tokkers who I started watching. She does videos on body positivity, her mental health journey and her experiences working at Ann Summers! She’s brilliant. I love her balance of the serious mental health side with a bit of body positivity and the funny content. The versatility of her page is really wholesome. I’d like my account to be a bit more like hers!
Karen Cas is brilliant (@KarenCassssss)! She does acting videos impersonating different teachers. She’s great, I’ve followed her since day one. I love Lawrence as well (lawrencetiktok90) – he has been documenting all of his weight loss journey. We talk regularly and he’s recently moved up North so he’s not far from me now! He’s so genuine and lovely. I’m also good friends with imjoshfromengland2 – he’s crazy but he’s great! He’s a great friend. Dr Julie (@DrJulieSmith) is great for her mental health content too.
Eden Harvey is also a great friend to me (@edenharvzofficial). Eden and I have been together from the beginning since I was at around 500 followers and she had around 1,500. We would just show support on each other’s videos and I feel so lucky that we have been on this journey together ever since. It’s been so nice to watch her grow. Even though she’s 23 and I’m 39, it’s like she’s the adult and I’m always calling on her for help. She’s very wise. I love her.”
What is something that some people may not realise about Tik Tok?
“One thing I would say is that a lot of people are under the impression that you have to be good at technology to succeed on Tik Tok. I am horrible with technology! I don’t know how to use anything tech-wise, it’s an absolute joke! My husband has to fix everything and set up my new devices, and I was in digital marketing for years! I would say to people, you don’t have to be technical to do well on Tik Tok. I’ll be honest I don’t even know how to use the damn app! I’m always asking Eden for advice!
If Tik Tok is something you’re looking into doing, be authentic, be yourself! The videos where you are just being you tend to do well, it’s not the ones that are super planned or scripted! It truly is just about showing your true self.
People ask me ‘what is it like being Tik Tok famous’ and I’m like ‘what?’ What does that even mean? My life is still pretty normal and in terms of monetary from Tik Tok, I make very little. I have had some brands reach out to me but I want my videos to stay authentic. I’m happy to help out small businesses that I believe in but I don’t want to become too commercialised. I want to stay true to my following.”
You mentioned your son, Lucas, earlier on. He has quite a unique upbringing with an American Mum and British Dad. Can you see that combination of cultures in him?
“In more recent years he’s starting to appreciate the fact that his ‘Mummy’s American’ and ‘Daddy’s British’. I think he thinks it’s quite cool that I’m American. We did visit the US when he was 5 and he just kept asking “why can’t we move to your land?” He loved it but it was the middle of summer, he was in the swimming pool all day every day but kids are kids! He is great. He’s a bit of me and a bit of his dad. He’s much more reserved and private than me which he definitely gets from his Dad but he is quite fun and quirky like me. I recently uploaded a video of his accent! He has a friend in his class who has a really broad Yorkshire accent and he’s started to pick up on little words! In the last few months, he’s started sounding really Northern!”
Your journey so far has been terrific, but what’s next for the Yorkshire Peach?
“I’d like to branch out to more mental health content as I mentioned. I want to talk more about my experience with postpartum depression and psychosis as I think we need more awareness of it. I’d also like to make content on things that would’ve helped me when I was getting sober without sounding like a medical professional. The last thing I want is people asking me for professional advice, I’m not a doctor, but I can share things that helped me on my journey. I have so many different ideas for things to share in terms of US vs UK comparisons! I don’t know how Tik Tok will react and how my American followers will react but I’ve come to accept that it’s quite a fickle thing. I could wake up in the morning and my account could be gone, it happens to people every day but that’s just how it is! You can’t bank on it as something you can depend on which is scary. Part of me wants to go into the mental health and addiction side of Tik Tok but another part of me wants to go back into marketing so I’m not sure. I don’t know what the future holds for me! We’ll just have to wait and see!
It’s been a good journey, interesting but really positive.”