EXCLUSIVE! Katherine Zaino is the queen of relatable TikToks and Taylor Swift Insta captions

Katherine Zaino is the ultimate fangirl...except, this time, we're fangirling over her

Whether you're a Swiftie looking for your next forgotten Taylor tune to add to your playlist (looking at you, "Jump Then Fall"), a high schooler seeking out an authentic glimpse into NYC college life or just someone who unapologetically loves the things she loves (and isn't afraid to be open about it), let us be the "single thread of gold" to lead you to the 18-year-old content creator's account. Catch our drift, Swifties?

Has someone ever told you: You talk about <fill in the blank> so much—can't you just give it a rest? Or maybe you've been hit with the dreaded: Why are you even excited about that?! It's kinda weird. From your love of '90s rom-coms to your obsession with soccer to anything in between, it's sad to say that sometimes enthusiasm can make us all feel a little...uncool.

But not for Katherine Zaino, who's here to prove that the coolest girl you can be is, well, exactly who you are. It's why we couldn't wait to chat with her about her journey from regular high schooler to TikToker (with over half a million followers, nbd) plus bond over all things fangirl...

Girls' Life: So how'd you get your start on TikTok?

Katherine Zaino: It completely happened by surprise. It used to just be a fan account. Then, all of a sudden around early 2021, my videos—specifically about Taylor Swift and the music I love—just started to blow up. 

GL: How has it felt to grow your account and develop a larger following?

Katherine: First, I was just in shock but it's really fun. I never could have imagined this. It's not an extra thing that I have to, like, force myself to do. [Creating content] just feels organic because I post about what makes me happy. I'm really enjoying it. 

GL: How has your journey as a Taylor Swift fan fit into all this?

Katherine: I've been a fan for as long as I can remember—all throughout elementary school. I've always loved Taylor and her music and been passionate about music in general. Growing up, not even having a social media platform, I'd constantly wear Taylor shirts or make sure everyone knew what day her albums were coming out. When I got social media, it was like, "I already vocalize my love for Taylor and music in general so I may as well keep doing it on TikTok." 

GL: What's the coolest thing you've gotten to do so far as a content creator?

Katherine: I'm obsessed with the show The Summer I Turned Pretty. I got to go to a premiere party and the cast was there...that was one of those moments where I was just like: Wow, having this platform can lead you to some really cool things and amazing people. That was really cool.

But I think my favorite part [in general] is meeting new people. When I was at The Eras Tour, I'd meet girls who followed me and we'd trade bracelets and talk and everyone was so nice.

Must-have songs on a study playlist? "For Taylor, folklore or evermore songs or anything acoustic. Sometimes I do classical music, too. Or slower Harry songs, Fleetwood Mac and Noah Kahan."
The Taylor song you most want to hear on the next season of The Summer I Turned Pretty is... "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)."
Your go-to Taylor merch spots? "Obviously, Taylor's store is amazing. I love shopping around on small businesses on Etsy. In terms of concert outfits, Amazon is great, too!"

GL: Do you feel like you've changed since blowing up on TikTok?

Katherine: Not too much. I've actually become more confident through TikTok. Everyone has been so supportive when I post and that's helped make me more sure of myself and a little less self-conscious. But I see myself as just a student living my day-to-day life. 

GL: Biggest challenge of being a content creator is...

Katherine: Managing everything along with schoolwork. Sometimes it's like I live a double life. This wasn't something I ever planned for so figuring out how to balance everything has been a challenge. I have two planners—one for school and one for work—and I live by those! 

But TikTok has really opened my eyes to social media marketing so I think I want to pursue that field or something in that area. I'm studying marketing right now in college so I'm excited to see where it all takes me.

GL: Why do you think it's so important for girls to be open about what they love?

Katherine: Being vocal about what I love has made me so much happier. It also helps you discover new things about yourself and create a community with others who love what you love. Being passionate is going to make you so much more confident in the future! 

GL: Advice for aspiring content creators?

Katherine: Be as true to yourself as possible. If you're not being genuine, it's easy to get burnt out, so make sure you're posting what you want to post and what feels good. Also, find other people through social media and make those connections. I've connected with so many people over the years who love Taylor Swift and Harry Styles and One Direction. 

GL: Finally, which Taylor Swift era are you personally in right now?

Katherine: My 1989 era. I moved to New York City for school this fall. Anytime I walk outside in the lights, it's just so 1989. I feel electric and it's really, really fun. 

Heart this interview? Then read this next: 
💖 We're falling in love with Jenna Raine's new single "Big Dumb Heart" 
💖 GL readers spill on why 1989 (Taylor's Version) means *everything* to them
💖 "What's your Roman Empire?" Here's the random topic you can't stop thinking about...

All images: @katherinezaino 


by Katherine Hammer and Kayla Conroy | 11/22/2023