(KRON) — Mia Mastrov has 690,000 TikTok followers.
“I honestly was just doing it for fun. I remember in high school just putting some things on there, there wasn’t any pattern as to what would go viral per se,” said Mastrov.
Millions of views later, Mastrov isn’t quite so cavalier. Thanks to the groundbreaking 2021 legislation that allows student-athletes to profit off their own name, image, and likeness, Mastrov, a sophomore on the Cal basketball team, is one of the top female earners in all of college sports.
“My teammates who aren’t necessarily wanting to build up their socials and start out I always tell them, I’m always on their heads like ‘why aren’t you posting more, why aren’t you posting more,’ like why not?” she said.
It’s a good question.
Mastrov earns money by partnering with brands to advertise their products in Instagram posts and TikTok videos. Her teammates are often prominently featured, but ultimately, Mastrov’s brand is herself.
“I try to stay true to myself in that sense, and pair and partner with brands that I think reflect my beliefs as a student-athlete, as a woman, as an entrepreneur,” she said. “It’s tough to figure out which brands I want to work with because it could be in other people’s eyes, a great brand or great company, but because it doesn’t match me and my brand, it’s something that I might have to pass up.”
For a student-athlete, adding business negotiations to the to-do list can be overwhelming. So Mastrov works with a team of people to handle her partnerships. Even so, balancing a brand with the demands of a student-athlete is far from easy.
“There’s times when I’m up super late just finishing a homework assignment or forgetting that I had content due that my agency’s reminding me about, and I’m like crap,” she said. “So I’m still figuring it out, and I think every student-athlete is going through it just trying to figure it out together, so we’re kind of all in the same boat just navigating it since it’s still so recent and new.”
Still, not every student is figuring it out quite as well as Mastrov, for whom a post on Instagram or TikTok can be worth thousands of dollars.
Has that led to any jealousy from her peers?
The answer, she said simply, is no.
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“My teammates are always supporting me, always in my corner, and my friends at other programs too are just always super happy for each other,” she said. “So I think it’s kind of a female empowerment in that sense, we’re all kind of building each other up, and happy for each other, and always wanting to look at each other in the best life and see each other win.”
Though Mastrov’s life is focused on wins on the court, in the classroom, and in business, the media studies major isn’t sure whether what she’s doing now is part of her long-term plan.
“I don’t know what it is that I’m going to do, but I know basketball’s always going to be involved in my life no matter what,” she said. “So whether it be sports broadcasting, or still making content, I will definitely keep sports in my life because they’re a part of who I am completely.”
Whatever she decides, hundreds of thousands of social media followers will be along for the ride.