( ENSPIRE Interviews ) Tik Tok Star Isaiah Garza on His Upbringing and Giving Back
ENSPIRE Contributor: Liam Marks
Isaiah Garza is an activist, influencer, and designer based out of Los Angeles. He has amassed a following of over eight million across almost all social media platforms including TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. He has crafted many jewelry pieces worn by celebrities such as Rihanna, Cardi B, and Pete Davidson just to name a few. Originally from Yakima, Washington, Isaiah Garza and his family struggled with poverty and homelessness for most of their lives. Many of his friends who he could talk to were unfortunately taken away, turning to drugs and crime, but Isaiah had bigger dreams.
Eventually, Isaiah’s family moved to Los Angeles, where he had to live in their car facing the troubles of being robbed and tormented. The family continued to work odd jobs to save enough to move into an apartment in downtown Los Angeles. The family would move back and forth from the apartment to their car, using their apartment as an Airbnb for other occupants to gain more money. Isaiah then had his breakthrough when the jewelry he had refined and made was seen on Rihanna on a French magazine cover. The entire inventory sold out on his website that same day. From there he only kept moving up. Isaiah started filming TikToks of giving back to the homeless, videos from makeovers and trips to Disneyland to buying an entire house for a family.
ENSPIRE spoke with Isiah about his philanthropy work.
How were you able to do these amazing gestures while you were still a smaller creator and living in your situation?
I was literally saving each & every penny I had & using it for videos. Sometimes I would put together all the change I could find & cash it out just to hand someone $50 who was in need. I think when you want something bad enough you will find a way to make it happen. I’m extremely motivated & inspired by helping people so it’s actually really easy for me to sacrifice my time/resources to do so.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Honestly, I still feel like when I returned to my hometown of Yakima, WA, and spoke to all the elementary, middle & high schools there was one of my greatest achievements! I always told myself someday I was going to do amazing things in my life & chase my dreams. I made a promise to myself that someday I would return to my hometown & inspire the community & next generation there. So it was amazing to come in as a motivational speaker about my story to the kids in my hometown & help them see regardless of where you come from anything is possible!
What inspired all of this?
Growing up in poverty and seeing my family struggle as a kid definitely created me into the person I am today. I’ve also been homeless multiple times since moving to LA and which really moved me into becoming a philanthropist. I used to sleep in abandoned office buildings in LA & I would always tell myself someday things will be different. I would tell myself someday I’m going to change the world & inspire the next generation. So when I was sleeping on those concrete floors at night I was dreaming of what I would do to help people once I had the resources.
Who is your biggest motivator?
My mom & dad for sure. They always believed in me & have been my biggest fans since day 1. I also think fear is a motivator for me. I love doing things now that maybe a few years ago I feared. It helps me grow.
Tell us about what you are working on now L2L, KFC, etc?
L2L (Last2Leave: Miami) is so awesome! I was brought on as a creator to L2L and we moved into this amazing house in Miami in partnership with Live Nation & Underscore management. We are attending literally the biggest festivals & events while creating so much fun content. I think we are definitely doing something nobody has done before & I’m excited for what the future holds in our house.
Collaborating with KFC is literally a dream come true. My goal was and always will be to help communities around the world. So when I got the call that KFC wanted my help to donate $500,000 to nonprofits fighting hunger, it really felt surreal. Made me feel like I’m at the right place at the right time and all my hard work is paying off.
I’m also currently working on my single called Runaway! Super excited to release my first single & spread my message through music. The song is about mental health, perseverance & overcoming self-doubt!