The Stars of Happy Hazel Talk Mental Health, Social Media Balance and the Key to Real Happiness
Happy Hazel is anything but your average YouTube series.
This new show from Radiant Studios follows Hazel, a YouTube sensation with 11 million followers, whose glowing and positive online persona doesn't quite match how she feels in real life—and her personal struggle with mental health makes that gap increasingly apparent.
In the series, Sabrina Haskett plays the titular Hazel, while Zach Tinker plays the very offline aspiring chef Keith, whose viewpoints lead Hazel to challenge her own perceptions. We got the chance to ask both stars about the series and their characters, and why this discussion is so important. Keep reading to find out what they both had to say.
Sweety High: What can you tell us about the series and your characters?
Sabrina Haskett: Happy Hazel is a short series about a YouTube creator/social media influencer and her struggle with mental health as she navigates the balance between who she shows on screen versus who she is in real life. Similar to how Hazel struggles with the pressure of social media, I (Sabrina) do as well. Trying to find a balance of being honest and vulnerable, without being too honest or vulnerable, is very challenging for me. However, unlike Hazel, I do not have millions of followers, nor do I have a house in Malibu! I'm also very blessed with a supportive family and friends who are there for me when I need them, while Hazel, on the other hand, does not.
Zach Tinker: Keith is a very introspective dude— he definitely lives from the inside, out. He views social media as something stressful— and I can relate to that, too. In the age of social media, it's so easy to compare and contrast yourself to others and give yourself a hard time. I am not a good cook at all, as opposed to Keith, though!
(via YouTube/Radiant Studios)
Sweety High: What do you love most about being a part of the series?
Sabrina Haskett: I love that I get to be a part of Radiant Studios' effort to spark meaningful conversations that aren't usually talked about. Mental health is such a huge problem and so often linked to social media. I feel very honored to be able to tell Hazel's story and I hope that in doing so, I'm able to connect with those who can relate with Hazel, and give them some kind of hope and comfort to know they aren't alone.
Zach Tinker: I love sharing a story that's so relevant and surprisingly not talked about very often. Social media has become so ingrained in our culture, that it has become pretty "baseline." This series dissects this and really shows how social media affects our mental health.
Sweety High: What do you think the story says about a sometimes unhealthy obsession with outward appearances?
Sabrina Haskett: I think when it comes to social media, oftentimes people can compare their lives to the lives they see. They look and seem perfect, when in reality, they aren't. Hazel especially shows her "best life" on social media, which is why it may seem so hard to understand how she's struggling mentally. In reality, what's seen on social media is very rarely
the whole story.
Zach Tinker: I think it shows that no matter how much time you spend glued to your phone, at the end of the day, you have to pull yourself away from the screen and be alone with your own thoughts and feelings. If you aren't confident in yourself without having to be told online by friends and strangers, well—that's just not a recipe for happiness.
Sweety High: What are your personal tips for keeping your career life separate from your personal life?
Sabrina Haskett: Honestly, I struggle with this myself more often than I'd like to admit, but I've found one thing that helps me—find friends or family who you can trust to help you and keep you grounded. When I'm having a difficult time, I lean on them.
Zach Tinker: I think we have an urge to post things online that maybe we should keep to ourselves. If we're feeling sad and want to feel validated, or angry, and want to get back at someone, we now have the ability to post something, rather than ruminate over it and process our emotions. I think sleeping on an action and thinking it over is always important to do.
Sweety High: How do you personally cultivate your own happiness?
Sabrina Haskett: I love music. Music is my escape when I'm having a rough day. I write, sing or listen to music depending on my mood. It's a
great stress reliever for me, personally. In fact, the director even incorporates my personal love for music in with Hazel's character, which was really fun for me. In the first episode the cover she does for her video is actually me singing! You'll see in the upcoming episodes that they begin to show her lean on music as a therapy, as well. Super cool.
Zach Tinker: I try to keep myself busy. For me, when I don't feel productive, I can get depressed. So I'm always trying to do something—working out, working on my craft, watching something I think is interesting, being with friends, etc. I think growth is the way to happiness, at least for myself!
Sweety High: Sabrina, can you tease anything about your upcoming film, Moxie?
Sabrina Haskett: Unfortunately I can't say much, but if you're interested in the movie, it's based on the book Moxie written by Jennifer Mathieu, so I highly recommend reading it!
Curious? Check out the first episode below:
Thinking of spending less time on social media? Click HERE to find out the unexpected benefits of breaking up with your phone.