The multi-hyphenate discusses her path towards success, her creative inspiration, and the highs and lows of being a social media personality.
All photography by Isaac Alvarez
Stefanie Yunger is a multi-faceted entertainer and creative who is shaping her own story. Illinois-born, Miami-raised with Ukrainian Moldavian immigrant parents, she grew up around a wide array of cultures, and quickly became immersed in the world of entertainment, joining theatre groups and writing her own comedy sketches.
We now found Yunger as one of the hottest content creators on social media. Boasting an acumen for acting, producing, writing, comedy and directing, the impressive diversity of Yunger’s talent is plain to see across their social media content, which achieves huge numbers and augments its aesthetic with each passing release.
Yunger stopped by to discuss her path towards success, her creative inspiration, and the highs and lows of being a social media personality.
Read the interview…
Hi Stefanie! How are you? What does a day in the life look like for you currently?
Hi! A day in the life … hmm .. I’m currently pregnant and every day I feel like there is a new change in my body which is super cool and beautiful but also comes with certain challenges. Work wise, I am working on my live one-woman show I plan on touring next year, and putting out comedy sketches on social media as consistently as I can. A typical day consists of writing in my legal pads that take over our dining room table, brainstorming, filming, editing, and eating snacks. I allot 12 minutes a day to thinking about all the sushi I will eat once I give birth. Also, I call my mom almost every day. And by almost, I mean three times a day.
Tell us about the early beginnings of Stefanie Yunger! How has your upbringing influenced your career path?
I very much feel like I’m still in the beginning. Growing up, I didn’t speak English until I was about seven years old. My family came from Kiev, Ukraine and I was the first one born in the states, so being a first generation American has definitely shaped my point of view and the way I absorb things. I always liked to observe people and imitate them to my family from a young age. When I made my mom laugh, she would say “you just added 10 years to my life”, and as a kid, I took that literally. I just wanted to keep making her laugh so she lived forever. I would watch my favorite movies over and over and over and just study them. I still do that. I think like most theater kids, you have “the bug” and you just love entertaining and creating. That bug never left me. Gross!
What was your experience like living in Miami as a young child?
It was amazing! Miami is a melting pot, so I grew up with most of my friends not being fully American either which is great because I was immersed in different cultures from a very young age. We all would go over to each other’s houses and have food our families made for us, which were all so different. Tequeños changed my life. Being “different” is kind of normal there, so I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a city that embraces people from all walks of life. Also, I learned Spanish there, so that’s awesome.
Where do you find your creative inspiration from? And how do you stay creatively motivated?
I find creative inspiration everywhere – people I see, places I go, annoying situations, my past experiences, things that drive me crazy. Those are usually the best. My friends and family inspire me a lot. Sometimes I will work out of cafés to absorb the conversations and people around me – “what are they saying? Oh, he walks kinda funny. I wonder where she got those bright orange shoes from. What made her buy those shoes?” I’ll make up stories about people. I’m kind of a creep, just absorbing people around me. To stay creatively motivated, I genuinely love my job, and that drives me. I also give myself mental breaks when I need them. I used to feel guilty if I wasn’t doing something creative every day, but that pressure gave me anxiety and made me nervous. So now, when I feel like I’m out of juice, I give myself a break. And that actually helped me be way more productive. Who would’ve thought being nice to yourself can actually help you?!
You have amassed an impressive social media following with outstanding engagement. How did this all begin for you?
I never thought I’d be using social media the way I use it now. I was always afraid of social media a bit. But, I worked with this guy a couple years ago who told me I don’t have “a comedy look” and that really pissed me off. I’ve been doing improv, writing, and performing sketches and plays since I was a kid. I learned English because my mom put me in a local theater class. And this guy, who didn’t even really know me, was putting me in a dumb box. I obviously don’t have endless funds where I can finance a movie or a show (yet!), so the only way I could get my ideas out there was through social media. So, I promised myself I’d do it consistently for two years and see what happens, and it absolutely changed my life.
What is your favourite thing about your profession?
Expression, community, and creation. I really love comedy films and series, and I want to be a part of that world. I love the nuance and timing of comedy and constantly challenging myself to be better. I want to create things that make people laugh, feel less alone and also say “what the fuck” in the best way possible.
What is your opinion of the social media age we are living in currently?
I think that when it’s used as a tool to showcase your art, it can be fantastic. It unites people from all over the world and has given thousands of people, myself included, opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise. On the other hand, I think it wreaks havoc on mental health. We are not meant to constantly see what people are doing, eating, and experiencing every hour of every day. It creates insecurity, toxic comparisons, and skewed versions of reality. As much as it can unify people, it can isolate people as well. And of course, there are the trolls and bullies. I recently started to spend Friday night to Saturday night off my phone. I look forward to it all week.
Where do you wish to take your profession in the forthcoming years?
My goal is to create awesome experiences and quality content with great people. I’d like to have my television series created in the next couple years, which is a feat of its own to write it, pitch it, sell it and have it aired, oy! I’d love to work with other writers and directors in both the writer’s room and also as an actor. I am very inspired by the career trajectory of Phoebe Waller Bridge and Jordan Peele. They are both brilliant actors, writers, and creators that started with comedy. And of course, Jordan Peele is a world class director. And Phoebe is in a league of her own.
What projects are you most excited about at the moment?
My one-woman show that I am planning to have ready by May of next year. I promised myself I will be vulnerable and true with my vision and showcase my voice in a way that I never have before. It’s both scary and exciting. You can expect to see some fan favorite characters and impressions, mad sketches, WTF moments, observational humour, and a new character I’ve never shown publicly before … myself.
Connect with Stefanie on TikTok & Instagram.