How TikTok transformed Emmy Raine Curtis’ sports career

U of T student's impressive presence has sent her around world

Emmy Raine Curtis posing with the TikTok logo in Sydney, Australia while attending the FIFA Women's World Cup on behalf of the platform (@emraine/Instragram) 

Emmy Raine Curtis began posting on TikTok to document her experience as a young woman navigating an overtly male-dominated sports industry.

Nearly two years and 29,000 followers later, the content-creator received an invite from the company to attend the FIFA Women’s World Cup due to her success with the platform, and now she is encouraging others to do the same.

Despite the prevalence of influencers with greater view counts and a larger number of followers, the University of Toronto-Centennial College joint program student attributes her success to the discovery of opportunities within unexplored avenues.

“I think using social media but also finding my niche and being able to network with my niche has been a difference maker,” Curtis said, on an internet video call. “Just the ability to use TikTok, create content and to put out your personal brand for millions of people to see every single day […] it’s so flexible and anyone can do it, truthfully.”

Within that niche, Curtis covers everything from gameday summaries to inspirational videos documenting the life of a woman in the world of sports reporting.

Pathway to Toronto

Curtis grew up in Abbotsford, B.C. with an ambitious father, hopeful one of his two daughters would parallel his devotion to sports. As such, she competed on a variety of teams, with basketball being at the forefront throughout her adolescent years.

With a mutual love for theatre and athletics, the realization that the two could coincide prompted Curtis to consider a career in sports reporting. She recieved a merit scholarship to attend Syracuse University — her dream school — but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the high school student to pivot.

“That’s all I had thought of my whole high school and middle school career was going to Syracuse, and now suddenly it’s a week until university applications are due in Canada and I have done zero research,” she said.

“I have zero motivation to do any research ’cause I don’t want to go to school in Canada, and now my dreams and goals of going to the (United) States are just — they’re gone.”

Curtis then made the 4,000+ kilometer move to attend the University of Toronto – the only Canadian school she applied to. While unsure whether this will remain her home, the community she has built is enough to keep her around for the time being.

“I’d like to move to the States – I think that in terms of my career, that really is the next step in getting to the next level,” Curtis said.

“I’m happy to be in Toronto. I have a great community in Toronto. And I wouldn’t have changed moving here. I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Asked about the sway of moving to Toronto over residing in Vancouver, Curtis emphasized the plentiful number of opportunities that exist within the 905. Surely enough, this proved to be true for the west coaster, who acquired an internship opportunity with TSN and now works for the company as a story editor.

From TikTok to the World Cup

The creation of TikTok’s began as a leisure activity to document her experiences in a new city. Through the success of her own platform, Curtis was able to create content on TikTok for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and HOOPQUEENS.

Last year, Curtis was afforded the opportunity to attend two World Cups at just 20-years-old. She earned the opportunity as Team Leader of Media Operations at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar through a message she sent to Soccer Canada on Instagram, but she regards attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with TikTok as the greatest accomplishment of her career to date.

“Qatar was huge for me, but I think the Women’s World Cup was probably the number one just because, like, TikTok being a huge name brand,” Curtis said.

“For TikTok to just notice me as a creator and as a woman in sports with such a smaller following really just made me realize the impact that my account can have and the impact that our community has had,” she said.

“And that was really special ’cause I went from being a worker at the World Cup in Qatar — like, working — to being in the VIP section at the finals match.”

As the sports environment remains relatively male dominant, the negative backlash she received as her profile grew was originally puzzling to navigate. Through helpful words of inspiration from her mother, Curtis pushed through the negativity and now recieves more promising than disheartening messages on social media.

“I started off to document my journey, and then very quickly realized that people were actually paying attention and realized that there was like, actually, a niche for this kind of women in sports community that I didn’t realize was really a thing,” she said.

“It did start to evolve into girls coming up and saying ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve seen your TikTok — you’ve inspired me to work in sports’ which is still crazy to me that I get that because I am also just finding my way in sports,” Curtis said.

“The fact that I can inspire girls to do exactly what I’m doing just by posting on TikTok […] I’m grateful for it every day.”

Victoria Paulus, a classmate of Curtis’ at the University of Toronto, shared how discovering the content creator on social media encouraged her to pursue a career in sports.

“Before I met [Curtis], I would always see her on my ForYou Page on TikTok and I’d be like, ‘Wow, this girl seems so amazing’ and then I met her and she’s just as genuine and inspiring in real life as she is on her social media,” Paulus said.

“Emmy is the most hard working person I’ve ever met. She puts her work first, and everything she’s accomplished came from so much time, effort, heart and dedication.”

In discussing what is next for her career, Curtis recognized that her goals have shifted as she has worked consistently in the soccer realm. She beamed while discussing her excitement for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, which will partially take place in Vancouver.

“I feel like my career has really gone down this soccer path and there could be a lot of great things to come with soccer,” Curtis said. “My current goal is to be a reporter at the FIFA World Cup in 2026.”

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Posted: Oct 1 2023 4:29 pm
Filed under: Sports Spotlight On Small Biz