Ton Travels taking career to next level with ‘Social House’ win
Influencer opens up about life in the public eye, forming bonds in the competition
It is officially a wrap on season two of The Social House and the local reality TV series that brought smiles and a bellyful of laughter to millions of viewers on YouTube every Wednesday has crowned its ‘ruler’ Tonya ‘Ton Travels’ Williams.
Consistently going full-out on all the challenges across the 10 weeks, the TikTok content creator walked away with a million-dollar cash prize and other tangible gifts. However, her time in the social house has taught her invaluable lessons about herself and her own strengths and given her a brand new family in the other five influencers who competed for the top spot. That, for her, was the greatest part of the journey.
“No matter what happened, each of us knew we had each other’s best interest at heart, and it was just like waking up every day and going to work but it felt fun, it never felt like work. It never felt like a drag. It just felt like I was going to be around my friends for a day and if I won, I won, and I think that was the greatest thing about it. I could not have asked for anything more,” Williams said.
Though she shared that the overall experience was particularly scintillating it was not without its down moment. From arguing and later mending fences with contestants Quite Perry, who came in third place, and Dancing Rebel, who was unable to complete the season due to work commitments, to testing her physical capabilities in the Squid Games challenge, Williams did it all. But those were not the only limits tested by the competition. As her platform expanded, so did her reach and audience and that opened her up to a wealth of criticism from viewers. But with her goals in sight even beyond the competition she pays very little attention to any sort of negativity.
“I don’t even bother myself any more to try to make people view me in a different light cause the brands that know me, and want to work with me, know who I am and those are the people who I work for,” Williams told The Gleaner.
“I am not going to lie and say it is easy all the time. Sometimes it gets to you to a point. We are human despite the fact that we are always in the spotlight. But the networking that I have done and the other creators that I have met and bonded with have definitely helped me realise that you are never going to be able to convince people of who you are and what your worth is so I have just adopted to the perspective of I know who I am and the people that appreciate me and appreciate my content know who I am and those are the people I am trying to reach,” she continued.
Furthermore, she noted that her time in the house has opened so many doors for her in terms of her career development and she plans to take brand ‘Ton’ to as far as her imagination stretches.
“The response from brands has been incredible because it showed a lot of people a different side of me that they may not have seen on TikTok, and it kind of opened everyone’s mind to who Ton Travels is. Brands have been incredible in terms of reaching out to me, and some that I would have never guessed would want to work with me have reached out, and it is just encouraging despite the fact that I am very hard to swallow and a little bit unconventional people appreciate me for who I am,” she explained.
Now with ‘a million in her account’ the affordable travel-guru-turned-reality-show-star is planning on making major career investments and is preparing to drop some merchandise very soon.
As the curtain closes on an unforgettable experience in her life, she is already cooking suggestions for what she thinks should happen in season three, and though she does not think she would return to the show, she knows that whoever the next batch of influencers are will have the time of their lives.
“There are a lot of other creators who could use the opportunity for exposure and just for the fun and the vibes that I enjoyed, and I would love to help out. I have so many ideas for like twists on the challenges and I am definitely going to write them down and give them to Tara (Playfair-Scott) but I want to see a little more twists on the challenges and even if they are the same challenges. I do think that anyone that comes on for season three will enjoy it as much as I did. I do think it is an incredible experience,” Williams said.
The series was conceptualised by Playfair-Scott, who has always been passionate about the development of homegrown entertainment. The Social House season one aired in 2021 and influencer Kerry-Ann ‘Chiney-K’ Collins took home the grand prize.
This season also featured Chad Luchey who placed fourth; Aaliyah ‘Lee Notnice’ Nixon who came in fifth overall, and Ethan ‘Yaadman Etan’ Campbell Reid who placed second. Quite Perry was also voted Fan Favourite. To arrive at the competition’s winner, producers looked at the leader board which carried 60 per cent of the weight, the producers’ pick at 20 per cent, the sponsors’ pick which valued 10 per cent, and the fan vote at 10 per cent.