The Woman Behind the Snapchats: LaNia Roberts
By now most people on campus know who LaNia Roberts is. She's reached campus celeb status due to her uplifting Snapchat stories (most notably her weather updates), which frequently make an appearance on Syracuse University’s “Our Campus Story.” Jerk caught up with SU's favorite amateur meteorologist to talk about her newfound fame, all the YikYaks, and of course, the weather.
First things first, what is the weather like today? Like I said in my weather report this morning, it is a beautiful day today. This is smiling weather — you can’t do anything but smile in this weather. Bright blue skies, sun, and everything. The sun is shining so much you have to squint your eyes so you’re automatically smiling.
How did weather by LaNia start? What was the inspiration for it? It’s so funny because the story hasn’t really ever been told until I got on "Our Campus Story." I do weather reports, like, everyday and I’ve been doing them since November when I first got Snapchat. That was when it was just starting to get cold — I walked outside and it beautiful and the sun was shining. I thought, “Oh, I have to snap about this.” I got on Snapchat and was like “Oh my god, it’s so beautiful, I’m going to be smiling all day. The sun is shining," this and that, all smiles.
But you know when it’s cold outside and it feels good at first, but then you’re walking and the wind gets to you? And you think, “Hold up, this is not as good as it seems.” That started happening to me as I walked further away from my dorm. It was the first time that I felt those cold winds of Syracuse... It was horrible. I remember everything was blowing. So for the next Snapchat, I had to take back what I said. I was about to be giving people false reactions and false thoughts on what the day was like. So I got on my Snapchat again, and the wind was blowing, so my hair was blowing back and I was like, “Fuck this shit, fuck it! I can’t believe this shit, I take it back, I take it back.”
I got a couple funny responses to that and the second one was titled “Weather by LaNia.” I was thinking about the weather reporters reporting in the field during hurricanes and stuff like that.
At what moment did you realize "Weather by LaNia" made you a local celebrity? The first report got on the campus story two days before spring break, and then my friend showed me a YikYak post about my weather reports. I found that funny because YikYak is supposed to be so anonymous, but as time went by I was the only non-anonymous name on there. Then after spring break I did weather reports every morning of that week and they all got featured on the campus story.
That next Tuesday, I sent one in and there were an uproar of YikYaks about me. I was really paranoid those first couple of days because I was walking around and didn’t know who knew me anymore.
How does the newfound fame feel? Honestly, I really love it. I really enjoy it. I’ll go out and there will be a constant meeting of new people who I would’ve maybe never met.
I’ve always wanted to affect people positively. I love to make people happy and feel good about themselves. That’s what makes me happy. The fact that I’m doing that for a lot of people on this campus — that’s amazing.
The first couple of days, I didn’t understand that. I was even weirded out at one point. But then I realized this doesn’t happen to everyone. I need to suck all of this in while this lasts — take that picture with that person; if they ask for an autograph, give them the damn autograph.
I feel blessed. I’ve been put in a position, not with power, but I’m faced with the ability, for once, to affect a large amount of students in a positive way. And that means the world to me.
What is it about you that people are so drawn to? People look up to even one slight thing in other people, whether it’s wishing they had an ounce of his courage or an ounce of her beauty. You know, we look up to people for things we wish we had. I think by me being myself and showing who am I, and showing confidence and love for myself, people see that and think "I would love to have her happiness, or even an ounce of it."
We all go through good and bad days in our lives and we need that extra push to smile, and I think that at some point, people have seen me as that extra push.
What’s next for LaNia? I’m a freshman. I’m 18. I don’t really know what’s next in life. I know for a fact I want to continue to grow, and continue to help people. I feel like I’ve gotten my foot in the door for making this campus a happier place and I want to move forward with that.
I want to meet Kent. I want to meet this guy that everybody is talking about. I want to talk about how to make this campus a happier place. It doesn’t have to be anytime soon, I have three more years. I don’t know much about activism yet, but I know it’s something I want to get more passionate about.
I’ll definitely be doing a YouTube channel, too. It’s going to be called “Lessons by LaNia.”