Image Credit: TikTok @naraazizasmith/ TikTok @onezwambola

TikTok Is Mad At Nara Smith Again. This Time For 'Stealing Ideas' From A South African Creator

If you know anything about TikTok, you probably know of Nara Smith. Whether you’ve watched her make cornflakes from scratch (yes, literally), played her soft, monotone voice in the background for an ASMR effect, or taken part in debates about the type of message she sends to women, you’re aware of all that Nara Smith is. You might hate her content or love it, but with over 7 million followers, you’ve got to admit she’s made a platform for herself and knows what she’s doing. But recently, a South African food and lifestyle content creator Onezwa Mbola claimed that Nara was profiting off of stealing her ideas, pushing TikTok into an uproar around whether that’s the case or not. So, has Nara Smith really been stealing ideas from another creator?

Who Is Nara Smith?

@naraazizasmith what’s your drink order? #easyrecipes #homecooking #fypツ #drink #boba #cravings ♬ Just Give Me One More Day – Alej

Nara Smith didn’t even start posting content on TikTok until 2023 (yes, that means she’s gained over 7M followers in a year). Since that initial post, she has blown up on the app showing herself making complicated recipes entirely from scratch. Seriously, in one of the videos where she’s making a sandwich, she makes her own ketchup first.

Nara makes her recipes in a beautifully-decorated kitchen, typically wearing some sort of archival Dior or Chanel. Considering how long-winded her cooking process it, it seems like she spends most of her day cooking for her family. AKA, her videos give off a “lux tradwife” vibe.

Before posting food content, Nara worked as a model. Half South African and half German, she began modeling in Germany at age 14, before moving to California at 18 and being signed to the same agency as her now-husband Lucky Blue Smith (yes, that’s really his name). Fast forward to now, they have three kids together. Oh yeah, and Nara is only 22 years old. Of course, Nara has made plenty of videos about her desire to become a young wife.

Who Is Onezwa Mbola?

@dementiiaa Idek atp , like whats goin on ?? 😩 #tiktok #fyppppppppppppppppppppppp #narasmith #fypシ゚viral #drama #foodie #trending #food ♬ original sound – MessyBoots

Onezwa Mbola is a South African creator who features herself cooking organic foods, mostly made from produce she grows on her own farm. Onezwa’s videos are warm, inviting, and homey. She speaks with a calm voice and shows her viewers how to eat sustainably, either growing, raising, or foraging any food item she uses. She’s gained almost 500K followers, but recently announced she was going to take a break from posting content because of her frustration with Nara. Onezwa claims that Nara has not only been copying her content, but profiting off of it in ways that Onezwa hasn’t been able to. Since publicly speaking about this, users on TikTok have been launching their own investigations and picking sides.

Has Nara Smith Been Stealing Onezwa’s Ideas?

People who are convinced that Nara’s been stealing Onezwa’s ideas have pointed out that Nara’s content hasn’t always looked like it does now. They’ve pointed out that one of her first cooking videos featured just a “kale salad with olive oil and lemon juice.” They’ve also said that she’s switched the way her voice sounds randomly one day into the calm, slow voice we hear over her videos now. And of course, they’ve mentioned that making recipes entirely from scratch is something Onezwa has been doing from the beginning — and Nara’s only begun doing in the past year. They’ve referenced Nara’s recent video on making bubble tea from scratch, explaining that Onezwa’s done the same video first. Basically, there seems to be a pattern of Nara doing recipes and content concepts after Onezwa does them.

Also, Nara is a lighter woman than Onezwa, and is married to a white model. This could definitely be one of the reasons Nara’s content has taken off in ways that Onezwa’s hasn’t. This wouldn’t be the first time a darker-skinned Black woman was given less opportunities due to racism.

With that said, after watching Nara’s and Onezwa’s videos together, I have to say it doesn’t seem like Nara has been stealing her content. Is Nara the first person to make videos about cooking from scratch? Absolutely not. Is Onezwa the first person to create videos about cooking from scratch? No. Is it possible that Nara has gotten inspiration from some of Onezwa’s videos? Absolutely. I don’t think Nara magically knows in her head how to make bubblegum from scratch — I think she has studied recipes and is still trying to get better at cooking. And while maybe she was inspired by Onezwa to speak differently while voicing her videos, Nara and Onezwa’s content have two extremely different vibes.

Nara’s videos show the life of a rich, housewife living in luxury. She wears brand name outfits, owns expensive-ass kitchenware, and cooks in a full-face of makeup and perfect hair. Sure, she may be pushing ideas of “organic” and “sustainability” through the food that she makes but that’s not the general feel of her videos. Onezwa on the other hand doesn’t show herself in every single one of her videos. She shows herself sometimes plucking hairs off of chickens she’s slaughtered with her own hands, after raising it on her farm. Her recipes look delicious and remind me of watching my mother cook in the kitchen. They’re very to-the-point and focus more on the ideas of wellness than anything else.

The main issue is that Nara seems to have changed — quite literally — everything about her TikToks. And suspiciously, it seems that she’s pulled a lot of these newer editing cues (*cough, cough* she changed her voice) and content ideas from Onezwa. So, yeah, it makes sense why people are speculating. Black women are very often overlooked compared to their more white-presenting peers, and while the jury is still out on whether Nara actually has been actively copying Onezwa’s ideas, she has not given her any credit for the ideas she’s drawn on. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with getting inspo from other creators, but not acknowledging their role in shaping your content isn’t great — and can lend a hand in perpetuating a cycle where darker-skinned Black women aren’t given their flowers for being the blueprint for lighter women’s success. Whether or not this was Nara’s intent, aren’t we supposed to be starting from scratch here?! Now leave me in peace to eat Oreos I bought from the store.

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.