This month, TikTok star Drew Afualo is in the hot seat to answer our burning questions. In Next Question, Her Campus rapid-fire interviews emerging Gen Z talent about what it’s like to rule over the Internet.
Drew Afualo pulls no punches — but she knows the importance of punching up instead of down. The California-based social media star, whose TikTok audience has ballooned to over one million followers since she began posting videos in 2020, has found her niche in calling out the misogynists that seem to have proliferated in online spaces like TikTok. She’s made videos calling out men who slutshame women, breaking down why harassing women at the gym should not be “expected,” and dunking on guys who just have the audacity. She does it all with her signature blunt and hilarious attitude — when she reached 900,000 followers, she even celebrated by dancing in front of a green screen of her own misogynistic hate comments to trending song “Bundles (feat. Taylor Girlz)” by Kayla Nicole.
When I speak to Afualo, it becomes clear that she’s not just here to be funny — she’s here to make an impact. Her humor is strategic, and her entire ethos is empowering women when so many men want to tear them down. “A lot of the creators that I make fun of, or make jokes at the expense of are always taking down women for literally anything,” she tells me. “You just can’t really exist without being made fun of anymore as a woman.” And that’s the mindset Afualo is changing, one TikTok at a time.
Read on to learn more about Afualo’s career aspirations, what she finds inspiring about Gen Z, and why answering hate with humor is so important.
1. WHAT’S ONE THING THE INTERNET DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT YOU WISH THEY DID?
Before I became a social media person, I was dead-set on becoming a sports journalist. My goal was to be the next Bob Costas. I just had a lot of ambition towards being big in the sports world, especially since minority women are so underrepresented in that sense. So, that was something that I was really gunning for and that I was very serious about. My life has obviously taken a 180 from there, but I’m definitely a lot happier now.
2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE GEN Z IN THREE WORDS?
In three words I would say educated, open, and hilarious. l wish that when I was in college, I had this level of understanding of socioeconomic spaces, of gender and sexuality — the world is just evolving at a much faster pace now, which is I think a wonderful thing. I think it’s incredible that so many people are so young, and educated on so many different topics that are important to many different marginalized communities. So I wish that I was in that headspace when I was that age, but it’s better late than never, that’s for sure.
3. WHICH ONLINE TREND ARE YOU TOTALLY OVER, AND WHICH IS HERE TO STAY?
I think — when I say “people,” I’m talking about probably mostly men — but I think that they should stop making fun of women for just literally existing. A lot of the creators that I make fun of, or make jokes at the expense of, are always taking down women for literally anything: what they look like, how they dress, what they like, their interests, their hobbies. You just can’t really exist without being made fun of anymore as a woman. So I think that’s a trend that should absolutely stop as soon as possible.
And I don’t know if you would call it a trend necessarily, but I know it’s kind of my brand to respond positively and in a comedic way to unsolicited hate. So, that’s a trend I would like to see more of, especially from women and people who identify as other genders and sexualities. I think it’s incredible for people to turn the tables when trolls write hate and they say unsolicited comments that are offensive. I think when you respond to it in a funny and humorous way, in a way that says, “I’m not gonna let this change how I feel about me,” that’s a trend that more people should take advantage of, because it’s using it against them.
4. WHAT ARE YOU MANIFESTING FOR THE NEXT STAGE OF YOUR CAREER?
I’m a big believer in manifestation, for sure! Down the line, I would love to get into hosting. Hosting red carpet things or a talk show would be huge bucket list items that I would love to manifest for myself as far as career goals. And then, I would also just really love to keep empowering women and uplifting other marginalized communities because that’s truly the most rewarding part of what it is I do online.
5. WHAT ARE THE FIRST THREE SONGS ON YOUR SPOTIFY “ON REPEAT” PLAYLIST?
Oh my gosh. I love looking at my Spotify Wrapped. This is not a joke, my most played song of last year was “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. I would say my second one was the song… [laughs] This is so embarrassing, the song “Satisfied” from the Hamilton Broadway musical. And then the third one was probably — gosh, what is that song that everyone was listening to? By BENEE — the “Supalonely” one? That got huge on TikTok. So those were my top three last year, and probably currently, too. I do listen to those songs quite a bit. [laughs] I’m all over the place musically.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.