Back in March of 2020, when the news of a pandemic hit the world, University of Arizona Wildcat Susi Vidal found herself stuck at home with her family. Like many college students, she started watching videos on the popular social media platform TikTok. Watching others' TikToks made Vidal want to try making her own content on the platform. While it started as a way to have fun, Vidal has hit 1 million followers within the span of a year.
Vidal is a senior studying nursing at the UA. Originally planning on studying film, Vidal switched to nursing due to the field having more job security. Now, she's had the chance to flex her creative muscles on TikTok through her cooking videos.
Before she started making content for TikTok, Vidal described herself as a person who wasn't active on social media.
“I was the kind of person who would post on Instagram once a year, and that's it. My stories would just be me and my friends. I had like 600 Instagram followers,” Vidal said.
Vidal mentioned that she always liked the idea of social media, but she just didn’t have the time for it. But when quarantine started, she saw her opportunity to try it.
“I had nothing else to do,” Vidal said.
In April 2020, Vidal downloaded TikTok for the first time. She wasn’t making videos yet; she was just watching videos from others. One day, just for fun, Vidal started making content, which she described as “goofy” and “silly.” A few of the videos went a little bit viral, and from there, her TikTok took off.
“It is a weird transition going from not posting to it being my life in a way,” Vidal said.
Two years ago, Vidal started cooking for fun. She loves food and watches cooking shows. Additionally, Vidal had some experience with making videos through social media through some vlogs she'd made in the past.
Vidal's TikTok success came when she started sharing her cooking on the platform. At the beginning of her time on the platform, she would do livestreams on TikTok while she was cooking and talking to others. In the comments, guys tried to get Vidal’s attention by asking her if she had an OnlyFans. Vidal elected to respond with humor and said, "I don't have an OnlyFans, but I have an OnlyPans where I cook, and I'm fully clothed."
Fans in the comments liked the idea of OnlyPans and encouraged Vidal to do it. After months of convincing from her followers, Vidal followed her followers’ suggestions and OnlyPans was born.
In her OnlyPans themed videos, Vidal opens with a signature phrase: "I hope you are horny, I mean hungry." This eventually turned into "horngry," a combination of horny and hungry. Vidal said she believes that the two words are pretty relatable for quarantine. “Who’s not slightly hungry and horny [during quarantine] … everyone's stuck at home … everyone's just alone,” Vidal said.
So far, Vidal has enjoyed creating social media content and making people happy through her videos. Since starting her TikTok, Vidal has been able to get to a point where she can fully and confidently be herself online.
“It's cool for me to fully be myself and be accepted,” Vidal said.
Success on social media has also allowed her to meet other comedians and collaborate with them creatively.
Vidal’s friend, Randall Walter, is an entertainer and performer. After losing his job during the pandemic, Walter found time to pursue his passion for making people laugh. Since live performances were not allowed, Walter turned to the internet and started producing social media content on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
“[I] just kind of push myself to not stop performing,” Walter said.
Walter and Vidal started hanging out during quarantine, and Vidal said she believes that Walter helped her work on her sense of humor. Walter likes to play as an overly confident guy who has a lot of feelings.
Vidal and Walter have found other avenues to be themselves on the internet outside of TikTok and social media. With the encouragement and support of Vidal's followers, they created a podcast called “Before The Hangover.” In the podcast, Vidal and Walter drink a different cocktail every episode and talk about random things.
Social media was a lifesaver for Vidal and Randall. They both work on building their social profiles and keep active even during uncertain times. The future is unknown, but these two are looking forward to what's next.
Vidal’s future plan is to balance both sides of her life: her professional career as a nurse and her social media career as a comedic cooking influencer. For now, Walter is focused on building his social media by increasing followers, so he can have a solid audience to start doing stand-up comedy once everything opens again.
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