Erika Priscilla's Influencer Parodies Might Be TikTok’s Most Addictive Videos
Like every other millennial on the planet, 27-year-old Erika Priscilla downloaded TikTok when the pandemic hit and quarantine kept the world inside on their phones. Working as a project manager in cosmetic packaging, she’s not too far removed from the world of influencers, who she started parodying on the app back in July. However, she never expected her videos, in which she takes on the stereotypical persona of a terminally enthusiastic Instagrammer and content creator, to earn her the over 222,000 followers she now has on the app.
Priscilla actually first went viral on TikTok for a video with her boyfriend, Scott, who now frequently appears in her influencer parodies. While she also has a number of other characters she tries out in videos, like a therapist’s wife, a psychic, and a zumba instructor, her influencer persona is by far her audience’s favorite, receiving sometimes millions of views for things like “how to do a top bun” (you put your hair in a top bun) and “how to air-dry your hair in a braid” (you let it air-dry in a braid).
While speaking over the phone, Priscilla emphasizes that her parodies aren’t based on any one influencer, nor are they even meant to be critical—just fun. She loves and follows influencers like Rachel Tee Tyler, Viviane Audi, and her friend Melany Cecilia. But after a little over two months, the unexpected happened: brands want her to be an influencer herself.
How did your influencer character start?
I started posting [on Instagram Stories] as a YouTuber [whose] dream is to become a couples YouTube channel. And then of course I would have Scott be there and be miserable. That's kind of [where] that voice and the personality stems from.
What was your first influencer video on TikTok?
The first video was “I've been getting a lot of questions about accessories.” We see it all the time. A lot of influencers, before they get into any product they share with their followers, they always have to add that in. “I've been getting a ton of questions.”
Your boyfriend is a big part of these videos. Are you both comedy people?
We're definitely both the funny friends of our friend group for sure. His dream growing up was that he wanted to be a comedian, but for me I was in an acapella group. I used to take acting classes back in the day, improv classes and stuff like that. I think if it happened for both of us, that would be great, but I kind of just dragged him into these videos. And most of the time it's unrehearsed or unannounced.
Do people ever think your character is a real person?
I get a lot of comments and a lot of the time when I don't have a caption on the actual video, for those that it's the first time they're seeing it, they're like, “I literally had to finish the entire video before I realized that you're joking.” Or, “I had to look through the comments.” And, and then other times people just don't get it. And they're like, “Are you really this happy all the time?”
Why do you think your influencer character is your most popular?
The fact that a lot of people find it funny, they're relating to some kind of influencer in their life. A lot of the times I get asked, “Who's your inspiration? Are you trying to mimic Jaclyn Hill?” Or whatever. And I'm like, I swear, I am not. It's just that we've seen all of these influencers and they use the same vocabulary a lot of the times, so it's really easy to pick up on those little lines, like, “Hey guys,” but also like, “You've been asking questions” or a “secret project.”
Would you ever collaborate with an influencer?
100%. I would always want to make it some kind of funny [bit], especially with brands that are reaching out to me. A lot of people have made comments like, “Oh, but you're turning into an influencer. How do you feel about that? Aren't you a hypocrite for saying that?” I'll always do it my way. I've always had a YouTube channel, I've done fashion hauls before, makeup tutorials. I've always been into it. But I've always made them funny. So that's what I'm sticking to and if I ever collaborate with another influencer, I think they'll have a lot of fun.
What is it like working with brands when you often poke fun at that sort of thing?
I'm working with a couple of brands right now and they want me to make it the way that I've been doing it. They're like, “We want you to do it. We love the influencer [parody] thing.” Which I appreciate, but other times they don't really specify. I'll show off the brands or do whatever I have to do, but I'll always add a little comedic twist.
Do you have any bigger dreams for the character?
Oh, if I could make a show out of it or something...I think my next step here is probably to just get back on track with my YouTube channel and maybe extending the videos [beyond] 60 seconds, vlogging and making a day in the life of an influencer. But if a network came up to me and was like, “Hey, let's make a show with your character”—I'm 100% down.