Comedian Brittany Broski on Building a Brand Outside of "Kombucha Girl" Meme

Culture

If you were on social media at any point last year, you have probably seen Brittany Tomlinson aka Kombucha Girl on your feed.

In 2019, Brittany uploaded a video to TikTok of her taste-testing Kombucha- and pretty much took the internet by storm. Anyone and everyone knew who Kombucha Girl was, and it took over social platforms by storm.

The Teen Magazine had the chance to talk to Brittany to find out how one innocuous video led her to gain millions of followers overnight and even appearing in a Superbowl commercial.

@brittany_broski

Me trying Kombucha for the first time #foryoupage #foryou #fyp #AllBrandNew

♬ original sound - Brittany

On Going Mega-Viral

You went viral seemingly overnight, what was that like for you?

"I actually posted that video to TikTok and it didn't do that well at all, but someone downloaded it and uploaded it to Twitter. From there is when it started to go viral," she pointed out.

The hilarious reactions of Brittany trying the kombucha became the meme of the moment at the time. It certainly took over the internet- and she definitely did not see it coming.

"At that point, it took off everywhere. It was on every platform, both the video and the little side-by-side pictures. I mean there was a period of time, about two weeks, where that is all I saw on my timeline! On anyone's timeline! It sorta took over the internet."

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It was viral for a hot second, but I was also posting other content at the time, to show people that I wasn't just a one trick pony. I think that really benefited me in the long run.

- Brittany Broski

On Losing Her Job Over The Video

A lot of people thought it was unfair that you lost your job over that video, what was your experience with that?

The uproar of the meme's takeoff and popularity resulted in Brittany being fired from her job- which in turn, also caused much talk amongst the internet.

Brittany, however, is rather understanding of the situation. No grudges here!

"I definitely understand it from the companies perspective, it's a twenty-something goofing around on the internet and then coming into work the next morning being like: 'Yeah, I will handle your millions of dollars worth of assets!' I can understand how that's a problem," says Brittany.

"I did start to accumulate a following and engaging with them, I was creating a fan base, whether I knew it or not. So, at the point when I did lose my job, I cried. I was embarrassed. I was like, I now need to call my dad and tell him I got fired from my bank job. I was proud to work there, that was a big girl thing to do!"

"I was fully prepared to go work as a waitress, but I luckily I got my first brand deal literally a week later! It all hasn't slowed down since then, so I'm very lucky a year-and-a-half later I'm still getting to do the same thing I was doing then. I think it will be interesting to see where this kinda rollercoaster takes me!"

Hey, Keep Paying Attention

If there's one thing about the internet, it's that trends go by fast, and there are no exceptions for memes, either.

Struggling to stay relevant is something many internet creators and public figures face on a daily basis, but Brittany is here to stay. Even after much time has passed since that viral Kombucha moment, Brittany's served some major moments, more memes, and partnerships.

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You really successfully kept people paying attention to your content, something many struggle and fail to do. How did you go about that, did you even want people to keep paying attention?

"Yeah, I was! I'd been on the internet so long, I'd seen how memes works, people forget about these creators a couple days after it happens. Maybe a few years down the line, somebody is like, 'Does anybody remember that meme?' " Brittany tells us.

"In one day, I had 96,000 people follow me on Twitter! Twitter is a very hard platform to grow on, it's not really as easy as TikTok or even YouTube. So I made sure I wasn't going to be pigeonholed if for the rest of my life I'm walking into CVS trying to pick up some prescriptions and people go "Kombucha Girl!", that would be crazy."

"I just didn't want to let that happen. I think I've done a pretty good job at that!"

"I'd prefer to be known as Brittany Broski, and for the most part I am known as Brittany Broski. I'm glad that I could offer a lot more to the internet and the comedy space than just some Jim Carrey faces."

- Brittany Broski

Reaction to Becoming a Meme

When asked who she told first after she found out she went viral, Brittany replied with a laugh, "I didn't have to tell anybody, it was my friends sending me memes being like, 'B-tch, is this you?'"

Seemingly everyone she knew had seen her face, everywhere. The same couldn't have been said for her boss, where she had to walk into her office and attempt to explain what had happened.

Attempting to explain Stan Twitter to anyone over the age of 30 would be quite the feat, no less for her to have to explain to her boss what was happening at the time.

"I thought I was being proactive," she explained, "I was like, hey, I want you to know it isn't me posting these explicit captions or using my face. She didn't really understand."

She also had to tell her parents, something that was much more embarrassing, she said. She reiterated the point that it was out of her control and the best she could do was to make the most out of her situation online.

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Brittany also gave a warning about the risks involved with posting things online, urging everyone to check before they post.

"Every time I have an interview I make sure to make the point that once you post something online, it no longer belongs to you. That is exactly what happened with me," she began.

"I posted something on an app that nobody knew about at the time, to a bunch of strangers who didn't know who I was. It was just for fun! To have it blow up into this huge thing was unimaginable."

On Seeing Your Face Everywhere

When asked about the feeling of having a single moment of your life turned into a viral meme, she said, "It was definitely weird, but after a certain point you sorta get used to it. At that point, two or three weeks into the meme being viral, I was picking out my favorite ones."

"I've never been more mentally ill," she laughs when asked about how her following affects her. "I've had mental struggles I've had that I never thought I'd have."

In her trademark openness that allowed so many people to connect with her, she talks about how social media can have such a big effect on her sense of self.

"I spiral at least once every week," she admits with a laugh. "I'm like, is this it? Am I just going to make Youtube videos until I die? It can be very difficult, being a person of interest and being an audience member on social media are two very different things."

As normal people, it's hard for us to imagine what sort of hate and vitriol is thrown at social media personalities every day. It's a part of it all that we very rarely see.

"The things people say to me and other creators online, you would never fathom someone coming up to you on the street and saying those things to you," she begins. "I get messages about my appearance, my weight, my voice, my face, you forget that people conceive you in that way."

"It's a joke on my platform but at the same time, it is really not," she points out.

In all seriousness, however, having so many people watching and engaging with you can have major effects on their wellbeing. As Brittany points out, a checkmark beside someone's username isn't a license to strip them of their humanity.

When asked about her experiences with being recognized in public, she seemed relatively unbothered. "I like it, you know some days I look busted and it's like 'really, of all days?' but I'm more than happy to do it. These people pay my bills," she laughs.

She also makes a point of saying that she has a really personal connection with her fans, her openness on the platform has led to so many people around the world being able to relate to her.

On Staying Grounded

"It's really the age-old question," she begins. "How do you not get wrapped up in the internet bubble? I really have to rely on my friends and family from before I was in this bubble."

She talks about how it can be dangerous to get caught up in the feedback loops of the internet. "The same opinions, the same 'hot takes', the same music, the same sense of humor, the same everything. Especially being in LA, that too is one big bubble."

"I'm so grateful I have a support group outside of the internet."

- Brittany Broski

Know This About Brittany

Brittany Broski doesn't want to be pigeonholed. Whether it's trying to distance herself from the Kombucha Girl meme to posting different types of content, she wants you to know that she isn't a one-trick pony.

"When I post videos that have a serious tone, people do not know how to deal with it. When I'm on Youtube talking about things I genuinely enjoy, like Art History or speaking Spanish, people forget that I'm... smart?" she replies with a laugh.

"I'm college educated, I had two white-collar jobs, I have a full functioning brain!"

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"I want people to know that you can be both! You can be funny and goofy, but also have intellectual discussions. It feels like a lot of the time the internet wants you to pick one. It can be frustrating."

- Brittany Broski

QuickFire Round With Brittany Broski

Bringing in our favorite interview section- meet the Quick Fire Round with Brittany!

Get to know her further- and if you already do (because we've all laughed at her hilarious videos on TikTok at one point), these fun questions will be something new!

Early Mornings or Late Nights?

Late Nights, I stay up to 5 am.

Thoughts on Kombucha?

Disgusting, don't try it.

What Movie Title do you think best describes your life?

The Iron Lady

Favourite Genre of Movie

I don't know if there is a name for it, but I love movies with a strong, witty, charismatic male lead.

I love Iron Man, Pirates of The Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes. Maybe I just love Robert Downey Jr.

Connect With Brittany Broski

Follow Brittany on Instagram, and on TikTok.

Be sure to subscribe to her Youtube channel as well!

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Sam Atkinson
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Sam is currently in high school. He's been a writer for The Teen Magazine since January 2021.