As children, the works and wonders of influencing and, in turn, being influenced, are simple: whatever is sung out by the colourful animated personas dancing about onscreen during after-school programming, or is shared with the class by the bright-eyed peer whose family just returned from a trip to Disneyland, is taken as doctrine, no questions asked.
Years pass, however, and the safe and cosy world of social influencing we thought we knew morphs into something unrecognisable: an endless and inevitably disappointing cycle of catching up and lagging behind. It is an imposing and unforgiving structure that does not leave room for anyone to explore roads that haven’t been traversed beforehand by someone with enough followers, and dictates that a trend simply cannot be a trend if everyone can keep up.
Cue Pierson Wodzynski, the social media personality whose spirited nature, bright outfits, and unapologetically happy-go-lucky content stand in stark contrast to such a seemingly bleak industry. With each quick witticism, carefree dance, and crazy challenge, she manages to chip away at the aforementioned structure, redefine what it means to be an influencer, and, above all, provide her online families of over 2.75 and 13 million on YouTube and TikTok, respectively, with a home wherein growing up doesn't have to be so scary and miserable, and wherein each member has the power to freely explore and discover what being "cool" and "confident" means to them.
A Star in the Making
"[If I were to briefly describe my experience as a whole], I'd say 'right place at the right time,' thanks to dedication and ambition."
- Pierson Wodzynski
Everyone loves a good “humble beginnings” story, because, let’s be honest, the best of us have got one. Sadie Sink had Annie on Broadway. Taylor Swift had The Bluebird Cafe. Timothee Chalamet had that one questionable but undeniably addictive Statistics video.
And Pierson? Well, she had her scripts. The early 2010s saw the star’s younger self, bleary-eyed at the breakfast table before class or jumpy from a frenzied ride home on the schoolbus, clacking out ideas for short movies on the keyboards of practically prehistoric laptops.
It didn’t take long for hilariously nonsensical scripts to turn into the regular and endearingly eccentric dance videos that kicked it all off. “Every Friday,” Pierson shares, “I would post myself dancing in public, just groovin’ to a song, having fun, and reminding myself not to take anything too seriously.”
Such performances soon evolved into bona fide acting gigs, and these gigs, in turn, paved her way to not just one, but several, of the enduring, written-in-the-stars friendships we all crave in our lives. An experience on the set of a dating game show, in particular, was what allowed her to stumble right into some of the very people she now holds dearest to her heart: iconic YouTube sibling duo Brent and Lexi Rivera, and, by extension, the rest of the AMP Squad.
“We all hit it off, started hanging out, and filming together, and the rest was history!”
Stopping to Smell the Roses
“Life is busy and stressful. I want my videos to be 8 to 10 minutes where you’re able to relax, enjoy, and laugh!”
- Pierson Wodzynski
The thing with people as passionate, zestful, and simply alive as Pierson is that there is little they dislike more than being confined to a box or defined by a single term. It will come as no surprise, then, that there is much to be said about the rising star. Ambitious?
Yep. Relentless? Check.
True to her word? Oh, definitely.
Because when she claims she “want[s] people to feel as though we’re all one big family, and I’m just their friend on the internet,” she holds herself to it and to the values that bind such relations: authenticity, persistence, and a whole lot of crossed fingers.
It may seem self-contradictory to say that authenticity is few and far between in an industry that revolves around being fully immersed in the spotlight and showcasing almost every aspect of one's life, but when public expectations are sky-high and ever-rising, often transcending the boundaries of reason and job descriptions, it can be difficult to resist the pressure of abandoning one's true self in favour of a more "attractive" veneer.
For someone so merry and bright, however, Pierson is a lot tougher than she may initially seem, because, despite all the strains and burdens, portraying herself as someone she isn't is light years from becoming reality.
“I try to be as real as possible with my audience. The way I present myself is my most authentic self, and [I] wouldn’t change that for the world,” she explains. “The life I live is pretty incredible, and none of it has really become ‘normal’ to me, so I like sharing my experiences and excitement with people that may not have the opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to [receive].”
Don’t be fooled, however! Because while the Pierson we witness online may be genuine, rarely do we get to see the side of her that’s definitely got some tricks up her sleeve. “I’m a mean poker player, and I’ll take all your money if we go heads up.”
Whether it be studying at a top university, running a start-up, or working as an influencer, every walk of life's got a good handful of "duck syndrome"— cool and collected above the surface, paddling hard underneath— to show for it. But Pierson doesn't shy away from opening up about the struggles and rewards that encompass what many would claim to be a "dream life."
“The worst aspect of the social influencing industry is easily the negativity spread through all platforms,” she explains. “When I first started posting consistently, I received… unwanted opinions from people [in] my hometown, which was difficult.”
Taking from the lessons in optimism, resilience, and unwavering ambition offered by the friends and family she is fortunate to have by her side, however, she decides to shake off the pessimism and focus instead on love and possible growth.
“I realised [that] as long as I loved what I was doing and was having fun, no one else’s opinion mattered.” And armed with her trademark wit, she quickly adds, “But Abraham Lincoln said it best: ‘Haters gon hate.’”
Through all the laughter and tears, heartbreaks and triumphant fist-pumps, and late nights turned into early mornings, Pierson never forgets to look back on what makes it all worth it.
“The best aspect [of fame] is being able to create something that you work hard on, and seeing others enjoy it. To be able to make a positive impact on something, whether through someone relating to my experiences or laughing at my bad dad jokes, is extremely rewarding and fulfilling.”
And for the future? Well, “my main goal as of now is to reach my fullest potential in creating content. I have been experimenting with different styles to see which suits my life, what I’m best at, and what is most exciting for me to make. I just want to be extremely proud of every video I put out.”
It’s safe to say, then, that we’re far from seeing the last of her and her unmatched vibes. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather put my money into that than on a poker match with Pierson!
Pierson's Top 3...
Lessons as an Influencer
- Make connections with everyone because there is always something to learn.
- Self-discipline. If you want something, you are the only thing standing in your way, so apply yourself and make it happen!
- When you finally have the career you genuinely want and love, you won’t work a day in your life.
Memories as an Influencer
- Moving into my first house with my brother, Logan, and my best friend and fellow YouTuber, Lexi Hensler! It was the beginning of a new chapter of my life, living on my own and pursuing my dreams.
- The time I edited a 6-minute YouTube video for 8 hours. My editing software crashed right when I was about to start exporting. I had to restart the whole thing. Needless to say, technology and I are not friends.
- Playing in Mr. Beast's Creator Games. He rented out Sofi Stadium, and I got to play crazy games with a bunch of creators I've always looked up to. Experience of a lifetime.
10 Quick Q's with Pierson
What is your greatest pet peeve?
People cracking their bodies— knuckles, etc.
What is the craziest thing you've ever done for content?
Get into a coffin full of live snakes!
What is your dream travel destination?
Santorini or the Amalfi Coast...
If you could write a note to your Past and Future Selves, what would each one say?
- Past Me, the opinions of others don't matter, as long as you believe in yourself. Have passion for what you want, and don't give up!
- Future Me, hopefully, you have it more figured out than I do!
What are three words you would choose to define yourself?
Adventurous, Approachable, and Ambitious, because everyone loves a good alliteration.
In an intro to a TV show all about you, what would the theme song be?
Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees. Not because of the song title, but because of the fact that it doesn't matter where or when, this song will get you up out of your seat every single time.
Additionally, some scenes that would definitely be included are:
- The moments with friends where I laugh so hard it hurts
- Singing at the top of my lungs in the living room with Logan and Lexi
- Doing crazy adrenaline stunts like flying a fighter jet or walking on a tightrope across a canyon
What would you say is your favorite memory with your squad members?
Going to Disney World in Florida! Travelling with my closest friends is always fun, but to my favorite place ever? Unbeatable, unforgettable, and yes, I will admit it: I am, in fact, a Disney adult.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself based on:
- Patience: 7
- Craziness: 8
- Art: 8
- Music: 9
- Cooking: Is negative possible? If so, -439.
- Fashion Taste: Maybe 7. I'm still learning to find the style that feels the most me!
If you could donate a million dollars to one organization or cause, what would it be?
The American Heart Association, or cardiovascular research and education in general. Heart disease runs in my family, and I have watched too many loved ones struggle with their health.