These days, it seems like everyone is an influencer. It’s hard to keep up with them all.
Thankfully, you don’t have to. You only have to keep up with Erika Priscilla.
The 27-year-old TikTok star has been posting hilarious videos that take on the clichés of influencer culture since lockdown started — once she realized the app wasn’t “strictly for dancing,” she told In The Know.
Priscilla works in the cosmetic packaging field by day, but in her free time, she’s brilliantly parodying Instagram stars through her character, Qelsi.
Qelsi knows all the hottest new lingo, can be spotted at a photoshoot or a winery and is, of course, seemingly always on the verge of a breakdown. With all that pressure, who wouldn’t be?
“A lot of my content is inspired by real-life situations, which makes it more relatable to my audience,” Priscilla told In The Know. “I’ve watched this character grow … more exaggerated as I kept creating content.”
She said her favorite part of influencer culture to poke fun at is the way so many of them seem to recycle the same phrases.
“For example, starting every video with ‘hey guys’ or before sharing details of your new top, making it a point to tell everyone you’ve ‘been getting SO many questions about the top,'” she explained. “We’ve all been on Instagram for years and have followed an influencer or two so we know a lot use the same words or phrases.”
Here are some of our favorite influencer cliches that Qelsi has taken on.
‘Today’s video is going to be a little different‘
Ah, yes — the rare serious video. Whether it’s an apology or just centers on a more grim topic, every influencer has one of these. “Nobody’s perfect, not even me,” Qelsi says in the video, before mentioning how perfect her skin looks. Having a platform can be such a burden.
‘I just wanted to jump on here really quickly’
Whenever influencers have an announcement to make, they love to hop on Instagram live “really quickly” to talk, even if the message drags on minute after minute. Typically with these videos, there’s a “secret project” in the works. “It’s so secret I don’t even know what it is,” Qelsi jokes in the video.
One of Qelsi’s trademark characteristics is her constant giggling. We see this in tons of influencer videos now — in an attempt to make their content relatable and lighthearted, they’re all smiles, like Qelsi is in this parody of a winery visit that quickly turns unhinged.
The Instagram boyfriend
Behind every influencer is a so-called “Instagram boyfriend” calling the shots — but only in terms of photos. Prisilla’s real-life boyfriend often appears in her videos to get that point across.
“Scott is such a trooper. A lot of the times it’s not planned and I just start recording and drag him into the video so he has no choice but to play along in front of the camera,” she told In The Know. “You can see him holding back his laughter and other times he can’t help it … especially when he is the one recording.”
‘I am on live, so no’
In what is perhaps the crown jewel of the whole canon, simply because of all the clichés Priscilla folds into one video, Qelsi goes live at a very inconvenient time, refuses to pay attention to everyone around her, graciously reads compliments aloud and signs off in a blaze of glory.
I am sincerely considering unfollowing every single influencer I know, because Priscilla does such a good job of boiling them down into one parody character. Qelsi, please be my friend.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about how real influencers and Parisians hate “Emily in Paris.”
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