The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hundreds of UI students attend internet celebrity Brittany Broski’s lecture

UI students lined up for TikTok and YouTube star Brittany Broski’s lecture at the Iowa Memorial Union on Thursday regarding her relationship with social media.
Cody Blissett
Fans wait for Brittany Broski’s arrival before a lecture hosted by the University of Iowa Lecture Committee in the Iowa Memorial Union on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023. Broski has amassed almost 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and nearly eight million followers on TikTok.

TikToker Brittany Broski’s lecture at the University of Iowa Thursday drew hundreds of students to the Iowa Memorial Union, with the line for entrance looping around the doors of the building.

Broski is not a traditional influencer. She rose to fame in 2019 when a TikTok video she posted for fun became an international meme, leading to a current fanbase of over a million subscribers on YouTube and 7.3 million followers on TikTok.

“Unfortunately, it all started in 2020 when things were clearly emotionally charged. And I found myself being met with the task of becoming an activist because I cared about that sh** to my core,” Broski said. “I somehow became a mouthpiece for the movement because I have a platform and because it’s like, how dare you do not speak on it?”

Broski maintains consistent growth in her online presence because she “keeps it real on the internet,” she said. She said her rise to fame wasn’t easy, but hate comments and unwarranted criticisms don’t get to her as much anymore.

“I think people are starting to see me as a whole, well-rounded human being and not just online. And that is more important to me than anything — being seen as my humanity being on display rather than me being a product that you’re consuming,” Broski told the crowd.

Broski launched the podcast, “The Broski Report,” in May where she talks about celebrity drama, art history, or whatever hard news she feels like talking about. She formed this podcast to grow from her past and present a real semblance of journalism to her followers.

“I was a 22-year-old sh**head. I was reposting whatever came across my feed, not checking it out, considering the source, potentially spreading misinformation,” Broski said. “So I think that whole learning process was that I was in the furnace, trying to post these things and help a movement that I care about, and I was being met with ‘I can’t take you seriously’ or ‘you’re funny, stop being an activist.’”

The lecture started at 7:30 p.m., but hundreds of students looped around the inside IMU twice and expanded out the door along the Iowa River long before then. The “Broski Nation,” her illustrious fandom, of Iowa City showed out for their favorite internet personality.

The lecture was held in the IMU’s Main Lounge and was packed full only 10 minutes after the doors opened. Some students got into line as early as 1:30 p.m., as is the story for the University of Iowa first-year student and Brittany Broski super-fan Natalie Benton.

“I really like how her comedy isn’t necessarily her trying to be funny. It’s just her entire existence is very funny,” Benton said. “She’s very open and honest about what she’s doing. She’s everything.”

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Moderator Hannah Shelton-Hauck, a UI graduate student in student affairs, has also been a long-time fan of Broski’s since her collaboration with drag queen Trixie Mattel on YouTube in 2020.

“I watched her a lot during the pandemic. She really helped me laugh with her creative way of making videos,” Shelton-Hauck said.

Before the lecture began, Shelton-Hauck said she was excited about the extensive line of eager students waiting for a lecture.

“I’m nervous that I’m going to ask something silly, but I’m super excited to have this opportunity,” Shelton-Hauck said. “I hope this is a really good experience for students to get some laughs in.”

The crowd was rowdy, cheering, and literally barking at almost every pause and lull. The entire crowd clung to every word Broski said. It didn’t feel like a lecture, it felt like a rally — rowdy would be an understatement.

During the first 30 minutes of the lecture were moderator-asked questions, followed by audience questions that led on for almost an hour.

“It is very important to show, especially as a woman online, that you are not just a funny person,” Broski said. “There’s so many expectations, but a woman can really be whatever she wants to be.”

With audience members asking questions well into the end of the lecture, Broski concluded the night by encouraging them to “stay in school, wh***s.”

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About the Contributors
Zhenya Loughney
Zhenya Loughney, Arts Reporter
Zhenya is a fourth year theatre design and journalism double major at UI. They are passionate about artistry and creativity. They are from Lebanon, KY.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.