Drew Afualo has become known as the queen of the takedown on TikTok. What started as simply calling out red flags in men soon became a whole channel dedicated to putting misogynists, fat shamers, and other haters in their places. While some people on TikTok are quick to run their mouths and put women or marginalized groups down, Afualo is there to pick them right back up and show them that they’re beautiful and that they’re worthy. And she does it all with the heartiest laugh you’ve ever heard.
Now that Afualo has built her TikTok brand, she’s branched out into other forms of media, bringing her female empowerment to an even larger audience. We spoke with her about how her popular TikTok brand started, her new show, and more.
Though I’m very familiar with your TikTok account, other people may not be. Can you tell us a little bit about this brand you’ve created for yourself?
I’ve been dubbed many names on this app (lol), but I would say the overall consistent themes are: I’m a crusader for women and other marginalized groups. I stand up for many different groups of people in the face of misogyny and bigotry as a whole. And I don’t waste time trying to educate them; I just make jokes back.
I love watching you take people down — how did you get started with making these videos on TikTok specifically?
I started posting a few videos real casually during the early stages of the pandemic. My boyfriend actually encouraged me to do so because I used to post Snapchat rants back in the day. Then early 2021, I posted a video talking about “very specific red flags in men,” which went viral overnight. This (obviously) upset many terrible men, who then started posting a lot of hate comments. Which then led to me responding, and people really enjoyed how I did that. So it kind of just grew from there!
Though you come across as strong and confident on social media, I have to wonder if the hate you get from some people ever wears you down. Are you ever shaken?
I think a lot of times, people think I’m lying when I say that hate doesn’t bother me, but I mean that with my entire soul. I am confident in who I am as a person. The last thing I would ever do is let a terrible person (i.e., a bigot) convince me that I’m “lesser than.” That being said, the only “hate” that really bums me out would have to be when other women are saying terrible things about me. That’s never a good feeling, but only because I feel so passionately that I want to help and uplift them. But I can’t save everyone. And I hope those women free themselves from the grip of internalized misogyny because life is too short to waste it trying to convince full-grown men to respect you.
Your TikTok has become a safe space of sorts for women — how does it feel to have created that?
It honestly makes me so emotional. I never in a million years thought being a jester on Tiktok was going to lead to me being a home for so many marginalized groups, especially women. Knowing that my content has empowered people to leave their abusive relationships, wear a bikini with confidence, quit a job, etc.? It is an honor and a privilege. Truly the best thing this platform has ever given me.
Tell me a little bit about your new show, The Comment Section, and how it came to be.
The Comment Section is a labor of love, and I could not be happier with how it has turned out. Brat TV approached me last year, and they were so excited to potentially work with me. After months of meetings/planning/idea bouncing, we created something so incredibly funny and engaging. Getting to handpick my guests and just laugh for an hour is literally a dream come true to me. And working with Brat and my crew has been a godsend. I am so lucky to have the crew and support I do.
You’ve already had some very cool guests on the show, but who’s on your wish list for the future?
Some dream guests of mine would have to be The Rock or Lizzo. That would be INCREDIBLE. The Rock is one of the only Samoan representations we have in mainstream media, so I feel like that would be so synergetic and full circle to have him (plus, he’s hilarious). Lizzo is an icon and a personal idol of mine, who’s a trailblazer, talented artist, and just the funniest person alive. I’m manifesting I’ll be able to have both of them on my show, for sure, LOL.
I love the advice you give women about being strong and owning their power, whether it’s on TikTok or your podcast. Can you share with us some words of wisdom for any women who may need to hear it?
I always say the same thing, but it’s truly because I just feel it’s THAT important. Hold your standards high, and never dim your light to make a man feel strong or secure. You are perfect exactly the way you are, and the person who’s MEANT for you will celebrate everything that makes you uniquely you. Real quality people, but men especially, don’t find strength by sucking it out of you. They have it all on their own and want to amplify yours.
People (men) often come at you in your comments assuming you’re single, and I love every time you show off your boyfriend. What’s his take on all the good work you’re doing for women?
My boyfriend is the most supportive, empathetic, loving person. When I see men try to “tell on me” to him, I always laugh. What about ANY of my content has you believing I would ever give the honor of being with me, to a misogynist? Nope, LMAO. Like I mentioned earlier: all the things bigots hate about me, he celebrates. He’s so proud of me and is honestly my biggest cheerleader. I wouldn’t have this platform if he didn’t encourage me to post, so y’all can thank/blame him (depending on your opinion of me, LOL).
I’ve been watching your videos for quite a while now, and I think the main reason I got hooked on the very first one was your laugh. I love your laugh! I hope people compliment you on it often — do they?
ALLLLLL the time. It’s gotten to the point now where people see me in public and say, “please do the laugh,” or they call me “the girl with the laugh.”All Polynesian people know that laugh is unmistakably Islander, but I love that people love it. I never thought anything of my laugh, to be honest, but now, it’s a big part of my brand. We love that.
It’s been great to see you be able to share your voice with a growing audience. What’s up next for you?
So many exciting things are coming down the pipeline, and I can’t wait to share them all with my followers. But in the near future: My show has been signed to a Season 2, which I am SO excited about! My podcast with my sister Deison, Two Idiot Girls, has been signed to a major company as well (and there may even be more coming for that *wink*). I’ll be at Vidcon for the first time in June as a featured creator, which is so surreal and a dream come true. And so so so much more. I can’t wait to share it all, but for now? Enjoy my laugh haunting all the terrible men on TikTok because that’s always consistent.
Hedy Phillips is the former Digital Director of EUPHORIA. You can also find her bylines at PEOPLE, POPSUGAR, Cosmo, InStyle, Refinery29, and more. She devotes 99% of her time to snuggling with her cats, and 100% of her money to following Harry Styles around on tour. She's always on the lookout for another slice of New York pizza, and she's never met a Starbucks drink she doesn't like.