When Brooke Averick was in elementary school, she wrote in her diary “I declare that today I will not be upset because I am the most ugly person in the big humungo humungis universe.” During that same era, she farted in front of her class while giving a presentation on the “Oregon Trail” computer game, and instead of moving on, she stood there for two minutes and asked, “Who did that?” In seventh grade, she shit herself during the father-daughter dance at her bat mitzvah. In high school, she threw up down her shirt while driving her crush home from school.
How do I know all this? I know this because Averick, with a completely impressive lack of shame, has become a TikTok icon for sharing a never-ending slew of embarrassing anecdotes, tales of gastrointestinal woes, and priceless childhood throwbacks.
Averick, better known as @LadyEfron on TikTok, has basically become the app’s Jewish voice of Gen Z (and Zillenials). Since making her first video in April, the 24-year-old has amassed over 15 million likes and 500k followers, all of whom — including myself — live for her dry humor and wit.
Unlike other popular creators, Averick has no gimmicks or niche — you won’t find her lip-synching to popular sounds, doing popular TikTok dances, or teaching you to make pasta. Instead, what you will find is Averick recording quick “story times” where she shares embarrassing, traumatic, and/or iconic moments from her life. You’ll also find her responding to questions from commenters with deeply questionable usernames like “donaldtrumpsvibrator” and “livelaughqueef.” Plus, sometimes she’ll give her audience a real treat, like sharing photos of herself in the prime of puberty, or old home-movies that let us know yes, she has always been this way.
With the summer off — Averick is a preschool teacher — the Philly native has nothing but time to TikTok, be with her family, and chat with Alma about her TikTok legacy, her Jewish identity, Glee fanfiction, and of course, her Zac Efron obsession.
This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Let’s start with the basics. Where are you from, did you go to college, all that good stuff.
I’m from the Main Line area of Philadelphia, which is a pretty Jewish suburb. To give you some context, that’s where Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson is from. That’s kind of the vibe. I did go to college, I went to Boston University, and I hated it. I just didn’t have a great college experience — it was too big for me. But I graduated with a degree in education, so that’s what’s important. And now I’m a preschool teacher/TikToker.
Do you like where you’re working now? Are you continuing there in the fall?
I’m not sure where the future will take me. I downloaded TikTok with no intention of ever making a video. This all happened very fast, and I’m not sure where it’s going. But I like what I do/I’m open to anything else, wherever life takes me. The first video I ever posted was me reading a letter that I’d written to myself, just because. And it got like 1,000 views, which to me is kind of whatever, but at the time, I was like, I… am a celebrity? Why is Hollywood not reaching out to me right now? So that’s kind of how that worked, it was very random.
When I was in 6th grade we had an assignment to write a letter to our 12th grade self. This was mailed to my house in 2014 on graduation day. #fyp
After you made the first video, did you just decide to run with it?
After I did my first one, the rush of those thousand views, I’ve been chasing it ever since.
The ultimate serotonin high.
Yes, the ultimate serotonin high. But it’s never been quite as intense as that first-ever video, which, wasn’t even a big hit looking back.
Even as a kid, it seems you were just as unabashed, theatrical, and bold as you are now. Where do you think that — or your sense of humor — comes from?
It’s mostly a coping mechanism for pretty severe anxiety. Because there’s nothing really else I can do about it. I can either wallow in it or just be like, this is me, let’s broadcast that. And that helps in some way. For me, at least.
Well, using humor to cope is a very Jewish thing to do. So that sounds on-brand.
So true, I wonder why that is.
Reply to @sportyx2o great question! Take notes if you need. #fyp
What does your Jewish identity mean to you?
I was born and raised Reformed. Jewish culture has always felt very important to me. I feel very attached to Judaism culturally, but was never religious. When I was about eight, my mom started getting super into Orthodox Judaism — and my dad didn’t, or wasn’t. That balance of trying to be with two parents — one who was getting super involved in Judaism and one who was the opposite — lasted for about five years, and then my parents got divorced.
How old were you?
Thirteen, so a really fragile age. I mean, obviously, that wasn’t the only reason they got divorced. But I think that was a big part of it. My mom has kind of backed off from her interest in Orthodox Judaism, but she still has an interest. So I’ve been trying to find where I feel comfortable in terms of Judaism because I have, you know, one parent who’s now pretty anti-religion because of everything that’s happened. And then one that’s very into all the spiritual parts of Judaism. So I don’t know. I’m trying to find my own way and separate from my parents’ views, which has been really hard because that’s a big part of my life. I hope that made any sense.
They all started off super, like, “you’re being annoying,” because I was on my phone 100% of the time, trying to film them constantly. My brother especially. I don’t know if you’ve seen the ones where he’s responding to his old journal entries, but he was so uninterested. Then, Hailey Bieber followed me, and ever since then, he hasn’t left my side. He’s been filming me non-stop and is trying to make his own TikTok fame based on videos with me. So it’s kind of evolved. I think my parents are now really excited about it because they think this could go somewhere. Everyone’s been really supportive. My parents and grandparents won’t make an account because they’re scared that the government will take their information, but they watch my videos through the app.
I’m not sure if you knew this, but you’ve been called the Jewish face of Gen Z or, more commonly in your comments, an icon. What do you think about that?
That’s so strange to me. I think the strangest part is that I’ve always been somebody who’s so obsessed with other people, especially celebrities. And I’ve been putting that energy out since I could walk. I was a Sesame Street groupie — I threw up from excitement at a Sesame Street concert when I was little. We moved on to Zac Efron, like always constantly obsessing, and then One Direction. Even local YouTube stars — obsessed. So now, to have that energy thrown back at me, I don’t understand. But I really appreciate it so much and I’ll try to live up to the name.
Has the fame hit you yet?
I reach a very small subset of people, so I don’t consider myself famous. But it does feel nice to have some sort of positive influence. Like, girls have been messaging me saying that I’ve given them confidence about their height, because I’m 4’11. I’ve never even thought about like that. I’m insecure about most things, but surprisingly, my height has not been a huge issue for me. But the fact that I’m able to give girls confidence in that way is amazing to me, because I wish I had someone to give me confidence about all the things that I’m insecure about.
Reply to @doordashbrian
In one of your videos, you said your approach to haters is shaming them publicly. Do you find that helps, mental health-wise, or has it been a struggle for you?
No, it’s actually been a struggle. Once I said that, I was like, “that’s probably not great advice to be broadcasting.” I hope people understood it was a joke. But it’s actually been hard because I’m a super insecure person. No one on the street, before I had TikTok, is going to come up to you and be like, “Hey, your lips are super chapped.” But all of a sudden on TikTok, people feel the need to be like, “Hey, your lips are so chapped.” It’s the fact that people are finally telling me what I’ve already known, my biggest insecurities, that sucks, you know? But I saw something really helpful by this TikTok therapist, which was: “That’s a reflection on them. That has nothing to do with you.” Looking at it like that, I think the public shaming comment was approaching it with comedy. That’s been helpful.
How do you choose people to reply to?
To be honest, it’s usually not about the username, which everyone thinks it is. It’s mostly just about like, if I have a good memory associated with a question, or a memory that’ll make for a good story. But if two people are asking me the same question and one is like, “Cynthia” and one is “kingkongs_assjuice,” I’ll obviously pick kingkongs_assjuice. But I would never not answer a question because they didn’t have an exciting username.
Do you have a favorite username so far?
I kind of like “ButtLice420.” I actually won’t pick ones that are too obscene. For me, “kingkings_assjuice” was kind of walking the line. But I wouldn’t go past that. So ButtLice420 felt right, like the perfect amount of controversy.
I think “CorbinBleusPubicLice” has got to be up there for me.
OH, CorbinBleusPubicLice is a good one. That was a really great one. Change. I change my answer to that.
@ladyefronReply to @corbinbleuspubiclice again, this is just what works for me personally ##fyp♬ original sound – ladyefron
Your username is obviously inspired by Zac Efron. When did your Zac Efron obsession start?
I would say the first time I saw the High School Musical one commercial. I was at a sleepover at my cousin’s house and then Zac’s face came on the screen. And I immediately felt sick. Like nauseous, and I was like, “What is this feeling?” Turns out it was just lust. Pure lust. Anyway, I had to go home from my cousin’s house because I felt sick. But that was the first time I saw Zac. And that really laid the grounds for LadyEfron, which was my email address. Because Mrs. Efron was taken.
But, I hate to say this, I still love Zac, but he’s not necessarily my number one anymore. I love him more than anything and I want — no, I need him to know that. Put that in there. I need people to know that I’ve found love with other men such as Harry Styles and crew.
Have you ever read fanfiction? And if yes, which was your fanfic genre or coupling of choice?
Okay, easy question. In high school I was obsessed with Glee fanfiction. Specifically Kurt and Blaine.
Oh my God.
It’s probably not a surprise to many people. I don’t remember what it was called, but I read one that was like, longer than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A new chapter came out every week, so wherever I was, I dropped whatever I was doing. It was like: Blaine was in prison, he got out, and he had this ankle monitor. And Kurt was like, “Oh no, Blaine you’re a bad boy.” And Blaine was like, “But for you, I’m not.” And that’s what I liked.
I know someone wrote a fanfic about you — which, iconic — but if you had a say, what would your dream fanfic, starring you, be about?
Oh, that’s. That’s an amazing question. Okay, here’s my ideal fanfic. It’s a fantasy I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, which is that Ellen DeGeneres calls me and is like, “I need you on my show.” And I’m like, “Alright great, Ellen.” So I go onto her show. We’re chatting, just casual — nothing serious. And then, all of a sudden, everyone starts cheering and I’m like, “Ellen, what’s going on?” I turn around and Zac Efron is walking out. I freak out, obviously, but Zac Efron thinks it’s cute. So that’s okay. And then we build our relationship based on that moment on Ellen.
One of your most embarrassing moments you’ve shared on TikTok was throwing up before a chorus solo in middle school. How did you… mentally and emotionally recover from that?
I don’t think I did. Ever. The thing that sucks about me is that I have anxiety, which we’ve established, but usually, if it gets really bad I throw up. You can’t really hide that, which just blows. Like one time I was driving my crush home from school and then threw up, which was really like — that’s the top one. So we’re still emotionally working through that.
You’ve shared your experience with IBS. Specifically, I want to talk about shitting yourself during your bat mitzvah. Just — what happened? And what happened after?
I think what happened was we had just watched my bat mitzvah montage, which I’m sure people know is like, the most emotional experience you could ever go through. I think I was processing, and the way I process is through my mouth. So I think the emotional weight of that was what produced the diarrhea. So obviously the father-daughter dance was right after the montage, and the second John Mayer’s “Daughters” started I burst into tears and ran off the stage. And I’d say I stayed in the bathroom for about 25 minutes before my grandma came to retrieve me.
Before we end, let’s talk about your bat mitzvah look. It was unreal, the suit, all of it, so there’s really no need for a do-over. But if you were to have a bat mitzvah now, what would you wear and what would your theme be?
Great question. I didn’t actually have a theme because my mom wanted it to be about me becoming a woman and nothing else. Realistically, if I could’ve chosen a theme, it would’ve been something related to High School Musical. One Direction wasn’t around in that time, but it would’ve been based on an obsession of mine. I feel like if I could have my bat mitzvah now, the theme would be like Criminal Minds. I would love that — a more interactive bat mitzvah, like solving crimes at each table. And I think I would keep the suit. Did you see the Juicy Couture dress for the night party?
Oh my god, yes.
I would also keep that.
If you could tell your 13-year-old self anything, what would it be?
Oh, God. I don’t know. That’s an emotional question. I feel like I’d want to be like, “it gets better,” but… does it? Maybe like, “things suck, and that’s okay.” Not, “it gets better,” but, “you’re gonna be okay.”
Header image design by Emily Burack. Images of Brooke via @BrookeAverick on Instagram, background via Adél Békefi/Getty Images.