Bobbi Miller starts every TikTok the same way. She introduces herself as “Your friend Bobbi, who knows a bit too much about pop culture.” This is one of the trademarks of her pop culture oriented TikTok account, The Afternoon Special.
Miller, a 2020 graduate from the University of Georgia, started The Afternoon Special in December 2020. Since then her platform has has gained over 178,000 followers and 2 million likes.
“Literally, I posted my first video, [and] I think just some random people saw it. I think I got maybe like 20 followers. And then one day, I woke up and my food and film video had blown up overnight,” Miller said.
Miller's TikTok became an overnight sensation, but it wasn’t all that unexpected. While studying journalism at UGA and then later working as a publicity intern for NBC, Miller established her passion for all things pop culture, which she now displays in her TikTok content.
Miller’s friend and former colleague Ann Vrooman said that when they met at NBC, Miller “knew so much about pop culture that it was intimidating.”
Miller credits NBC as the place where she got her first taste of the entertainment industry. While she no longer works with the company, Miller said it cemented what she knew about herself and pushed her to pursue her passion in entertainment and media.
In addition to her time at NBC, many of Miller’s experiences at UGA shaped her love for entertainment. Miller was a member of Sharkwing Sketch Comedy, where she wrote and performed comedic sketches for an audience. Miller notes this time as the first time in college where she fully stepped outside of her comfort zone.
Performing may have been new to Miller, but fellow Sharkwing member and 2020 UGA graduate Carolyn Borkowski said Miller was up for the challenge.
“She's just really grown so much as a performer in the past few years of her sketch comedy” Borkowski said.
When asked about her success, Miller acknowledged her humble beginnings. Though some may see a certain number of followers and equate it to success, Miller said her life has not drastically changed. She still lives in the room she graduated from and doesn’t make any money from her content.
Rather than prioritizing profit, Miller focuses on what it means to occupy the pop culture space as a Black woman. When she began her channel, she hadn’t seen anybody like her making that kind of content. Now she hopes that her popularity will encourage others.
“I do hope that it kind of emboldened other people, especially other Black women, to know that this space is also theirs, should they want to pursue it,” Miller said.
As The Afternoon Special’s following grows, Miller said she hopes to take her content to other platforms. On TikTok she has a 60-second video limit, and while she enjoys creating small productions, Miller aspires to expand.
“I would love to start a YouTube channel and a podcast, just reaching more people and actually having longer form content,” Miller said.
With her background in journalism and writing, Miller has aspirations, but she also says she wants to just take the changes as they come. Moving forward, she said she will continue to use her platform in a positive way while still discussing relevant societal issues.