TikTok's Brittany Broski Shares The Stuff That Keeps Her Sane When She's Offline

The Texan internet star talks Instagram nails, starting a podcast and Dr. Pepper from Taco Bell.
Emily Malan

Brittany Tomlinson misses shopping in person. A patron saint of memes and certified TikTok royalty, the 24-year-old content creator is undoubtedly digital and yet endearingly old school. She collects records from her grandparents’ house, finds vintage Rolling Stones posters at flea markets and likes to dawdle around the aisles of actual stores, offline.

“With COVID times, you can’t really like go into a store anymore to try stuff on,” Tomlinson, who is known to the internet as Brittany Broski, told HuffPost. “With online shopping, I always wait too long and then I can’t return it, because I waited too long.”

After rising to internet fame in 2019 as “Kombucha Girl” thanks to a TikTok of her trying the fermented drink, Broski has done what few other normal people that go viral have managed: stay relevant. Unlike other short-lived internet phenomenons, Broski’s been able to separate herself from the bit that made her famous and diversify the digital work she does.

While her TikTok following has become bigger than the current population of Denmark, Broski also has a successful YouTube channel. And on Jan. 10, she launched a podcast called “Violating Community Guidelines” about both wild and niche things on the internet, with longtime friend, roommate and creative collaborator Sarah Schauer. “We’re educating to a certain extent about the weird shit that we see online, or that we know exists online,” Broski said.

Making longer-form content with a paid fact-checker is a new challenge for Broski, whose TikTok videos are often short and improvised. The mix of impromptu and planned work is indicative of the ever-precarious balance between real-life Brittany and internet Brittany. This weighs on Broski, who never set out to be “famous” in the way that movie stars or Top 40 singers are famous ― and who currently exists at an intersection of cult-like “very online” internet fame and offline people who know nothing about TikTok.

“It’s a not well-known sentiment,” she said. “It’s so easy to feel like you’re not real, you’re playing a character online. Like, different versions of the same person. It is so strange.”

“Imagine having a friend that you’re like, ‘Oh my God, have you seen this meme?’ And they’re like, ‘No, I have a 401(k).’”

During the onset of the pandemic in 2020, when the internet was the only place to socialize, Broksi said the pressures of being a social media celebrity amplified.

“I had like full-blown meltdowns about it. Like the effects it has on your identity and like imposter syndrome and all that. It’s like, am I lying? Or am I just playing a character, but the character is me?” Broski said. “I found a happy medium now, I guess, but I have to take social media breaks.”

It’s during these “social media breaks” and when hanging around with her “offline friends” that Broski remembers she is, indeed, a real human person and not just a figment of the internet.

“Imagine having a friend that you’re like, ‘Oh my God, have you seen this meme?’ And they’re like, ‘No, I have a 401(k),’” she said. “When you zoom out of this microcosm that you exist in on TikTok or YouTube or Twitter, it’s like, we’re all just people trying to do our best.”

While she now lives in Los Angeles, the Texas native visits home often, and values spending time with old friends and family. During non-COVID times, she likes going to concerts and art museums and traveling to new places. And although her internet persona is fly-by-the-seat-of-her-biker shorts, Broski says in real life, she’s actually pretty Type A.

“I’m like, if I don’t make the plans, the plans aren’t going to happen,” Broski said. “I don’t play around. I plan and I plan the outfit.”

When asked to go through her favorite random items, attention to detail shines through. From Tylenol to tweezers, Broksi is always prepared, whether it’s for selfies with fans or late-night trips to Taco Bell.

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Ice water in a Yeti
"I think it's a Southern thing. I just always have to have a Yeti full of ice water or I will spontaneously combust. I don't know what it is. From college, I would walk around with one, and then at my job I would always walk around with one and then now I just always have one in my car because they last for forever. Who doesn't want ice water? This was a Whataburger cup Yeti and I was like, 'Oh I have to have that.' Because this is camp. I'm obsessed."
Candy Cane ChapStick
"I'm addicted to ChapStick... Candy Cane ChapStick. This. A holiday exclusive. It's minty, it's refreshing. It's perfect. I always have one of these on me."
Fake nails from Instagram artists
"I get all my nails from Instagram nail artists that are fantastic. Nailzbychyna, nailsxkenna, ibedoingnails and pressedbymadi: Those are my four ride-or-dies."
Makartt nail glue
"This nail glue, I don't know if it's salon-quality. Makartt nail glue, this shit. It lasts two weeks. You know, I get drunk and I run my hands into shit and I'll lose a nail that way. But like, if you're just going about your daily life, it works so good. It's like the stuff that they use when you actually go to the nail salon to glue on the fake tips, before they do the acrylic on top. It's incredible."
Purse tweezers
"I always have tweezers because I usually have long nails on, and when I go to put my card in the gas station, ATM or a parking meter, I can't get it out. I've literally had to ask strangers, 'Can you get my credit card out of this machine for me?' And that's so dangerous. I'm literally like, 'Look at me. Can you help?' And they're like, yes. It's so humiliating. I forget! I'm like, 'I'm gonna go put on some nails!' Then I gotta get gas, and it's like 'Fuck!'"
Vintage posters and vinyl records
"I'm a vintage girl, from the music I listen to, to my style. I'm nostalgic for a time that I didn't exist in. I have these old records from my grandparents. A lot [of my wall art] is from Melrose Trading Post, I have a bunch of Rolling Stone stuff. It's just like, you either find [vintage stuff] you like, or you're like, 'I really want a poster of that.' And then you find a way to make it. I use Posterburner online."

(Note: this pictured poster is original vintage, so there is only one, but Etsy has a huge variety of vintage and vintage-inspired posters and prints.)
A maximalist collection of intentional knickknacks and wall decor
"I've always been a maximalist. I love a good country flag. We've got Spain, Italy and the U.K. I love art. I've got a bunch of art pieces. And then I'm a corporate girl. I love Disney and Nickelodeon and all that. I know the things that make me happy, and I gravitate toward them if I'm in a store, and fill my space with them because they make me happy.

"[My bedroom] is my happy space. Yes, it's my filming space, but only because it's the space that I live in. So I think that they're not mutually exclusive. I can like the things I like online, but also this is what the inside of my brain looks like."
An XL cowboy hat
"It's the whole fantasy that you buy into, like when you put it on. When you grip this little [rim], you're done. I got mine in Austin. [I was like,] 'Does it fit on my big white head? It does. Let's buy it.'"

(This hat is not the one Brittany has, but it comes in six colors.)
"I just hurt. I'm just like, old. I'm 24. But like, physically, I'm 50."
Sephora lashes
"Fake eyelashes. I buy my eyelashes online from a bunch of different places. There's one called Boldface lashes, love them. Sephora's line of lashes: great. People sleep on those, the Sephora brand lashes.

"When I go to Walgreens or a CVS, I'll go look at what they have to offer, but it's usually awful. Drugstore eyelashes aren't really what you need them to be."
A travel-size garlic salt
"I used to travel before [COVID]. I would fly a lot with a thing of garlic salt in my purse, because sometimes restaurants don't season their shit! TSA took it. They were like, 'This isn't fucking garlic salt.' I said 'I swear on my mother, it's garlic salt.' They took it."
Flamin' Hot Cheetos with Lime
"You have to eat with chopsticks so they don't get on your fingers."
Fountain Dr. Pepper from Taco Bell
"Taco Bell Dr. Pepper. Delicious. They put something in that bitch, that's like, it doesn't taste like Dr. Pepper anywhere else. If you go to McDonald's and get a Dr. Pepper, it doesn't taste like a Taco Bell Dr. Pepper. It's sweeter; it's like more fizzy. Oh my god, and when you're drunk. Taco Bell Dr. Pepper."
Coca Cola and vintage Coke art
"I have a Coca-Cola bottle tattooed on my arm. My dad loves Coke. We grew up, our whole kitchen is Coca-Cola-themed. I love just the artistry of it."
Art found on TikTok
"I buy art online from people. This one I bought from an artist on TikTok. I watched them draw it and I was like, 'I think I need that.' And then they had a store linked, and I bought it and they sent it to me, and it was all cute. You're supporting artists that you never would have seen otherwise. This one is from Somewhere in June.''
Hulu's 'Rick and Morty' on an iPad
"I love 'Rick and Morty.' That's one of my essentials. I have to have Hulu logged in on my iPad."
Silver rings on every finger
"It used to be James Avery, because I'm from Texas, and that's a very Southern thing my family would gift each other because it's real silver. But it's so redneck, it's like [a] Jesus fish ring, 'I heart God' necklace. But now, I'm on Etsy and I love turquoise and all that."

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