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How Bama Built Influencers’ Brands


Published on November 27, 2023, 3:24 p.m.
by Shaley Brown. 

101,821 football tickets, 39,623 students and 12,000 Greek members. Since 1831, The University of Alabama (UA) has built an empire that includes the seventh largest collegiate stadium, the fifth largest enrollment record at UA and the nation’s largest Greek community. Known for the best college football program in history, UA has a network of individuals who call Bama home.

Photo by Chad Robertson via Adobe Stock

UA’s mission is “to advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state, the nation and the world through creation, translation and dissemination of knowledge.” The University of Alabama provides not only a place for higher education but a platform to build one’s personal brand, which is essential to career advancement. Through networking, relationship building, visibility and cultivating trust between yourself and an audience, you can create meaningful connections and leave with not only a degree but a lasting impact on your community.

Five University of Alabama influencers have done just that, and they took to social media to build their own empire.

Gracie O’Connor

Alabama alum and full-time content creator Gracie O’Connor is the original Bama Rush girl. Her Rush Week Vlog accumulated over 100,000 views on YouTube in a week, and what started for fun became a full-time job.

Photo via Gracie O’Connor’s Instagram (@gracieoconnor)

As an overnight sensation, O’Connor had to learn to balance her personal and professional life very quickly. In a previous Platform article, O’Connor said no matter how hard the process can get, she’s thankful every day for her career.

Since graduating in 2022, she’s no longer sharing her sorority life but has continued to be successful as an influencer. O’Connor shifted her content’s focus to traveling the world. But no matter where she is in life, she is continuing to do what she loves: bringing positivity and shining a light on dark places through life changes.

“I just want a community of people to trust, and to trust me,” said O’Connor. When asked what the biggest reward as an influencer has been, she said, “It has brought me a lifestyle, my closest friends, great mentors and opportunities for so many different things.”

O’Connor paved the path for influencers at Bama to turn the filming of ones life into a career.

Chloe Holladay

Chloe Holladay, a University of Alabama senior and captain of the school’s Crimsonettes, has over 480,000 followers and 19.3 million likes on TikTok. As an athlete and nursing student on campus, she shares content such as getting ready videos for game days, hair and makeup tutorials, and nursing clinicals to her thousands of followers. Her spot on the Crimsonette line has allowed her to travel across the United States performing at away football games, such as the Sugar bowl in New Orleans and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Photo via Chloe Holladay’s Instagram (@chloe_holladay)

“The audience of UA is so widespread because of the excellence, and being a part of something so special is such a blessing,” said Holladay.

She has taken advantage of the platform UA provides, and with her Southern internet personality, she has amassed thousands of fans who follow along with her journey through college.

Gracyn Edmondson

A sophomore at UA, Gracyn Edmondson is not far behind Holladay with over 330,000 followers and 6 million likes on TikTok. The growing platform has been a vital tool in social media success for both Holladay and Edmondson to share their college lifestyle content.

Photo via Gracyn Edmonson’s Instagram (@gracynedmonson)

When asked how attending a school like Alabama gave her a platform and the audience to be successful as an influencer, Edmondson said that Greek life had a huge impact on her following. Current Phi Mu member of the Alpha Zeta chapter,Edmondson attributes her rush experience to her success. With videos featuring her outfit of the day (OOTD), explaining what’s in her rush bag, and showing the behind the scenes of sorority recruitment, Edmondson has gotten unique opportunities to work with brands aside from building her own.

When she isn’t in class or at an Alabama football game, you can find her modeling for South Boutique. “The experiences I have gained through social media and my time as a student have been the most rewarding aspect of building my brand,” said Edmondson.

Kylan Darnell

In 2022, Kylan Darnell was crowned Miss Ohio Teen USA. Now a current student at The University of Alabama, Darnell has gone from beauty pageant winner to the new face of Bama Rush. Her outgoing and optimistic personality has brought over 774,000 followers and 45.5 million likes to her TikTok page.

Originally from a small town in Ohio, Darnell chose UA because she aspires to be a sports broadcaster and thought UA would provide the best opportunity to reach her goal. Darnell said she never imagined her platforms would gain so much traction but thanks all her followers for continuing to watch her content.

Photo via Kylan Darnell’s Instagram (@kylan_darnell)

“The body of people at Alabama are continuously supporting me. I get mail from past alumni, and Bama moms text me all the time — I feel so supported by the fans who love and support Bama. It’s like another family,” said Darnell.

Through her personal achievements and impact as an influencer at Alabama, Darnell strives to be a role model for young girls and said being a person people look up to is the reason she continues pursuing her career as an influencer.

Morgan Butler

Madison, Alabama, native and Pi Beta Phi member Morgan Butler is an aspiring social media influencer. Butler is growing her social media presence on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

Photo via Morgan Butler’s Instagram (@morgie.butler)

As a public relations student, she knows all about how important branding is to oneself. But she has taken a different approach to her branding than showcasing traditional sorority content. When asked to describe her personal brand, Butler said, “I want to talk about real world issues and show that life doesn’t have to be walked through alone.”

Morgan started her YouTube channel in the eighth grade for fun and has focused on documenting what she’s gone through to look back and see how far she has come. She is grateful for the platform UA gave her to open the door to hard and raw conversations. For those who follow her content, she said, “No matter what you take away from my platform, know there is a place for everyone.”

Built by Bama

O’Connor, Holladay, Edmondson, Darnell and Butler are just a few who prove that The University of Alabama is where legends are made.

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