Audrey Peters is one of the most polarizing, people on TikTok - from being blunt about her plastic surgery, to enraging half of New York with her hot takes on navy sheets, Murray Hill finance bros, and sugar babies dining at Cipriani - at which Peters is also a regular.
However controversial, Audrey is one of the most viral creators on the app with over 26M views and counting. Clearly, this social media mogul is doing something right.
Peters is working to shift the conversation surrounding the fashion industry, plastic surgery, and cultural norms of beauty- but not in ways that you might expect.
Amassing 400k followers took one simple recipe: being unapologetically herself, and sharing opinions that not everyone might agree with.
We sat down with Audrey herself to discuss how her platform advocates for authenticity on and offline- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
You are deemed as the “most honest person on Tik Tok,” but that title oftentimes comes with a lot of backlashes. How do you balance staying authentic to yourself with the potential threat of cancel culture?
One of my favorite quotes of all time is “You can never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I learned at a very young age that people are always going to think what they want, but you can’t let that hold you back from speaking your truth. The reality of the situation is that you can never please everyone. In this environment, someone will always be offended by someone or something. I aim to make my content as relatable as possible, all while being thoughtful with my words. At the end of the day, I have to accept the fact that my opinions will not always be agreed with, and that’s ok.
Social media is a great outlet for discussion and debate. How does your polarizing content fuel these necessary conversations and encourage diversity of thought?
People are oftentimes afraid to say what everyone else is thinking, so I’m someone that takes one for the team and just bites the bullet and says it. We’re all thinking it, and wish we could talk about it together - so if I have to be the one to break the ice, and consequently foster important conversations that are largely absent from social media, I really don’t mind being the one to “blame” at all.
How does your platform inspire others to present themselves in honest and authentic ways online?
I can’t tell you how many women message me the most heartfelt messages about how my content has inspired them to life live in an authentic way. Receiving those messages is by far the best part of my job, because if there was one thing I could go back and tell my 13-year-old self, it would be to be unapologetically yourself and all the right things will fall into place. I wish I had lived that mantra so much sooner.
In what ways does your social media presence change the conversation surrounding plastic surgery?
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I think I’m one of the first creators to be honest and actually volunteer exactly what procedures I’ve had done. Sure, lots of influencers and celebrities admit what they’ve had done after they’ve been directly asked, or after there’s been tons of speculation, but I’m one of the first to not only reveal without question what I’ve had done but also take you along for the experience at my dermatologist. It’s the least I can do for my followers - I quite literally wouldn’t be able to afford it without my platform and there’s nothing worse than someone who had a glow up and won’t tell you what it was, when everyone knows it wasn’t natural. I’m out here telling you exactly what I did, who I did it with, how much it cost, the pros and cons, etc. I wish more people did it too
You are very transparent about using Facetune, which struck up a bit of controversy on your platform. Do you think it’s possible to be truly authentic online, while simultaneously using editing tools?
At the end of the day, social media is fake. There’s no way it can be real - whether it’s Tik Tok, Instagram, Youtube, etc, you’re seeing a snapshot of someone's life that is carefully curated to appear perfect. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re transparent about it.
Everyone wants to look their best on social media, so if you want to tweak a photo here and there to do so, you should go for it. If you’re altering yourself on Facetune to be a different person every week that’s a totally different discussion, but patching a pimple or sharpening your jawline a little is harmless if you’re upfront about it. Let's be honest, we all want to look our best, whether that be in person or online.
Some may argue that promoting editing apps is feeding into cultural norms of beauty, but you seem to think differently. How does your transparency about Facetune relate to more inclusive beauty standards many are advocating for online?
If I'm being totally honest here - I don’t really think the cultural norms of beauty are going anywhere as unfortunate as that is. Since this is the case, I truly think we shouldn’t crucify ourselves for wanting to fit into them sometimes! Especially when we’re put in a society that expects perfection from us. The least society can do is not shame us when we’re acting on the consequences of its actions.
Everyone loves attention, compliments, and getting validation. Regardless of the reasons behind why we love it or feel like we need it, I’m here to embrace it! There is no reason to fight these human urges because the odds of our entire culture moving past these norms are so slim. If making your arm a little thinner is what’s going to make you feel better in a society that’s seemingly impossible to please, then what’s so problematic about that?
Let me smooth my Crows Feet in peace, please.
How does your “Just Because It’s Expensive Doesn’t Mean It’s Tasteful” Series dismantle deep-rooted notions surrounding money and class?
It’s been said that when something has a price tag, it’s automatically better than everything else, and therefore classified as more “tasteful.” Although this notion has existed since the beginning of time, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because it's expensive, does not mean it’s tasteful. If we’re being honest here, brands have tricked us to believe that because it has a high price tag and their logo on it its “classy” when really they’re using people as free walking advertisements.
I’m not saying I don’t love a logo moment, because depending on the circumstance I do, but the world needs to move on from drowning themselves in something expensive because they’re under the impression that they need to showcase the fact they have money.
At the end of the day, money talks and wealth whispers.
Your “What Your (Insert Popular Item) Says About You” Series is hysterical and incredibly spot on. How do you effectively lean into pop culture, without leaning into potentially harmful stereotypes? Are you ever worried that your platform is reproducing these narratives?
I think it's all in good fun, but I also totally understand my content isn’t for everyone.
In half of those videos, the stereotypes I’m making fun of are about me and my friends, and the particular social circle we are immersed in. My content is very much about laughing with you, and not at you. I try to be super sensitive about my word choice, by admitting I’m a part of the problem just like everybody else. My intention would never be to stereotype a group I am not a part of myself, but I understand that the lines around this can get super murky.
All I have to say is that the girls that get it, get it.
In what ways does your platform promote the importance of free speech?
If my platform is an example of anything, it's that honesty and personality can take you a long way. I’ve had the most incredible partnerships and made the most amazing friends because they’ve all loved how I’ve stayed authentic to myself on and off the screen.
What advice would you give young creators who are afraid to be their true selves online?
Be unapologetically yourself and all of the right things will come into place. All the right friends, all the right opportunities, so on and so forth. I wish I could shake my 13-year-old self and say that to her. If I had just cared less about what people thought about me, I would be so much further in my career today.
The fact of the matter is that everyone is going to make fun of you and think you’re “cringe” until you’re successful, and then all of a sudden they’re going to ask you to catch up and get drinks one day. So, do whatever it is that makes you happy without the fear of what people will think of you. I can attest, from personal experience, that it will be pay off and be worth it!
Photography by: Hilary Swift and Emma Howie