“I wanted to go to a bigger school, but I’m glad I go here because it’s smaller, I’m with my friends, and the classes have 20 people, so I’m able to connect with my professor.”
Hometown: Clarksville, TN
Involvement: Alpha Omicron Pi and philanthropy work with Strike Out Arthritis and Sisters for Soldiers
Austin Peay State University business marketing senior Jenna Pry and her brother, Seth, have become TikTok stars, attracting more than 3.7 million followers since a December 2019 video went viral.
In the eight-second video, Seth sprints through a rain-drenched parking lot in his Chick-fil-A uniform to Jenna’s car and asks, “Have you been served yet, ma’am? Can I get you anything?” That video has earned 3.6 million views so far.
From there, the brother and sister duo have carved out success from their videos, and some of their video’s costars – such as a literal throw pillow and a see-through chair – have helped propel them to stardom.
We caught up with Jenna, who expects to graduate in May, to ask how she and Seth have adapted to their fame, especially while navigating a pandemic.
How did the Chick-fil-A video happen?
I think it was the second week of last December, and it was our first video. I usually text Seth when he’s at Chick-fil-A and ask him to throw some extra nuggets in just to let him know I’m there. He was actually sitting in the parking lot waiting for his shift to start, and I texted that I was in the drive-thru and saw him. I’ve always recorded stuff and just leave it on. I have so many videos of him when he was younger. He’s always been so goofy. And I just happened to flip on my camera, and he was running, and it blew up. That was not planned. It just happened so fast.
How quickly after the video went viral did you figure out you could just keep making popular videos?
After that Chick-fil-A video we really didn’t know how to style videos people liked because it was just such a spontaneous video. I didn’t know how to keep rolling with this. The next few videos kind of didn’t do so well because we didn't really know what we were doing. Then I don’t know, I guess people just fell in love with Seth’s character, and we just kept going with it.
How do you come up with the ideas for your videos?
Some of our ideas are planned but most of the time, I just tell Seth to walk through the door and say something dumb because he’s really good at that. But, yeah, our scripts are very spontaneous. We just go with it. We don’t script much.
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But you do stick to some themes?
Yes. We do stick to opening the door and throwing the pillow. Seth pretty much just says whatever. We have the same routine.
Even though you’re mostly behind the camera in your videos, your laughing in response to your brother is part of the magic of the video.
Yeah, people say my laugh is contagious and that they like to laugh along with me.
You can find Jenna and Seth throughout the APSU Tik-Tok account at the link below.
What was your life like during the next several months?
Me and Seth both have jobs, and it was kind of hard to fit our time in with all that craziness going on. Making videos was extremely hard from December to March. Then in March, me and Seth both got relieved from our jobs, and that’s when we started making lots of videos and hit 2 million followers. We were just doing nothing but making videos. When we both got back into our jobs, things started slowing down again, but I recently quit my job. Sometimes we struggle here and there, like he wants to go and do his thing and I go and do my thing. He’ll come home at midnight, and I’ll say, “All right, let’s do video real quick.”
Did your videos change when the pandemic started?
Not too much. Our views went up a whole lot. The pandemic got everyone on their phones. We saw a huge increase in our engagement.
Tell me a little bit more about yourself outside the videos.
I’m a military brat originally from Georgia. I came to Austin Peay because my family is local, and I wanted to stay with my family. I wanted to go to a bigger school, but I’m glad I go here because it’s smaller, I’m with my friends, and the classes have 20 people, so I’m able to connect with my professor. Seth is studying to be a pilot. He gets his license at the end of this month. He wants to get his license then go fly commercial. He’s wanted to do that since he was young.
Jenna and Seth now average around one million views on each Tik-Tok they produce.