Sabrina Brier is TikTok’s latest character

Sabrina Brier is TikTok’s latest character

Sabrina Brier is TikTok's latest character

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It was a dark Saturday night last month on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where Saturday nights can get very dark, but Sabrina Brier, dressed in a rhinestone necklace and strapless plaid pantsuit, was shining onstage at a basement comedy club called Caveat warming up the crowd.


“You are the butter, I am the microwave,” she announced.

This particular joke passed quickly, but the metaphor was stuck in the air. After a few years of sweating on the back burner in show business, Ms Brier, 28, found instant success on the social media platform of the moment, TikTok. She has over 400,000 subscribers, and many more fans who watch, “like” and share her videos, most of which parody the life of a somewhat privileged young woman and her erratic self-confidence oscillating between the effervescence of the city and the reassuring comfort of the suburbs. . (“See that corner? Perfect for a pumpkin,” she said in a post about recovering from fall, the supposed favorite season for “basic” white women. Meblame the architect! “)

Ms. Brier specializes in point-of-view, or POV, videos that confront relatable, often loathsome characters with a subtle sneer, cheerfully rubbery body and arcing pronunciation of generational catchphrases like “kill, queen” and “I got you”, often repeated for effect. She recently spoofed the genre Get Ready With Me (GR.WM) which has women across America applying face makeup, plugging in beauty products and sharing in equal parts.

Point of view of this GR.WM: “the girl who bullied you in high school is trying to be an influencer.”

In a five-part series about the “extremely passive and aggressive roommate,” Ms. Brier pretends not to care about taking out the trash when it’s not her day; enforces a rule prohibiting inviting people on weeknights; complains that his roommate comes home at 3:27 a.m.; forces that roommate to renew their lease and then welcomes a guest into the “common area”. (The first three videos have each had millions of views.) Ms. Brier’s real-life roommate, Alice Duchen, an intensive care nurse, is often behind the camera, unmoved.

The two women live in Greenwich Village, near a rack of CitiBikes (Ms. Brier also sent the CitiBike poser who ostensibly bleats “to your left!”), in a small two-bedroom walk-up apartment. She’s one floor below the character she plays in one of her most popular videos, who breathlessly urges a visitor to climb six flights of stairs in a building she claims is luxurious: “It’ll be worth it! Come on!”

Eleven days before the Caveat comedy show, Ms. Brier sat in the dining room of her apartment in front of a plate of untouched biscuits, under a collection of paintings by her paternal grandmother, and told her origin story.

Her mother, Susan Cinoman, is a playwright who is currently working on a feminist retelling of the legend of King Arthur who divorced Ms Brier’s father, a cardiologist, when she was 5. “Very cordial,” Ms. Brier said. “No big drama.”

She has an older sister, Gabrielle, now a producer, and they were obsessed with the Disney Channel when they were little, performing a modern-day ‘Cinderella’ – “except instead of the ball, it’s like a concert of Britney Spears” – and later “rom-com girlie movies” such as “Clueless” and “Mean Girls”.

Ms. Brier was in sixth grade when she first got a phone, the Verizon Chocolate. “We were the AIM generation,” she said, never dreaming that a phone could one day be a portal to everything. She attended Amity High School, where she won first place in a Shakespeare contest with a monologue from “The Taming of the Shrew,” unsure if comedy was her winning strategy. “It was such a thing where the boys were the ones who had to have the personality, right? The boys were the class clowns. She relaxed at Smith College, a women-only liberal arts college, where she majored in acting and took improv classes.

“It was always easy to identify him as someone who was performative,” Ms Cinoman said over the phone. “She wasn’t an extrovert per se, but half of Sabrina was staring out the window at all times, other realities encroaching on the one we were all in with her.”

After graduating, Ms. Brier worked in talent management for two years, then landed a position as an assistant in the writers room of “For Life,” an ABC drama about a wrongfully convicted man who becomes a lawyer. jail to clear himself. “I’m a demon for anything that makes me cry,” Ms. Brier said. “Inside every actress is a sad girl, and that’s definitely me.”

After a season, Covid arrived. Restless in quarantine, she started posting videos on Instagram, one of which was picked up by Barstool, the popular sports blog. But that was before Reels. “It would be a little blurry, and it didn’t translate, and I didn’t understand it, and I felt old,” she said. Then she posted a few on TikTok, including one in which she falsely referred to Houston Street in New York, which is pronounced How-ston, like Hew-ston. Boom.

As Ms. Brier expanded her oeuvre from the single note of a Connecticut transplant to New York City to the complicated jazz of friendship, especially female friendship, she began to be recognized in restaurants and on the sidewalks. Platform princess Dixie D’Amelio has named her favorite account to follow. Model Emily Ratajkowski used Ms Brier’s voiceover for a video about being “seen”. Playwright Jeremy O. Harris included her in his “Coronavirus Mixtape” posts, carousels ofvideos and memes Mr Harris posted during the lockdown.

Ms. Brier’s viral fame has caught the attention of brands who pay her to write comics featuring their products, how she now makes a living. The girl who once made a video about being “the ULTIMATE subway girl” who couldn’t swipe her MetroCard is now hired to sell Subway sandwiches. (Other sponsorships include Bumble, Uno the Board Game, and Mirrored Cell Phone Cases.)

But she dreams of having and hosting her own television show. In May, she’ll play two nights as the character at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn — a neighborhood the character would likely struggle to find. Now represented by Creative Arts Agency, Ms. Brier is also auditioning for other roles.

In this city, after all, you still need ambition and an algorithm.

“People are like, ‘Wow, this is all happening,’” Ms Brier said. “And I’m like, ‘These are just things that work the way I was trying to make them work. It’s not random.


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