Meet Drew Afualo (@drewafualo on TikTok) who is known as the crusader of women and many other marginalized groups on TikTok. With her no-nonsense, humor-driven approach, she is empowering so many people to stand up to misogyny and bigotry of any kind.

What does it mean to you to be part of the API community?

Absolutely everything. Growing up, I didn’t see many Polynesian representatives in the media, especially women, so it means a lot for me to have a platform that allows me to represent the Samoan people!

How has the TikTok community inspired you?

The TikTok community inspires me to create content and stand up for people bullied on the public app. The community’s courage and bravery constantly inspire me, and I am honored to be a source of inspiration and offer encouragement by creating uplifting content.

What is your favorite TikTok video that you've created and why?

I am constantly working towards combating fatphobia, so I created this video to address the issue!

What inspired you to start making your reply videos?

I was inspired to create reply videos after constantly witnessing the unfair treatment of women being held to an impossible standard when it comes to disrespect. In today's society, there is this expectation that women must be the bigger person and take the high road by remaining silent as a way to give men patience and kindness. I am someone who will not be respectful in the face of disrespect. I will show up, speak up, and support other females and marginalized groups. I think that is why so many people have gravitated toward my videos. People see that, for once, there is another woman, let alone a woman of color, creating videos that shy away from this norm and will not tolerate the blatantly disrespectful.

What advice would you give to young people who encounter misogyny/bigotry online and are not sure how to respond?

I’ve found that the misogyny/bigotry that happens online reflects the person spreading the negativity because they are so unbelievably miserable with themselves and their own lives. It is not a reflection of you, so once you understand and accept that, create an environment of not living in fear of receiving any hate or rejection. The way I handle negativity is very specific to me. However, block and report buttons exist freely, so leverage those tools to take control of the negativity.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received was from my mom. She shared that no matter what you do in this world, whether you’re a creative or someone who’s super into science, there will always be haters and difficult people. Come to terms with knowing that and release the pressure of having to be perfect all the time or being afraid to pursue the things you want to do in this life. Be yourself and express yourself in whatever way you want because the only person that will hold you back will be you!