Pierson Wodzynski Decided to Follow Her Dreams—Then They Followed Her Back
- Written byRich Thomas
- Photographed byVitaly Kibenko
Every business owner knows how critical a role social media plays in brand-building. Product shots have to be perfectly composed yet relatable, and communication has to be on-voice but not too salesy.
Now imagine that the brand is you. Every piece of feedback is an ego-booster or a confidence-crusher, and everyone has an opinion about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. You are the commodity. A platform that is many people’s fun way to show off their latest meal or home improvement project is now the primary vehicle driving your career.
This is the life of Pierson Wodzynski, a fresh-faced, infectiously optimistic 22-year-old from Redondo Beach whose Friday dance videos propelled her into the social media stratosphere and caught the attention of one of Gen Z’s most popular YouTube groups. Now she spends her days writing TikTok scripts, filming content pieces on multiple platforms with her crew of creators and sifting through emails inviting sponsorship opportunities.
“Since I was little, I loved being in front of the camera,” says Pierson. “Then I transitioned to being behind the camera in high school. Social media was the perfect creative outlet for me to combine both those things.”
Pierson’s numbers are staggering: nearly 2 million on Instagram, nearly 8 million on TikTok and more than 1.5 million subscribers to her YouTube channel. She has another 390,000 subscribers to the Amp World YouTube channel, where her squad posts additional content. The majority of that growth has come in the past year, when most professionals were simply trying to hold on amidst the pandemic and keep things status quo.
“Since I was little, I loved being in front of the camera. Then I transitioned to being behind the camera in high school.”
In a digital vacuum of polarizing political messaging and panic buying, her positive energy and carefree attitude resonated with a demographic that was struggling with everything from unemployment and distance learning to compartmentalizing the anger and confusion of celebrating milestone life events in quarantine. Pierson attributes her optimism and ambition to growing up amidst the South Bay’s positive energy and active community.
A graduate of Redondo Union High School, she spent a year at UC Santa Barbara before coming back home to enroll in El Camino College in hopes of obtaining a business degree. In December 2019 she decided to leave El Camino. “I was going to give myself one semester to chase my dreams because I was feeling a little weighed down,” she remembers. “So I started to put myself out there as often as I could, making videos and looking on Craigslist for acting gigs. I tried doing absolutely everything.”
She began to film and post dance videos every Friday, bopping and strutting around the South Bay—fully aware that many of the high school and college friends who followed her were cringing at her hyperanimated facial expressions and exaggerated moves. The videos performed well enough, but it wasn’t until her rendition of a popular dance video trend set to Drake’s “In My Feelings” blew up that she hit her stride.
A gig for a Bachelor-style YouTube series with popular Gen Z network AwesomenessTV brought her into the orbit of Brent Rivera, who became popular on the social platform Vine before starting Amp Studios, a talent incubator and content group. Brent formally invited Pierson into the Amp Squad last spring, and she’s been a primary fixture in their videos ever since—videos that routinely get upwards of 15 million views.
Pierson was in Redondo filming one of her dance videos, and a little girl walked by with her mother. The girl tugged on her mother’s arm and pointed. “That’s Pierson!” Of all the crazy moments that have transpired since she decided to follow her dreams, that one is a standout.
“It was crazy to get recognized in my hometown, doing what I’ve been doing for so long,” she smiles. “It was surreal.”