When Annie Agar told her family back in May that she wanted to learn to make TikTok videos, her 17-year-old sister, Gracy, couldn’t stop chuckling.
“Don’t even try it,” Gracy told Annie, who is 24. “It’s way beyond your generation.”
Ummmm, apparently not.
A few days after that conversation, Annie’s very first video had made her a viral sensation. The 44-second parody clip — titled “If the Big Ten had a zoom meeting” — has been viewed 2.1 million times and received more than 3,300 retweets.
Subsequent videos lampooning NFL quarterbacks and the Big Ten’s return to football are taking off, as well. In only four months, Annie’s Twitter following has ballooned from 12,000 to 38,000. Her new “fans” are constantly begging for more.
“I’m still in shock,” Annie told Outkick Thursday. “I never could’ve envisioned something like this.”
A television sports reporter based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Annie said the idea to experiment with TikTok surfaced as she tried to concoct new, innovative ways to do her job during quarantine. A longtime follower of the Big Ten, Annie observed that most of the league’s coaches were conducting all of their meetings virtually on Zoom.
“I thought, ‘How funny would it be if all of the Big Ten coaches had a Zoom call to figure out the football season,” Annie said. “They all want the same outcome — but they all hate each other. I thought the dynamic of Zoom call could be hilarious.”
And it certainly was.
The pompous coach from Michigan. The bespectacled bookworm from Northwestern. The life-of-party from Michigan State with a drink in hand. The farmer from Nebraska and the bashful Rutgers coach who just wanted to be included. Annie, who changed wardrobes for each school, portrayed them all in her inaugural comedy bit.
The best part? There was nothing tacky, tasteless or taboo. Everything was in good fun.
Annie said she was surprised at how easy it was to make the video considering she knew nothing about how to use TikTok.
“I didn’t even know where the ‘record’ button was,” she said. “But I did my research and learned really quickly. All of the editing is done inside the app and it hardly takes any time at all.”
Annie grew up in western Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. Her father, Jeff, is a Michigan State graduate, which means she wasn’t allowed to be a Michigan fan. “My parents would’ve disowned me,” she said.
Instead, around middle school, Annie developed a fondness for Ohio State basketball and star shooting guard Evan Turner. While her friends and family sported Wolverines and Spartans gear, Annie was decked out in Buckeye apparel.
“I had to make sure I knew my stuff,” Annie said, “because Michigan and Michigan State fans are brutal around here.
“I grew up around sports. I’d talk about games and players every night at the dinner table with my family. I learned really quickly in school that guys would take you more seriously if you could talk sports.”
As much as she loved the action on the field and court, Annie became interested in things that were happening on the sideline. As she grew older she started paying more and more attention to the TV reporters who were covering the games.
“The main thing I loved about sports is the connection between the fans and the athletes,” she said. “The person that connected those two groups was the reporter, because they would ask the question that you, as a fan, would want to hear. I want to be able to give fans what those reporters gave me growing up.”
Annie studied journalism at Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids and landed an internship at the local television station, WOODTV, while she was in school. Her bosses were so impressed that they offered her a job after college. More than three years later, she’s still there reporting on high school sports.
“My goal is to get more time in front of the camera,” Annie said. “I’m in the process of looking for that next step. An anchor position or a sideline job with a team … or whatever opportunity might come up. My ultimate goal is to be either on ESPN or work for an NFL team. NFL Live … I love that show. It may sound crazy, but I always shoot high.”
Perhaps her TikTok videos could be a launching point. Annie — who lists Hannah Storm and Maria Taylor as he biggest influences — said she’s glad she’s been able to make people smile during such a dark time for the country.
Annie’s most recent video is about NFL quarterbacks following the first football Sunday of the season. In it, she portrays everyone from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield to Joe Burrow to Phillip Rivers. Just like her previous efforts, it’s absolutely hilarious.
“We were deprived of sports for so many months,” she said. “It made us crave and appreciate the rivalries, and that ability to poke fun at people in a fun, sarcastic—but respectful—way. That’s why people love sports so much. You can make inside jokes and laugh with a bunch of fun, random people, all because you like the same sport or the same team.
“So yeah, I want to keep connecting people in that way.”