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  • Writer's pictureAugust Sorenson

Caitlin Reilly: Phenom of TikTok

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

It’s a popular and common myth that overnight sensations exist in the entertainment industry. Anyone who’s been here for any length of time - and certainly anyone who’s made it big - will tell you the many years of paying their dues, working their way up, in order to "make it big". 

A 2010 graduate, Caitlin Reilly was doing just that: the typical hustle between survival jobs, classes, and auditions for nearly a decade until the novel coronavirus upended her day-to-day grind. 

She happened upon TikTok almost accidentally. In February, Caitlin began working in real estate-- the not so uncommon plight of the starving artist. While trying to entertain herself with the app featuring supposed "Influencers", Caitlin has entertained so many of us. 

Caitlin has become a staple in popular culture, with a list of celebrity followers featuring Dan Levy, Selena Gomez, Ingrid Michaelson, and Brandi Carlile-- not to mention nearly 2 million more across social media. Her style of portraying unfavorable people is wonderfully specific, which she says comes from her ability to create a strong point-of-view in each character.

Characters range from; “WASP mom” to “LA mom”; high school bullies to college boyfriends; "the girl you did an improv class with 6 years ago" to the girl you did an improv class with 7 years ago"; an unstable friend who insists they’re in a “really good place”; a beret-sporting friend who returned from a trip abroad; political satire; Keira Knightly impersonations; and the more abstract: “every movie montage of the lead characters dead girlfriend” featuring an underscore of Debussy. All this, and so much more, but she laments the term: “Influencer”. 

Caitlin has been featured in a number of leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Hers Magazine, Buzzfeed, and Instyle. Despite her distaste for being called an influencer, perhaps none of her success - better representation, wider recognition, upcoming television and film projects (which she “can’t talk about”) - would have been possible without it. 

Exclusive Interview With Caitlin Reilly

Last week, faculty member Joe Garcia interviewed Caitlin Reilly on zoom. The duo discussed the pandemic, drawing on her training, and what it means to be an actor in the era of COVID-19. 

We, the editorial staff, have selected our favorite moments; some funny, some compelling, and some endearing-- but all quintessentially Caitlin Reilly. 

Full interview located here.

Located at 5:56:

Joe: Observation, where does observation-- I mean we’ve been cooped up for a long time, and I always keep talking in classes that you have to be an observation machine… Where does that fit in with what you have going on here?

Caitlin: Well, I think it goes across the board. Not just comedy… any kind of acting. I’ve been focused on comedy lately because that’s a lot of what’s out there… Even if it’s not comedy, you have to observe people and really figure out mannerisms, how they carry themselves, how they lead their body, how they walk, how they talk. Point-of-view is the important thing. 

Located at 19:21:

Caitlin: There’s a difference between indicating… and watching yourself. And I had a huge problem watching myself… I wanted it to sound good, to look good-- but I myself was not a part of it at all. And I had to break myself of that, and it helped me so much when I was at The Groundlings-- you have to fully be in it. 

Located at 37:19: 

Caitlin: I think learning how to like yourself or love yourself is a constant exercise you need to do with yourself everyday. Especially when it comes to this industry there are so many factors out of your control, so you need to figure out how to maneuver that… To still figure out a way to love yourself and enjoy what you’re doing… and keep moving forward as opposed to attacking yourself. 

You can find more from Caitlin virtually anywhere; Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and IMDb.


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