Talking TikTok with Max Genther

You’re all on TikTok. It’s true, you’re scrolling TikTok between classes while sitting in Emerson or while sitting in bed procrastinating your work. But you’re on TikTok as a user. Max Genther, Class of 2025, is on TikTok as a creator, and you’ve probably seen his content. His fit checks and lifestyle videos are almost always set against familiar Wheaton locations, nestled among his responsibilities here on campus. Max lives two divergent yet inescapably connected lives, one as a college student and one as a creative — broadcasting to 140k people online.

While Genther’s content chronicles his college experience in large part, college students are only a portion of his audience. His audience skews female, and it skews toward the high school demographic. My 16-year-old sister is testament to that, as Genther’s content was put on my radar because of a late night text from her wondering if I knew of him. Genther has a niche, and one that’s paying great dividends as he dances and shares his personality to a rapidly growing audience.

It’s that personal touch that sets Genther apart on TikTok. He told me as much, remarking that “I do show myself very transparently on TikTok, which I think is why people like to follow me … some of the comments [I get are like], ‘oh my God, it feels like I’m on FaceTime with you.’ That’s kind of how it should be. It’s not like I’m a different person … I pretty much show who I am on TikTok. I think I’m just me.” The truth in this is clear in Genther’s videos, as he walks around campus getting mail or getting ready for practice — his ethos is very approachable.

Perhaps, that ethos is too approachable, because Genther is no stranger to odd interactions in person. “People would come up to me and kind of act like we were friends, and I felt so bad. So I’m like, ‘did I meet this person? And I’m like, oh my God, I don’t think I did.’ And then they’re like, you’re from TikTok!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh. Okay.’” That boundary is challenging to set, especially given the inviting vibes of Genther’s dorm room videos, where he shares most of his dances, random thoughts and fit checks from.

Genther is no stranger to odd interactions online either. His most popular TikToks are full of comments like “I know for a fact I am no longer a lesbian because of this video and this video alone.” When asked about this, Max replied that “I really don’t look at the comments that much. I do for the first bit, because I usually like to look at all my comments and like them or reply to the ones that [are from] my followers. But as soon as a video does well, I’m like, whatever. And I kind of just scroll through [those comments] mindlessly sometimes. Sometimes [I think], how could you comment this? Why did you say that?… Yeah, it’s weird.” Nonetheless, this parasocial strangeness is little more than a side effect of success.

Genther’s TikTok is still updated near daily — if not multiple times a day — even in the midst of a busy freshman year. He’s not just a content creator, but also an athlete on the Track & Field team with a busy course load. For most, that’s a hard balance to strike. Genther felt the burden initially, noting that “in the beginning [of the year] I pretty much stopped making TikToks just because it was a lot … I have track and I go to class, and I have homework. And I just didn’t know when to find time … this semester, definitely, I’ve been more comfortable being here. And [my roommate transferred]. So now I have my own little apartment. So I’m just kind of chillin in my room just like back home. So I definitely started picking [TikTok back] up again this semester. I definitely feel more comfortable now. So that’s good.” That comfort took time to develop, particularly with respect to actually filming around campus.

There is a certain awkwardness to filming oneself in public that Genther related to. When recording, Genther revealed that “usually I try and make sure there’s no one around. Like in my room. If I hear someone walking by I’m like, ‘I gotta be quiet for a little bit.’ So it still is a little weird to me. Yeah. I’m not sure if I’ll get over it. But I’m trying to work toward it.” That’s not all Genther is working toward though, as he’s laser focused on his Business major also.

But Genther isn’t the archetypal business major. He joked that “I’m definitely not ‘suit and tie’ business.” To the contrary, Genther’s passion lies in entrepreneurship and creative thinking. In fact, he has a product on the way: Bee Seed. Max explained that “[Bee Seed is] a pop socket that you put wildflower seeds in. So then you just dump [out the seeds] and then it saves the bees because you’re giving homes to bees … It first started with the bracelet … I thought ‘oh my gosh, it’d be sick to have a bracelet that has seeds in it, then you can just plant wildflowers anywhere.’ But then [I realized] that’s not gonna hold anything … So then I moved to pop sockets.” Hopefully Genther can stick the landing and have a successful Bee Seed launch, buoyed in part by his marketing efforts through TikTok.

Already, Genther has established a compelling bit of business synergy for himself. Between his entrepreneurial mindset and online fanbase, Genther is both his concept and marketing team. Clearly, there’s much more to Max Genther than fit checks and TikTok dances. You can follow him at @max_genther.