How a Law Student Built Side Hustle As a TikTok Influencer

  • TikTok users have dubbed law student Christina Stratton the “real-life Elle Woods.”
  • Stratton has built a social media side hustle from her videos about life in law school.
  • She’s part of a larger trend: “#lawstudent” has over 781 million views on TikTok.

22-year-old Christina Stratton is proudly the Elle Woods of TikTok.

In one video, she struts in a bedazzled, hot pink, velour track suit and holds a law book with a text overlay reading “showing up to my contract law class after signing an influencer contract with Juicy Couture.” In another, she shows off her more professional look for “our little practice like court thing today.”

Thanks to videos like these that evoke the famous Reese Witherspoon character from 2001’s “Legally Blonde,” the full-time law student has turned TikTok into a part-time career. She’s amassed over 300,000 followers on the app since posting her first video in 2020 and has 30,000 followers on Instagram. 

Stratton downloaded TikTok in 2019, but she didn’t post a video until spring 2020. Her account started picking up steam in the fall of 2020, when she began posting “outfit of the day” videos showing what she wore to her first year law classes at Pepperdine’s Caruso School of Law. 

“I think back to the first day of college, and I would have never been bold enough to post an outfit of the day,” Stratton said. “I would have been too nervous about what all of my college friends would think.”

Stratton isn’t alone in sharing an inside look at her life as a law student. On TikTok, “#lawstudent” has over 781 million views — that’s more than popular hashtags like #TipTok (600 million views) and #DinnerRecipe (560 million views) — and Stratton is part of a larger trend of students, whether in college or post-graduate school, sharing their experiences on social media.

This desire to be an influencer and pursue content creation as a part-time career is gaining momentum. In a survey conducted by Morning Consult 54% of Gen Z and Millennial respondents said they would become an influencer given the opportunity.

“College creators are a newer group, but are quickly becoming an important connector between brands and student life,” Ricky Ray Butler, the CEO of the

influencer marketing

firm BEN Group, told Insider. “For creators, brand partnerships can supplement tuition and fuel creative pursuits.”

Christina Stratton

As an influencer, Stratton attends events, such as the premier for Bridgerton Season 2.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

How Stratton makes money as a part-time influencer 

TikTok creators like Stratton earn money a number of ways, from brand deals and affiliate marketing to the platform’s Creator Fund. 

Partnering with brands is Stratton’s top source of income as a creator, she said, adding that before she started making money, she built up a following by posting multiple TikToks each day.

“Some people had suggested that I try batch filming content and making videos on the weekends, but that didn’t work for me, and it felt too forced,” Stratton said. “Sometimes I’ll post five times in an hour if I’m in a good mood, or sometimes I’ll go five days without posting. Because of the nature of my content, I want to be authentic and real.”

Stratton used her Pepperdine network to connect with a lawyer to represent her as an influencer, she said, and she is signed with the talent management firm Outshine Talent. 

“In the beginning, I was taking whatever was coming at me,” she said about brand deals. “I consulted with a friend who works in social media marketing on how much I should be charging, and I was shocked. Because my growth has been so fast, and my engagement has stayed high, I’ve also had to constantly reevaluate.”

Stratton’s TikTok audience is 97% women in their early-to-mid 20s, she said, which she believes has helped her land partnerships with top fashion brands like Juicy Couture and Alo Yoga.

“It’s tempting to take anything that’s thrown at you,” she said. “It’s also a balancing act though, because everything you post will be out there forever. You want it to be your best but you also want it to be real.”

For now, Stratton is still as focused as law school as she is on her budding social-media career.

“Over these next three years, I’ll see what I can build,” Stratton said about social media. “And then, I either start becoming a lawyer or this thing (social media) has taken off.”