"What’s This Shark?!” “The Largest Amphibians!” “My Favorite Chemical Exfoliant for Sensitive Skin.” “This Spider Is Crazy!” What do these videos have in common? They’re all TikToks by J.C. Dombrowski ’23, a leading social media personality with a global reach, boasting nearly 3 million followers on the platform.
With more than a quarter of a billion likes on TikTok, Dombrowski occupies an unusual niche. His short videos mainly focus on one of three topics: marine biology, entomology, and skincare.
The first two are his majors in Arts & Sciences—but the third (a particular passion of his) isn’t as disconnected as it may seem, since Dombrowski often delves into the science underlying the moisturizers, exfoliants, and other products he showcases.
“My social media has become a reflection of whatever I’m most interested in at the time,” says Dombrowski, speaking with Cornellians over Zoom between classes. “It’s kind of where I spitball and pour all of the interesting facts that I have.”
Dombrowski is a veteran by TikTok standards: he’s been posting since September 2019, during his first semester on the Hill. He hit it big from the start, with his first video—a salty reflection on his Georgia high school that’s decidedly “not safe for work”—garnering 1.3 million views.