Kentucky litigator has hot TikTok takes on Bama Rush
As sorority rush week played out at the University of Alabama, the world watched. In August, the hashtag #bamarush reached 3.4 billion views on TikTok, Forbes reports.
Brandis Bradley, an eastern Kentucky trial-lawyer-turned-social-media-influencer, watched too. She provided commentary on her TikTok channel, @makeupartistatlaw. A former public defender—and Lancôme makeup artist, which her social media handle references—Bradley is also a sorority member, but her experience is different than that of most sisters.
She pledged a sorority at the University of Kentucky in the early 2000s, couldn’t afford to pay its membership dues and dropped out. Then she and her best friend created a sorority, Ortho Tri Delta, which was a word play on the then-popular birth control pill Ortho Tri-Cyclen.
Today, Bradley’s TikTok commentary includes discussion of videos featuring potential new members, referred to as “PNMs.” She also talks about Greek life at the University of Alabama with Grant Sikes, who in 2022 was cut from every sorority during rush week, AL.com reports.
So far, Bradley has 3.7 million TikTok likes, and she admits that a purpose of her sorority is to poke fun at more established ones. In January, she quit her job doing criminal defense work in private practice, after her TikTok revenue outpaced what she earned as a government lawyer.
“What makes me successful on TikTok is my trial lawyer experience. It’s being able to speak to people and tell a good story,” Bradley says.
Also, she cares less about looking silly than many other members of the bar.
“It kind of throws people. When you are thinking of a lawyer, you don’t think of someone as ridiculous as me,” Bradley says.
An Aug. 14 video explains how to join the Ortho Tri Delts. The only requirement is that you can’t be a scold, and it’s OK if you didn’t go to college.
“We are proud to call ourselves an underdog sorority. A bottom house if you will. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are known for inclusivity, as opposed to our exclusivity. Ortho Tri Delts are real women circling the drain. Driving the struggle bus. Riding the hot mess express. Barely hanging on. Individually, we are some sad sissy cats. Collectively, we are the queens of the jungle,” Bradley says.
@makeupartistatlaw Replying to @_valriee How do I pledge Ortho Tri Delt? @CaiteA1532 @TXCHIK #orthotridelta #bamarush #bamarushtok ♬ Epic Music(863502) - Draganov89
It’s a women’s group, but they also accept gay men as members. And like most sororities, the Ortho Tri Delts have a hand sign. It’s a triangle, with two middle fingers creating the top.
“The double-bird delta,” Bradley says.
TikTok came into her life in 2022. Bradley ran for a state court judge seat and started using social media for her campaign. That same year, her mother died, her father died and she lost the general election.
“Then it became like a coping mechanism for me,” says Bradley, a 2012 graduate of Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
Alabama rush week, also known as Bama Rush, is not the only topic chronicled in the videos. Other subjects include her late mother’s love of the QVC channel, what’s going on with singer Britney Spears, and a trend in which people do World Wrestling Entertainment-style callouts about themselves.
It’s called “redneck brawl,” Bradley explains. People brag about how tough they are and challenge others to fight. There is also a fight promotion business of the same name. But for Bradley’s purposes, nobody actually fights, and it’s all talk.
“I’m 5 [feet], 12 [inches]. I weigh enough that I can walk around out here in the pitch-black dark and not have to worry about anybody being able to pick me up and carry me off. I can draft, file and argue my own bond motion. And I can do a full beat ’80s glam with a pack of coffee grounds and colored pencils. I’m pretty sure y’all don’t want to whip me,” she says in an Aug. 7 video.