Miami Native Cathy Pedrayes Has Become The "Mom Friend" Of TikTok
Over the last decade, social media has become vital to the way we live our lives. It’s also a great equalizer — one of the few spaces people from different backgrounds can coalesce and share ideas.
TikTok, in particular, has become a premier destination for culture influencers as well as ordinary people sharing ideas and life experiences.
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Cathy Pedrayes is a Miami native and the self-proclaimed “Mom Friend” of the app. Verified with 1.8 million followers, she falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum with her distinct brand of everyday safety tips, life hacks, and increasingly important internet security advice.
Pedrayes’ start on TikTok came in the form of sharing science experiments and recipes — opting to tap into her environmental science degree and presentation skills developed during her stint as a QVC host. But posting videos of quality proved to be costly, time-consuming and part of a crowded field.
Then, she posted a video titled “Random Things I Keep in My Car That Everyone Should Have” and things began to fall into place for the creator.
“It's actually based on a class that I took at Miami Dade College. I took a really long first aid course. I still have my textbook,” Pedrayes said.
The class that she took more than a decade ago has since proven to be the basis for the defining moment of Pedrayes’ career thus far.
“People in the comments were like, 'Oh, you're definitely the mom friend of the group” she said. “It took me a minute to figure out that they were interested in the safety part of my video. But eventually, I figured it out and that's how I found my niche to begin with.”
Pedrayes began sourcing her knowledge acquired through her life experiences to create her lifestyle videos. She draws on her strict upbringing to impart tips for moving around in public spaces.
Her many travel stories guide her in making videos about travel safety. And her media training at QVC ignited an interest in internet security and cyber safety, which Pedrayes believes to be the most important category her page has to offer.
Though she keeps up with the latest cybersecurity news and internet trends, Pedrayes admits that she’s interested in the simple ways everyday people can protect themselves online.
“I'm not too techy,” she said with a laugh. “I’m the average person. I just need to know, ‘Is this website going to sell my information or not?’ I just need to know the basics to protect myself.”
But a strong niche isn’t the only component to ensuring lasting internet notoriety and Pedrayes learned early on that she had to make sure she stood out in a sea of millions of creators.
Convinced that she wouldn’t be “picked out of a lineup” off of her face alone, she adopted a uniform. Since last summer she exclusively wears a mid-sleeve blue dress topped with her late grandmother’s pearls.
“Those were the pearls I had gotten at her house the last time I saw her alive,” she explains, “in some ways, I was inspired to incorporate her in my videos."
Though the “mom friend” persona is very much a caricature — her voice isn’t as pitchy in actual conversation, compared to her videos, and she dresses like a regular millennial — being hyper-aware and safety-conscious has always been a part of her identity.
“I was interested in safety since I was a young girl,” said Pedrayes. “It was just like, this is what I'm supposed to do. This is just a way of life.”
It’s a way of life that Pedrayes hopes will resonate with as many people as possible. She just completed work on her debut book where she can impart her tips and advice in more detail free of the confinement of TikTok’s time and platform constructs.
Her book, "The Mom Friend Guide to Everyday Safety and Security. Tips from the Practical One in Your Squad" is set to be released next spring. In the meantime, Pedrayes is hoping to expand her YouTube channel to continue spreading awareness for viewers of all demographics.