We Survived: TikTok Meet and Greet

A literal thirst trap


Red carpet snapshot

The Sway House: Essentially an E-Fraternity

Who are Josh Richards and Bryce Hall? These stars are on several multimedia platforms, but are best known for their appearances on TikTok. Josh, 19, and Bryce, 22, were both original members of the Sway House, a 7 member content house in Bel-Air. During the house’s peak, Richards and Hall collaborated on diss track “Still Softish,” to expose TikTok star Lil Huddy. However, a year after the house’s creation, it was disbanded, and Michael Gruen, co-founder, announced that “Sway is a lifestyle and a mission and that’s something that will never change.” Now, Josh Richards and Bryce Hall spend their time on a variety of other projects. Together they founded Ani Energy, an energy drink company that formulates their product to have only 6 grams of sugar and 30 calories, much less than a Red Bull which has 37 grams of sugar and 168 calories. Richards is also a host of the BFFs Podcast with Dave Portnoy, and both Richards and Hall have prominent Youtube accounts. 

While they have a combined following of 46 million on TikTok, public opinion of the two is very mixed. A poll on @nolakwebb asked viewers “Who is hotter?” and 86% of the voters made the informed decision of Josh Richards, including Gray Willits who said “Josh is cute.” This is good news for a certain journalist, as an anonymous DM claimed that “Josh and Charlie Kuyper look so alike 😦.” For the 18 voters that selected Bryce Hall, did your finger slip?

Richards and Hall flew into Charleston on Friday, September 17th and Magnet lunch was abuzz with the news of their arrival in Charleston. Most students, like ourselves, were unaware of Josh and Bryce’s southeastern tour and curious of their intentions: is this their “mission?” After some light snooping, we discovered that the two were unveiling their collabed energy drink brand, Ani Energy, by hosting promotional meet and greet events at three Walmart locations in the Charleston area. The first event took place Friday afternoon while we were unfortunately trapped in 4B. They then made a pit stop at Porter Gaud’s homecoming football game. Homecoming queen, Emmy Keogh, admitted that “It’s so funny that they’re in town… just a crazy fun weekend in general.” Several Magnet students were also in attendance, and William Hyatt said, “It took me forever to see Bryce because he’s so short.” After the football game, Richards and Hall made an appearance at Trio, with another event planned for the next morning. 

$48 later

Cut to 11 AM Saturday: your two loyal investigative journalists convene near the back of the parking lot. Upon pulling in, we passed our target, a purple tent outside of the garden section collecting a modest line. Unfortunately, we were unable to be there for the event’s official opening at 10, but sources from the line led us to believe that Richards and Hall were not exactly punctual. We approach, entering the first line of three. Official Ani Energy representatives instructed us to complete a media release form, which we assumed protected the company from legal trouble in case unsavory snaps of us were captured for a future vlog, TikTok, Instagram story, or Ani promotional. After stretching our age by a couple months to issue our official digital signatures, we each purchased a coveted case of Ani Energy, one Black Cherry and the other Lemon Lime. Though we were not told the price of the 12-packs ($24) until after the transaction was made, we were delighted to discover that by purchasing one, we had qualified for a faster-moving “VIP” line. A security guard unofficially motioned us through. With our phones, keys, sunglasses, and drinks in hand, we migrated closer to the stars. 

Gaggles of teens gathered outside of the Home & Garden section

Once in line, we attempted to search for answers. In a mass of people fragrant with the scent of middle schoolers, we casually conversed with surrounding girls and Ani employees. Within 15 minutes of our initial arrival, we had already reached the front of the line. We were not yet mentally prepared for this encounter. Frantic and antsy, we approached the tent…

Something must have been in the air to cause us to forget how to hold a casual conversation. However, part of the blame of this awkwardness can definitely be shouldered by Josh and Bryce, who due to the nature of their career, are somewhat stunted in their conversational skills. Though we had just witnessed the girl before us get her Croc signed by Hall, security informed us that the boys were only authorized to sign cans of Ani. Of course, we agreed to Bryce’s request to sign a can after he punctured our Ani cases open with his Sharpie. 

A faceless photo of Richards (feat. baby wipes?)

We had wanted to ask questions but were so befuddled and frankly, nervous. The only awkward words that sprang from my mouth were as followed:

NW: So, what do I do with this [signed can] now? Shelve it?

BH: Yeah, you could totally sell them.

NW: Cool. You’ll see mine on Ebay soon for sure.

While we have yet to try the drinks, an Ani Energy representative assured us that they “taste just like juice.” Regular energy drink consumers: is this a good thing? Seeing that the entire case (minus the signed can) is still rolling around the backseat of my car, students can possibly expect them to appear in the senior lounge fridge very soon…

The coveted selfie