Popular TikTok personality stops by Baldwin Wallace

The viral video creator discussed his content’s beginnings and what he found special about BW.


Image courtesy of @eliemagic on TikTok

TikTok video star Elie Haoui films a video in front of Strosacker Hall on the campus of Baldwin Wallace University.

On Nov. 3 popular TikToker Elie Haoui came by Baldwin Wallace University to film a video for his account.    

Haoui, who is recognizable by a navy blue sweatshirt with the word “COLLEGE” featured on the front in white font, is famous for traveling to college campuses and asking students a variety of random questions.    

Haoui said he initially started these videos as a way to kill boredom and interact with other college students like himself. To his surprise, his amusing side project ended up catching fire when it reached college students across the internet.   

“We started this about a month ago. I was visiting my sister, Maya, at OU, and I just kind of wanted to [ask the students questions] because I was bored,” Haoui said. “I was like, ‘Listen, [Maya], I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you follow me around and videotape me.’ … Then I posted it, and it went viral, and I [knew that] we were onto something.”   

As a recent college dropout, Haoui said that continuing to connect with a variety of college students and forming lasting friendships are prominent motivators in making these videos. Haoui said seeing peoples’ genuine reactions to the different questions he throws at them is definitely something that brings a smile to his face.    

Haoui said BW’s remarkable warmth and kindness set it apart from other universities.    

“BW by far was the most different college that we’ve been to, and I say that in the nicest of ways,” Haoui said. “You guys were amazing in every way possible, and the one thing that I noticed about BW that I haven’t noticed at any other college we’ve been to is just the feeling of being at home.”   

Haoui grew up in Columbia Station and attended the Columbia local schools. He said his visit to BW reminded him of the close-knit community he had during his time as a student in Columbia Station. Haoui said BW had the welcoming vibe of a small family that made him really appreciate the university.    

One student who interacted with Haoui, Bianca Marinelli, a senior acting and directing major, said that Haoui was kind to students.   

“He seemed genuinely interested in meeting everyone who came to see him, and also personalized [conversations] with everyone,” Marinelli said. “It was really cool that he gave me an opportunity to interview him for my own TikTok. He was really kind and very engaged with us.”   

Marinelli said that the relatable college content Haoui produces, along with his ability to have students admit things they would not normally admit, is a reason she enjoys his videos.   

In addition to this, Marinelli said that she also admires how he features Ohio colleges on his page.     

Claudine Grunewald Kirschner, BW’s director of first-year and sophomore experience, who spoke to Haoui and his cousin during lunch in the student union, said that Haoui was able to understand BW through his interactions.   

“They were both very friendly and warm and spent time talking with so many students in the dining hall during their day filming,” Grunewald Kirschner said. “I believe they really were able to get the sense that BW is where extraordinary experiences happen with incredible students.”   

Although the videos on TikTok are a highly edited version of Haoui’s interactions with the students, Grunewald Kirschner said she believes Haoui left with a good sense of what the community is like at BW.  

Haoui even left Grunewald Kirschner a message after visiting BW to say that he felt like a part of the BW family.   

“I seriously love being at BW,” Haoui said, “and I think that we will be back very soon. You guys were so awesome to us, and we’re super grateful for the opportunity.”   

In addition to being a prominent influencer on TikTok and Instagram, the Cleveland-native is also a magician and co-owner of a recently opened coffee shop, The Hive Cle. His video featuring the students of BW is currently posted on his TikTok, @eliemagic.