After lockdown, when bars and restaurants around the city began to reopen, Lexi St. John wanted to get out and do things. “I wanted to find all the new places that were opening. I had friends that were moving to Kansas City, and I wanted to take them to cool new places, like pop-up bars,” she says. That desire to get back into the world and share experiences with her friends led St. John to create her TikTok page @the.bop.around.
St. John grew up in Liberty, went to school at Mizzou and is now living in Overland Park and working as a corporate event coordinator. While she’s more than familiar with the city, she also says she finds “new stuff popping up all the time—so much has changed.”
St. John’s TikTok success was pretty much instantaneous. After sharing one video of her weekend in Kansas City, she gained four thousand new followers. From there, she began creating content on the regular and has now become a local micro-influencer with seventeen thousand followers on TikTok. “For me, it’s kind of a shock,” she says. “I didn’t realize that so many people would see something that I posted. It’s weird with TikTok. I feel like the videos live forever. I have videos that I posted months ago that are still getting views and follows.”
We talked to St. John about her quick rise to influencer status, where she gets ideas for content and some of her favorite spots around the city.
Why TikTok? What made you decide on that platform as a space to feature local places? I really like showing videos rather than pictures. I also realized quickly that I like being able to talk rather than write. With TikTok, it’s easier to show motion, too. I feel like I can do more with a video, with the visual aspect, showing the moving parts of a place and showing how packed it is, for instance.
I also like the music. Adding music to something changes the whole video and can give a place the hype it deserves. Sometimes a picture just can’t do that.
Where do you get ideas for content? How do you find new places? I follow so many places on social media. Weirdly enough, I find a lot on Facebook. I don’t know what it is with Facebook, but I will find random places and small events that pop up there.
I also lived downtown for a little while, and I did a lot of walking around. There were so many places I’d never heard of before. Now that I have more of a following, people are also sending me recommendations, which helps too. My mom and her friends also like to send me places.
How do you balance work life with making and editing TikToks? I do a lot of creative planning at work, too. Whenever we’re setting up client events or client dinners, I’m always searching for different places to send them that aren’t the standard or what’s expected.
After work is typically when I do my editing and figure out what I’m going to post for the week. With the following, it’s become even more time consuming. Juggling it all has been a lot of work, and I have calendars for everything now. I’d love to make the transition and do this kind of stuff full time.
Lexi’s Local Favorites
Conductor Club KC at Union Station: “I’ve really been into wineries and pop-up bars lately. I am at Conductor Club every time they have something new. I really loved their Tiki pop-up.”
Happy Hour at Cafe Trio: “Cafe Trio is one of my favorites, especially their patio during happy hour when the weather’s nice.”
Casual Animal Brewing Co.: “There are so many breweries in Kansas City, but I love Casual Animal. The space is super cool, and I always have a good time there.”