Olivia Ponton Shares How She and Her Bestie Have Grown Closer Through Modeling

The BFFs are now full-time models and influencers and live on opposite coasts.
Emma Brooks McAllister and Olivia Ponton

Emma Brooks McAllister and Olivia Ponton.

Olivia Ponton, just like any other person who got famous on the internet at a young age, has had to learn how to surround herself with the right people—friends who love her for who she is, and not just the platform she has.

The TikTok star, who has garnered 7.8 million followers on the video-based platform, and 3.1 million on Instagram, began consistently posting during the pandemic. She started by sharing silly content and recreating dance videos, but it was when she really opened up about every aspect of her life—the good, the bad, the messy, the growing up—that she really started to gain a following.

“I made it a goal to not have friends that did social media. So I wanted [to surround myself with] people that had no idea what I was doing. It’s funny because my best friend in the entire world—we met when she didn’t do social media,” the 21-year-old explained at the “Be You Women’s Empowerment Series” panel presented by Maybelline at the University of Central Florida.

The two-time SI Swimsuit model noted that she and BFF Emma Brooks McAllister met in a random Snapchat group with some other teenagers. Since then, Ponton has been featured in major campaigns for Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle and Alo Yoga, and has also created her social media to be a safe and encouraging space for the young LGBTQ+ community.

“We were both talking about how we really wanted to be models. And at that point in my life I was definitely not ready, and she wasn’t as well,” Ponton added during the Sept. 28 event hosted by Big 12 and SI Swimsuit. “Fast track a a year-and-a-half later, [we both] lived in L.A. and we were like, ‘Let’s go on a hike together.’ All of a sudden we became best friends and two months later she blew up on TikTok.”

Ponton, who now lives in New York City, gushed about how much she values the fact that she and McAllister met before she was a mainstream model and influencer.

“We have that foundation of we were friends before all of this and [now] we’re able to go to all these crazy events,” she continued. “I’m so incredibly blessed to say that I was just in Milan with her, I was just in Paris with her. She’s literally my human. Finding that one person for me was very important.”

McAllister, who still lives in Los Angeles, was named Miss Louisiana Teen USA in 2019.

“I really love New York and L.A., I want to live in both places and work in both places. I’m really excited to be with my friends. My best friend lives out here,” the 21-year-old told Flaunt. “She’s my first friend I had in L.A., my best friend. We lived together in L.A., it’s such a good relationship. I’m with her right now and I’m excited to just be working.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.