Hannah Hart

Upon taking the stage for a conversation before several hundred people in the Millennium Student Center March 10, UMSL student Charlotte Kawa (at left) joins comedian Hannah Hart in an impromptu power squat. The two were soon supplied with tall stools after remarking that the height of their chairs might be a bit low. (Photo by Evie Hemphill)

“Toasted ravioli!” someone in the crowd shouted.

“I am in – done,” responded Internet personality Hannah Hart as she simultaneously typed notes into her smartphone. She had just encouraged a large audience at the University of Missouri–St. Louis to suggest recipes for future consideration on her wildly popular “My Drunk Kitchen” YouTube series. Others in the packed room called out several more St. Louis-themed foods in quick succession, including gooey butter cake.

“What did you say?” Hart said, confused. “Human butter cake?”

The comedian’s March 10 appearance at UMSL drew hundreds to the Millennium Student Center, where she stuck around to sign books and snap photos late into the evening. Sponsored by the Office of Student Life, the event centered around a question-and-answer session led by senior computer science major Charlotte Kawa, who drew on a wide-ranging list of questions that had been crowd-sourced ahead of time.

The conversation moved easily between serious topics, such as the challenges that come with adulthood and coming out in the public eye, and far sillier ones.

“How do you feel about the word ‘moist’?” Kawa asked at one point.

“I like it,” Hart said as the crowd erupted in laughter. “Moist is good. How do I feel about the word ‘damp’? Not great.”

UMSL student Ericka Eaton, who has been a Hart fan for some time, said after the event that there’s a lot more to the online star than the YouTube presence she’s best known for.

“She’s also very influential, and I think she is someone we can look up to as a person,” said the senior media studies major.

When Kawa asked Hart about potential spin-offs of “My Drunk Kitchen,” giving “My Drunk Yard Work” as a hypothetical example, Hart laughed that the latter “sounds dangerous.” She added that she’s been intentional about avoiding a My Drunk fill-in-the-blank brand trajectory and has a lot of other interests and projects in the works.

“It’s [just] one of many things I want to pursue,” she said, adding after a moment that “it’s really not OK to build your life around alcohol.”

Hart emphasized that the positive online community she’s discovered while developing what has become a full-time career helps keep her inspired. On the whole, she said, she finds her work is continually met with encouraging support and feedback.

“I just wish I could give that gift to everyone,” she said. “How great would it be to open up any of your feeds and see nice things?”

The UMSL Experience

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill