Have A Great Day, Not A Good Day

Kylan Darnell, Bama Rush’s Reigning Queen, Passes The Torch

Last year’s RushTok it girl shares her advice for getting your dream house.

Elite Daily; @kylan_darnell/Tiktok; Courtesy of Kylan Darnell

Kylan Darnell became known as the “Queen of Bama Rush” after her daily OOTDs went viral on TikTok in August 2022, garnering her tens of millions of views and 500,000 new followers. In this as-told-to one year later, the 19-year-old shares her memories of the experience and advice for those going through sorority recruitment this fall.

When I came to the University of Alabama last year from rural Ohio, I knew basically nobody. I chose it because of the scholarship I received and the sports broadcasting program, which is very involved in the SEC [Southeastern Conference]. People sometimes laugh when I tell them this, but I really didn’t know anything about Greek life — it wasn’t prevalent where I grew up, and I wasn’t on Bama Rush TikTok at all.

During freshman orientation in July, I was having dinner with one of the girls I had just met. She asked, “Are you rushing? You have to do it.” My mom’s initial response was, “You don’t really want to pay for your friends,” but she ended up letting me sign up after my new friends talked me into it. I was extremely nervous going into rush, especially because I knew nothing about the sororities. I literally didn’t even know the Greek letters; I was a hot mess going into that week. But I’ve been doing pageants since the third grade, so I tried to think about it that way: “All right, Kylan, this is like a pageant. Just have confidence and you're going to be fine."

A lot of girls complain about the hours of rush — it's basically two weeks straight of waking up at 8 a.m. and going to bed really late, and interviewing all day. The very first step in the process is convocation, where you go to this giant auditorium and watch videos made by each of the sororities. You rank all the videos, and they rank the PNM [potential new member] video you sent in, where you share where you’re from and basic facts about yourself. That mutual ranking determines which houses you get asked to visit on Day One. On the first day I was really happy to get invited to all the houses, which means I had a packed schedule.

That morning, I woke up and posted a TikTok video of my outfit. I just thought it would be fun to share my experience — I didn’t know about the drama from the year before, where the girls who were posting on RushTok didn’t get the houses they wanted. It’s not officially in the rules not to post, but there was kind of a stigma against it, and I didn’t know any of that.

We weren’t allowed to have our phones during the day, so I didn't even know I went viral until that first night. I went back to my dorm room, ate Chipotle, took a shower, and went straight to bed. Then I got a random call from my mom at 12:30 a.m., and she said, "Kylan, have you been on TikTok? You've gained 100,000 followers and you're at like 8 million views." My little sister was in the background screaming, "Oh my gosh, Kylan!" It was so cute and a really cool moment for us to share.

The next day, I woke up and posted another video. Again, I wasn't on my phone during the day, so I didn’t get to see the comments or views racking up while it was happening. But other PNMs did start coming up to me asking to take pictures, and girls in the houses would say things like, “Oh my goodness, I love your TikTok” — just being really supportive and nice. Then when I’d go home at night, I could get back online and take everything in. It felt really positive and fun.

As for the slogan “Have a great day, not a good day,” it was something that just rolled off my tongue during one video. Then people started tagging me in videos of themselves saying it, and it just took off. Now I’ll see people in public who won’t know my name, but they’ll say, “Have a great day, not just a good day!" And I'm like, "You too!" It's a source of positivity that I’m able to put out into the world, and I love that.

During rush, it wasn’t until pref round [the final round of recruitment] that someone warned me about posting. A girl in my Rho Chi group came up to me and told me I was going to get blacklisted if I kept posting on TikTok. I don’t know why she decided to tell me as I was walking into my last house, but it was the worst feeling ever. What are the odds I didn’t find out I could get blacklisted until the last day? But at that point, I was like, "You know what? It is what it is. If it happens, it happens." And it turned out totally fine.

My pref round was extremely hard, and I was going back and forth between two houses I loved. But Maggie, my big now, is the girl who rushed me and is really why I rushed Zeta. We met and our personalities and morals just clicked. The girls in Zeta didn't care about TikTok; they cared about Kylan. They’d ask things like, "Tell me about your farm," and, "Do you have any brothers and sisters?" They wanted to know what kind of person I was rather than who I was on social media, and that meant the world to me.

I’m living in the Zeta house this year, and I’m excited to post about rush from the other side: what the house looks like, how we decorate it, and what our theme is each day. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and it’s way more organized than you might expect. I also can’t wait to find a little so I can help her out and make her first year in Zeta as great as mine was. I've been watching this year’s PNMs’ TikTok videos, and they’re all so cute. I’m such a fan of RushTok now — it’s like a reality show, especially for people who didn’t get the SEC rush experience. I feel like I’ll still be watching it when I’m 40.

For girls going through recruitment this year, here’s my advice for having a great rush, not just a good rush: Go in with confidence and be yourself. We want to hear about you, not about the picture-perfect version you might think you should present. And try not to worry about things like where your best friends are going or where you’re a legacy — you want to end up in a house that values you, that you feel comfortable in, and that you’re going to be an asset to. That will change your whole college experience for the better.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.