Millionaires: Tay & Kay are cool with being the “cringe couple”

By 10/05/2023
Millionaires: Tay & Kay are cool with being the “cringe couple”

Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.

Tay and Kay Dudley met in a small town in Oklahoma. She was born and raised there, and he was stationed there as part of his military service. As soon as he was discharged, they got engaged.

Among the other things they had in common was a fascination with social media–Tay was really into YouTube, and Kay was really into Instagram, to the point where he picked up video editing as a hobby, and she picked up photo editing. But despite their enthusiasm and their skills, neither of them ever actually seriously posted anything.


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Until the very last day of 2021.

They’d recently taken a road trip, and had cut it together into one video to post on TikTok. With that video fresh in their minds, they decided to make a new year’s resolution: One video each day, every day, for all of 2022.

“That’s how it started,” Tay says.

“It was really just to make memories together because we found it so fun to do it on our road trip and we posted it,” Kay adds. “[W]e’re like, oh, this would be fun. What if we did this all year? Just every day try to make it a goal to post each day. Then just within a month or so, we started seeing more and more views and growth. We’re like, maybe this could turn into something.”

It did in fact turn into something. A year and a half later, Tay and Kay are still posting every day. They’ve accumulated more than 5 million followers on TikTok, just hit one million on Instagram, and have now turned this whole venture into Kay’s full-time job.

Check out our chat with them below.

@kayandtayofficial Tbh the last one was the hardest! 😳😂 Now I understand! 😅 Backstory ::: Kay randomly disappeared from our apartment and returned shortly after with a watermelon and cantaloupes! I initially thought that she had some craving idea in mind, but then she informed me that these were not for eating! 😂 I was then volunteered to wear the watermelon and cantaloupes to simulate being pregnant. She said this was a “simulation!”. She had several challenges for me to do which were things that she found more difficult since becoming pregnant. I did my best to do them, and agree that it is a lot more difficult to do things with all that added weight to the front! 😅 I have a lot more respect for Kay when she takes longer to get up off the couch! #kayandtayofficial #couples #relationships #pregnant ♬ original sound – ✨Kay and Tay✨

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tubefilter: I’m familiar with you guys and your TikTok content, but for anybody who’s reading this and doesn’t know you, I’d love to get an intro about where you’re from, how you met, and how you ended up on TikTok together.

Tay: We start with where we met or how we met.

Kay: We met when Tay was in the military in Oklahoma, small town in Oklahoma. That’s where I was born and raised. When he got out of the military, we were engaged, so we moved to Alabama. Then that’s where he went to college. Then we moved to Dallas.

Tay: We got married in Alabama and then we moved to Dallas. That’s where we started content creation early 2022 during our move to Dallas.

Kay: It’s right before.

Tay: Right before our move. Most of our content creation journey has been here. It’s been fun. Our content is really just a couple of content. We just film our life, just lifestyle content.

Tubefilter: The fact that you guys have 4.5 million followers in a year is insane.

Tay: Oh, yes. The growth’s really crazy.

Kay: It’s been wild.

Tubefilter: What made you originally decide to get on TikTok? Did either of you have video aspirations before that, or what made you pull the trigger on it?

Tay: I really, for a long time, even when I was a child, I was really into the YouTube thing. That was always my thing in the early 2000s when YouTube first started, but I never jumped on it. Then Kay similarly really liked Instagram. We just never really did anything with it even though we both really liked it. I had video editing skill and Kay was really good with picture editing.

Kay: He really likes video editing.

Tubefilter: That gives a great background for this.

Tay: Right. Early 2022, we were driving home from her family in Oklahoma–

Kay: Actually December.

Tay: December of 2021, the last day of 2021, we were like, we should record our journey and that’d a fun TikTok to make. We made our road trip video and we thought it was fun. Then New Year’s came and we were like, wait, what if we did this every single day, and we made-

Kay: For a year.

Tay: -a New Year’s resolution that we’d make a video every day. That’s how it started.

Kay: It was really just to make memories together because we found it so fun to do it on our road trip and we posted it. Really just our family saw it. It was like it didn’t get shown very much, but we just had so much fun doing it together that we’re like, oh, this would be fun. What if we did this all year? Just every day try to make it a goal to post each day. Then just within a month or so, we started seeing more and more views and growth. We’re like, maybe this could turn into something.

Tubefilter: Do you remember if there was this specific video that took off?

Kay: Yes.

Tay: The very first video was a video where I had put on an oven mitt and was peeking around the corner, using it as a shoe, and Kay was laughing at that. That was our first one that went viral.

Kay: By viral, it didn’t go viral like ours do now. It was-

Tay: 1.8 million or something.

Kay: -very slow-

Tubefilter: That’s pretty significant, though.

Kay: -and trickled up for three days, and we were like, it’s going to hit 1 million. It’s going to hit 1 million. For like three days, we’re just watching it.

Tay: I think people say viral. Viral means a different thing now. Back in the day, 1 million views was unheard of. Nowadays, 1 million views is pretty standard. You got to get to the tens of millions for something to be considered viral.

Kay: Really viral.

Tubefilter: Short-form has really redefined virality. It’s definitely interesting. Is this a full-time thing for both of you now?

Tay: No, I’m a firmware engineer full-time. Then Kay does the content full-time.

Kay: I took over doing managing the content and everything. He still edits, but I started that in December, I left the dental field. Then he plans on going full-time with content hopefully.

Tay: Or at least doing work from home.

Tubefilter: If you have a firmware job, clearly that’s a good cushion. Something I find with a lot of creators is it’s very stressful to depend on the money from content, because it’s so unpredictable.

Kay: We like having that cushion. If we were to do it more full-time, we’d probably still want him doing just a remote, something part-time.

Tay: Be a freelance worker.

Tubefilter: Absolutely. I get it. I know you split editing and you split managerial tasks, but now that you guys are posting a video every day still, how do you structure your time to post every day?

Tay: It’s easy for us because our content is lifestyle content. If I was making this heavily edited content that you see sometimes on TikTok, it’d be impossible. It may take a minute to make a video each day. It’s just our life.

Kay: If we feel like something’s interesting or funny that’s happening, we film all the time-

Tay: All day.

Kay: -and then we pick the best things out of that.

Tay: Because on TikTok, we post the main event content each day. We post stories on our Instagram all throughout the day, except Tuesdays. Except today.

Tubefilter: Why not on Tuesdays?

Tay: We take a rest day. It’s like a strategy. You take a rest day and you let your Story reset, and it pushes it more the next week.

Tubefilter: I hope you guys get some rest too, not just the Story.

Tay: Yes.

Kay: It’s our off day.

Tay: Our off day on Tuesdays.

Tubefilter: That’s good.

Tay: For us, it’s easy because we’re already filming. We know when I’m home and when we’re together, and so we just pick the best moment of the day and that’s it. That’s the video.

Tubefilter: Some other people I’ve spoken to who do lifestyle vlogging struggle at first with the divide between what to put online and what not to put online. I’m curious if you ever struggled with that.

Tay: I think our approach was at the very beginning, we knew that the content was a little cringe and probably wasn’t– It was. It was a little cringe and so we just leaned into it. For a long time-

Kay: Just owned it.

Tay: -in our bio it was like we’re the cringe couple. Because we just posted ourselves and if that’s a little cringe, whatever.

Tubefilter: You feel free.

Tay: I think over time, we just realized that we’re not really that cringe and we’re just ourselves.

Kay: This is normal stuff. For instance, my crying videos, a lot of other people we’ve talked to are like, I don’t know how you post those, I get so much hate whenever I post crying things. I’m like, that’s just what’s going on in my life right now. I’ve just really leaned into just being as-

Tay: Real.

Kay: -organic and just showing what’s actually happening in our lives. If that means I’m emotional and crying all the time, that’s what they’re going to get. We just owned it. I think a lot of people respect that, that we try to be very real and candid. We’re going to have haters.

Tay: I don’t know if we developed this on purpose or by accident, but our following is very aggressive towards hate on our channel. If you go to the comments section, find hate, you’ll find everyone attacking that person. It’s like they got the pitchforks out at all times.

Kay: To defend us. It’s funny.

Tubefilter: I respect the ability to be vulnerable like that, to cry and put that out there.

Kay: Exactly. There’s still a lot of private in our lives.

Tay: We have a lot of stuff we don’t show.

Kay: We don’t share a lot about our lives. A lot of people would be surprised about a lot of things in our lives that we just aren’t as comfortable being open about. For sure, the pregnancy journey and things like that, we’ve tried to be very candid and open with.

Tubefilter: That was actually going to be my next question is, when your child arrives, how you plan to handle that in terms of content and showing things on your channel? What’s your level of comfort?

Tay: I think for us, we’re a couple channel at the end of the day, it’s our life. Obviously we’re not going to like build up this whole thing and then be like, oh, no one can see the baby. You know what I mean? At the same time, we’re not going to restructure ourselves to be a baby channel.

Kay: It’s not going to be a family channel. It’ll still be very much Kay and Tay, our relationship, but we aren’t going to– I know there’s a lot of taboo about showing children.

Tay: We’re going to show her. If she falls into the content, she falls in the content. I despise family channels where it looks like their kids are working, where it looks like their kids are acting or doing things. Good on them, but I don’t like that. With us, if she’s in the content and she’s there, and it’s a natural moment, we’ll put her on there. We’re not going to force anything, and especially as she gets older, if she finds that she doesn’t want to be involved, that’s perfectly fine. She doesn’t have to be.

Tubefilter: I feel like a lot of parents struggle with that, especially during the pandemic, a lot of young couples have become parents or are in the process of becoming parents and are struggling with how to handle it. What’s been your favorite part of this whole year-long journey?

Kay: It’s been like a roller coaster, honestly.

Tay: I guess one of the best parts was when Kay finally was able to start doing it full-time. We had a really rough year. Just so many things were happening.

Kay: Not just because we were busy with content and working.

Tay: Just life events.

Kay: like my grandmother got cancer. I was caregiving to her. I was going there everyday-

Tay: We were traveling every weekend hours away-

Kay: -and for months.

Tay: doing content every single day-

Kay: And working full-time jobs.

Tay: -and working our full-time jobs. It was really hard.

Kay: I had some health issues. It was a nightmare of a year, but it’s been so rewarding seeing this year just how different, and it’s just all been worth the grind of last year. It was just so worth it. I’ve definitely had moments in the course of a year and a half where I was like, I don’t know if I can do this anymore. Then when I was able to focus and shift all my focus to content, I’ve realized just how much I love what I’m doing, and it’s just been very rewarding to see all the fruits.

Tay: First fruits of your labor.

Tubefilter: I’m glad you’re in a better place! Do you have any cool projects you’re working on? Obviously you’re having a baby, which is a very cool project, but anything else that you’re up to, any goals or plans for the upcoming rest of the year?

Tay: I feel like we’re really young in our content creation journey. We barely dipped into YouTube yet in long-form content. When I finally make the leap maybe at the end of the year into finding a remote job or something that I can do part-time, we really do want to dive into longer form content and broadening a little bit our niche on that platform. That’s a big goal for us right now, is making that step into the YouTube style content creation. I think it’ll be really good for our audience too, because I’m constantly seeing comments like, start the YouTube, I need more content. It’s really hard to do that.

Kay: It’s hard to do that with him working full-time, because he does do all of our video editing. Long-form content is-

Tay: Is a lot of editing.

Kay: -15 hours of editing. A lot different than just editing for a one-minute reel. Even though we filmed for our babymoon and we’re still working on trying to get that done, and that’ll be our first vlog, but it’s just not something we can do right now. We’re really just focusing on getting our shorts posted on YouTube and then, like he said, maybe once the baby’s here and he’s doing a remote position from home, he’ll have more time and we can really dive into that.

Tubefilter: You’re doing really well on TikTok–how’s it been going on YouTube Shorts?

Tay: It’s slow, which I’ve heard that is normal and it can take several months. We started way late on YouTube Shorts in the last couple months. I think we’re only at 14,000 followers on YouTube.

Kay: It’s 15,000.

Tay: 15,000, and we’ve been doing that for two months now.

Kay: We’re not doing as much as we probably could. We’re just reposting Q&A.

Tay: Reposting our TikToks. Then you’re battling, you’re hitting an audience of people that may have seen these videos already and so you’re battling retention and all these other problems. I think it’ll pick up once we start the long-form content and once we catch up to where we are now on TikTok and Instagram.

Tubefilter: I’ve talked to really successful TikTok creators and really successful YouTube creators. In both cases they’re like, “I don’t know how the hell to get my content to work on the other platform.” For some reason, it’s very difficult to get things going on both YouTube Shorts and TikTok, and it definitely takes much more time on YouTube Shorts.

Kay: It does.

Tubefilter: Just hang in there with it.

Kay: We’re trying, but like you said, it is super slow. It’s not anything like Instagram or TikTok.

Tay: The good thing is it’s repurposed for the most part, at least with Shorts. I maybe cut an extra seven seconds off my TikTok video and throw it into YouTube. You what I mean?

Tubefilter: I do, yep. To wrap up, you guys are doing really well with Instagram and I feel like a lot of creators I’ve spoken to are struggling with Instagram. Do you have any advice there or anything that’s working for you? Why are you doing so well with Instagram?

Tay: It’s crazy because I do hear a lot of people complain about Instagram. Though it’s harder to keep an audience with, that’s just the structure of Instagram. You get a lot of unfollows where you don’t get unfollows on TikTok. We lose probably 600, 700 followers a day, but then of course we gain 5,000, 6,000. The net is always positive. You’re always battling that. If you’re losing 0.1% of your audience every single day, you’re always going to be smaller on that platform.

As far as retention goes, I don’t really have any broad advice that would help everyone other than just stay in close connection with your audience. We DM all day. Like I said, we make stories all day. We use the components of Instagram in our favor. They have stories, so you should probably be using stories. If you’re trying to be a only a reels creator on Instagram and you’re not using stories and lives, and all the other components of that app, then you’re going to have a harder time.

Kay: Our following on Instagram is actually a lot closer to us. Like he said, we DM-

Tay: Hundreds of people a day.

Kay: -hundreds of people a day. We always try to DM people back. That’s part of my daily tasks, is just going through DMs and responding to them, and then like he said, posting stories. We notice a lot of other couple creators aren’t posting stories, they’re not taking advantage of that. It’s not just for posting a story to link something, because that’s cool too.

Tay: That’s how you monetize on Instagram.

Kay: You can make money doing it that way and that’s great, but it’s also connecting and getting that relationship beyond the reels, because the reels only show a one-minute or less part of your day. With stories, we’re just constantly able to stay connected. I think people have just really bonded with us and feel like they’re, what is that called? Like a parasocial relationship?

Tay: We’re like friends. We can’t obviously go out and hang out, but we’re able to have this relationship where we have friends.

Kay: I think because we do those stories so consistently and have developed these relationships with these people, they are our number one fans and they are so quick. They know we post it twelve o’clock and they’re going to be one of the first ones on there, and they’re going to be commenting and liking the videos, and so it helps it push that video out. I think that’s really helped us a lot.

Tay: Especially with TikTok.

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