Duolingo TikTok: meet the social media coordinator behind these viral videos

Duolingo’s resident mascot, Duo the Owl, is currently lying on the floor of the company’s headquarters in Pittsburgh. The oversized costumed character is starring in a new TikTok video when I first meet him. While the green owl has become a viral sensation, racking up over 3 million followers on TikTok, his success on social media can largely be attributed to the person behind the phone camera and his social presence, Zaria Parvez.

Duolingo’s 23-year-old social media coordinator is the one responsible for livening up your FYP with a twerking owl, yelling at Adele and causing general mayhem in the office. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Zaira’s role at Duolingo came just as TikTok was starting to take off.

Duo the Owl came about after continuing to experiment and test ideas, says Zaria teen vogue. “The whole Duolingo personality has always been about making language learning fun and doing fun things,” she says. “Duolingo’s culture has never been very closed.”

The videos, which Zaria creates with the help of Mark Pavic, who happily dons the Duo costume, are usually filmed and reflected at the start of the week, and most focus on trending audio on TikTok. When deciding on an idea, Zaria explained that the team considers its role as a “language learning brand” and how that fits into current TikTok trends. “Finding creative solutions to more challenging trends has been a really fun part of the job,” she said.

Zaria didn’t anticipate Duo’s TikTok taking off like it did, saying, “I didn’t realize that [people were watching and waiting for the next video] until they started commenting, and then I was like, “Oh my God, the pressure is on.”

She did, however, hail the social media stardom, adding, “We’ve created this really awesome community where I can post stuff and have fun with the commenters. With the way the world has been for the past few years, it’s cool to have this relief from the craziness of life. It motivates me to keep creating content and spreading more good to the world.