If you spot Jill Goldwasser in a noisy restaurant, you may see her quiet a group of friends, open her iPhone’s camera application, hit record, greet hundreds of followers with a calm yet enthusiastic “Hi everyone!” and then review the French fries in front of her. The Ladue Horton Watkins High School senior and Temple Israel congregant has a two-year-old Instagram food blog called, “@JillTriesMoreFries.”
Jill’s inspiration came from Lorde, the singer. She made an onion ring review Instagram blog called “@OnionRingsWorldWide.” Jill liked the quirky nature of the account but wanted to put a spin on her blog by dedicating it to a different food item. She chose Instagram as her preferred social media platform because of its visual nature, the readily available account statistics and the relatively large teenage presence compared to other websites like Twitter. Once she created her account, she spread the word.
“I remember texting various group chats that I was in... I was like, ‘Hey, go follow this.’” said Jill. “Mainly people who I talk to the most, and then they would tell their friends.”
Jill has featured many friends in her reviews. One such friend, Kaitlyn Goldstein, a Parkway Central High School senior and member of United Hebrew, was in Jill’s review of Sportsman’s Park, the first establishment on @JillTriesMoreFries.
“I thought it was a fun idea because it gives her an excuse to go out and try different places,” said Kaitlyn. “I like the fact that she can find so many different ways to describe the fries.”
Jill began reviewing fries via photo caption. She eventually discovered that recording her opinions led to greater engagement with viewers. Jill had reservations about filming in public. However, the benefits were clear as her blog eventually surpassed 700 followers.
“I didn’t realize that so many people would find this entertaining,” said Jill. “I did it for myself because I thought it would be silly and fun. But then everyone was like, ‘Oh my g-d, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen!’ And I was like, ‘Thanks!’”
Though this popularity shocked Jill, the same could not be said for her mother, Cary Goldwasser. She thinks Jill’s consistency and thoroughness keep her audience craving more reviews. She has also noticed something in her daughter that seems somewhat unusual for social media influencers.
“I really appreciate that when she doesn’t care for [fries], she just says, “They’re not my favorite,” instead of being mean or harshly critical,” said Jill’s mother. “I think that is so refreshing on social media.”
In some ways, Jill’s slice of fame annoys her. At places like BBYO conventions (which she frequents), people seem to only know her as “The Fry Girl.” Even some of her friends still use it like they would a nickname.
“I like when people know me for my personality and things like that, not just, ‘Oh yeah, she’s the girl that creates fry reviews on Instagram,’” said Jill. “I already knew that I never wanted to be genuinely famous, but the fact that people just recognize me as ‘The Fry Girl’ is kind of ridiculous... I recently thought about deleting [the blog] because of that. But then, I was like, ‘Wait, this is still fun, and I still like to do it.’ ”
Interestingly, about 300 of Jill’s followers found her account within one day thanks to an interaction she had with Josh Peck, who played Josh Nichols on Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh.” His Instagram account is now approaching 9 million followers.
“It was my sophomore year and I was at BBYO’s international convention,” said Jill. “We have big-name speakers come and talk to us. A lot of the time we get to interact with them. So, I was at a plenary [and] I had a whole conversation with Josh Peck.”
By the end of the interaction, Jill had given Peck her handle. She has since noticed that her most-viewed videos are the ones he has liked.
Jill’s reviews consist of all sorts of fries, so long as they are neither made of sweet potatoes nor accompanied with sauces or toppings. She has set these limits to prevent too much deviation within her reviews.
“I can have a standard of [rating] how crispy the outside is, how potato-ey the inside is, whether or not it has a good seasoning, if it’s salty, or if it has a kick to it,” said Jill. “I rate mainly the seasoning (and) the actual substance of the fry. So, having a sauce totally changes that because it could make them soggier or change the flavor entirely.”
Throughout her 50+ video career, Jill’s taste for fries has evolved. She has an opinion on most cuts.
“Curly fries are always a ‘yes,’ just because they’re fun. I also like crinkle-cut, especially the Shake Shack crinkle-cut, because they provide a nice bite—a different kind of texture. Waffle fries are only OK sometimes; you have to do them right, and sometimes it can just be too much at once,” said Jill. “I like thinner cut fries, but not shoelace fries because they tend to be too floppy.”
Jill rates all of her fries on a 10-point scale. She has reviewed fries from the high-end Cinder House at the St. Louis Four Seasons Hotel to the low-key Whataburger at the Dallas Love Field Airport. But a constant throughout all her reviews is Jill’s attitude.
“She clearly loves doing the reviews—look at her big smiles in each post,” said Cary Goldwasser. “I think that’s a big part of what makes it so engaging.”