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By J.G. Noll

Dependa. It’s a divisive term in the military community. Everyone has opinions on it. No one really chooses to call themselves that.

And that’s exactly why Kourtne Bradshaw, the military spouse behind The Honest Dependa videos, did. “I chose the name to poke fun at the stereotype. Not everyone is a dependa; not everyone is that type of stereotype.”

Bradshaw uses a SnapChat filter to distort her face and voice, resulting in a comical, Alvin-and-the-Chimpmunks-esque delivery. Her first video went live three days ago. As of this morning, she had more than 22,000 likes on Facebook, with some of her videos topping more than half a million views. “I’m pretty shocked, to be honest,” Bradshaw said in an interview with MilitaryOneClick. “I did not expect any of this to happen.”

Becoming a viral sensation in the military community must be at least a little strange for the person behind The Honest Dependa. She was begged by family members to join SnapChat, but she resisted, not wanting to put too much time into social media. Her family wore her down with pictures of her nephews and nieces. . . and she joined. When she did, “a lightbulb went off. I thought, How funny would it be if I did little skits of what every day life for military spouses is like?

The first video was produced with just her family in mind as the audience. After seeing it, they convinced her to make the videos public, and “it spread like wildfire.” She began receiving a lot of personal friend requests and created a Facebook page just for The Honest Dependa at her sister’s urging.

The reaction from the military community has been overwhelming. While she’s had a few trolls show up (“One lady tried to say I’m kind of making a bad name for military spouses.”), the response has been almost entirely positive. Besides public comments, Bradshaw has received private messages from military spouses, veterans, and active duty military, thanking her for her humor.

Seeing humor in difficult or frustrations is something that Bradshaw tries to do in her real life; however, she cautions that she is not The Honest Dependa. “I just play a funny character in the videos, but I’m not really that person. I’m a completely different person.”

Using her personal experiences in the military community and the suggestions of her viewers, Bradshaw notes that she’s only just started: “I have more videos coming, more topics are coming.” But it’s all in good fun. As a Marine wife of eight years, she’s quick to point out that “the military life has been really fair to us.” In fact, her husband is currently in the process of reenlisting.

For fans of The Honest Dependa, that means more material. The whole experience of going viral has been a ride that Bradshaw is still navigating: “I don’t know exactly what to make of it just yet, but I guess I’m going to just go with the flow.”

J.G. Noll is the Editor of Military One Click and a veteran’s spouse. She can be reached at joanna@militaryoneclick.com.

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