“You need a hug?” asks Tabitha Brown at the start of one of her most popular TikTok videos. Her voice is warm, disarming, and unmistakably Southern. “Well, sometimes potato wedges make you feel like they hugging you, at least that’s how I feel. Let’s make some,” she says, her eyes sparkling with joy. In a matter of seconds — 60, to be exact — she details all the ingredients you’ll need to turn your day around by creating a delicious starchy snack with a dip to accompany it. “Life is always better with a potato, honey. See that dip? When I dip, you dip, we dip, oooh!” she says at the end, by which point I was mentally rummaging through the ingredients in my cabinets to see if I could concoct my own version of the dish.
Brown, 41, is an actor and self-described vegan influencer who joined TikTok in early March, and in that short time, she’s posted 116 videos and netted 2 million followers on a platform where the biggest stars — and most enthusiastic users — are usually teens. Her videos share quick vegan recipes and cooking tips, show playful moments between her and her children, and offer nuggets of wisdom: “You stop being so hard on yourself. Stop doing that. You’re doing the very best that you can. You gotta take things one day at a time, day by day, step by step.” Brown’s bubbly, reassuring personality is definitely the key ingredient to her compulsively watchable content; one commenter on a BuzzFeed Tasty video she made in June 2019 described her voice as “calm and magical.” “She really makes you feel like everything is going to be okay,” reads one viral tweet. Even Keke Palmer is a stan.
But Brown’s newfound virality was a surprise, even to her. “I never wanted to do videos,” she told me in a recent phone interview. “That’s the honest-to-god truth.”
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