The joy of vegan cooking, 60 seconds at a time.

AN unlikely Tik Tok star soothes and inspires millions of her followers. ''You want a smoothie bowl? Well, let's make one.'' :

Tabitha Brown is in her kitchen, cellphone in hand filming one of the short videos that have made her an unlikely social media sensation.

''Almond milk, banana, frozen strawberries, peaches and mango, oh my!'' she says running down the ingredients for a vegan smoothie in a gentle, lifting Southern accent. ''Now blend''.

After adding a little shredded coconut [''like so, like that''] and flax seed [''cause that's our business''] fresh strawberries, chopped pecans and a dash of maple syrup, she takes the finished smoothie outside to savor in her yard in the Chatsworth section of Los Angeles.

''The most important part is where you eat it at, honey,'' Ms. Brown says between spoonfuls. ''Go outside if you can, or at at least the cutest place in your house to make you feel like you somewhere, even though, you ain't.''

Ms. Brown is 41. In the last month, her warm smile, calm demeanor and signature Afro [which she has nicknamed Donna], as well as the kindness she shows herself and others, have earned her a higher following on Tik Tok, a social medium whose most popular and most engaged users are in their teens and 20s.

An aspiring actress, she is striking a tone that is resonating widely at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has many Americans on edge, looking for assurance that things are going to be OK.

She posted her first video on Tik Tok on March 8. Since then, she has amassed more than two million followers there and more than a million on Instagram.

In 60-second increments she gently walks them through the steps of assembling vegan comfort dishes [crabless crab cakes, sweet potato avocado toast, a late night salad with pickles].

She also offers affirmations, delivered as if in intimate conversation, urging her followers to go a little easier on themselves and to stop worrying so much about pleasing others.

''Don't you give up, don't you quit, don't give up,'' she says in one video. ''Baby you ain't done came this far; you still got a ways to go. And I know right now it almost feels impossible, but don't you give up.''

Ms. Brown said the videos - which occasionally feature her daughter, Choyce, 18, her son, Quest,8, and her husband, Chance - are her way of spending a moment with her followers.

''If someday has one minute per day, and they get to have a little bit of joy for one minute, I want to be there,'' she said in an interview.

''It's part of the reason why, when I do my video. I hold my phone so close to my face. I want somebody to feel like it's me and you in this moment.''

When Choyce suggested to her mother earlier this year that she post her videos on Tik Tok, Ms. Brown was hesitant. TikTok? Wasn't that for teenagers?

Choyce explained that she could reach a new audience, and she taught her mother to shoot and edit videos and and post them to the platform.

''She picked it up pretty quick,'' Choyce said. ''I just thought she would be a good fit because she's really comforting.''

Ms. Brown found an audience almost instantly. On March 9, the day after she first joined Tik Tok, Ms. Brown posted videos of herself making a simple vegan wrap and a vegan pasta dish. Each quickly racked up more than a million views.

''I became the suntie everybody loves, and it just kept growing,'' Ms. Brown said.

Her viral fame led to her representation by the Creative Artists Agency, the powerhouse Los Angeles talent agency.

''My dream is to perform,'' she said. '' I want to be there for people. I want people to feel, in that moment, loved, seen and heard.''

The World Students Society thanks authors,Sandra E. Garcia and Rozette Rago.


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