How Vegan TikTok Star Tabitha Brown Started Her Viral Career
"Hey Y'all," says Tabitha Brown in her warm, sweet Southern accent at the start of her daily 'pick-me-up' videos. The TikTok star is a "believer, wife, mom, actress and vegan blogger" who went viral after first appearing on the app only three months ago. Her 18-year-old daughter, Choyce, encouraged her to make an account, but Brown told an interviewer she was initially hesitant: “Why would I get on TikTok? Ain’t that for the kids?” Immediately after she began to create content, a fanbase started to build that now tallies 3 million followers.
Tabitha, who calls herself the "World's Favorite Mom" inspires vegans and non-vegans alike to make quick and healthy meals without requiring special kitchen skills or a lot of time. Brown, who just a few years ago, was earning a living as an Uber driver, found that by expressing herself authentically and riffing about everything from her earrings to her dance moves and always talking about vegan recipes, she could gain a following. Now her unique personality has made her TikTok famous and her quickie videos go viral Suddenly the social star is being covered by Vogue's social media editors, The New York Times, and has her own CAA agent scouring for deals.
Tabitha Brown Wasn't Always Healthy Before She Went Vegan.
Brown never went to culinary or acting school (though she has both the kitchen skills and the stage presence of someone who did). Instead, she studied fashion design at the International Fine Arts College in Miami, dropping out during her freshman year to head to California to pursue her dream of acting. “All I could think was, I’m wasting time; I’m supposed to be acting," she told The New York Times. So, in pursuit of her dreams, she moved to Southern California, but lived a two-hour drive from Hollywood, and had to work two jobs a day to support herself, and quickly realized she had no time to audition.
Brown moved back to North Carolina when money was tight and lived with her boyfriend. “That one year turned into five years, turned into a baby, a marriage, car, job, house, and a forgotten dream," she told The Times.
During that stretch Brown co-hosted a late-night local TV show interviewing celebrities who were in town performing at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. "That taught me how to dream again," she said. Brown stayed in North Carolina to work and care for her mother, who was suffering from ALS. After her mother passed in 2007, she decided this was the time to get back into the entertainment industry and she moved with her family to Los Angeles.
Health Problems Prompted Tabitha to Examine Her Diet and Go Vegan
After giving birth to her son Quest, chronic headaches, pain, and chronic fatigue stopped her from working. “I really thought I was gonna die,” Brown told BuzzFeed News. The intense pain forced Brown to make some significant changes to her diet. This was when she made the transition to a vegan lifestyle, which helped alleviate many of the symptoms that were bothering her.
She told a Goodful reporter that once upon a time she ate everything her uncle put on the table. From once upon a time, eating "possums and squirrels" as a child, Brown explained that she began to eat vegan comfort food such as tacos, crab-less crabcakes, and pickled tomato lettuce sandwiches, she now calls "fancy" on her TikTok.
One Ride Changed Her Life and her Fate, Leading to her Fame
Brown drove an Uber at the same time she decided to go vegan. While dropping a passenger off at a Whole Foods, she grabbed a vegan breakfast wrap to eat in her car and tide her over until the next ride. On a whim, she decided to film herself and ham it up as if she were again back in front of the TV camera. She gave a rapturous review of the wrap and just for fun, posted it on Facebook. In the video, she experiences a 'come to Jesus' moment with the sandwich and exults Whole Foods, saying: "I pray for you, honey, because what you've done in this sandwich, Oh y'all set sounds on fire and I feel like I've been anchored in the Lord." Only Brown could pull this off and have it go viral.
By the end of her last drive that day, the quick Facebook video surpassed 50,000 views! The same week, Whole Foods, after watching the video, asked Brown to be their brand ambassador for their Tempeh Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, Avocado (TBTLA) sandwich. She traveled around the country and gave presentations about her decision to become vegan for health reasons. “I made more money in that year than I had made in 14 years of living in Los Angeles,” she told Buzzfeed.
That was the early start of the Tabitha Brown movement and we love her more and more every day. She is up to something new, an interview with Vogue's social team, a new vegan recipe, a Q & A about her early life before going vegan. Her junk food vegan videos and teachings on potato wedges on TikTok are addictive. “You can also be a junk food vegan, and I’m a thick vegan — listen, Tab got hips, okay?"
Tabitha Brown's story is motivating her fans, including all of us at The Beet, to take the unexpected route in life, pun intended.