Experience the exhilaration of dancing without inhibitions, even in the midst of a packed train of commuters. Meet the viral sensation known as the “Tube Girl,” a young woman named Sabrina Bahsoon who captivates audiences with her confident dance moves on the London Underground. Her TikTok videos have struck a chord with viewers who admire her fearlessness and ability to break free from societal expectations. In the comment section, fans praise her for inspiring other girls to embrace their own self-assurance, disregarding the opinions of onlookers.
Bahsoon’s videos have quickly gained popularity, garnering millions of views and propelling her into the spotlight. With over 400,000 followers in less than a month, she has become an influencer in her own right, receiving collaboration offers from brands like MAC Cosmetics and even an invitation to participate in Paris Fashion Week. Her rise to fame using the “girl” trend on TikTok sets her apart from the sea of content churned out daily. Experts attribute the appeal of her videos to her unique camera techniques, unwavering confidence, and a personal narrative that resonates with her TikTok audience.
Inspired by Bahsoon, TikTok users, models, and comics worldwide have begun emulating her subway dance style, filming their own videos in cities like New York, D.C., Tokyo, and Warsaw. The Tube Girl’s appeal may lie in her defiance of the notion that girls and women, particularly those of color, should occupy as little space as possible. Societal norms and expectations have progressed in some areas while regressing in others, as media and African American studies professor Ashleigh Wade points out. Bahsoon’s videos may resonate with people who fear public scrutiny and judgment when they assert themselves in public spaces.
Raised in Malaysia by a Sierra Leonean-Lebanese father and a Malaysian mother, Bahsoon always dreamt of being a rock star. She describes herself as someone who strays from the corporate girl stereotype, and completing her law degree was merely a necessary step before pursuing her true passions. Upon submitting her final assignment for law school, Bahsoon experienced overwhelming relief, feeling liberated and empowered. While her law school peers secured jobs for the summer, she persisted in conveying to her family that her calling lies in the music and fashion industries. Overcoming doubts from loved ones, she emphasizes the importance of self-belief and staying true to one’s dreams.
Bahsoon began filming herself dancing on trains a year ago but only developed her distinct jerky camera movement last month. The movement, perfectly capturing the gusts of wind inside the train, has become her signature style. Bahsoon attributes her confidence to a touch of “delulu” or delusion, but recognizes that understanding one’s desires and abilities is crucial to personal growth. Achieving viral status is not a coincidence; Bahsoon’s commitment to embracing her creativity led her to delve deeper into the music she listens to, allowing the beat and rhythm to guide her camera movements and inspire her music video concepts. She simply follows the music.
Bahsoon plans to continue following her passion for music and fashion until she establishes herself in these industries. Carrie Rentschler, a communication studies professor, admires how Bahsoon’s videos exude a confidence that others aspire to possess. TikTok’s essence revolves around imitation and remixing, and Bahsoon has successfully influenced others to join her style of video creation. While most of her imitators have been women with similar body types, Wade points out that showcasing confidence and self-assurance can be more challenging for individuals whose bodies may not conform to societal beauty standards. Nonetheless, Bahsoon maintains a commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, which is why she chooses to film on public transportation.
As the #tubegirleffect spreads, Bahsoon will continue to dance on the tube and share her videos. After all, she spends over an hour commuting daily. Bahsoon believes that embarrassment is an illusion, and she refuses to let it hinder her dreams.
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