Amid the renegade dances, whipped coffee tutorials and bathroom selfie anecdotes that crowd the “For You” page on TikTok lies a collection of vegan recipes and messages of encouragement from the unassuming account of Tabitha Brown.
The self-proclaimed “world’s favorite mom” has gained the internet’s attention in the form of 2.8 million TikTok followers, with videos that regularly receive at least a few hundred thousand views. Her plant-based recipes often reimagine non-vegan favorites — like burgers or tacos — and are packed with flavor (garlic powder is a staple of Brown’s).
Sprinkled throughout Brown’s page are videos of her addressing the audience with positive advice, specific tips (do your taxes!) and generally kind words. But Brown, 41, definitely isn’t the first or only influencer creating vegan recipes or touting self-help tips, and she’s managed to find a home for her content on an app primarily directed toward younger audiences. So what makes her more popular than other vegan content creators and positivity gurus?
Brown’s recipes are undoubtedly healthy, using primarily raw ingredients and an array of spices and uncommon ingredients, and she walks you through each step of the cooking process. Yet her videos are as entertaining and relaxing as they are informative, even if you know you may not actually make that meal. It’s Brown herself — with her deep Southern accent, lively energy and popular “like so like that” catchphrase — that keeps viewers coming back for more.
The North Carolina native is a mother, actress and vegan, a diet she began after past health complications. Whereas vegan influencers have a reputation for being preachy about their lifestyle, Brown puts everything in the viewer’s hands, allowing you to come to your own conclusions. Letting the plant-based lifestyle speak for itself, Brown’s clear skin and energetic mood are enough to cause even the staunchest meat-eater to reconsider eating that next plate of bacon.
Her videos are just as bright and colorful as her online personality, and she can usually be seen with multicolored nails, patterned clothing, statement earrings and natural hair, which she lovingly named Donna. It’s clear that Brown embraces who she is, which is refreshing to see after years of younger generations putting up a front for social media. Brown doesn’t censor herself for the sake of seeming cool or to curate any sort of theme or aesthetic for her page.
Inviting her audience in at the beginning of each video, Brown is welcoming to everyone, using humor and food to bond with viewers. Her commentary is casual and unfiltered; you won’t find any heavy editing or complicated lip-syncing in Brown’s videos, which makes her content all the more relatable.
Her stream-of-consciousness narration is much like what you experience on a day-to-day basis; one second, you’re thinking about cooking a delicious meal, and in the middle of that, your brain goes on a tangent when it realizes the microwave needs to be cleaned. And that’s okay, Brown reassures us, “Cause that’s your business.”
What’s most notable about Brown, however, is that she embraces her mom-ness. Unlike other influencers with children — who often shun their own motherhood in favor of looking picture perfect and showing the world a staged version of an incredibly happy family — Brown involves her family in her TikToks. She gives them the freedom to speak openly in her videos. Having a family is never something she is afraid to talk about, nor does she use them as a prop in her content.
Dressed casually in T-shirts, her family seems closer to what you might think of as a normal family. One of her first videos shows Brown’s daughter, Choyce, teaching her how to use TikTok; like most of us who have explained new technology to a parent or grandparent, Choyce gets noticeably exasperated with her mom, and rather than getting defensive, Brown laughs it off, eager to learn the popular dances on the app.
Rather than gloss over her mom-ness or hide parts of herself deemed uncool by society for the camera, Brown makes it endearing and fun.
In another video with Choyce, Brown directs viewers to visit her Instagram on days when she highlights small businesses. The pair sing a song of their own creation at the end of the TikTok, closing the video by laughing and goofing around. It’s clear that Brown is family-oriented, while still preserving her own individuality, and that she’s passionate about things and people beyond her own content and following.
Brown also frequently posts videos of helpful messages to her viewers; she encourages you to “stop being so hard on yourself,” to quit stressing and to recognize that “your pain is valid.” These videos are often posted late at night, indicating that Brown is often struck with these little nuggets of inspiration while thinking about her viewers. She asks in each one, “Are you listening?” The videos pinpoint issues we all seem to struggle with, yet Brown’s approach makes it feel like she’s talking directly to you.
It’s clear from her videos that Brown is passionate about cooking and her family; she’s always smiling and laughing — both at herself and with her family. She’s not afraid to be impressed with herself and the delicious meals she makes, trying the concoction at the end of each video and relishing the amazing taste.
Most influencers hide their little wins or excitement in an effort to seem cool or nonchalant, but seeing Brown celebrate the small things is a gentle reminder that it’s a good practice.
Frequently, Brown will end her videos by gently reminding viewers to “have a good day, but if you can’t, don’t go messing up nobody else’s.” Brown’s genuine approach to social media, paired with her caring demeanor and positivity, makes her popularity well-deserved. She’s the reassuring presence we all need right now, as we struggle with both individual and world problems.