<93 Year Old Dancing Grandma Becomes A Viral TikTok Hit: It Brings Joy To A Lot Of People>
But Marie Frances O’Brien isn’t THAT hip: She’d never even heard of the social media app until two months ago.
Then her granddaughter posted a funny video of O’Brien on TikTok, and that changed everything.
O’Brien, 93, remembers when her granddaughter told her the news. She didn’t get it.
“Allison said to me, ‘I posted it on TikTok,’” O’Brien recalls and laughs. “And I said, ‘I don’t know what TikTok is. I have no idea.’”
Two months later, the Naples, Florida, woman knows all about TikTok. In fact, she’s become one of the app’s most unlikely stars.
That first video? It’s racked up more than 7.3 million views and 1.3 million likes.
And another video of O’Brien dancing with her granddaughters has scored almost as many views in just two weeks.
Suddenly, O'Brien finds herself checking her page views every day and having online chats with fans all over the world.
“It brings joy to a lot of people,” she says. “If it makes people happy, I’m willing to do it.”
It all started when granddaughter Allison Krause visited O’Brien this summer. O’Brien’s daughter had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma cancer, and they wanted to do something to cheer her up.
“Allison said, ‘Mom isn’t feeling well. Let’s do a fun video,’” O’Brien says. “And we did.’”
Posted in late July, that first video shows a sassy O’Brien modeling clothes to the music of Britney Spears’ “Oops! … I Did It Again.” The caption: “When you live into your 90s and your daughter told you to stop buying more clothes.”
“My grandma is constantly dressed to the nines,” says Krause, who shot the video. “It doesn’t matter if we’re going to a fast-food joint or a five-star hotel.
“My mom’s always getting after my grandma for buying so many clothes. My grandma loves to shop, and so we thought we’d do a funny video to play on that.”
The video worked: O’Brien’s daughter, Colleen Krause, got a good laugh out of it. But then it started racking up views on TikTok, too.
Which was great, O’Brien says.
“I didn’t want anyone to see my closet,” O’Brien says and laughs. “And thanks to Allie, the whole world has seen it. It’s a mess!”
More videos followed, including the second-most popular one yet. The Sept. 10 post starts with a joyous O’Brien dancing and holding her granddaughter about 30 years ago. Then it fast forwards to more recent footage — only this time, it's the granddaughter who's dancing and holding O'Brien.
The caption reads: “WHEN YOU USED TO CARRY YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER TO DANCE, BUT NOW, AT 93, SHE CARRIES YOU.”
The video suggests it’s the same granddaughter both times, but it’s actually two different people. Allison Krause is in the earlier video (at about 4 years old), but it’s her sister Kerry Krause dancing and carrying O’Brien in the newer footage (shot this month by Allison at a family get-together in Washington, D.C.).
Allison Krause got the idea from a family trip to Paris three years ago to celebrate O’Brien’s 90th birthday. O’Brien would get tired walking along the cobblestone streets, so Kerry Krause would pick her up and carry her around.
Years later, Kerry still loves to pick up O’Brien and dance with her. So Allison decided to combine that with an earlier video.
“I figured it would be a good mash-up,” Krause says.
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Other people apparently agreed. Some 7.2 million people have watched the video over the last two weeks, and O’Brien has been featured in national write-ups for Newsweek and Good Morning America. A couple of TV talk shows are interested, too.
“I don’t think we realized how many people we were going to reach or how much interest this was going to draw,” Krause says. “It’s incredible.
“We all know that my grandma is a star, and she’s the star in our lives. … She was destined to just be in front of a camera.”
Many of the videos show O’Brien dancing — something that wouldn’t surprise the people who know her best. She’s been dancing since she was a kid and even dreamed of becoming a professional.
“I wanted to be a Rockette,” O’Brien says and laughs. “But I was too short!”
She dropped the professional dancing dream when she got married, she says. But she never stopped getting out on the dance floor.
“That’s my earliest memory,” Krause says. “My grandma is always dancing. It brings so much joy. She’s the first person out on the dance floor and the last person to leave.”
Now O’Brien is bringing joy to the rest of the world, too. And Krause loves that everyone on TikTok finally knows about her grandma’s awesomeness.
“She’s just so positive and happy,” Krause says. “She’s just so willing to do anything and try anything. She never says no. And so I thought that she’d be a hit — mostly for our friends and family to see.”
Connect with this reporter: Email [email protected] or connect on social media at Charles Runnells (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter) and @crunnells1 (Instagram).
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/09/23/florida-dancing-grandma-fran-hip-gram-becomes-viral-hit-tiktok/5832344001/1819