It all began with a girl filming herself on a train in London.
Then, “Tube Girl” was born, and it has become more than a TikTok trend, elevating one woman to something of an “it” girl of the moment, who collaborates with Troye Sivan and appears on fashion runways.
Using just the camera on her phone, Sabrina Bahsoon shot the first Tube Girl video in mid-August.
“Being the friend who lives on the other side of the city so you gotta hype yourself up during the commute,” she wrote on TikTok.
Then, just two days later, she posted another video, saying she had to romanticise her journey on public transport by pretending to be in a music video, because it takes her “40 minutes to get anywhere”.
Bahsoon then shared two other videos from that same journey, dancing shamelessly in all.
In the second video, she assured people “no one actually cares” and pointed out that “crazier things” would be happening on the London Tube.
Since those initial videos, her TikTok account blew up and she has shared several more.
In every video her hair is blowing as she dances and sings along to the song, moving her phone sharply to get all her best angles.
Sometimes, she catches people in the background staring at her, but one of her three steps on how to Tube Girl is to film like no one is watching.
People have emulated Bahsoon and filmed their own Tube Girl videos, mimicking her style of shooting and being brave enough to dance in front of complete strangers on public transport.
Who is Tube Girl?
About a month after being a viral sensation, Bahsoon filmed a “get ready with me” and answered people’s burning questions.
Despite living in London, Bahsoon is from Malaysia. Her mother is Malaysian and her father has Sierra Leone and Lebanese heritage.
She said her rise to fame was “absolutely mental”.
“Like two months ago I was studying a law degree, hating what I was doing,” she said, adding she was so grateful and that she was so happy to see others being confident.
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Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar, Bahsoon said she did finish her law degree, but she always knew she didn’t want to pursue it any further.
However, thanks to her success on TikTok, plenty of doors have opened for her.
She was getting ready to make her runway debut for MAC Cosmetics’ first fashion runway show when she filmed that “get ready with me”, but that was just the beginning and she also attended Paris Fashion Week.
She has collaborated with singer Troye Sivan and content creator Chris Olsen.
However, for Bahsoon, it seems the fame and opportunities aren’t the best things about the virality of Tube Girl.
“When I see people imitating it, I’m like ‘finally like people are getting it’,” she told the BBC.
“They’re enjoying their commute a little bit better. And I love to see people having fun, so it’s honestly such a heart-warming thing for me.”
Tube Girl effect
Not only have famous faces appeared in Bahsoon’s videos, but people have tried filming themselves dancing in public.
People have taken part in the trend on trains in New York City and Warsaw, and one girl did it walking down the aisle on a packed flight.
Human sexuality professor at the University of Washington, Dr Nicole McNichols treated her students to some Tube Girl energy on their first day.
After sharing her video filmed in front of her packed lecture hall, McNichols explained why she decided to take part.
“Tube Girl energy is all about confidence and empowerment and doing whatever you want simply because it brings you joy,” she said.
“I teach a human sexuality class, so let’s all bring a little confidence and Tube Girl energy maybe into our intimate lives, I think it would make a lot of us feel a lot better.”
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