SACRAMENTO, Calif. — TikTok can sometimes be a negative place to scroll through, but a Sacramento teen has discovered a way to create an inclusive environment for her followers — with her baby snake.
Lilly Jane, 15, created her TikTok account @NoodleBoyHours a year ago with her baby Kenyan Sand Boa, Tortellini.
"My parents are always talking about how it’s so weird that I call him Tortellini, because it’s the only noodle that doesn’t actually look like him," Lilly said.
Lilly places Tortellini on her iPad and let's him glide around until they've created digital artwork.
"I’d just be drawing and suddenly he’d start squiggling across my screen and making lines," the Rio Americano High School sophomore explained. "I was like ‘hmm, maybe I can do something with this.’"
Together, they’ve gained more than 200,000 followers and six million likes on their videos from people all over the world
"I have people watching from Poland, the Philippines, it’s crazy," Lilly said.
But for Lilly, this has become more than just sharing cute videos.
"Once I started to get more views and more people following me, I took the opportunity to talk about anti bullying and LGBT topics," Lilly explained. "So I can help kids be more comfortable with their identities and just be more proud of who they are in general."
These two topics are close to her heart. Lilly herself has experienced bullying.
"I personally have a lot of friends who are bisexual, I myself am bisexual," Lilly said. "I’ve had a lot of troubles with kids being mean to me and I think the most important thing I’ve learned is just no matter how mean people are, just keep putting out positivity and it does get a lot better."
With her little noodle in tow, Lilly aims to create kid-friendly content to teach young people about LGBTQ+ identities and terminology. For Pride month, she and Tortellini made flags in the colors that represent all different LGBT identities and uploaded the videos to TikTok.
"He draws the flags by himself and it just kind of blew up really fast, so I started making more Pride flags," Lilly said. "It’s very subtle the way that you’re educating people because it’s just a cute video of a snake and then if you open the comments, it’s a bunch of people telling people who don’t know what it is the background on the flag."
Lilly and her baby snake, they even have a website with T-shirts and other merchandise Lilly had made. Lilly hopes to continue to create and inspire her followers with her pet baby snake.
"My biggest message that I try to convey is just be as nice to people as you can, even if you’re not very fond of them, that doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way to talk down on someone," Lilly said. "It makes me so happy to see that I’m making other people happy. That’s my favorite part of the whole experience."
Thanks to Jason P who let us know about this story on Nextdoor.
Follow the conversation on Facebook with Barbara Bingley.
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