Senior Zoey Maynard
Senior Zoey Maynard first went viral in 2018 on Musical.ly.
Her collection of viral videos range from her lip syncing to a Jimmy Fallon skit to reacting to a girl dropping her fish down a garbage disposal.
“I don’t really know what made the videos get so many views considering that they’re all really random,” Maynard said.
She said the videos received between 20,000 and 50,000 views, with some of them getting over one million.
Prior to this, she wasn’t an avid social media user, so she said all of this buzz was very new to her.
While Maynard was recognized at school for these videos, she added it was mostly people teasing her for it, but nothing too serious.
“I was actually pretty embarrassed of it because it was kind of cringy to go viral for something like that, especially in middle school when everything ever is embarrassing,” she explained.
Maynard said she was done with her time in the spotlight and stopped posting entirely following her viral moment. She said she only uses TikTok for personal use now.
“I stopped posting on my account,” Maynard said. “I kind of just got embarrassed by the view count, so I waited to post again until it went away. I still have around 43,000 followers, but I don’t post anymore.”
Senior Masha Shonia
Senior Masha Shonia’s viral TikTok received thousands of hate comments, prompting her to stop posting.
Shonia said she and her friends decided to participate in a challenge on TikTok called the “Mask Fishing Challenge” in the spring of 2022.
For the challenge, each person in the video pulled down their mask to reveal their face to the camera before pulling it back up.
“We decided to do the trend because everybody was wearing masks at the time for COVID-19,” Shonia said. “It was just for fun.”
She said she had a TikTok account prior to her viral video, but it was only followed by her close friends.
Shonia said she had swim practice after posting the video and wasn’t able to look at it until around two hours later.
When she returned from practice, she had 300,000 views and around 50,000 likes on her video.
“I came home and my phone had 99-plus notifications on it,” she said. “I was really confused.”
Shonia’s video going viral came as a complete surprise to both her and her friends, she said. She recalls getting many negative and passive-aggressive comments about her and her friends’ appearances.
While the harsh comments impacted Shonia’s willingness to post more public videos on her account, she said the comments didn’t negatively impact her confidence.
“I didn’t really take any of them seriously because it was just a bunch of random people on the Internet,” she said.
Spanish teacher Lauren Robbins
Students at the high school convinced Spanish teacher Lauren Robbins to create a Musical.ly account and post her first video.
On May 4, 2018, Robbins said her students approached her asking to partake in a challenge on Musical.ly called the “Ellen’s Dance Dare Challenge.”
The trend entailed someone dressing as Ellen DeGeneres and dancing behind another person without them knowing. The winners of the challenge would receive the chance to make an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ show.
For her video, Robbins stood facing a chalkboard, acting as though she wasn’t aware of one of her students dancing behind her.
“It was all planned out,” she said. “We had like 10 takes.”
Robbins said she didn’t have an account on Musical.ly prior to her viral video, as she only created the account to make the video with her students.
Shortly after posting the video, she received 1.6 million views and 156,000 likes. Robbins said she recalls waking up the morning after posting her video to see the notifications on her phone.
“I woke up and my phone was buzzing repeatedly,” Robbins said. “I had to turn my notifications off. It was crazy.”
Robbins and her students were surprised by the attention their video received, and they thought it was funny that it was so popular, even though it didn’t win the challenge, she said.
“They wanted to win the challenge, but we were not expecting it to go viral on the platform separate from the challenge,” Robbins said.
Freshman Maddy Thomas
Freshman Maddy Thomas had her moment of stardom on TikTok last April. Bored during school, she decided to make a dance video to the song “Rodeo (Remix)” by Flo Milli.
She made the video with a friend and it ended up going viral.
Thomas said the video received around 116,000 views and 20,000 likes. She didn’t think the video would go viral, so having it blow up was really unexpected and surprising to her, she added.
The video also received many positive comments such as “Why is this lowkey blowing up.” Thomas said the attention from the video didn’t affect her much because this had also been happening to many of her friends with some of their videos going viral, too.
“It didn’t really do much, but some people were coming up to me in school asking how I blew up,” she explained.
Thomas said her friends were astonished and her family thought it was awesome that her video had blown up since it was her first famous video.
“They found out either because it came on their ‘For You’ page or they were following me and saw it,” she said.
Thomas said she hasn’t gone viral again since posting this video. Though she still regularly uses the app, she hasn’t had another video attain that level of fame again, she added.
“I still post videos on the app, but none have gotten as many views as that one,” she said.
Stories and Photos by Elijah Horne and Bree Dixon