Ms. Dix and daughter go viral

Features

Last February, the KO News published an article about our very own Middle School Administrator and Receptionist Brittany Dix’s TikTok fame, or, more specifically, her 22-month-old daughter Lily’s. At the time that the article was published, Ms. Dix’s account had nearly 800,000 followers. Currently, her follower count sits at more than 2.3 million. 

I sat down with her again, almost a year later, to talk about what’s changed and how she has adapted to Lily’s virality. 

“I can go anywhere in town, TJ Maxx for instance, and people will recognize her and want to take a picture with her,” she said. “I was just there two days ago and there was a little boy and a little girl, and they just looked so shell-shocked. I could tell that they knew who Lily was. And so we came out of an aisle and they came right up to us and they say ‘Oh my gosh we follow you on TikTok. We love Lily.’” 

According to Ms. Dix, she and Lily have only recently started to be recognized wherever they go. But other things have changed, too. Ms. Dix is now so overwhelmed with requests from companies to do brand deals that she has started to turn many of them down. The money from TikTok itself, not including payment from brand deals, mostly covers Lily’s expenses. “It basically pays for Lily’s daycare, which I used to struggle with. And now I don’t have to,” she said. “That’s the best part. If I need diapers, I don’t have to struggle anymore. And I can save for Lily’s college now.”

Ms. Dix is usually able to exchange a shout-out in a TikTok for something along the lines of an article of clothing from a company for Lily. Babies grow out of clothes so quickly that doing this saves an enormous amount of money, according to Ms. Dix. 

Ms. Dix and Lily have also made some friends on the app. Ms. Dix speaks daily with Bailey, the mother of baby Franklin, who has 3.3 million followers on TikTok, about various ideas for creating viral videos as well as how the babies are doing. Ms. Dix frequently uses TikTok video functions such as “stitch” and “duet” that allow Lily to “respond” to Franklin. 

One video Ms. Dix and Lily created that did particularly well consisted of Lily picking out a birthday gift for Franklin and helping mail it. Franklin’s mother then “duetted” Lily’s video with Franklin opening the gift from the mail. “She loves Franklin, she loves watching his videos, and she recognizes him and doesn’t confuse him for other babies,” Ms. Dix said. “One day, I plan on having Lily and Franklin meet in person, once it’s safe.”

Ms. Dix describes Lily as a natural performer. “She’s just so full of life and has so much energy,” Ms. Dix said, “and now being home with her all the time, it’s like she just wants to do everything.” Ms. Dix sees filming TikToks with Lily as a fun way to bond, especially because Lily enjoys it so much. “I open fan mail all the time on video,” she said, “which is fun because [Lily] gets so excited.” When Ms. Dix or her husband get packages from Amazon, Lily assumes they’re for her due to the frequency of fan mail she receives, which contain a variety of items, one of which is a tent filled with stuffed animals that Lily now keeps in her room. “She doesn’t understand where the packages are coming from, but we save all of the letters that come in every package,” she explained. “Whenever someone sends something they send a letter and they say such sweet things, And when Lily gets older, I can’t wait for her to read all of them.”  

The letters Ms. Dix receives in the mail along with the gifts for Lily are often about how much happiness Lily brings people. They are frequently from people who can’t have children of their own or people who say Lily has saved them from depressive episodes or even suicide. “I didn’t realize how much Lily impacts people, people who just want some joy because we just post happy things.”

Ms. Dix has learned a lot along the way, too. “I was super scared in the beginning…but now I basically know TikTok a lot better,” she said. Ms. Dix also mentioned TikTok’s “algorithm”: The almighty decider of what gets on a user’s “For You page,” which is the endless stream of videos that TikTok has determined the user would enjoy. TikTok isn’t transparent about what factors go into the algorithm, but Ms. Dix can tell that they’re always tweaking it. 

Ms. Dix is glad she has found a hobby she and Lily both enjoy. “People love to see Lily and I love to post her,” she said, “but if she ever comes to me one day and says ‘I don’t want to be on the internet,’ I would totally stop. It’s fine for now, but even for me coming up with content every day can be stressful, and sometimes you just want to be a kid.”