Want to Feel Bad? Ask TikTok How Old You Look.


Cherri Gervais bought her first grey hairs as a teen.

“It’s genetic,” she mentioned.

Her hair coloration, a putting shade of silver, is the very first thing individuals on TikTok seen when she requested them to inform her how previous she seemed in a latest video.

The guesses ranged wildly. Many have been right, or shut sufficient, Ms. Gervais mentioned. (She turned 34 this month.) Different urged she was in her 60s or 70s.

Ms. Gervais, who lives in Kansas and works for a part-time magnificence firm, mentioned she had determined to put up her video after coming upon comparable TikToks.

“I noticed somebody Gen Z do it as a result of they have been saying Gen Z is getting older quicker,” she mentioned, referring to a latest on-line idea arguing that youngsters and younger adults are aging more rapidly and more visibly than their millennial counterparts.

Her video is a part of a development through which customers, largely girls, ask strangers to touch upon their appearances. Ms. Gervais mentioned that lots of the feedback she had acquired have been unkind.

“Individuals advised me to dye my hair, advised me to get lashes, to repair my eyebrows,” she mentioned. A number of urged that she seemed like a “middle-aged mother.” “There’s nothing flawed with that,” Ms. Gervais added. “However I’m not a mother.”

Jalisa Silva-Toney, a 21-year-old social work scholar who lives in Level Nice, W.Va., additionally took half. “I used to be simply curious,” she mentioned, noting that individuals usually get her age flawed.

A part of the explanation she needed to put up her video, she mentioned, was that she hadn’t seen many different Black girls collaborating. She added that TikTok’s tradition of fixed comparability may very well be fueling the development and the bigger debate over her era’s frown strains and pores and skin elasticity.

Pri Maha, a enterprise analyst in Atlanta, mentioned she had requested individuals to guess her age in a latest TikTok video largely out of curiosity.

“I do see content material from big-time influencers who’re solely, like, 23, getting Botox,” Ms. Maha, 27, mentioned. “Typically it does make me assume, ‘Oh, ought to I be doing that, since I’m older?’”

She added, “I really feel like there’s positively a push the place I see youthful ladies getting work performed, or simply making an attempt to look as younger as attainable, when they’re nonetheless tremendous younger.”

Not everybody was in it only for curiosity’s sake, although.

“I’ve fairly thick pores and skin, and never numerous issues damage my emotions,” mentioned Morgan Driscoll, who works in communications at a tech firm and lives in Weymouth, Mass. “I knew it was value posting for the views.”

As a result of she is somebody who aspires to have a lot of TikTok followers, Ms. Driscoll, 30, noticed collaborating within the development as a type of enterprise alternative.

“I didn’t put up it as a result of I used to be in search of validation,” she mentioned. “I posted it as a result of I knew it might get engagement.”

She was proper: Her video has been seen over 100,000 occasions.

A lot of the feedback have been about her eyebrows. “I’ve very millennial eyebrows,” Ms. Driscoll mentioned, that means her eyebrows are skinny. She was going to get them “mounted” this week, she added, based mostly on the TikTok suggestions.

“I feel the worst I bought was a remark saying that my neck is getting a gobbler, which is loopy,” she added. “I imply, I simply turned 30!”

However for a lot of TikTokers, any engagement is sweet engagement.

“A remark is a remark,” Ms. Driscoll mentioned. “I don’t care if they’re trolls. I don’t care in the event that they inform me I appear like a toad. I simply need the feedback.”



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