It’s been over a year since the viral ‘That Girl’ wellness trend hit TikTok and saw thousands of women attempt to become the best versions of themselves through morning affirmations, journalling, green juicing and early rising.
Unfamiliar with the term? ‘That Girl’ wakes up between five and six am, works out, drinks her morning smoothie and does her meditation before the rest of the world has even had a cup of coffee. She wears perfectly clean and ironed loungewear and makes breakfasts that are as visually appealing as they are nutritionally rich. Her bed is always made and her life is always calm and organised, naturally.
Though plenty have felt inspired by these wellness-driven and seemingly idyllic lifestyles, the ‘That Girl’ method got its fair share of criticism, too. For many, it set unattainable lifestyle and beauty standards laced with privilege – not to mention eating disorder triggers and a lack of diversity within the content.
And though 2022 has brought with it plenty more TikTok trends with similar issues, more and more are taking to the app to present a more realistic reflection of their everyday lives – so has ‘That Girl’ finally become the ‘normal girl’?
Case in point: self-confessed normal girl Louise May (@loumayyy), who recently hit a million followers on TikTok thanks to her relatable videos – including her ‘here’s another day in your life of your twenties’ post, for which many commenters have declared her “a Gen-Z Bridget Jones”.
Louise describes cleaning the condensation of the windows in her flat after she wakes up each morning, as she “wonders what all her uni mates are doing in their London apartments,” and (far too relatably) smelling her used leggings before putting them on to go to the gym.
As opposed to the ‘That Girl’ clips, which are often very un-nuanced, Louise adds her relatable musings to her daily routine videos.
“Bumped into my friend Georgie on the weekend… turns out she’s actually using her degree. Can’t help but wonder what that feels like,” she says in one.
Another: “You put on your natural deodorant because part of you wants to believe that we can still save the planet, that your kids will see wildlife. You question having kids.”
It’s clear that the dose of reality is proving popular with a certain TikTok demographic who are loving this Bridget-esque level of honesty. “Bridget Jones 2.0. Absolute icon,” one follower responds, with another adding: “Literally a Gen-Z Bridget Jones vibe.”
Our favourite 90s diarist was in her early thirties rather than her mid twenties, but I reckon had TikTok been available to her, Bridge might have had a no holds barred approach to her own daily vlogs – sharing her half-read self help book collection and empty (bar a mouldy block of cheese) fridge, hopefully.
“Your ‘day in the life’ videos have honestly made me feel more seen that anyone else on this app,” one commenter has written to Louise. Another says of her voiceovers: “This is poetry.”
Louise has had to note her own privilege in making her videos, however. She wrote in November: “I am privileged in so so many ways, and I’m incredibly grateful. But despite my accent, I have not been raised with a silver spoon. My new voiceover videos are exaggerated for entertainment and relatability. A lot of it is satire and making jokes about the absolute state that is this country, and what it’s like to be 20-something in todays society. It’s relatable and hopefully, makes other 20 something-year-olds, feel less alone. Stay groovy.”
While the ‘That Girl’ aesthetic may be here to stay for a while (and hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to live your life your life a tiny bit more like Hailey Bieber), here’s hoping ‘Normal Girl’ TikTok is set to get its own era, too. And since normality is so different for everyone, that means one size will never fit all.