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Malaysian-born ‘Tube Girl’ subway dancer in London shares infectious self-confidence on TikTok (VIDEO)

Malaysian-born ‘Tube Girl’ subway dancer in London shares infectious self-confidence on TikTok (VIDEO)

The 'Tube Girl' hashtag has nearly 600 million views on TikTok. — Picture courtesy of sabrinabahsoon / TikTok

LONDON, Sept 29 — For the past few days, a British TikToker dubbed “Tube Girl” has been causing a stir on the social network. With her hair billowing, she films herself riding the subway, dancing to the sound of upbeat tunes. It didn’t take long for the idea to catch on, with internet users — including celebrities — trying it out for themselves.

She’s TikTok’s latest sensation. With her earbuds in and her hair flowing free, she films herself on the London Underground — known locally as “the Tube” — with camera angles worthy of a popstar’s video, while she lip-syncs to songs like David Guetta’s Where The Girls At. Meet “Tube Girl,” real name Sabrina Bahsoon. This 22-year-old has been causing a stir on the web in recent days.

It all started with a video posted on TikTok on August 13, since viewed over 10 million times, in which the influencer films herself miming along to an upbeat pop tune. What’s so special about the content, you ask? Well, it’s all about how she manoeuvres her phone’s front camera so that the angles are as fluid as possible, while fearlessly busting her moves in full view of the other passengers. Although the content is a little different from the videos habitually seen on TikTok, the web user is already proving a huge hit. She has almost 600,000 followers, and the Tube Girl hashtag already has 600 million views.

@sabrinabahsoon Gotta match the vibes when i arrive #londontiktok #nickiminaj where dem girls at - fee

In the comments under her video, internet users hail the courage and audacity of the woman they call the “Tube Girl,” speaking, for example, of her “iconic behaviour.” Such is her self-confidence that it’s become infectious on TikTok, where thousands of other internet users have followed her lead. From Paris to New York to Warsaw, a whole load of new “Tube Girls” are now filming themselves doing similar things on public transport. For many of them, this is a means to stop worrying about the way others look at them, and be confident with who they are. Celebrities such as Shay Mitchell (Emily in the show Pretty Little Liars) or Madelaine Petsch (who played Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale) have also jumped on the trend.

Inspiring self-confidence

Before she became the “Tube Girl,” this Malaysian-born law graduate posted a whole bunch of random videos on her social media channels. In an interview with Vulture, Sabrina Bahsoon explains that it all began when she asked one of her friends to film her in the subway one evening. “The video wasn’t a planned thing. It was more ‘cause my friends didn’t wanna film it for me. Like, ‘I’m not doing this cringey ...’ I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna do it myself.’” The young woman first trained within her own four walls, before summoning up the courage to film herself in a subway train full of passengers.

For her success was not left to chance alone. Sabrina put a lot of thought into her concept beforehand. On her TikTok account, there are videos dating back to 2022 in which she was already dancing in the subway. So what made the difference with last August’s hit video? The wind-in-the-hair effect and the way she films herself, which makes her videos stand out from the crowd on TikTok. Now, her lifelong dream of working in music and fashion has come true. Her videos have gone viral, and “Tube Girl” has forged a string of partnerships with major brands, including BOSS at Milan Fashion Week, and M.A.C. Cosmetics.

But her rise is not just about personal success, since it benefits other women who feel inspired by the “Tube Girl” concept. For McGill University communication studies professor Carrie Rentschler, quoted by the Washington Post, Sabrina Bahsoon’s videos “perform a kind of confidence that others aspire towards and want to participate in. Her strong sense of self really shines through the camera. And that’s what people are attracted to.”

“Part of the Tube Girl’s appeal could lie in her subversion of the idea that girls and women, especially girls and women of colour, are conditioned to believe that they should take up as little space as possible, according to some experts,” explains the Washington Post. Ashleigh Wade, a professor of media and African American studies at the University of Virginia, told the US newspaper that “Sabrina’s videos may be appealing to people who think that if they take up space in public they may receive scrutiny and vitriol.” — ETX Studio