Scrolling through interior design TikTok, you’ll come across avid furniture flippers, thrift-shopping aficionados, and creative DIYers. But for the latter, there’s one woman who’s had viewers spellbound with her creations ever since she first went viral last September: Tay BeepBoop.
The motion graphics and set designer shot to TikTok stardom last year when her 120-year-old San Francisco condo broke the mold of what a home should look like. Tay wasn’t a professional interior decorator by any means, but her very first video was a bedroom DIY project that racked up 2.8 million views. Since then, she’s been taking her 1 million followers on a journey of squiggle-shaped eccentricities, gummy bear side tables, and faux cake mirrors.
@taybeepboop I will never ever be done upgrading my living space I stg 😤 wallpaper is @_ottostudio of course!!! #diy #accentwall #wallpaper #tiktoktaughtme #tiktokpartner ♬ original sound – TayBeepBoop | DIY QUEEN
As a DIYer who has created a 45-inch-tall portrait of herself photoshopped onto a goddess’ body, Tay often gets the question, “Where do you come up with this stuff?” She said she often ignores that question in her comments not to be rude, but because she genuinely doesn’t know how to answer.
“Most people go on Pinterest and get inspiration,” she told Passionfruit. “I don’t. I get my ideas from going out [and] about in the real world.”
She recalls the inspiration behind her most laborious—and fan-beloved—project, which involved painting her entire hallway in squiggles: “The smoothie bar that’s in my neighborhood had a really cool squiggly accent in their shop and I took a photo of it and thought, this is a great idea for a backsplash in a kitchen.”
In 2022, the TikTok star rolled out a new wallpaper collection, hosted Yahoo’s In The Know DIY series, and is in talks of launching her own home decor line. All of this success comes less than a year after her debut on the platform. She’s even partnered with TikTok interior decorator, Dani Klaric, to make their first collaborative store design. But amid the viral success is a creator navigating the taxing realities of mental illness, social media toxicity, and emotional repercussions of living in poverty years ago.
As someone with ADHD, Tay told Passionfruit she doesn’t harbor secrets. An open book, Tay has shared with her followers the harsh realities of living with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She’s made a few TikToks and spoken to a few outlets about her past living in poverty and how she’s been recovering ever since. However, while fans may beg her to divulge the details of how she was able to go from living in a closet to owning a home, Tay claims her story is far from inspirational.
“I’m still dealing with the backlash of burnout of my full-time job,” Tay said. “I was juggling multiple full-time jobs for a few years. Three jobs total and it really burnt me out.”
In the past few weeks, Tay has had to stop working her full-time job in production design because of her mental health. She said her experience trying to get paid medical leave in the U.S. was difficult, and she ultimately decided to go on leave without pay. Now, she focuses solely on pursuing creative work on her own time.
“I’m just creating things for the sake of creating them because I’m trying to use art therapy to heal,” she said.
TikTok was not her main source of income but after not working for a few weeks, Tay said she felt a pressure to constantly create content. She’s warned her followers of the effects of hustle culture and praised Gen Z for stepping away from the capitalistic norm. She attributed the trend to the Great Resignation.
“I think that Gen Z really values being respected in the workplace and it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m really proud of them for that. They’re like standing up for what they’re worth and their rights.”
Still, needless to say, there are downsides to being a TikTok sensation. Tay never meant to become an influencer. But after several months on the platform, she learned that having 1 million followers doesn’t mean you have 1 million friends.
“This job is so isolating and you’re just alone, constantly filming things and talking to your phone and you don’t have that many real friends,” she said.
But her fans may beg to differ.
“People will message me or I’ve met people on the street and they’ll be like, ‘Oh my God. I think that you’re my best friend. I can’t believe I’m meeting you. I know everything about your life,’” Tay said. “And it’s like, I don’t know you at all.”
The parasocial relationship that some followers have with Tay makes her feel less like a human and more like someone who owes her attention and time to her followers.
“They feel so entitled and privileged to your life,” Tay said. She shares moments where followers have berated her for simply not replying fast enough to their comments.
Perhaps the most hurtful are disparaging comments against her own creations which take time and labor to create.
“In the home DIY world of social media, a single video can be something that took us weeks to work on,” she said. “Like this one project took weeks to build out and we post it and it’s a 30-second video. Then someone like just one person can have a horrible thing to say about it.”
“It’s like that project was weeks of your life,” she continues. “It was so much work. Blood, sweat, and tears. And then it’s also a permanent fixture in your home. You can’t just easily change it back and then someone just gives their unnecessary, rude comment about something that’s very personal and hardworking. That’s something you work very hard on, right? It is affecting.”
The hate comments are something Tay said she will never get used to: “It’s really difficult being a content creator because you’re just open to criticism constantly.”
Luckily, Tay doesn’t have to go through it alone anymore. She thanks her chosen family, her boyfriend, and her business partner and friend Klaric for their unwavering support. As she pivots from motion graphics into interior decorating full time, Tay is eager to see what her future holds.
@taybeepboop Watch out world 💪🏽😤 @daniklaric & I have gotten the renders approved for this design and we’ll be putting our blood sweat and tears into it. More COMING SOON. #interiordesign #diy #remodel #vlog #sanfransisco ♬ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
“It makes me excited to be doing design full-time because I love it and because Dani and I are gonna be so incredibly successful,” she said. “We have so many brands and production companies reaching out to us about doing a TV show. It’s going to be incredible.”