Mexico’s social media stars are becoming famous in the pandemic

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Mexico City (AFP)

Before the pandemic, Herlanlly Rodriguez was a manicurist. Today she belongs to Mexico’s new generation of social media stars and millennial influencers whose lives have been changed by imprisonment.

When the 23-year-old became unemployed because of the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus, she started posting satirical videos on TikTok that aimed at machismo.

“In the beginning I just wanted a distraction,” says Rodriguez, known as Herly on digital platforms and having 1.2 million followers on TikTok alone.

All of a sudden, thousands of people started interacting with her thanks to her performance as “Tomas the Infidel,” making fun of men to highlight issues such as homophobia and gender-based violence in Mexico.

“It’s rare for women to imitate men on social networks,” said the pink-haired former psychology student. Your goal is not to offend someone, but “to show behavior that is harmful to society”.

She was nominated for this year’s MTV Millennial Awards, which honor the best in Latin American music and the digital world of the millennial generation.

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The economic crisis triggered by Covid-19 dealt a particularly severe blow to Mexican women, who, according to official figures, held 1.5 million of the 2.1 million jobs lost.

“It was a sad time for me because there was no work. People really lifted me up,” said Rodriguez.

– Bloom on Twitter –

Armando Maravilla had 200 followers on Twitter before the pandemic, but gained more than 97,000 in one year, including politician and actor Gael Garcia Bernal, according to a thread about houseplants.

The Mexican landscape architect passes on his knowledge to help people develop green fingers as a form of therapy against the emotional effects of the crisis.

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“I felt like someone had to talk about green spaces at home. We were locked up for two months and needed a place of refuge,” said the 30-year-old.

He bought his first plants as a college student – some succulents – but they died, Maravilla said.

“My grandmother scolded me! Now it’s strange that people ask me for advice and the one who asks me the most about how I am doing is my grandmother,” he said.

– Bake boredom –

Andrea Ferrero and her partner David Ayala turned to baking to ward off boredom and bankruptcy during quarantine.

They now have almost 38,000 followers on Instagram, where they offer cakes with vintage decorations.

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After being unemployed and broke through the pandemic, they tried to ease anxiety about isolation by cooking.

“We started sharing it with friends. People started seeing it and asked us to sell it to them,” said Ayala, a 38-year-old Colombian art curator.

They started the business with just a small toaster in their apartment, Ferrero said.

“It was barely big enough for two biscuits,” said the 30-year-old Peruvian sculptor with a laugh as she decorated a cake.

Business is now so good that eleven employees prepare 500 orders of cakes, biscuits and pies a week.

The couple recently moved into a new kitchen studio and are planning to open their own shop.

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