For many, TikTok’s a neverending hole of things left to discover: viral challenges, dance routines, life hacks, recipes, you name it. Now, one more side of TikTok is being uncovered — TikTok cults.
The typical definition of a cult is “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.” However, the cults found on platforms like TikTok differ from the ideological groups we’re used to, rather, they’re TikTok users generating their own cult-like followings.
TikTok cults are taking it to new heights — and onto other platforms. TikTok user @chunkysdead, a.k.a. Melissa Ong, is the “cult leader” of the “Step Chickens Cult,” the latest mob taking TikTok by storm.
Her followers can be identified by their TikTok profile pictures. If it’s a blue-tinted photo of Ong staring down the camera, they’re likely a member of the “Step Chickens Cult.”
The Beginning of the First TikTok Cult
Up until January of this year, the 27-year-old was working at Google. She told Washington Post she quit her position to pursue a career in comedy. Now, she goes by “Mother Hen” to her massive following.
In early May, Ong started organizing her following by posting a TikTok about forming a cult. She spoke to her camera in front of her bathroom mirror.
“Let’s start a religion with just us,” she said. “I’m open to name suggestions for the religion, but for now, let’s just call it ‘Chunky Pineapples.'”
Later, as her following took off, she asked for name suggestions. Thus came the “Step Chickens” of TikTok and beyond. Her TikToks, often showcasing dark humor and sexual themes, have gone viral. As of publication, she’s nearing two million followers and more than 50 million likes on TikTok.
It’s not just teens and the young adults of TikTok joining in on the cult, but celebrities and organizations. The Washington Post, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Houston Rockets changed their profile pictures to Ong.
Mother Hen: The New Influencer
Ong has taken her newfound following beyond TikTok’s platform. She has an extensive range of merch designed for her Step Chickens: smartphone cases, hoodies, t-shirts, flags, beanies, and face masks. For social media influencers, merch is another way to monetize their brand after establishing a following.
There’s a Step Chickens song written and recorded by Ong, available on Apple Music and Spotify. There’s also the Stepchickens app available for Apple devices. Designed as a message feed, Step Chickens meets, chat, and plan for their social media raids. They can also create videos and share them in-app.
Despite launching last Monday, the app has already attracted more than 100,000 users and has ranked as the ninth most popular social media app in the world.
Ong hasn’t responded to Parentology‘s request for comment.