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Students solve pandemic boredom with TikTok photoshoot trends

DTH Photo Illustration. Many students have been taking part in various TikTok trends, such as ghost photoshoots or wearing wigs.

From creating magazine covers to taking Halloween photos dressed as ghosts, UNC students are solving pandemic boredom by participating in TikTok photoshoot trends. 

Although many trends emerged in the popular video app throughout 2020, some of the most popular have formed as users deal with physical distancing — giving them an opportunity to take their minds off the pandemic. 

One trend that recently gained popularity across the app is the wig trend. Inspired by three girls who wear candy-colored wigs and go by @badwiggies, #wigtrend has more than 4 million views. 

Haya Al-Qaq, a junior business administration student who goes by @hayaitshaya on TikTok, participated in the wig trend. Her version of the trend shows her lip-syncing to “Pound the Alarm” by Nicki Minaj while wearing a bright blue wig. 

She said the trend is about having fun and expressing yourself, even while social distancing. 

“With COVID, there are a lot of limits on what we can do,” Al-Qaq said. “People have to think outside of the box and learn how to have fun in their own way.”

The wig trend isn’t the only TikTok challenge that has gained popularity during the pandemic. Another trend, the Vogue Cover Challenge, involves users placing photographs of themselves on the cover of a Vogue magazine. The matching hashtag, #voguechallenge, currently has 1.1 billion views. 

Lindsey Lanier, a senior biology student who goes by @trackstarlindz on TikTok, participated in the Vogue trend by using her UNC track photos.

She said that she wanted to take the challenge and put her own twist on it. 

“Most of the videos I had seen doing the trend were using modeling pictures,” Lanier said. “Mine definitely didn’t match the theme of most of the videos, but I thought it would be fun to showcase my own talents.” 

Both Al-Qaq and Lanier said TikTok helped them get through boredom while stuck at home due to the pandemic. 

“I’ve probably spent a little too much time on TikTok due to quarantine boredom,” Lanier said. “It’s definitely great for fun and light-hearted content.”

Some UNC students are even bringing TikTok trends to campus. Katelyn Pope, a senior studying neuroscience and psychology who goes by @katelynbpope on TikTok, participated in the ghost photoshoot trend with her roommate. 

Pope said they took part in the trend because they wanted to do something fun for Halloween while still staying safe during the pandemic. To do so, the pair took the trend to different recognizable campus locations. 

“We wanted to do something to remember this weird semester as seniors,” Pope said. “Other TikToks showed the ghost photoshoots in abandoned houses, so we wanted to do ours around campus since it really feels like a ghost town.” 

Pope said TikTok helped her with pandemic boredom and allowed her to share videos with her friends and family. 

“It’s important to take a break and laugh,” Pope said. 

No matter the trend, UNC students are using TikTok to come together virtually while they remain physically distanced. 

“It’s a way for people to see that they’re not alone,” Al-Qaq said. “Although quarantine has messed up a lot of things for a lot of people, it’s just a way to find people who are going through the same thing as you.” 


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