Two Mississippi sisters are taking the state’s shelter orders seriously, but they are having a lot of fun doing it. So much fun, in fact, millions of people have caught on.
Shirley “Nenie” Mozingo, 83, of Hattiesburg, and 90-year-old Lucille “Grandma Cille” Barraza of Jackson have become overnight sensations after their front-porch videos were shared on TikTok, a social networking app for short-form mobile video.
Some of their videos have garnered more than a million and even 2 million views apiece.
“It’s just astounding,” said Mozingo’s daughter, Becky Sanders. “They’re getting comments from people all over the world.”
It all began with a morale-boosting challenge for students and staff at Oak Grove High School, where Sanders works.
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During the first week of sheltering at home, students and staff were challenged to post a funny picture or video that matched each day’s theme, using the hashtag #WarriorsUninterrupted.
Sanders played along and happened to visit her mother and aunt on one of the days of the challenge.
“I was just talking about what I might do, and my mother — which is very typical of her — she doesn’t want to be left out of anything fun, said we’ll do a picture for you,” Sanders said.
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Sanders told her mother that she didn’t attend Oak Grove schools, but Mozingo wanted to do it anyway.
“She was almost offended,” Sanders said laughingly. “We did the first video right then.”
Mozingo and Barraza got dressed up and Sanders shot the video.
“That one just got so much attention and they had so much fun, so we just did another and another,” Sanders said. “Pretty soon people were asking me to not stop.”
The sisters participate in some of the fun challenges on TikTok or act out scenarios Sanders dreams up.
“But lots of times, my mother will have ideas,” Sanders said. “She’s very creative.”
On Easter, Mozingo and Barraza dyed eggs and had an egg hunt by themselves. Dyeing eggs has been a decades-old tradition for their family, but one they could not share with them because of the coronavirus.
“They were just determined they were going to dye eggs anyway,” Sanders said.
The women, who call themselves the Twisted Sisters, perform short videos that are posted on TikTok by Sanders.
The hashtag #twistedsisters on TikTok brings up most of their videos, among others, or you can find them on Sanders’ profile, beckysanders13.
Twisted Sister was a rock band noted for its wacky videos and songs like, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” The hashtag is a variation of the band’s name.
The videos are shot by Sanders, usually in one take.
“They take pride in getting it right the first time,” Sanders said. “It’s a challenge for them. I think it’s keeping them going, keeping them active, keeping them young.”
“Most of the time we’re one-take wonders,” Mozingo said. “We’re just naturals, I think.”
Mozingo said she stole the idea from her daughter, when Sanders and her husband were making videos for the school challenge, and things took off from there.
“We’ve probably made about 35 (videos),” Mozingo said.
“After the first day, it was exciting to hear so many people were responding to it,” Barraza said. “Every day, Becky came with new ideas and we just kept at it.”
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Mozingo is the fun, outgoing sister — she’s the frontman of the duo. Barraza, who is more reserved, acts as her wingman.
“I’m the power behind the drum you could say,” Barraza said. “And I’m happy with that.”
Mozingo said she enjoys goofing off on camera.
“It feeds my ego and my alter ego — both of them,” she said.
At first Barraza wasn’t sure how the sisters’ families would respond to the videos and their newfound social media fame.
“In the beginning we thought our children would hate seeing us out in the public arena like that, acting silly at our age,” she said. “But so far, they’ve all been positive about it.”
Mozingo said she’s glad others have enjoyed their videos as well.
“We feel so good that maybe we made a few people laugh and smile during these terrible times,” she said. “So we just keep on going.”
Barraza’s favorite part about making the videos? “I think the idea that it’s going all over the world and we get responses from people everywhere,” she said.
She agrees it’s a fun way to pass the time, but it’s also a way to help other people get through the crisis.
“It gets pretty close quarters sometimes for a lot of people,” Barraza said.
So what’s next for the Twisted Sisters? They wouldn’t turn down a trip to Hollywood, they said.
And they have their sights set on an appearance on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“It doesn’t matter to me where it is that we go,” Mozingo said. “But we’re not going anywhere unless we get out of corona(virus).”
What others are saying
The Twisted Sisters have reached international fame with their TikTok videos. Here are some reactions from their fans:
“and, yall thought boomers are not cool … they ARE cool!!” — angel.of.love.1111
“I love you two! So funny!!” — julietomlinsonrin
“This is the best I had seen today” — scribeonpapyrus
“How have I just found you guys … made my day brighter — darling_grandma3129
“You rock!!!!!! Ladies, killin it! (no pun intended) love the wardrobe!!!!!! — lovemyliney
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