One minute you're a law student trying to pave your way in the capital, the next you're a viral sensation, walking the catwalk at London Fashion Week, and getting recognised on the London Underground. This is exactly what happened to Tube Girl, aka Sabrina Bahsoon. The former law student has fast become a TikTok icon thanks to her self-shot videos dancing on the tube, amassing over 400,000 followers and 15 million likes. And she's sparked a social media trend with others recreating her videos, causing #tubegirl to rack up over 300 million views. And all this, in less than six weeks.
Her first video, posted on 13 August, was to the sounds of "Where Dem Girls At", standing in front of the tube window with the wind blowing in her hair. And she posted it expecting nothing. "I wanted somebody to film me so I asked a friend and then he said 'no'," Bahsoon tells POPSUGAR. "So I was like 'urgh, I have to film it myself'. I tried it in my house, but it didn't look right, so I'm like 'let me try to do it on my bus' because I have a bus that's quite empty. And then the bus just wasn't working. And then when the wind was in the tube and I was sitting on the edge. . ."
But for fans of Tube Girl, or for anyone who's tried the TikTok trend themselves, having the confidence to let go in front of a crowded tube carriage is not as easy as it looks. "I don't care too much about people's opinions," Bahsoon says. "I think that's a really big thing. I don't know if confidence and [not worrying about opinions] is the same thing technically, but I think that not giving weight to people's opinions, especially if you don't know them, gets you out of your own head."
"I love seeing people enjoy their life and I don't think it's anybodies right to give opinions of others."
Bahsoon adds that, while she's had the odd strange look or sighs from fellow commuters, she thinks that often people are too quick to judge. "I'm not a judgemental person so if I saw somebody doing that on the tube and I'd never done that before I'd be like 'slay, enjoy your life'," she says. "I love seeing people enjoy their life and I don't think it's anybodies right to give opinions of others, so I don't care about the opinion of others in that sense."
While her seemingly freeing dance moves might look spontaneous she actually practices before she steps into the carriage. "I don't want anyone to think it's just me whipping out my phone and being perfect, that's not the case. I do practice at home before I actually go out in public to do it," she explains. And it's this tip she encourages her followers to try to empower themselves to let themselves go, as well as choosing a song that really gets the moves flowing. Her main piece of advice? Have fun with it. "I do get a little nervous and tense sometimes, so just relax and then you'll see in the video that you're relaxed and having fun. It makes a difference."
Growing up in Malaysia, Bahsoon admits that studying was encouraged and creativity wasn't always the priority, yet she'd always loved fashion and music. As the middle child with four siblings, she struggled to express her creativity, but it was always there. After moving to London to study and pursue modelling, she had no ties and felt, for the first time, she could really embrace her creative side. "I was just like I need to start believing in myself, I need to just dream big, I need to start being delusional," she laughs.
Since going viral on TikTok, she has been contacted by multiple brands, walked in the MAC Cosmetics show during London Fashion Week, and been invited to Paris Fashion Week. And it seems the tube map really is just the beginning of her journey. While she can't quite believe the speed at which she's gained notoriety, she is embracing every opportunity that comes her way.
"I need to just dream big, I need to start being delusional."
Her ultimate Tube Girl tune? "The Way I Are" by Timbaland ("that intro is just insane") and "When I Grow Up" by the Pussycat Dolls. Her favourite tube line? The Central and Hammersmith & City. But what is next for Tube Girl? More travelling, but this time beyond the boundaries of zone 6. "I've seen so many videos around the world recreating it in Japan and I would love to visit New York where they have the subway," she says. "I'd love to visit India as well, because I'm from South East Asia. I want to go back to Malaysia and India because I think they would like the style of the videos." If Bahsoon's success so far is anything to go, we imagine there is no limit to her public transport dance routines.