Alberta grandmother Jenny Krupa is taking TikTok by storm
TikTok account, run by her grandson, has more than 750K followers and millions of likes
On Monday evening, Skylar Krupa, 19, crossed the yard to his grandmother's house in Thorhild, Alta., north of Edmonton.
His grandmother, Jenny Krupa, was sitting at a table in the kitchen scratching lottery tickets.
"Baba," he called, using the Ukrainian name for grandmother, "we are going to make a video."
Krupa was used to her grandson coming over almost daily to film videos for the TikTok account he created for her, called Its_J_Dog.
Teasing her grandson, she faked a fuss before agreeing.
"Oh, OK, fine!" she said, slapping her lottery tickets down before laughing.
TikTok is a video-sharing app launched in 2017 that blew up in popularity over the last year. The app surpassed 1.5 billion downloads in November 2019, according to Sensor Tower, an app analytic site.
Krupa's TikTok account, which her grandson created in August last year, has more than 774,000 followers and millions of likes. The videos either feature her following popular TikTok lip-syncs and challenges, or portray her as a sassy grandmother with zero chill.
Her profile reads, "I'm 88 and probably have more followers than you."
Krupa maintains she's only 87.
Lip syncs take the longest
TikTok videos are usually 15 seconds to a minute long, but it takes Skylar Krupa between five and 30 minutes to create them. Lip syncs take the longest, he said.
"It's very hard for her to say the words at the exact same time as the audio," he said. "I'll tell her the words at the same speed that the audio says it and I'll get her to say it with me."
Krupa films almost every day. Tuesdays, he said, are a day that videos rarely go viral.
Jenny Krupa is sometimes joined in the videos by her husband Mike.
Krupa has lived next door to his Gido, the Ukrainian nickname for grandfather, and Baba his entire life. Their houses share the same yard.
Krupa started filming his grandmother for Snapchat in 2013 but decided to start a TikTok account for his grandmother last summer. He thought it would be different enough to do well in a platform saturated with teenagers.
'Decent amount of money'
At first, the account was private but at the end of August, he accidentally posted a video publicly and it quickly received thousands of likes. "I thought it was wild," he remembers.
Seeing how popular his Baba's videos were, he decided to keep the profile public and post content more frequently.
Although TikTok is not as lucrative as Instagram or YouTube, Krupa says sees potential to make "a decent amount of money a month."
Companies or artists who want to promote content or songs reach out to popular TikTok creators. Since October, requests have steadily increased up to two or three per day.
Krupa charges $25 per 25,000 followers. So the more followers he has, the more money he earns.
Although his grandmother is now aware of her digital popularity, during the first few months she didn't seem to care, he said.
"At first I would tell her, 'Oh, a video just got five million views' and she'd be like, 'OK. I'm going to bingo now.'"