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There’s a new It Girl on TikTok.
his name is the vanilla girl, and is marked by two characteristics: it is cozy and “clean”. If you dress only in neutral shades like white, beige or a very light brown, you may prefer a loose and comfortable knitted sweater instead of leggings with cropped Ugg boots. Her hair is combed back and her skin is free of heavy makeup – maybe just some lip gloss, brow pencil and cream blush. As she welcomes you into her home, she offers you a homemade latte, a white bouclé chair to sit on, and a blanket to cover your legs as the scent of sugar cookies wafts in the background. She is elegant, polished, and most of all, effortless.
It is also almost very likely to be white. Of the seemingly endless TikTok videos tagged “vanilla girl” and “vanilla girl aesthetic”, almost all of the most popular ones feature blonde women. Some creators credit TikTok megastar Alix Earle for popularizing the lookthough she didn’t make it up and doesn’t seem to use the hashtag in her videos.
But with his sleek blonde hair and big blue eyes, Earle definitely fits the mold, and it’s hard to find trend-savvy creators who don’t fit this look, though there are a few videos showing how to do the style even if you’re a *gasp* brunette.
The popularity and specificity of the trend has many people on TikTok saying the quiet part out loud: this feels racist.
“Just feels like WASP, tradwife, purity culture repackaged for Gen Z,” a Black creator@troublepuffs, said about the trend.
One featured black TikToker, @OliviaLayne6said that the name “vanilla” and the examples used to demonstrate it in trending articles from major media outlets Make it look like the trend is only for “pretty, skinny white women.”
Olivia said she saw comments on TikTok that “anyone can be” a vanilla girl, but noted that the trend seems to be a repackaging of the same TikTok trends we’ve seen before, like “clean girl” Y “soft girl” aesthetic.
“And no shades, I’m not making fun of this look, I’m just asking how many ways you can think of to say you like beige.” she said.
Aiyana Ishmael, Editorial Assistant at Teen Vogue, said on TikTok that after receiving a PR pitch about the trend, she decided to start her own trend: the “chocolate girl” trend.
“The new aesthetic just dropped,” he said. —Stephanie McNeal