SAN DIEGO — You may know her from one of the hundreds of viral videos recorded in San Diego, or you may have seen her recording social media content around Mission Beach - her name is Pearl Cooley.
"Excuse me? Can you guys hold my phone for me so I can make a quick TikTok" is how most of Pearl Cooley, 33, starts her sensational videos.
Cooley garnered over 2,000,000 followers and 100,000,000 views on her Tiktok account "pearliesparklez," where she posts comedic skits, dances, and reaction videos for strangers.
"Three years ago, I got tired of not loving myself, so I started posting on TikTok to help me love myself and to heal," Cooley told CBS 8.
Cooley rose to internet fame and became a recognizable sensation around San Diego when she posted a video of her asking a stranger to hold her phone to record a video; then she began to dance to Elvis Presley's infamous tune, "Hound Dog."
Strangers instantly recognized the gimmick and joined in on the video.
"I always wanted to be in the entertainment industry and finally found the courage and desire to chase it," Cooley said.
Pearly Cooley told CBS 8 she is originally from Arizona but felt spiritually called to move to San Diego to live out her dream. She posted a TikTok video asking if anyone in the San Diego area had housing available, and a couple reached out to her and offered her shelter in San Diego.
"I love Mission Beach. I always have so much fun there! The more people I see, the happier I get," Cooley said as she described her motive to create content.
Cooley recently recorded in Mission Beach when she was recognized and invited to "crash" a private fraternity party.
The TikTok star and friend, Arturo Gonzalez, who also creates newsworthy content around San Diego, arrived at the party, where guests gleamed joyfully as the duo walked in.
Cooley told CBS 8 she receives dozens of messages thanking her for content and dedication to mental health advocacy.
"If you're struggling to seek help, you're not alone, and it does get better. I promise you will heal. Be patient with yourself. I love you," Cooley said in a video detailing her mental health battle.
"I'm glad you're here. You make me laugh, and I know you are helping others just by being yourself," a fan of Cooley commented in one of her videos.
Cooley encouraged people who see her in public to join in on the fun.
"I love connecting and creating core memories with my fans. It's extremely important to me. If my followers ask to be in my videos, I include them because being in the spotlight helped my inner child, and I want to share it with them," Cooley said.
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