A Viral ‘Aunt’ Soothed People’s Anxiety on TikTok—Then She Endorsed Trump
AmandaLee Fago is just a regular mom from Staten Island, and it was her suburban charm, advice, and recipes that earned her over two million followers on TikTok. She was even given the nickname “Aunt Amanda,” and felt like a member of almost three million people’s internet family. The eve of the election—and the uncertain days that followed—were when her fans needed her the most, but they quickly turned on her after she livestreamed from a party for Donald Trump, prompting her to post a tearful apology.
Over email, Fago tells us she's “extremely devastated by the entire thing.”
“POV: Ure overwhelmed about life & responsibilities. U can’t sleep, so you go to ur Aunt Amanda’s house to vent about ur worries” and “POV: Ur bf just broke up w/ u but he still wants to ‘remain friends,’ so u call over ur Aunt Amanda for advice” are just two of the types of videos that appear on Fago’s popular TikTok page. However, in the days leading up to the election, the New Jersey nurse’s content began to change. While she originally told her audience she would not be voting, she revealed on Tuesday that she had indeed cast a ballot.
“I didn’t want to be a part of everything [voting] came with and everything that these two represented,” she said in her initial video about voting.
Let’s not teach our future generation how to hate ppl in general for their differences 💙❤️🙏🏼 If you had anxiety about today u r not alone♬ original sound - AmandaLee Fago
Given the accepting nature of Fago’s videos, including the rainbow flag in her bio, viewers were hopeful that their TikTok fave had voted blue. Then she shocked them by livestreaming from a party celebrating Trump.
In the video, preserved on Twitter, Fago is seen indoors with a gathering of people (New Jersey’s Covid restrictions limit indoor gatherings to 25 percent of a room’s capacity). The attendees are wearing outfit’s emblazoned with Trump’s logo, and are surrounded by Trump decor.
“This is not my livelihood, this is for fun,” Fago says at one point to the critics she claims are attempting to “cancel” her.
Not amandaleefago manipulating her audience by getting mad that ppl are assuming she voted for Trump, yet she’s at a Covid filled Trump party and also saying “you’re mad that I didn’t vote for who you wanted” AKA meaning she didn’t vote for Biden. Pure manipulation. pic.twitter.com/6uStHvMNBj— 🖤jess (@SEVENHIPPYS) November 4, 2020
Videos from the party also appeared on Fago’s Instagram story.
On TikTok, the comments on Fago’s videos are now filled with fans who say she “played” them by secretly supporting Trump.
“What the hell…” popular user Aba Asante wrote.
“She isn’t our aunt anymore,” another viewer wrote.
“I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU...WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU,” read multiple comments, invoking the famous Tyra Banks outburst.
On Sunday, Fago posted two videos owning up to her controversial vote. However, she insisted she is not a hateful person, and says she "should have done more research" before casting her ballot.
I’ve had time to reflect, This apology has nothing to do with who won the election. This is bigger than politics part 1♬ original sound - AmandaLee Fago
Although there’s no shortage of conservative content and users on TikTok, it’s dominated by young, progressive creators who have vocally supported Joe Biden in the election. With all the waiting and uncertainty as ballots were counted, conditions were perfect for a shitstorm of emotional turmoil that, it turns out, not even a suburban aunt could get us through unscathed.
This article has been updated to reflect Fago's apology, as well as that Fago is from Staten Island, not New Jersey.