JONESBORO, Ark. – Jonesboro native Heaven Beasley hoped to gain a following by making funny videos on the social media platform TikTok. She never expected to amass 200,000 followers in less than a year.
“It started when my ex-boyfriend I was with, at the time,” Beasley said. “He was on [TikTok] a lot. Every now and then, I would watch it on his phone and I just seen some of the funniest things ever and I wanted to try to get a part of that. Granted, when I first got it, I had no idea what I was doing. I was pretty much just stuck at zero for a good couple of months.”
But Beasley, a 20-year-old born at NEA Baptist in Jonesboro, Arkansas, is a long way from zero now. She has 193,200+ followers as of August, 2019 on a TikTok account that is barely nine months old. By comparison, that’s 20,000 more followers than the local television station has on Facebook (173K) and it took them over ten years to reach that.
Beasley made the account “railroadqueenofficial” in December, 2018. It’s growing each day and with each new video, too. She has over 5.6 million likes on her videos overall, which range from videos about cats to her most successful series – her pranks. Her most popular video, a prank where she put pop-its under a toilet seat, garnered over 14 million views to date.
“The prank videos are the ones that are my biggest,” Beasley said. “I love playing pranks on my friends, my family, my brothers. I’ve always been that way for years. One day I was looking through different pranks on the internet and one that popped up, kind of unique and harder to do, is with the firework popper things. And taping it under the toilet seat without anyone knowing. That was really the kick off for it because the last time I checked, it had over 14 million views and over 1.4 million likes.”
But her first big break came in the form of a cat video. Beasley said she jumped over two cats on her couch but then edited the video backwards to make it look like she did a gravity defying back-flip. Sure enough, it was a hit. Several videos followed including one where she told her cat to move out because of all the fame caused by the viral video. Beasley packed the cat’s toys and treats in a shoe box and pointed to the door as the animal confusingly looked on. (It was a joke)
It might seem like a simple prank but Beasley puts hours into making some of the 15 second videos. Whether she’s using multiple apps, shooting several videos and overlaying them to create funny effects, or just editing, the videos require much more work than the average person might realize.
She described her strategy as one to find videos anyone at any age can laugh at. Avoiding controversial subjects and instead making content everyone can enjoy has also been key to her growth.
“I definitely feel the pressure every time someone asks, ‘When is your next prank video coming out? What is your next prank going to be?’ It’s constantly trying to come up with something else that has not been done a million times.” – Heaven Beasley, a.k.a. railroadqueenofficial (TikTok)
Her account name has a story behind it, too. When she got into the video creation hobby, Beasley worked for Trinity Rail Maintenance out of Jonesboro. She said she worked there for seven months covering various different jobs. Some days, she worked in the offices. Others, she might be a first responder.
“I covered a lot and a lot of my coworkers started calling me queen, like the queen bee, because I was doing so much helping so many out there,” Beasley said.
A Local Celebrity
With almost 200,000 people following her and millions more having watched her content, Beasley has enjoyed fame both online and in person across NEA. She said she gets recognized in public fairly often and it’s been great – mostly.
“The first time it happened, I was terrified,” Beasley said. “I did not know what to think. The person noticed me and then there was other people looking at me giving me funny looks. Now it’s a good 50/50 chance anytime I go out into public now.”
Beasley recalled walking into room and immediately hearing someone mention her as the “famous girl.” But her attitude about it is extremely humble. Without asking her for details about it, Beasley doesn’t mention her following or her videos.
Awkward encounters are a certainty of any level of fame and Beasley can attest to that. While going through a manned drive-thru car wash, one of the workers recognized the Railroad Queen and wanted to give her a free car wash. Beasley recalled almost arguing with them, but they refused to let her pay for the car wash. She said they were all staring at her. She tried going in to pay after and they still refused to accept, she said.
A lot of younger teens at her apartments have figured out she lives there and are having a blast with it too.
TikTok is the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos. Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter in everyday life. TikTok empowers everyone to be a creator directly from their smartphones, and is committed to building a community by encouraging users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos. – TikTok About Page
Full-Time Job Making TikTok Videos?
One of the perks of having family friendly content is that it is advertiser friendly and Beasley has already begun to make money with her following. She described using TikTok to live stream to her fans. The subjects of the videos can vary from make-up tips to video-games, depending on who joins, but like other online platforms (Twitch was her example), streaming allows for content creators to cash in on their work. Beasley also has made some money from licensing her videos, including of her cat (Eli) standing up. Anytime it gets sold, she makes money.
Is the money enough for her to quit her job? Not yet, but she said she’s made her mind up if, “or when,” she reaches one million followers, she will be ready to take it on as a full time job. By then, she said she can make enough off of that and her other channels to live at least fairly comfortably.
As you might expect, the next goal for Beasley is to reach one million followers. She’s seen a steady growth but she hopes to begin doing more pranks in the coming months and pick up the momentum on her climb.
“It feels like a dream come true. This is something I have wanted every since I was a little girl. I remember after the first video went viral with me and the cats on the couch. I remember talking to my aunt and said what if I went big on TikTok. What if I was listed as a TikTok star. Everyday I worked and everyday I updated. And now, even on the famous birthdays website, they have me listed on there as an official star. I cried the day I realized that had happened.”