VENICE, Calif. — Every day, Kelsey Griffen straps on a pair of roller skates and heads to work.
Her office is the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Her dress code includes bell-bottoms, vintage '70s sunglasses, and a little something called “Disco Arms.”
“Not only do they help with your movement, you look super super groovy,” Griffen said.
After losing her job as a staffer at a local gym thanks to Covid-19, Griffen began focusing on her TikTok, posting videos of herself gliding through the streets of Los Angeles.
It didn’t take long before one of her videos blew up, clocking more than a million views in 24 hours, and turning Griffen into an influencer almost overnight. Now she’s TikTok-famous, known to her combined half a million followers as Kels McGriff.
“I’m not going to lie, it has been awesome,” Griffen said. “I’ve always wanted a job where I could be 100 percent myself.”
At a time when most people are looking for an escape from the harsh reality of a global pandemic, roller skating videos like Griffen’s are lighting up social media, serving up feel good vibes and inspiring people to dust off their skates for the first time in decades.
The renewed attention has been a boon for local business battered by Covid-19. Jay’s, a mom and pop shop on Venice Beach Boardwalk, says it’s seen a 300 percent increase in skate rentals in just the last few months.
“We’ve been tripling up in sizes and we’ve gotten more pairs of skates because they’re so high in demand,” Joshua Cernas, the manager and son’s owner, said.
For Griffen, it’s been a godsend. Skating is now her full-time job and she’s even doubled her salary.
“There’s nothing like it,” she said.