The Social Influencer
Advocate for Tourette Syndrome
Baylen Dupree of Ranson is not your typical teenager. She’s a sophomore at WVU, studying psychology. She’s a TikTok phenom with 6.7 million followers. And she has Tourette Syndrome—a neurological disorder that causes sudden, repetitive, rapid, and unwanted movements or vocal sounds called tics that can range from head jerking and grunting to repeating others’ words or phrases and using uncontrollable vulgar language.
Diagnosed at the age of 17 with symptoms, Dupree’s condition, combined with OCD, worsened during COVID. Her medication stopped working, and her life was turned upside-down. “This is a disability and it is not a joke,” she says. Refusing to let TS define her, she turned to TikTok in 2021 to post videos that would grow awareness and empathy about the disease. “Doing TikTok has really helped me boost my own confidence,” she says. “It’s brought me joy to help spread awareness.” She quickly gained a massive following, but not all were supportive. She says, “Many people say I’m faking it. Really? Others say things like, “You’d be really pretty if you weren’t crazy.” But others rallied around her, inspired by her courage, honesty, perseverance, and insight into what it is like for a person to live with Tourette’s. TV personality Dr. Phil even followed her on TikTok and then invited her onto his show. She launched a clothing line with her trademark tic, “Wind it up,” to further grow awareness about the disability. On social media and YouTube, Baylen regularly answers followers’ questions about her life with Tourette’s.
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