'Try not to smile' challenge: Winnipeg man inspires with TikTok channel of his blinding grin
TORONTO -- In a time when we need smiles more than ever, a Winnipeg man has been lighting up the Internet with his mega-watt smile.
Borzah Yankey is the man behind a TikTok channel dedicated to one thing: smiling. His videos, which rack up hundreds of thousands to millions of views, feature him panning the camera up over his serious face, before he breaks into a wide smile.
The challenge for anyone watching these videos is to “try not to smile” — a challenge many children find pretty difficult.
Parents all over have been showing these smile videos to their children, and using the duet feature to show the moment that babies and toddlers feel the urge to smile in response.
Yankey said he receives DMs all the time, from people telling him their child just had to smile after seeing one of his videos.
“I knew that it was viral when a lot of people [were] messaging me just saying ‘hey, my baby just dueted you, go check it out’,” he told CTV's Your Morning.
He said he wants to spread his smile to cheer up others during the pandemic.
“I just smile naturally,” he explained. “But I guess right now it’s much needed, because the world is in a dark place.”
Ever since junior high, Yankey says people told him that his smile was infectious.
“I was just living my life,” he said.
One thing that has surprised him since his smile hit the internet is how many babies instinctively smile after seeing his grin. He said most of the DMs he receives are of babies reacting to his videos.
“Actually that’s the most surprising to me, because I feel like […] I don’t expect them to actually feel energy from it,” he said. “So when I see them smile, it’s like ‘yo, that is good, that’s legit’.”
He hasn’t been asked to star in any toothpaste commercials just yet, despite his enormous grin.
“I did get a contact from a teeth whitening company,” he admitted.
What inspires him to smile?
“I’m a really simple guy, so I like nature and I like peace,” he said. “Good friends, and just talking to people.”