Aging is beautiful—and that’s what our new Better Now series explores. Here, we highlight aging and the unique ways that the passage of time has made the lives of women everywhere more beautiful, vibrant, and meaningful.
When Beth Bowles and Cheryl Baxter Ratliff met in 1978 at just 23 years old, they knew they would become fast friends—but had no idea how far their friendship would eventually take them. The pair, known as “Da Baby Boomers” on TikTok and Instagram, have inspired thousands on social media with their fun and lively dance videos—but are also finding new ways to become the most fun and authentic versions of themselves in the process.
The pair had always been involved in the performance industry—dancing, singing, and acting—and after meeting in line for an audition, they ended up working on a lot of the same projects, and landed the same agent. They even modeled for a story in Prevention together in 2002. “We’ve traveled all around the world doing movies, TV shows, Broadway shows, and commercials,” Beth says.
Beth and Cheryl’s “magical” Grammys performance
“And then here comes 2021, and I get this call from our agent explaining that women of our age are needed to back up a rapper for a performance,” says Beth. That rapper happened to be DaBaby, who was performing his hit song “Rockstar” at the 2021 Grammys.
Beth and Cheryl were both cast to be a part of the performance that would change everything for them. “It was the 63rd Grammys and it was my 63rd birthday. And it was such a magical time,” Beth says. “Here we’ve had 40 years of a career working together. And now we get to do this Grammys performance—and with Da Baby, the rapper!”
As Beth’s husband was recording a video of her to send to her agent ahead of the performance, he told her that the song she was dancing to, “Rockstar,” was really popular on TikTok. “I’d never heard that song,” she says. “But I had this feeling and I knew this was a moment we had to work on. So we did. We took it to TikTok.” There was a viral challenge going on at the time: People would video themselves doing a specific dance to the song. So Beth and Cheryl put their own twist on the trend. For instance, there’s a line in the song about “a brand new Lamborghini”—and “we came out of a minivan,” Beth laughs.
It was their first ever video, and it ended up getting over one million views, launching their social media journey. “To say we were shocked is an understatement,” Cheryl says. “We sat there with our mouths wide open, going ‘What is this?’ because we just had no idea what to make of it.”
Now, the pair continues to “bring joy and laughter” to thousands of people on TikTok
From there, Beth and Cheryl continued to make fun videos of themselves dancing and participating in various trends involving viral songs and dances. Besides their “Rockstar” dance video, another big hit was their video recreating the trending Wednesday Addams dance to Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary”—that one got 1.4 million likes.
But, “It was a whole new thing we had to learn—we’d been on Instagram, we’d been on Facebook, but not TikTok,” Beth says. “It was sort of the young kids’ thing.” And while Beth admits that “it was scary,” and she often wondered “is this even going to work?” Cheryl explains that they both like to try new things, and wanted to give it a real chance. They realized that posting these videos was something they were more than capable of doing. “We've been friends all these years, and it’s all of our best qualities—we're friendly, we're funny, we work well together, and we dance well together,” Beth says.
“We boomer-ize it,” Cheryl explains. “We dance like we dance, and we don’t try to emulate somebody else. We take that piece of choreography or that trend, and we make it our own, which is a lot of fun.” The pair gets together three to four times per week to brainstorm, practice, record, and edit their dance videos, Cheryl said. Staying true to themselves has gotten them a lot of positive feedback, too. “It’s always when we do authentic material that is truly just us, and we have fun and do it to the best of our ability, that the videos usually go big,” Beth adds.
Like almost anybody on social media, the duo is not immune to negative comments—but Beth says that the two of them “don’t really care what anyone thinks anymore,” and that the main goal is just to have fun and be themselves. And that’s something that both women have really grown to appreciate with age. “It’s sort of like, how can I just be more of who I am? Who am I, really?” Beth said. “I think I've just had to shed so many of those ideas about what I'm supposed to look like or how I’m supposed to act.” Cheryl shared that they’ll sometimes get ageist comments, often about Beth’s gray hair—“Which is so ridiculous,” they agree.
“You have to be able to find a choice in getting up and having a good day. It's such a beautiful thing to be able to live another day, to have this relationship with a friend, to continue to create,” Beth says.
Making content together on social media has inspired Beth and Cheryl to embrace the beauty of getting older, and it's also helped them inspire their large audience of over 600,000 followers. Cheryl explains that the overall message they’d like to extend to their fans is “to never give up.” Continuing to stay active and look for joy in everything keeps the spirit from fading, she says. “I feel that's something we say without even saying it. People look at our videos and feel like: ‘That made us happy.’”
“I do believe our purpose is to bring joy and bring laughter,” Beth adds. “We attempt to take the time to show kindness and acceptance.”
It's clear that the pair are doing a remarkable job at spreading so much positivity. Cheryl explains that many of their followers reach out to them and comment on their videos to let them know that their content helps put a smile on their face, turn a bad day around, or inspire them to get up and dance themselves. “We've had all these different people talk about our age and that it gives them hope.”
“It's been a journey, but it is evolving. It is what people would call our third act, but we’re just moving through it—and hopefully we’ll do it till we’re 95,” Cheryl concluded.
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