The story behind an eye-rolling toddler's viral TikTok: 'She had that immediate reaction of eff you, basically'

Erin Donnelly
·3 min read
K.J.'s epic eye roll has gone viral on TikTok. (Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Berube)
K.J.'s epic eye roll has gone viral on TikTok. (Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Berube)

Out of the mouths — erm, eye sockets — of babes ...

A toddler is going viral on TikTok thanks to a video that shows her peevishly rolling her eyes to the heavens and fixing the camera with a hard stare.

Equal parts hilarious and spine-chilling, the video — which has received more than 8.1 million likes since being posted on Dec. 30 — begins more innocently. The same little girl, 2-and-a-half-year-old K.J., is shown merrily bopping her head along as she sips her juice in the car.

“The chances of being killed by a toddler are low,” a caption reads just as the music changes from melodic to menacing.

“But never zero,” a new caption warns as K.J.’s suddenly sinister eye-rolling footage rolls.

The Canadian tot has her aunt, artist Lydia Berube, to thank for her brush with viral fame. And Berube, who set up her TikTok account just a few days before sharing the K.J. video, has her niece to thank for helping her rack up some 97,000 followers right off the bat. Berube tells Yahoo Life that the account was originally intended to share her art as well as the children’s book she’s currently writing and illustrating. The video of her niece, meanwhile, was made “just as a joke for my family.”

“And when I posted it, it immediately started gaining likes and views,” Berube says. “It was an immediate reaction.”

Berube says K.J.’s epic eye roll — filmed over the summer during a sleepover at her home — was in reaction to being asked to play more gently with her aunt’s dog because she was being too rough.

“And she did not appreciate that whatsoever,” Berube explains. “She had that immediate reaction of ‘eff you,’ basically.”

Lydia Berube with K.J. (Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Berube)
Lydia Berube with K.J. (Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Berube)

Lest anyone think that K.J. is a pint-sized tyrant, Berube assures Yahoo Life that she’s mostly “grown out” of her intense eye-rolling stage. The proud aunt has also posted a couple of other videos of the tot that are much more heartwarming than hellish.

“It’s funny because the comments [on those videos] are very, ‘OK, now I see that she’s cute, she’s not as scary as we all think,’” her aunt laughs. She adds that some commenters have compared little K.J.’s expression to Pennywise from It and Chucky from Child’s Play, though there have been a few doubters.

“Some people didn’t believe she was rolling her eyes,” she says. “They thought it was a filter because they couldn’t believe that a toddler was capable of doing that!”

While plenty of parents will have encountered similar tantrums, Berube says that K.J.’s ire feels especially relatable amid the pandemic.

“Honestly, out of the 200,000 comments now that are on that video, more people compare themselves to her than their own kids, which is really funny,” she says.

Thanks to the video’s skyrocketing popularity, Berube says she feels pressure to post more K.J. content alongside her original art projects. One commenter suggested what could be the ideal compromise.

“Someone said I should draw her as an evil toddler cartoon, which I might try and do because I think it might be funny,” she says.

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