Aarón Acosta found out about TikTok from his kids.
The two teenagers — a 13-year-old and a 19-year-old — showed Acosta and his wife dance video after dance video. Eventually, Acosta’s wife pushed him to join in.
“She said to me, ‘Why don’t you upload videos of yourself dancing on TikTok so that people can see you?'” Acosta told In The Know. “And when she told me she said it as a challenge. And I said, ‘I really like to dance. I’m not saying I’m very good at dancing, but I really like dancing.'”
Acosta, who lives in Mexico, may not call himself a very good dancer, but these days, he is a famous one. His TikTok page, which he launched in April, now has more than 800,000 followers. His videos, meanwhile, often draw millions of views.
The routines in Acosta’s TikToks feel authentic and casual. As he told In The Know: If you love to dance, then you should “go ahead” and do it — no matter what you think is holding you back.
When Acosta was 18, his life changed forever. He was in college with a job, good friends, a girlfriend and “so many plans for the future.”
Those plans changed after an electrical accident at work sent him to the hospital. Acosta’s injuries were severe enough that doctors were forced to amputate both of his arms and legs.
“Since then, I started living a different way of life — it changed my life drastically,” he told In The Know. “I went through a difficult process in my life, but at the same time it taught me so many things.”
Acosta didn’t originally think that his new fascination with TikTok would take on some larger meaning. At first, he was just having fun — then he started reading his comments.
“I started to see responses of people liking my videos, [people] who saw a video of me and were encouraged to never give up. Things like that,” he told In The Know. ” So, that pushed me more to share more videos.”
Now, Acosta’s videos reach users all over the world, most of whom seem extremely receptive to his radiant positivity. It’s hard to scroll through his comments without coming across words like “amazing,” “love,” “respect.” and “jaw-dropping.”
The responses have had an effect on Acosta, too. He told In The Know that TikTok has left a “very good taste” in his mouth.
“I’m very happy because, at the end of the day, I think I share something and people receive it in different ways and I think it is serving someone,” he said. “I am very happy to know that I am contributing to or adding to the lives of other people.”
Acosta knows his videos have meaning, but that doesn’t mean he’s left behind the excitement that drew him to the app in the first place. Before his accident, he loved dancing, but he felt like he had to start “from zero again” after his amputations.
He admitted that getting back to dancing was a “challenge” — still, it was one he was excited to tackle.
“I really like that people see it because, somehow, I think that many will say, ‘Ah, damn, look what happened to him, how he is physically impaired’ And it encourages them to dance,” Acosta said.
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s interview with deaf TikToker Chrissy Marshall.
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