Social media, influencer and creator marketing
min read

The rise of Tube Girl: Gen Z's public transport icon

Published on
October 24, 2023
Last updated
January 22, 2024

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Picture it: it’s a Friday night in South London.

You’ve clocked off for the week. You’re getting ready with a cold glass of rosé in hand. You’re excited for the night ahead – your best friend is hosting a party. You’re not even fussed that it’s in North. In fact, you are, dare I say it, eagerly anticipating the journey ahead. Why? Well, thanks to a certain law graduate, the Victoria Line is officially the hottest new mode of transport.

Ever since she made her debut in August 2023, Sabrina Bahsoon (AKA Tube Girl) has been making waves all over the internet. Soundtracked by thumping bass, honeyed vocals and with the help of a 0.5 camera, Bahsoon’s videos bring new meaning to the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching”.

The meteoric rise of Tube Girl

Let’s be real. The tube isn’t the sexiest mode of transport.

It’s sweaty, it’s cramped, it’s hot – you’re essentially 40 metres underground in a hollow cylinder. Plus, if you do live in South, the likelihood of bumping into someone you know is pretty high. 

However, if there’s one thing young consumers are going to do, it’s romanticise the mundane. That’s exactly what our dancing queen did, when she felt the wind coming through the Bakerloo line doors and  “felt like she was in a music video”. 

After getting the idea in her head, Sabrina asked another passenger to help her film a video – to which he “straight up said no”. 

London, eh? Not the friendliest place.

This commuter was probably kicking themselves a few weeks later after the first video (an 11-second energy-fueled lip sync to Where Them Girls At?) went viral.

Now, her feed is full of similar posts that gather around a million views a pop.

@sabrinabahsoon I have to mentally prepare for the journey. The bakerloo line was jerky and sweaty (i was scared)🤣 #londonlife ♬ where dem girls at - fee✩

Why do we love Tube Girl SO much?

Humans are innately very self-conscious beings. And no matter how many times we quietly mutter “no one can make you feel embarrassed without your consent”, it doesn’t make the statement true. 

When it comes to public transport, we’re often heads down, scrolling our phones (ironic, given the lack of internet on the tube) or feigning interest in an advert to avoid making eye contact with the person opposite. 

Bahsoon? She’s using the carriage as a runway, the tube windows as a wind machine, and commuters as her crowd. That’s why her content feels so refreshing: it goes against all our social contract norms.

Tube Girl doesn't care – so why should you?

Bahsoon’s energy isn’t just refreshing, it’s infectious. In the last two months, she’s inspired literally thousands of TikTok users around the world to create their own version of #TubeGirl. 

One 19 year old user from New York became #SubwayGirl, after she filmed herself “acting delulu” on the Big Apple transit line.

@graciepa

This wasnt as embarrassing to film as I thought it would be

♬ original sound - habz.fx

Elsewhere in the States, a 48 year old professor went viral after lip-syncing into her phone not on public transport, but on an auditorium stage in front of 1,200 students. Brave. 


The professor, Nicole McNichols, shared “honestly, it was just so much fun. I felt competent. I felt powerful.”

How brands are getting involved

As always with viral creators, brands are following hot on their heels.

MAC cosmetics was the first brand to announce a partnership with Bahsoon – and it wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill sponsored post. Nope, Tube Girl snagged her first ever runway gig at London Fashion Week.

She also filmed some behind-the-scenes content for the brand, with some pretty spectacular results (we’re talking 10 million views on two videos). 

Since then, Sabrina has been invited to Paris with Valentino, to a Hugo Boss show in Milan and has worked with premium footwear brand Axel Arigato. 

If you think these brands have something in common – it’s because they do: they’re all luxury.

Is Bahsoon Gen Z's luxury it girl?

Luxury brands typically struggle to engage with Gen Z. As a cohort that values relatability, flamboyant marketing and high price-tags are unlikely to resonate.

Luxury brands are aware of this. They recognise that Gen Z have a huge collective spending power, and are taking steps to engage them.

Working with the creators that they love is the first step: Tube Girl’s rise to fame has been meteoric; and it’s all been driven by Gen Z.

She’s the perfect candidate for luxury brands: vivacious, confident and oozing glamour (the final word is definitely not one we associate with public transport, but hey, she’s an enigma!).

Tube Girl shows us there's always space for new creators

Want to become the next big thing, but afraid the space is too saturated? Stop stressing – there’s still space for you. As written by Jess Wreford, CCO at Antler Social, “you’re not too late to the party”.

Bahsoon’s first viral video was only a matter of months ago – and her latest collaborations and new brand deals show that she’s definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. 

And what if you don't want to be the next big thing, but just want to have a bit of fun anyway?

Well, go for it. There’s nothing quite as liberating as not giving a f*ck – the world is too serious at the best of times. Plus, you won’t be alone.

As Sam Massey, Content Lead for our student verification product, Student Beans, shared, “#TubeGirlEffect is now a thing. Look out for Gen Z giving you a free show next time you’re on the central line”.

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