A New York City woman had a magical moment after a stranger helped her feel more confident in a photo — and now her TikTok video recounting the experience has not only gone viral, but helped reunite her with the mystery supporter so she could say thank you, sparking a wonderful friendship.
"Yesterday in the city of New York, it was 90 degrees, and so I was taking photos, and I had a jacket on," explains Vallesky Torrico, 23, in her now-viral video, about how she was posing in a social-media-backdrop area on the rooftop of a Manhattan hotel. "I'm very insecure about my upper arms. I think they're big and I don't like them. And I was taking photos and this beautiful goddess of a woman comes up to me and she's like, 'take off your jacket.' And I was like, 'I don't want to.' And she goes, 'I know you're not letting an insecurity take away an amazing photo opportunity that you could have.'"
Torrico went on to show video of the woman encouraging her to pose without her jacket — which she does, Torrico's transformation of confidence evident on her face. And that's despite the fact that leaving her comfort zone, the clinical researcher native tells Yahoo Life, has never come easy to her.
"I feel like I've always been like a bigger girl and so I've always struggled with body appreciation and body positivity," she tells Yahoo Life. "So for [her] to like come up to me out of the goodness of her heart and just, like, support me and make me confident, was something that I needed, and it helped me a lot. I was really appreciative of that, because my body is something that is hard to accept, but I'm wanting to embrace it little by little, which I'm grateful for."
At the end of the TikTok, which has over 1.7 million views, Torrico urged viewers to help her find the mystery woman — a plea shared in solidarity by Twitter users.
And the search worked. Turns out the "beautiful goddess of a woman" was Kaycie Hudson, 30, a cannabis chef and owner of The Blck Stir online marketplace.
Hudson had no idea that she had gone viral until her little sister happened upon Torrico's video.
"She was watching the video and she wanted to know what was going to happen next. And then to her surprise, it was me, and she was shocked," Hudson, hanging out with Torrico, tells Yahoo Life about her sister's discovery. "I got the text message at 2:30 a.m. I just happened to be up. And she's like, 'You're viral on TikTok with this girl about confidence.' I'm like, 'I don't know what you're talking about. I only have one TikTok video.' There was a food video I posted last year, [and when] I go to my TikTok, there is like thousands of comments and likes. And I didn't even know how people found me."
She adds that after spotting Torrico and her cute jacket, she knew she had to do something to help her see what she saw: a beautiful woman.
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"This was her time to shine and I just wanted her to take it off so she can get the picture that she deserve," she says. "I love taking pictures of my friends and [we're] always hyping each other up. So I wanted to give the same encouragement that I give to my friends… I saw this beautiful girl. I was like, no, this jacket has to come up. Especially with this background and this scenery, you have to get this picture."
Both women are surprised by the reaction the video has gotten online. Beyond the viral fame, Torrico has found that this chance encounter has had a lasting effect on her in a way she had not thought was possible.
"It was so weird for my body to be free and be able to like have a photo like that. And so ever since then, I've been wearing off-the-shoulder tops and I've just been feeling so much more confident," she says. "I appreciate other people's reassurance and confidence as well because it makes me feel good. [Now] I'm like, 'You know what, this is my body. I'm going to embrace it.'"
Coming out of the difficult last year, Torrico and Hudson are both happy that they were able to inspire others.
"So a lot of things going on — rest in peace to Breonna Taylor — but [there are] a lot of things that we can do to help encourage each other, to help uplift each other, instead of negativity," Hudson says. "…We're only here for a limited amount of time. It only takes a moment to be kind and uplift the next person and I'm all about uplifting and encouraging women."
Adds Torrico, "We all have insecurities, and so many think that their insecurities mean that they're broken, but my mom told me, 'a broken crayon can still make a beautiful drawing.' I think that people should definitely look at themselves if they think they're broken, they're still unique and amazing and beautiful."
Torrico and Hudson now consider themselves sisters — and have not only done several TikToks together, but have also found out that they share the same birthday.
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