By Ebony Riley
Most young people obessively scroll through TikTok and send their friends an endless number of videos. For Alexa Walkowitz, though, that mundane hobby morphed into something much less common: creating content people loved to share, and a life as a TikTok influencer known as @sluglexa.
It was 2019 when Alexa Walkowitz stumbled upon TikTok. Like any other teen, they would find themselves stuck in a continuous loop of sending and scrolling for hours at a time. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020, though, when they started to find fame of their own on the addictive app.
With bright green hair and a mind reeling with stress, Walkowitz planned a night full of thrill to take their mind off Covid and the rest of the world around them. They decided to log onto Randonautica, an app that sends users on a random adventure by generating geographic coordinates.
Driving at night through the vast rural Lucerne Valley, part of the Mojave Desert in California, Walkowitz and a friend set off on a Randonautica quest. The app had become a popular trend on Tik-Tok, leading many users to unknown places by asking them to list objects or ideas they’d like to see and then point-ing them to a place on the map.
That night, Walkowitz was on the hunt to find their mother’s lost dog. “We chose an anomaly, and set our intention as my mom’s lost dog,” Walkowitz says in their video recap of the out-ing, which quickly went viral.
The two continued their search, walking far into the desert, deeper into the wilder-ness where there were no other signs of human life. Scared and unsure of where the app would lead them, they stumbled upon a dog walk- ing aimlessly through the desert. Curious but frightened about the app’s capabilities, they approached the dog and realized that, although the dog was not the one they were seeking, it had friendly intentions.
“We’ve never been out here before, and we’ve never seen this dog in our life, but he was so friendly to us and he kept leading us in the right direction towards our actual point,” Walkowitz says in their TikTok.
Following the dog further into the desert, the found three trees in a strange configuration. Before they knew it, the sky was almost pitch black and a low growl-ing sound came closer towards them. Capturing the whole experience on their phone, they ran quickly to their car—leaving the dog behind—and began driving home.
What would’ve happened if they had stayed any longer? What was growling? Walkowitz kept asking these questions, and it turned out TikTok viewers shared them. The video went viral. Soon enough, it had just over 4 million views. Today, Walkowitz’s TikTok account has nearly 61,000 followers.
“It was kind of like, it was mostly shocking, because, I don’t know, you never really expect that to happen,” Walkowitz says now.
After the video went viral, Walkowitz spent most of their time posting videos about their obsession with rats and random videos with their friends. They describe their content as a “postmodern fever dream.”
Walkowitz is currently on the hunt for jobs, and has seen their fame slowly dwindle without another huge viral hit. But regardless of how many people watch their videos, they say, “it’s just as fun to put the content out there as it is to watch.”
And just like that, the postmodern fever dream continues.