No arms, 2 feet, 140,000 followers: Emily Rowley shares life on TikTok

TikToker from Bradenton gains fans by demonstrating versatility.

BRADENTON — Emily Rowley climbed into the Mazda SUV and belted the seatbelt across her lap using her left foot. Her feet turned the starter. Her left hand operated the gear selection while her right foot grabbed the brake.
As she backed out of a spot in front of her family’s apartment, she checked her rearview mirror and steered with her toes at the 10 o’clock position. The 21-year-old took her toes off the wheel as she was driving through sunny suburban streets approaching a Walmart and pushed the turn signal.

She later chuckled, “Someone asked me how I text while driving.” Being born without arms, it’s one of the few things Rowley can’t do. Which likely makes me a safer driver than the majority.

When Rowley passed by looking for a parking spot, the driver in a pickup truck cocked his head. She was unaware.
She had come to record a video of her shopping. She would post it with her 140,000 combined followers on TikTok and Instagram, just like her videos showing how she opens a can of olives or puts on artificial eyelashes. She wanted to make a profession out of social networking but was currently unpaid.

Although the rare post went viral and received millions of views, the majority of them still fell well short of that. She had begun blogging each day. She had to continue constructing.
She is aware that you are curious about how she works but are too polite to monitor her at the store or question her directly.



She understands that when an inquisitive youngster says, “That girl’s got no arms,” the parent is really attempting to be polite, even though she would prefer that they come over and introduce themselves.

And she is aware that people’s inhibitions are lowered, for better or worse, when given the anonymity of the internet.

She originally gained notoriety by acting out the incident when a waitress requested her to remove her feet off a table while she was eating. She demonstrated how to do other things for the commenters who appeared to be really interested.
She has prepared eggs, put together furniture, and taken off and put back on her nose ring on TikTok. She has painted her nails, eaten with chopsticks, and left a swimming pool. She frequently caps off her posts with an euphoric “thumbs up,” showing off Rowley’s large toe, beaming smile, and bright blue eyes.
Emily’s elegantly shaved head added to the impression, which her mother recently described as “it’s like whatever energy would have gone to her arms all flowed into her face.”

Rowley carries a notepad filled with nicely written ideas for upcoming postings, all of which are written with her dominant right foot. The majority came from followers.
Though most comments on her posts are supportive, it’s still social media.
People often make remarks along the lines of, “Oh you’re making me uncomfortable,” she remarked. So, what do you want me to do?
She merely avoids the perverts. Some readers complain that feet are filthy or offensive.
“If they knew how much I’m Germ-Xing them and how, like, germphobic I am. I’m pretty demanding in that regard.
I don’t like other people’s feet, by the way. She pointed to her mother and said, “I won’t touch them. She has nails that I can hardly paint.

Rowley’s films of herself driving are by far her most popular and contentious posts. People argue that something shouldn’t be legal or claim that it can’t possibly be. Someone once said, “How could she put her kids in such peril.” Rowley doesn’t have any children. She replied by posting a picture of her driving license.

In the era of automatic moderation, she has experienced the same problems as other artists. Her account was once suspended for violating the “sexual content” policy about a tutorial video demonstrating how she dresses using hooks on the wall of her bedroom. It still irritates her. Her driving videos contain a warning for potentially hazardous behavior. She said that another platform only allowed people 18 and older to see her nail-painting videos because they were misinterpreted for fetish content.

But for the most part, Rowley has been able to monitor people and respond to their interest in her own way thanks to social media.

Rowley learned to use her feet on her own. She just picked it up.


Despite having microgastria, a condition that the National Institutes of Health estimates has less than 60 known cases, Rowley’s mother said her daughter accomplished all of the same milestones as other children, only on her own timetable.
Rowley and her mother don’t recall ever talking about her lack of arms when they were little.


In an interview, Rowley said, “I never questioned it. I didn’t experience any change. I paint in kindergarten together with the other students.

She never cried on the way home, according to Patty Rowley. She never questioned why. We didn’t adopt a “woe is me” mentality or project it onto her.

She had some difficult falls, wore a helmet, drove a scooter, and dove into the water on her back. She overcame additional health challenges, including scoliosis operations every year from the age of six to fifteen. Rowley achieved her goal of swimming 100 miles in four months at a pool at Camp Pendleton just before the family relocated from southern California to Manatee County this year. She aspires to independence. enroll in business courses. Perhaps she might create an Etsy shop to sell her handmade goods and personalized clothes. But the aim that really gets her excited is the influencer thing.

However, she wishes to emphasize more in those films the mistakes and difficulties, such as spilling a cup of blueberries and burning her foot on the waffle maker. She keeps uploading bloopers. She “borrowed a hand” from her father to shave her head.
We all require assistance at times, so I think I could work on that, she added. Asking for assistance is OK.

Rowley took off a white Croc in Walmart’s cosmetics section in order to release her toes. She balanced herself on her right foot like a crane and raised her left arm to grasp a makeup pallet. She threw it inside a reusable shopping bag that she was holding in her right bicep with a single finger.


She also sent a bag of Goldfish, razors, sparkly iron-ons, and face masks. She pulled her debit card from a Florida Gators lanyard around her neck and used it to pay at the self-checkout. Her mother used a phone to record.

An employee watching the registers said, “That was great.” So, Rowley hoped. Her most recent 10 videos have only received an average of 12,000 views each.

She went home to edit while adding the “Pirates of the Caribbean” questing instrumental tune. She uploaded it in the morning. She was immediately back at her list, making a new video, and crossing off the next concept as the statistics grew and it became clear that it had been a success, bringing more than 620,000 people.

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