Shabaz Ali is a chemistry teacher by day but in his spare time he’s a viral TikTok star.
His satirical clips call out other influencers for the way they flaunt their money and success.
His videos mocking influencers’ designer bottled water, fridge restocks and extensive flavoured ice cube selections have racked up millions of views.
He also has some very popular “reaction videos” – including the famous one about Roy’s sister Sheree (an American’s mispronunciation of “Worcestershire”, for the uninitiated).
He sat down with Sky News’ Kimberley Leonard to talk about his “because you’re a povo” videos.
K: So how did it all start?
S: Honestly I was just in bed – it was the pandemic wasn’t it, we were all in bed – I was in bed poking fun at things as I’ve always done and it just turned into this huge global thing.
K: You say it’s a huge thing – how many followers do you have on Instagram and TikTok?
S: I’ve got about 1.1 million now on Instagram and 1.6 million on TikTok, so it’s crazy.
K: When did you realise you were picking up momentum and realise, actually I’ve got a million followers?
S: Honestly it happened so quickly, so I’ve not had time to process it. So when I do things I’m like, “A million followers?”.
In December just gone – 2022 – I had 9,000. So it’s happened rapidly. In my head I’m still on 9,000 followers so I’m like, “What, a million?”.
K: Is there one video that really kicked it off?
S: The ice cube video. There was a woman making a hundred million flavours of ice and I was like, you must not have a job because I have no time to make a million different flavours of ice cube – and that’s what kicked off the “I’m rich you’re poor” thing.
K: How do you choose what videos you do?
S: I don’t – the million followers do. I get tagged in hundreds and hundreds of videos a day so I have to sit through them and go which one’s good, which one’s not. There’s a lot of videos.
K: You’re a teacher – what do your kids say?
S: They love it. I think secretly they do, sometimes they say “Oh no one watches your videos” and I’m like “I don’t know, I think 1.1 million people would disagree”. But I think they do love it.
I think it’s a difference isn’t it, their teacher’s on social media and it’s a world where we tell the kids social media’s so bad, but at the same time there is some good that you can do on social media.
K: Do you think it’s got to the point where social media is ridiculous?
S: Most of social media just has people boasting about what they have, and in the cost of living crisis when I’ve taught kids with next to nothing, it’s sad to see this is what they’re exposed to and this is what young people are growing up watching.
I’m just poking fun at these people and hopefully it’ll embarrass them into stopping posting.
Do any of the influencers contact you?
S: Some of them love it – because it boosts their ego doesn’t it , it gives them the sort of, “Yeah I have got money”.
Some of them hate it – there are some of them that would love to block me, have blocked me, but most of them just see the funny side because that’s just their life and they let me make my content as they’re making their own.