“That Girl” – A Retrospective Take

Credit: ABC Television Network

Throughout our media heavy world, the trend cycle seems to never stop. A few months ago, in the midst of doom scrolling on TikTok, I came across the “That Girl” trend and instantly I was hooked on the soft aestheticism of people who seemingly had their lives together in a bundle of natural hues and acai bowls. But, if you weren’t aware of this trend, you may be wondering just who is “That Girl”?

As defined by Urban Dictionary (which unfortunately seems to be the only place with a concrete definition), “That Girl” is a person who wakes up early, has an immaculate morning or night routine consisting of gym trips, daily journaling, meditation, a purely healthy diet and usually some variation of an elaborate skin care routine. They are consistent in this and even more so in their filming of it. “That Girl” is someone who manifests success and outwardly presents an ideal of being put together. However, despite the visual appeal of this trend, it’s more so a lifestyle habit than any type of Pinterest aesthetic. It’s also a lifestyle that presents a sense of adaptability to the everyday person but for some, experiences with it have been negative and for some, the routine has been reformative. 

My experience with the trend is the former. Despite the cute ideals and the potential for me to set beneficial habits, I made many mistakes in my brief stint of trying to become “That Girl”. The first error was me actually thinking I could wake up early and do any type of functioning (I cannot). I also wasn’t able to work out as consistently as I’d like nor was I doing any yoga, something which was ever present in the trend. Meditation was something I struggled with considering my abysmal attention span too. However, some aspects of my lifestyle I actually didn’t edit for this trend, namely my diet and doing a routine skincare. I swapped journaling and planning for studying, which proved beneficial as well. But my benefit from the trend wasn’t much overall. I ended up burning out and giving up after 2 weeks. My messy mornings and nights just weren’t a proper fit for the planned and orientated “That Girl” lifestyle.

The trend has proliferated on TikTok over the past yeat Credit: MammaMia

Meanwhile, my (Emily) experience with “that girl” tik tok is quite the opposite. I think the “that girl” trend keeps me accountable. I have a lot of commitments with such little time, and I find not only searching for “that girl” but also taking part in “that girl” helps me stay on track, and not binge watch season 2 of Bridgerton for the third time in as many weeks. But for me, “that girl” isn’t about simply waking up early, and starting the day with a kale and banana protein smoothie. I think it’s more about the mentality – as long as we are reaching for the stars, chasing our dreams and managing our lives (somewhat) well, we are all “that girl” 

“That girl” also changes when you realise a lot of the content we see on tik tok is misleading or fake. Things aren’t filmed in order, sometimes things aren’t even filmed on the same day. Two semi-unproductive days can be filmed, and edited together in one tik tok, making seem like superwoman walks among us. 

“That girl” tik tok can trap you in the toxic positivity spiral – that everything has to be okay, if something doesn’t work out, it was for a reason and you must accept that. And while that’s not the worst mentality in the world, it also is imbalanced. It’s not possible to never acknowledge the negative. Bad things can happen, and you’re allowed to talk about how shitty it may be. I feel “that girl” takes that away. 

So proceed with caution, romanticise your life, but every aspect of it. The good, the bad, the fun, the boring, and then you’ll really be that girl.