A TikTok mom was criticized for styling her 18-month-old daughter as a 'gothic baby.' She's using her platform to call out 'ignorant' judgments.

A TikTok mom was criticized for styling her 18-month-old daughter as a 'gothic baby.' She's using her platform to call out 'ignorant' judgments.
TikToker Reby Hardy styled her child as a "gothic baby" in a satirical series.TikTok: @RebyHardy, Reby Hardy
  • Creator Reby Hardy uploaded videos of her daughter styled as a "gothic baby" on TikTok.
  • She told Insider it was a satirical way to call out "ignorant" judgments of alternative aesthetics.

A TikToker who made a satirical series about her 18-month-old daughter being a "gothic baby" has called out widespread criticism for how she styles her daughter.

Reby Hardy is a 36-year-old professional wrestler and former model based in Cameron, North Carolina, who frequently posts TikToks showing the dark decor style of her home. The design of her house was inspired by things she was fascinated with in her childhood, she told Insider, including the children's book "Angelina Ballerina," the stylistic choices in Disney movies like "Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast," and, "Yes, a bit of 'The Addams Family.'"

In a video posted on August 28, 2022, she appeared to show the room her daughter slept in, which included a large wooden crib, dark wall frames, and cobweb decorations. An on-screen caption read, "The Victorian Gothic Nursery." Three months later she posted a video showing her daughter Ever Moore, whom they sometimes call "Eevee," dressed in a black outfit, holding a black fortune cookie before having her hair brushed and a black bow placed in her hair.

A comment beneath the post read, "I know you wanna be 'different' or 'a cool mom' but while a baby is growing they should be surrounded with lots of colors to help their brain grow."

Hardy told Insider she received a number of comments on her videos, suggesting her "dark aesthetic" was damaging to her daughter, and implying the child "lived her life in complete darkness because of her charcoal-colored nursery."


In response, she began creating a satirical series called "Gothic Baby." She said, "I imagined the most ridiculous scenario of a gothic child living a completely dark existence as a way to respond sarcastically to the ignorant assumptions about our lifestyle."

On September 1, 2022, Hardy uploaded a video to her TikTok account titled, "A day in the life of a gothic baby." The 31-second upload showed clips of Ever Moore in a black dress as she appeared to try to brush her hair, eat breakfast, take what was described as a "guitar lesson," and finally go to bed at the end of the day.

Throughout, Hardy's voiceover commented on the day from the fictional perspective of her daughter. It was also overlaid with music labeled "Hailoween - cute horror song" and featured a gothic aesthetic, including Halloween-inspired decorations, place settings, and intricate dark wood furniture.

@rebyhardy Reply to @romiestrella A day in the life of a gothic baby #househardy #gothtok #gothic #victorian #darkacademia #ReTokforNature #alt ♬ Halloween ・ cute horror song - PeriTune

The video received over 3.1 million views, and was expanded into a TikTok series with over 20 uploads that continued to document daily activities from the perspective of Hardy's "gothic baby," many of which received millions of views.

Hardy told Insider the responses to the gothic baby videos were "overwhelmingly positive from the beginning" as she felt the majority of people understood it was a mix of satire and real life.

@rebyhardy Reply to @annedeesan BAB¥ seems pretty happy #househardy #darkacademia #gothtok #gothic #victorian #halloweendecor #GenshinTeleport #PartyWithVMAs ♬ Goku's Theme (From "Dragon Ball Super Ultra Instinct") - Anime Zing

As much as she appreciated the positive responses, Hardy said she again received criticism after one of her videos, where an Elmo toy had been given a "makeover" and turned into "Hell-mo," was discussed on a British TV panel show called "Loose Women" on December 22.

One of the panelists, presenter Katie Piper, responded to the video and said, "It's giving me satanic vibes, it's giving me bad energy, it's toxic." Her comment prompted more than 60 complaints from viewers, The Independent reported. "Loose Women" and ITV, which broadcasts the show, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

On December 27, Hardy responded in another "gothic baby" video that began with clips from the "Loose Women" segment and then included clips of Ever Moore alongside a voiceover, in which Hardy joked that her daughter had seen the segment and was going through "color exposure therapy." The video was viewed over 20 million times.

Hardy addressed the controversy again in a video uploaded on January 12, thanking those who supported her in the face of criticism. She also encouraged viewers to "not judge people by what they look like," highlighting the 2007 murder of Sophie Lancaster, a British woman who was attacked because she was dressed as a goth, The Independent reported.

@rebyhardy Sophielancasterfoundation.com #househardy #gothtok #gothic #DoritosTriangleTryout #momtok #alt ♬ Sonne - Rammstein

In the video, Hardy said she wanted to donate "everything I've made off of TikTok in the last few weeks" to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which aims to promote tolerance towards those with alternative styles.


On January 12, the official Twitter account of the Sophie Lancaster charity shared a post thanking Hardy and the "Gothic Baby family" for the "brilliant mention on TikTok and kind donation."

Hardy told Insider, "I think there's a societal expectation to maintain a home in a certain decor style and to see people feel empowered to represent their own alternative style in their everyday life at home is a joy to see."

Hardy has 1.3 million followers on TikTok, where she regularly posts videos that feature wrestling, storytime anecdotes, and family life with her four children. She worked as a model throughout the 2000s before beginning a career in wrestling. She is married to fellow wrestler Matt Hardy.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.