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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Emily Mariko is influencing many to adopt a more balanced approach to healthy living

The TikToker’s aesthetically pleasing videos inspire good eating and self care, but her lifestyle may not be as attainable as it appears


By CLARA FISCHER — arts@theaggie.org


If you’ve been on TikTok in the past month, you’ve probably heard of the username @emilymariko. If you haven’t, you’ve most likely at least seen the salmon rice bowl craze sweeping the app, courtesy of the 29-year-old TikToker.

These kinds of trends are exactly what gives the app its edge. Mariko has built a brand off of a relatively easy recipe, simple formatting and a little luck from the algorithm.

She never claimed to have invented the dish (though a quick Google search will reveal that it has been dubbed the “Emily Mariko salmon rice bowl”), and she’s not doing anything extraordinary in her short videos.

So what makes her such a viral sensation?

For many, Mariko’s TikToks provide a source of inspiration. She always comes across as put-together and clearly emphasizes a healthy way of living. Her lifestyle appears highly organized and seems like something anyone can achieve if they took the time to prioritize the same things she does.

However, when viewers take a closer look, they may notice the affluence associated with her lifestyle. Her Instagram frequently showcases her shopping at Whole Foods and Erewhon, traveling and sporting high-end or otherwise trendy clothing.

Though many know Mariko from her recent surge in popularity, she has actually been creating digital content for a while now, with her first Youtube video being published June 11, 2012, and she began consistently posting in 2015. Adding on to her already impressive resume, Mariko went to Columbia University and graduated in 2014 with a BA in neuroscience and behavior.

Clearly, Mariko has some level of success that many of us will never achieve. Oddly enough, even though Mariko stems from less than relatable roots, it’s the universally versatile nature of her videos and desirable way in which her life is together that made her go viral in the first place.

There have been countless recreations of her infamous dish, ranging from those made with high-end ingredients and techniques to those made with ingredients from a college dining hall. Her recipes are adaptable and inspire viewers to prioritize their health with resources they already have on hand.

Another thing that draws viewers to Mariko in particular is her emphasis on the truly important things in life — she often features her family in her videos, cooks well and appears to overall have a well-balanced routine.

She is also praised for her romanticization of real foods. There is far too much damaging content circling the internet that villainizes anything high in calories, carbs or fats. Mariko breaks that stigma and creates recipes featuring white rice, mayonnaise, olive oil and many other healthful foods with no mention of calories or anything related to the matter. Her videos normalize healthy eating in a beautifully simplistic way.

In a world plagued with diet culture and materialism, Mariko’s videos are a breath of fresh (albeit unrealistic) air. It is important to recognize that anyone with enough money has a certain level of privilege, but ultimately, her videos are a gentle appraisal of the importance of health and self-care.


Written by: Clara Fischer — arts@theaggie.org


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