It was August 8th, and Tommy, known as KingZippy on TikTok had finally figured out the secret to getting Jojo Siwa to call his daughter. He had to poke fun at her. Jojo Siwa quickly duetted his video, reaching 5 million people. Tommy watched it with his daughter and recorded her reaction.
Originally from Blackwood, N.J., 30-year-old single dad Tommy has to play both the role of two parents for his daughter. Mother’s Day is difficult. So are mother-related activities at school. Mommy & Me classes were particularly challenging for the dynamic duo. But it’s clear that Tommy loves his daughter: many of his TikToks appear to be entertainment for his young daughter.
On parenting, Tommy told TikTok Newser, “It definitely humbles you. It just makes you want to be a better person and do the right thing in life… you want to give your child everything… I’m just trying to make a better life for her.”
Days after the duet, Tommy posted a TikTok telling Siwa he’d gotten himself into trouble. He’d told his daughter he was friends with Siwa and that she would FaceTime her if she went to bed. The next day, while Tommy was at the store, he checked his messages. Siwa had contacted him. “Let’s FaceTime your little girl today.” Tommy recalled the message said.
@kingzippy##duet with @itsjojosiwa me showing my daughter jojo duetting me she wasn’t amused with my video but loves that I made jojo laugh♬ original sound – Tommy
He rushed home, told his daughter, who immediately got dressed up as Jojo Siwa, bow and all. At 7 p.m., Tommy got a message. “Hey, it’s Jojo. I’m on my way home. I’ll call you in about twenty minutes.” True to her word, Siwa facetimed the single dad’s daughter shortly after. “It was really, really cool. She’s like one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life.” he said.
Tommy first started TikTok after seeing an ad for it on a MrBeast video. “I was hooked at first sight, and I was like, oh man, that’s awesome.” A landscaper by trade, he discovered that people were getting paid by advertisers for making videos, something that would enable him to stay at home with his daughter.
Tommy’s only major fear is birds. One time during his childhood he was cutting down a tree and a mockingbird attacked him. “Ever since that, I feel like the birds are out to get me. Like every time I see a bird, I feel like it’s about to swoop down and get me.”
As a kid, he wanted to join the Army. Bullying was rampant at his high school, and he had social anxiety, so he did not like high school. Tommy was a gamer: he’d come home and play Korean MMORPG Nexus. When he was 17, he flew to a Halo 3 tournament. He lost his first round. “I got my ass whooped.” he remembered. He and his dad stayed for three more days. “It was nice to meet people and that was a big fear — trying to be around people.”
For a brief time he worked for Sony, and then went to work at his dad’s landscaping company. Now with an audience of more than 721,000 in September 2020, he remembers: “Before TikTok I really — I didn’t have anything. I was just going to be a landscaper.”
Post-TikTok, his goals are loftier. “I would like to have a nice big house making videos with my daughter.” he paused, “And be friends with Jojo Siwa, for my daughter.”
His favorite TikToker is YouTube star Baylen Levine. His favorite musical artist is Eminem, his favorite TV show is ONE PIECE, a Japanese anime television series available on Netflix. The lowest cell phone charge Tommy will let his phone get is flat. “I’ll let it die.” he laughs.