Meet Mimi, The Aggressively Italian Grandma Taking Over TikTok
"Here, I'm buttering some bread for you. And when your friends get here, you'll eat again with them."
In just three short months, Sean Havens has managed to amass a whopping 12.7 million likes on TikTok.
The 19-year-old content creator from Las Vegas, Nevada started making videos on the platform in late October, 2019. But thanks to his Growing Up Italian series, has reached success across other social platforms like Instagram and Twitter too.
Sean’s following quickly became a fan of any of Italian-related content, and in particular, of any videos featuring Sean’s grandmother, Mimi. Sean told Junkee that while Mimi has a lot of similarities to “the classic ‘Italian grandmother’, she is definitely unique”.
One of Mimi’s most notable traits beyond calling her grandson “SHOOOOOAAN” is her obsession with his eating habits. Her fixation on feeding Sean, the topic of one of their most recent videos, even managed to go viral on Twitter recently.
In the video, Mimi forces Sean to eat two chicken cutlets, some roasted peppers, a huge slice of timbale and some buttered bread. The gag? Mimi is making Sean eat this dinner quickly so that he can have a second dinner when his friends come over “so they don’t feel bad.”
“Come on your friends are gonna be here soon!,” Mimi hurriedly tells Sean. “You want me to hurry up and finish so I can eat again?,” Sean asks. “Yeah!,” Mimi confidently replies.
This kid makes videos all the time of his aggressively Italian family and it has me howling pic.twitter.com/pBw1eGpgzi
— Southern Helle (@HellGlazer) January 16, 2020
The response to video was overwhelming positive, with people sharing their love and adoration for grandma Mimi. Despite the video caption describing Mimi as “aggressively Italian”, people hit back claiming that she isn’t aggressive at all, rather that’s just the Italian way.
i love this woman. tell her i’ll eat two meals back to back for no reason if she needs a new child
— fightme tuscadero (@entoncesallora) January 18, 2020
Not aggressive, just Italian! 🤣🤣💜
— lisa young (@youngskinaz1) January 17, 2020
This is actually my favorite thing in the entire world.
— 🌞IT’S SUMMER TIME FOR BABY GIVE SUMMER NOW🌞 (@KickAssSmolGirl) January 18, 2020
“Eat it while its waw-hm”
— Emily 🍒 (@emmcgoobz) January 17, 2020
So Who Are Mimi And Sean?
In most of Sean’s videos, Mimi is fixated on her grandson’s eating habits, phone use, and dating life, all things that Italian grandmothers are known to do. But there’s something that’s hard to point out about Mimi — she’s wholesome, sweet, and has an infectious laugh. At points, she feels like she’s our Mimi, which is what Sean was hopeful for when he started making videos online.
“I am so happy Mimi gets so much love online because she deserves it, she is an extremely beautiful person inside and out and goes to the earths end for her family every chance she gets,” Sean told Junkee. “Mimi knows she has a lot of people who love her because I read her the comments and it makes her so happy.”
Mimi, like Sean, has gained waves of fans for her big personality and authentic relationship with her grandson. “We are both completely real on camera,” Sean shared. “I always record real scenarios that actually go on in my life as hard as it may be to believe for some people.”
Another classic pic.twitter.com/BySLqqt1ap
— Southern Helle (@HellGlazer) January 16, 2020
Sean attributes this authenticity to the strong bond they’ve had since he was little, where he would stay with his Mimi as his mother worked.
Today, the pair have remained so close that Sean actually visits Mimi every single day. “I love to hangout with her, we just laugh for hours and hours, and joke around about all things,” Sean told Junkee. “My grandma has taught me a lot about being positive and always staying positive in life.”
This close relationship means that Sean is rarely without content, which is part of the reason his TikTok channel has performed so well in such a short period of time. However, Sean believes that his videos do so well because he tries to be as real and as transparent as possible with his audience.
“Family and culture is as real as it gets,” Sean explained. “So I truly believe people can easily resonate with the same type of upbringing.”
Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With The Pair?
Beyond the unplanned humour throughout Mimi and Sean’s videos, the obvious love, care and respect between the pair makes the videos a breath of fresh air in the usually dark and sad climate of internet.
This is why Sean’s goals with his followers is to build “a community that [feels] like family” not dissimilar to the family that he shares through his TikTok videos. His hopes are that what he’s doing now can lead him into a career where he can “take care of [his] family and make a difference with [his] life.”
But for now, Sean is very happy eating some “good old pasta with sauce and chicken cutlets” made by internet’s unofficial grandma, Mimi.
I’ve followed him since this video haha in the comments he says “I wasn’t even on a date” pic.twitter.com/EW22GXh3rY
— Lauren (@lostrizzle) January 18, 2020
— 𝚌𝚕𝚊𝚞𝚍𝚜 (@offdaviagra) January 18, 2020