Until a few weeks ago Nathan Apodaca, also known as @420Doggface208, was working in a potato factory in Idaho – until his life took a sudden turn with a single TikTok video.
If his name still doesn’t ring any bells, you need to watch this extremely viral video of him longboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams while sipping on a bottle of cranberry juice.
I don’t use this verbiage often but this is a whole vibe. simple as that pic.twitter.com/NfdLsgLkxu
— DrewFrog (@DrewFrogger)
In a year as rough as 2020, Nathan’s carefree embrace of life resonated across the internet, brightening its otherwise tired and jaded corners. At the time of writing, his video has been viewed more than 60m times, and received more than 10m likes on TikTok. Within days, Ocean Spray sent him a new truck. A GoFundMe set up for him raised more than $10k. Dreams re-entered the charts. Mick Fleetwood, Shakira, Jimmy Fallon and even Stevie Nicks have posted remakes of his video. He’s now looking to buy a house.
On the morning Nathan made the video he was commuting from his trailer, where he’s been dealing with water and electricity outages. Then his car broke down, which forced him to hit the road on his longboard.
He arrived only a few minutes before his shift at his local potato factory was due to start. He said he considered deleting the clip and getting on with his day, especially as phones are prohibited on the factory floor. But he got it up just in time. By the end of his second break, it already had 2m views.
On one hand you have the American dream in a 25-second clip. But on the other, a story of how precarious life can be for so many Americans, where a safety net comes in the form of being able to raise money from strangers.
Nathan already had a small but decent following on TikTok before his big hit, and had taught himself embroidery on dollar store beanies so he could sell his merch with his Doggface logo on. Now he has his own official Halloween costume that’s selling on his site at $68, and he hasn’t had to go near a single stitch.
What can such a dizzying experience with fame and virality be like? I spoke to Nathan to find out.
Tell me about your emotional journey starting from when you made the video. It seems like that was a pretty bad day to start with.
It was just a regular day. [My car breaking down] happened to me almost every other day. So that’s why it was so easy for me to get my board, get my juice and just take off. Stuff happens. Let’s just figure it out. And everything worked in line: the song, the scenery, everything just came in line, it was perfect.
I posted it and didn’t think it was gonna blow up as much as it did, but I’m thankful that it did. I was able to talk to Mick Fleetwood, I was able to get a car and truck out of this, it was just insane.
What’s been the best part so far?
Honestly, just the reaction I’ve been getting from everybody, the love and parodies and seeing everyone doing it.
Have there been any bad parts?
I’ve been getting little hate comments and stuff, people saying they don’t understand it. But I always just live my life on the coast, you know? Just coasting.
What was your life like before this? And with your sudden fame do you feel like you’ve shifted away from whatever your past life was?
I feel the same. Like I said, I have no problem going back to the warehouse and work. That’s what I do. I’m a worker. I’ve always worked.
How has the pandemic been for you and your family – has everyone been OK?
It’s been OK, but I lost an aunt to it in Wyoming; RIP to my Aunt Cassie. It’s been rough. But I’ve been blessed to be able to work still in Idaho. So other than that, you know, we’ve been working and staying constant with that.
I’m really sorry to hear that.
I was reading your interview with the Indian Country Today talking about the response you’ve been getting among your new Native fans. What have they been saying?
They’re just happy that someone is actually in the news for something good. They’ve actually been blowing up the screen on my page lately. And it’s awesome to see that people are actually just getting out there and just living life, you know, and just being happy.
I liked the Rock the Vote video you did recently. How are you feeling about the election?
Basically we need to get out there. If you need to use your voice, don’t be sitting there and talk about it. Go and do it. The only way you can make a difference is if you’re involved.
There’s a lot of people out there who have seen your video who are probably having similar issues to the ones you were facing in your life. Is there anything you’d say to them now so much has changed for you?
I know it’s rough, you know what I mean? Everywhere everybody has their own problems, their own situations and what you can do to get yourself out of it. There’s people to help. There’s always people to reach out to.
What’s your dream outcome from all of this?
To be honest, I just really want to be able to have a house for me and my family, and to be able to get my mom into a house, or something. And then basically, just live life and relax and chill. If I’m still doing videos, that’s cool. There’s a lot of things out there that I’m trying to reach out to, trying to grab hold of so I don’t have to go back to the warehouse. But like I said, if it happens, it happens.