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It’s a beautiful April morning in my neighborhood; the sun is casting dappled patterns on the street and people are out walking their dogs. The birds are probably chirping in the trees, but I can’t hear them over the sound of “Hoes Mad” blasting through my headphones, and all the positive thoughts filling my head. I’m on a Hot Girl Walk, you see, and these are the rules. I learned about the hot girl walk on TikTok, where the concept originated at the end of 2020. The term was coined by a 22-year-old named Mia, whose bio includes “CEO of Hot Girl Walk™.” Mia’s original hot girl walk TikTok now has nearly 800,000 likes, and the official hot girl walk playlist Mia made (called “hot girl walk”) has almost 90,000 followers. #Hotgirlwalk on TikTok has hundreds of videos showing dozens of other TikTok users going on their own hot girl walks. (One TikTok user is even promoting her new single by saying it would make a great track for your hot girl walks.) It’s a bona fide sensation, and is only picking up steam, as we all slide into “hot vax summer.”
What is a hot girl walk, you ask? And how is it different from literally any other walk? Well, it’s a walk you take in which you are only allowed to think about three things, according to Mia: things you are grateful for, things you want to achieve, and, most importantly, how hot you are. The other rules of the hot girl walk are that it should be performed daily, outdoors, and should be about four miles in length. But as Mia explains in her follow-up TikToks, the most crucial aspect of the hot girl walk is the walker’s state of mind. It’s not about discipline or weight loss or physical improvement in any way, but is just about walking around, straight vibing and reveling in your own hotness. “A lot of people are thinking that the hot girl walk is about weight loss, but it’s not,” Mia has clarified several times. “The biggest transformations are the ones that start internally.” As someone whose walks are generally spent either in the head-empty-no-thoughts zone or ruminating on whatever is currently causing me the most anxiety, I was intrigued by the hot girl walk ethos. On my own hot girl walk, I listened to Mia’s playlist and focused hard on what I’m grateful for (getting fully vaxxed), my “goals” (finding a nice new apartment to live in), and my own hotness. In all honesty, the music made me feel a little wild. It was hard to focus on only these three things for an entire walk—my mind kept drifting off to regular things like “chores” and “stuff I might want to buy.” I ended up cutting my walk short by about two miles, because my route was short and I started to get pretty bored. But for the duration of my mini hot girl walk, I felt pretty good, and the uplift I would’ve gotten on a normal walk felt more intense throughout the day. If I made hot girl walks a daily practice, I might even get better at them? Positive thinking… there’s something to it.
It’s not hard to see why the hot girl walk is so appealing right now. There’s been a lot of talk about pandemic glow-ups and debuting our best physical forms this summer, as we begin socializing, going to parties, and mingling with strangers again. There’s endless TikTok content to consume about “effortlessly” shrinking your waist, an ever-flowing stream of unhealthy (and unrealistic) tips for dropping pounds in a matter of days or weeks. Amid all that noise, the hot girl walk, with its simple rules, feels like a little revelation. Yes, walking four miles every day is technically “exercise,” but as Mia said, that’s not what this walk is about. It’s an hour or two (or less!) of being outside without scrolling social media, adding random shit to an online cart, or thinking about anything serious and troubling; it’s a slice of deliberately positive time in the day. As far as I know, thinking nice thoughts has no effect on the waistline or whatever, but it does feel surprisingly good to strut around the neighborhood, listening to Saweetie and exclusively thinking, I am a hot bitch. The hot girl walk feels, if anything, like a perfect way to warm up for this summer. What better way to reinstate socializing than in the mindset that we have things to be grateful for, things to look forward to, and that we’re hot? That’s the post-vax mindset, baby, and I’m hot girl walking my way right into it.Follow Hannah Smothers on Twitter.