Adam Libby, who has Down syndrome, has 1.7 million followers on TikTok. (Solen Feyissa/Unsplash)

BANGOR, Maine — Adam Libby can’t go anyplace in his hometown of Lincoln with out being acknowledged. As a cheerful, humorous people-pleaser, Libby was already well-known round city — and that was even earlier than he grew to become a TikTok celeb.

Libby’s TikTok account, Chef Adam Libby, has 1.7 million followers who can’t get sufficient of the movies of the charming novice chef making ready — after which, most significantly, consuming — an array of dishes.

It might take Libby, who has Down syndrome and turned 31 this week, slightly longer to create treats like pork stomach tacos, maple-glazed salmon and pecan pie than another cooks, however the journey is simply as scrumptious because the vacation spot.

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Libby’s twin sister, Emily McCormick-Libby — who along with her spouse, Sara, helps make the movies and handle her brother’s blossoming profession as an influencer — mentioned the expertise has been transformative for him.

“Adam has at all times been an entertainer. He likes to carry out,” Emily McCormick-Libby mentioned. “He’s grow to be even happier, and extra unbiased since this began. He’s discovered a ardour that he’d by no means had earlier than. He’s studying new issues on a regular basis. He’s extra assured. It’s been big for him.”

Libby’s path to TikTok stardom began in a much less completely happy place, nevertheless. Like many individuals, Libby was feeling fairly bored, remoted and depressed because the pandemic dragged on.

In March 2021, his sister was making an attempt to provide you with methods to assist him really feel linked and have some enjoyable. She thought making some TikTok movies along with her brother exhibiting individuals the meal prep they do every week would possibly do the trick.

For the primary six months or so, they posted one TikTok video per week, every getting a pair hundred views. After some preliminary movies, Sara McCormick-Libby, a videographer and photographer, started modifying the movies, giving them extra of knowledgeable polish. However it wasn’t till a really particular pizza evening on the Libby residence final August that Chef Adam Libby instantly took off like a rocket.

“We had gotten a type of Ooni pizza ovens for our deck final summer time, so we thought, ‘Let’s have Adam make a pizza,’” Emily McCormick-Libby mentioned. “By 7 o’clock that evening, it went viral. He was getting 100 followers a minute, not even kidding. In a single day he had a pair hundred thousand followers. I didn’t sleep that evening. It was insane.”

The journey hasn’t slowed down in any respect. By fall 2021, Libby had half one million followers, and in February, he crossed the a million mark, with two million followers in sight within the coming months.

He’s at all times making an attempt new recipes, although grilling is his favourite cooking type. When requested what his favourite recipe he’s cooked up to now is, Libby instantly answered smash burgers, the topic of a private favourite video from 2021.

Together with his newfound fame have come alternatives neither Libby nor his household might have foreseen. They just lately signed branding offers with Procter & Gamble for Daybreak Dish Cleaning soap, and with PepsiCo for some movies that can seem initially of the soccer season this fall. They promote Chef Adam t-shirts, hoodies and drinkware on his web site, together with ones emblazoned with Libby’s catchphrases, like “Holy crow, man!,” “To the oven!” and “To the smoker!”

Corporations recurrently ship them merchandise to strive, from packing containers of spices and marinades to a flowery new pizza oven from Ooni, makers of the pizza oven that helped shoot him to fame.

And only a few weeks in the past, Libby and his sister and sister-in-law flew out to Las Vegas for the Cheer Alternative Awards, which acknowledge social media creators who make optimistic content material. Libby received in his class, for greatest cooking creator. He proudly confirmed off the trophy throughout an interview with the Bangor Each day Information.

For the McCormick-Libbys, it has been an equally wild journey, as they’ve needed to shortly learn to handle a nationally in style social media account, whereas caring for Libby, and elevating their two younger daughters, Piper and Poppy.

However for all three of them, Libby’s success is about rather more than fame or branding offers. It’s about perseverance, and never being afraid to strive one thing, even when you have challenges to face — incapacity or not.

“Don’t be afraid to strive one thing. I believe you’ll typically be actually stunned to see what individuals can accomplish if they simply strive,” Emily McCormick-Libby mentioned. “Even when it takes them slightly bit longer to determine the best way to do it.”

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