Swimsuit designer who discovered a knack for ventriloquism during lockdown becomes TikTok star


A swimwear designer learned to be ventriloquist during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

And Layla Mills is now a TikTok star with 30,000 subscribers watching her sometimes X-rated puppet shows.

As the overseas holiday market and swimwear sales plummeted, bored, the 33-year-old bought a £ 15 boy’s glove puppet called Ted online and used it in a happy birthday video for her partner’s brother Stuart.

When he loved it, she added a daughter, Lulu, to her puppet family and started posting her ventriloquist efforts on the TikTok video-sharing platform – causing a storm.

Layla with her three puppets, Lulu, Eddie and Ted

Layla, from Kent, who has a son, Ollie, 10, and two stepchildren Joseph, 15, and Alessandra, 12, with her business partner, said: “My business collapsed when Covid-19 struck because no one was going there on vacation.

“I had never owned a puppet in my life, but I started by using my hand to answer me, while I was talking with my mouth closed, as if I was having a conversation – just for fun, because I was talking to myself. bored.

“Then I went online and ordered a puppet for £ 15. I made a video for Stuart’s brother’s 41st birthday with it and when he loved it it gave me the confidence to post videos online.

She added, “I started out with naughty adult clips. In the birthday video, the puppet was rude, but people know it’s a joke.

Next, Layla created a separate profile, @FloxyKidsTV, to create videos for the kids.

She added, “I always say, ‘If there are children around, let me know so I don’t use bad language. “”

Layla said: “I created two separate profiles, because people like crude humor, but kids also want to see the videos, and I don’t think they should miss them.”

Layla, whose adult online profile is @SoFloxy, discovered her knack for ventriloquism – where people sound their voices like she’s from somewhere else – by chance during the first coronavirus lockdown in the spring.

Relaxing at home with Stuart, the couple, who met six years ago, were creating a prank video for the sisters of Layla, Ella, 26, and Karli, 34, when they realized her talent to mimic accents.

She said: “The ventriloquist was untapped one random day as we sat chatting.”

By posting a spur of the moment comedy video on Twitter, she was carried by his positive reception.

“It gave me the confidence to post more like this,” she said.

“That’s when I started doing TikTok, mimicking the robot’s voice Alexa,” she said.

“Then I made a video where I shouted with my mouth shut and realized I could be a ventriloquist. It was all very random.

“And, after Stuart’s brother’s birthday video, in the early fall, I started using puppets.”

Layla’s first puppet Ted was a £ 15 puppet she bought online

Once she started introducing puppet characters, her TikTok followers soared.

So, in addition to Ted and Lulu, she has a new character – Ted’s twin brother, Eddie.

She said, “I also produce live videos on TikTok, so people can comment and get involved. They still want to see the puppets now.

“It’s not hard for me to think of what to say, as I talk to myself and my dog ​​Foxy a lot,” she continued.

“I have one of those brains who constantly have ideas and I’ve always been a bit of a joker.

“It’s like I always have 10 different people in my brain – I’m kind of like a kid.”

Layla laughed: “I get along better with children than adults because they like what I have to say!”

Also uploading fashion content to the platform and snapshots of everyday life, as a puppeteer, she makes her characters sing, dance and sometimes swear – all without moving her mouth.

“With the puppets you have to get them singing and be a little bit bonkers, but it’s hard to do the accents because you have to move your mouth a bit,” she said.

“Most ventriloquists leave their mouths open and they smile, but I don’t. I close my mouth, so I do it completely differently – but I’m still learning, ”she added.

“None of my videos are scheduled, they are all done on site. I do not repeat and write them.

Yet despite his popularity with his TikTok audience, his son and stepchildren aren’t big fans.

She laughed, “Our children don’t like them. They find them a little scary.

“I chased them around the house with the puppets once, causing Ted to yell at them.”

“They were screaming, ‘Please, no.’ Fuck them with the puppets!

Layla, holding Ted, would one day like to do professional vocals

“My neighbor’s daughter was standing on the doorstep on Halloween and she was scared too!” She continued.

“But kids love TikTok shows. I ask the puppets to say hello and they are delighted. “

Layla, who has never had any training in acting or singing, has been accused by critics of faking her videos.

She said, “I once made Lulu sing a song. It wasn’t how I would normally sing, but it’s my voice.

“People have accused me of pretending, but I can assure you that everything you see and hear is the real me. Everything is 100% real.

Layla Mills, pictured with her 10-year-old son Ollie and her dog Foxy

She also received derogatory comments about her appearance.

“I get a lot of stick for my looks,” she said. “I have had criticism of my teeth, my nose, my eyebrows, even my head!

“But I purposely take the mickey out of myself and ignore it.”

“I never got angry. Sometimes the kids say funny things too, but I get along with that. “

She added: “These are just jokes.”

Layla now has high hopes of turning her popularity of TikTok into a lucrative business when the pandemic restrictions end, with the dream of working as a professional vocal artist.

“Everyone tells me to level up after the lockdown,” she said.

“I’m nervous – but as long as I keep it funny and not overly rehearsed, I think people can relate to,” she continued.

“A lot of people have suggested that I participate in Britain’s Got Talent, but that’s not my thing.

“I’ve started a YouTube channel, and once we can go outside without masks, I’m considering taking Ted shopping, to see how people react!”

Layla concluded, “I can’t do it before because you won’t be able to see that I’m not moving my mouth.

“In the future, I would really like to do something with him and all of my characters. I’d love to do professional voice work, or something.

“Who knows, maybe one day? I did not expect to discover this talent, so anything is possible.

Watch Layla’s videos on Instagram and TikTok at @SoFloxy and @FloxyKidsTV.


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