(STUDIO 814) — TikTok; home of the young trendsetting crowd strutting their stuff, is now also home to Germany’s very own 81-year-old fitness dame.
And when she isn’t training she is teaching her husband some up to the minute choreography, hoping he might get the hint for a post-corona project and take her dancing more often, she says with a mischievous side swipe at Dieter Rischko.
When Germany went into lockdown following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Erika posted her first 12-second video on TikTok in which she danced the popular Cha-Cha Slide line dance with her husband.
Since then, Rischko has uploaded more than 100 videos of herself doing exercises like planks and pull-ups, as well as dancing, to encourage others to remain active during lockdown.
“Dancing is something I think we should do much more of,” she told Reuters.
In the meanwhile Rischko has amassed around 125,000 followers and more than 2 million likes on the TikTok app, which is hugely popular among teenagers and is best known for dance and lip-syncing routines and viral challenges.
In some of her clips, which her daughter shoots for her, she trains by herself and takes on fitness challenges set by people who are decades younger than her.
In others, she and her husband, whom she met in a dancing event years ago, do synchronized dance routines.
Rischko said she was especially encouraged by the comments that young people post in the app, cheering her on.
“I’m really happy. I’ve never been as self-confident as I am now,” she said.
And Rischko’s fame has spread beyond Germany with the spry Langenfeld local now also a fixture in America.
“Will you be our grandparents…Or: my granny is dead, couldn’t you take her place?” are some of the requests from her fans who she says, are a huge motivation for her.
Langenfeld’s mayor Frank Schneider has also been touched by all the attention
“I always love stories like these that are so life-changing. And now, I can say that this is thanks to corona, otherwise this wouldn’t have happened: that a person having fun gets all this attention and ends up really moving all these people,” he says.
Rischko, who reads all the comments after breakfast, beams at the cameras and gets ready for her next challenge.