TikTok Mortician's Frank Videos Are Helping Break the Taboo About Death

TikTok is awash with funny clips and ingenious hacks, but one thing you may not associate the video-sharing app with is death.

However, one woman has been using her platform to dismantle taboos surrounding end of life, by creating videos about her work as a mortician.

Eileen Hollis, from Syracuse, New York, has gained lots of traction online, surpassing 460,500 followers and receiving 6.6 million likes.

In her videos she answers questions from followers about funeral services, which may seem somewhat macabre, but it is all things that we will be affected by at one point in our lives, both personally and when dealing with those close to us.

Hollis, 31, responds to queries such as "Do you have to be buried in a casket?" or "Are piercings removed?," as well as explaining about the embalming process.

However, her friendly and approachable delivery style means that her content is anything but creepy.

She even shares her environmentally friendly bamboo caskets, as well as giving tips on how to plan for a funeral.

Hollis became a mortician because it is the family trade—her father was one—and she began helping out at their funeral directing company during her school holidays.


Answer to @isimpforstich #grwm #mortuaryscience @drpimplepopper

♬ Oh No - Kreepa

She told Syracuse.com: "I had to make a little bit of money, so I started shadowing my dad. I just felt very comfortable talking to people."

Originally a trained dancer, the young mortician went back to study an associate's degree in mortuary science from Hudson Valley Community College and became a fully licenced funeral director in 2016.

She said: "I was so nervous to make the leap to mortuary school because I was very much aware this is a lifetime commitment."

But being a mortician isn't all doom and gloom, as Hollis explains: "I'm just a normal person helping people.

"It's not that depressing. It's nice to help people in one of their hardest times in life.

"I don't think that the profession is any sadder than being a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, a social worker... all these people that are handling some really rough situations. Some really rough, life situations."

However, although Hollis' videos are very informative, she will never actually showcase the body.

Responding to a question about whether she would share footage of the embalming process, she listed the reason why not.

In the clip, which was posted on May 10, she said: "No, I personally, like Meat Loaf said, 'but I won't do that.' Reason number one: It's illegal without the family's permission.

"Reason number two: Even if I got the family's permission, I don't have the dead person's permission.

"Reason number three: Now you know, and I know, that the comments section would most likely body shame that person.

"So, out of respect for the dead, I am just not going to go there."

In a video comment to Newsweek, Hollis explained: "I guess I just want to put emphasis on the fact that this profession isn't as depressing and grizzly as what people make it out to be.

"I get a lot of young people expressing that they want to go to mortuary school so bad but their parents totally shut down that plan of action because they just think they're going to be depressed.

"Listen I might suffer a little depression but it has nothing really to do with funeral service, it's more of the state of the world sometimes, you know?

"I don't think it is any less depressing than being a doctor, a nurse, a social worker... anything like that. Everyone sacrifices a little something for their career."

A mortician looking over a body
A stock image of a mortician looking over a dead body. A woman on TikTok has garnered lots of views from sharing her life as a mortician. Getty Images

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts