Virginia Grandmother Goes Viral – NBC Chicago
Mary Puggioni wakes up each day between 7:30 and 9 a.m., then sits in the backyard at her Wythe home in Hampton, Virginia, facing the water.
Her first order of business? Coffee and a cigarette.
Next up, she’s usually teasing her daughter, Nanci Caceda, and putting on a show for the nearly 80,000 TikTok followers she has gained over the past few months.
The Italian woman is 82, but insists she is 71 years old. She has three children and seven grandchildren of her own, but has become a grandmother for TikTokers worldwide since she and her daughter started posting videos about six months ago.
Known as “Grannysoffherrocker” or “Bad Granny,” Puggioni often shoos her daughter away so she can gather her thoughts and enjoy her morning routine, models bikinis, posts sexual innuendos and remixes videos from other social media users.
Together, they’ve received over 2 million likes and 17 million views.
“Drop those granny panties and let’s get this (expletive) started,” one user says in a video.
The video then cuts to Puggioni, donned in a red nightgown, as she drops an empty box of adult diapers on the floor and eagerly exclaims “I’m on my way! I’m on my way!”
Over the past month, her following has doubled. She has fans in Chicago, Italy, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Romania and Germany, and has met a few, including a group of guys headed to Hampton Roads in June.
“Five guys from other states were just driving in and when they realized Granny lives in the area, they said ‘You’ve got to come meet us!’” her daughter said. “My husband and I took her.”
Not many people in Hampton Roads know about her success yet, but Puggioni dreams of being recognized by locals.
“I can’t wait for the day that I’m in Target or Lowe’s or Walmart and somebody says ‘Oh, you’re Granny! I see you all the time on TikTok!’ she said. “I can’t wait for that to happen.”
The family is from Brooklyn, where Puggioni spent more than a decade helping children with special needs on school buses, making sure they arrived safely.
The family also owned a store in New York before moving to Hampton Roads about three years ago. They sold the business and wanted to buy a house, which is pricey in New York, so they came to Hampton.
Eventually, Puggioni’s granddaughter suggested they start a social media profile for her because she’s “crazy” and says the funniest things. They started with a tongue twister joke and things took off from there.
Puggioni is quite the grouch in the morning, but says her daughter does a good job managing her.
“She’s a good teacher,” the social media star said. “She’s a great editor, and she searches TikTok to get ideas for what I should do during the day when she’s ready to videotape me.”
One perk of her growing popularity online is TikTok’s Creator Fund, which gives creators money based on their activity, including the number of views, the level of engagement and whether the content respects community guidelines and terms of service.
Although her videos are laced with adult humor and sometimes the occasional curse word, there is one part of Puggioni’s success that makes her emotional.
For some TikTokers whose loved ones have passed on, she’s almost like a second grandmother. They ask her things like “Can you be my granny?” her daughter said.
“I sympathize with people that tell me they want me to replace their grandma,” Puggioni said. “It’s bittersweet.”
For her own grandchildren, the videos were initially a little embarrassing. Now, they want in on the action. Sometimes her granddaughter FaceTimes her to prove to her friends she’s related to her.
When she’s not making videos or talking about ideas with her daughter, she spends hours playing a casino game on her iPad.
She has had health issues over the past eight years, including a brain aneurysm and surgery on her back, so she can’t move around as much as she’d like. She doesn’t let that stop her though, and she sometimes rides her electric wheelchair around the neighborhood.
She also likes to listen to one of her favorite singers, Luis Miguel.
She has seen him perform live twice, and once, he saw her in the front row at a Maryland show and handed her a “beautiful white rose.” He also blew her a big kiss, she said, kissing her hand.
“The first one, he threw, and somebody else grabbed it — some greedy woman. So he saw that and he actually handed it to me. It was marvelous. I wanted to cry.”
She wants to see him perform at least one more time, and go on another cruise.
There’s also one more goal she wants to reach.
“Betty White,” Puggioni said, smiling. “I’m going to be a ‘Golden Girl’ better than her.”
To keep up with Granny, check her out on Instagram and TikTok at @Grannysoffherrocker.