The Creator Of TikTok’s Sylvanian Drama Told Us What Inspired Her — And Now It All Makes Sense

Photo: Thea Von Engelbrechton
Sylvanian Drama

If you haven't tuned in for a 60-second "episode" of Sylvanian Drama, TikTok's hilariously melodramatic and always unpredictable TV series/viral account, you're going to want to correct that now.

The utterly original concept combines childish fantasy with unexpectedly grown-up dark humor — and we are seriously invested.

The account became a viral sensation over the past month, amassing nearly 500,000 followers and over nine and half million likes. Once you've watched just one, it’s easy to see why.

Dozens of videos on the page depict the tiny dolls in hilarious feuds and moral conundrums. The stories incorporate adult topics such as murder, infidelity, drug scandals, and plastic surgery, just to name a few.

People in the comments have wondered who the human behind the remarkably large collection of Sylvanian Family dolls could be, speculating in particular about the possible age and nationality of the creator.

“I need to know how old the person is running this account,” one fan wrote, “bc I’m about to pull my bad boys out the loft.”

“I just know the person who made this is Irish,” theorized another.

“WHO IS THIS GENIUS?!” yet another demanded.

Who is the creator behind TikTok's Sylvanian Drama?

The Sylvanian Drama account is run by Thea Von Engelbrechton, a 19-year old multimedia student from (yes, they were correct) Ireland.

And we could barely contain ourselves when she agreed to be interviewed and give us all a wee glimpse into how her genius productions come together.

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For many, Sylvanian Drama’s videos are a welcome distraction during the quarantine.

Her casual treatment of heavy topics, storylines that parody both primetime dramas and soap operas, (purposely) misspelled slang, goofy physical comedy (like toy car crashes and a laundry machine thrown off a roof) — not to mention epic selection of background music — add up to the kind of irresistibly silly and mindless humor we all need right now.

We spoke with Thea about her daily life, inspirations, and what it’s like to run a viral social media page. Here's what she had to say.

The Inspiration Behind Sylvania Drama

It all started with boredom. Thea, who lives with her family in the countryside of Kildare, began attending Dublin City University online this year.

“One Friday, I was bored,” Thea told us, “and I decided to take my old Sylvanian families out of the attic and set them up.”

As she did, she was inspired by the classically over-the-top American comedy-drama and mystery series from the early 2000s — "Desperate Housewives."

“When I had them set up it reminded me of the show I’m watching at the moment, 'Desperate Housewives,' and I decided to make dramatic videos with them on TikTok for my friends,” Von Engelbrechton explained.

Photo: Thea Von Engelbrechton

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She had no idea the videos would also be watched by thousands of strangers worldwide.

After Sylvanian Drama’s first post went up on January 22nd of this year, it received a barrage of views, likes and positive comments. The video’s plot was a mock-dramatic tale of adultery with a shocking twist, set to “Afterglow” by Ed Sheeran.

Thea was shocked when the account blew up overnight, with droves of TikTokers demanding more.

One of the top comments — “I was thoroughly invested in this please make more!!!” — received 782 likes from people who felt the same way.

Thea complied, and the popularity of her page has continued to skyrocket ever since.

“I didn’t think other people would see them or have the same strange sense of humor,” Thea told us. “I was so surprised when they got so many views.”

She is happy to be entertaining other people and says one of her favorite things about posting them is reading the comments after they go up.

“I read all of them,” Thea told us.

Several of her videos have well over one million views. The most viewed features skateboarding legend Tony Hawk in a fictional cameo as a bully-conquering meerkat — garnering 7.1 million views, 2.1 million likes, nearly 115,000 shares, and 90,000 comments to date.

Hawk himself even showed up in her comments.

“I’m here at your service to kickflip bullies anytime,” Hawk wrote, referencing his iconic role in the TikTok.

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Thea said it is “strange but exciting” that her page now has so many followers and fans.

Her content, she explains, reflects her life and character. “I think my personality really shows through the videos,” the teenager told us.

The stories originate from her own childhood play and inside jokes she shares with her family.

Thea told us she is “extremely close” with her cousins, and that several phrases used in the video's captions — such as “ok perf” and “medicaysh” instead of medication — are part of their sarcastic shared vocabulary.

“As a kid, we would play with the Sylvanians in the same way as I make the videos,” Thea recalled. “So many car crashes and fights and moles always getting into trouble!”

“My sense of humor hasn’t matured much since then,” she added jokingly.

Other family members have helped out, as anyone who has seen and loved the funeral episode will be delighted to know.

“My mother is an interior designer,” Thea explained, “so I use her leftover cushion fabric to make dresses for the characters.”

Besides being funny, Thea describes herself as “chaotic, loving and a bit shy at times.”

Her videos have caused a bit of chaos in her household, but she doesn’t mind.

“I am an extremely messy person,” the creator said, “so making these videos has caused a giant mess in one of the rooms in my house, which is really funny!”

Being a popular TikTok creator has its ups and downs.

“The best thing about running the account is getting to create the storylines and characters,” Thea told us. “I laugh so much while doing it, and it has been a great distraction from Covid.”

The worst part? “Probably the embarrassment of everyone in my college knowing I make them,” Thea said.

Besides running the account, Thea keeps busy with school, family, and various hobbies. Describing her routine, she says, “A typical day for me is zoom lectures for college until five and then I usually go on a run after.”

Thea started running regularly over quarantine with her sister and though it was tough at first, “I actually really enjoy it now.”

The Sylvanian visionary told us she has been playing both guitar and ukulele since she was a child, and she practices the instruments in her spare time.

“I also played rugby up until last year,” she revealed. “Hopefully I will go back after Covid!”

In case you were wondering, Thea does enjoy spending time with real animals, not just plastic ones.

“I live in the countryside and I have lots of pets including pigs, rabbits, dogs, and cats,” she said. “So they keep me occupied throughout the day, too!”

Photo: Thea Von Engelbrechton

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What is her favorite of the TikToks she's made so far?

Thea told us that her favorite creation to date is one she posted on February 13, in which the beaver Sylvanian “gets sent to boarding school and gets involved in a lot of drama.”

The TikTok in question shows the beaver getting busted for drugs, spying on her roommates, and ultimately being killed — by none other than Tyler the Creator ( version), who hits her with his car in response to her asking for an autograph.

"Tyler would," one fan commented.

"Wes Anderson could never," another gushed.

"I don't have a clue what's going on but I'm here for it," said another.

The absurdist entertainment value is undeniable, and Thea says she “had so much fun making it.”

When it comes to other social media content, her preferences on Instagram include fashion and travel. Her favorite social media accounts atm are those belonging to British model Mia Regan and skateboarder Evan Mock "for fashion inspo” on Instagram.

“For entertainment, I’ve been addicted to watching Casey Neistat’s old travel vlogs on YouTube,” she added. “They are so interesting!”

How does she choose such perfect background music for her TikToks?

Thea says she is drawn to the early 2000s songs often featured in her videos because they are “just so nostalgic.”

“I especially love the Wild Child movie soundtrack,” the creator said, “and I have used at least two songs from that movie in my videos!”

Thea’s videos also correlate with her creative career goals. The college student says she hopes to work in the entertainment industry someday.

“My dream career is to work in film and TV,” she told us, “so I think I’m really channeling that into my videos.”

Thea’s coursework at DCU has helped, as she and her fellow multimedia students “learn a lot about camera work and editing.”

In terms of her greatest aspirations, the content creator says she “would love to direct a film someday.” In a way, she already has!

As one TikTok fan wrote in the comments on her 60-second Tony Hawk video, "This was a whole movie and also 2 hours long."

Thea likes to maintain a level of anonymity.

Still humble despite her internet fame, the face behind Sylvanian Drama would like to remain... well, behind it.

Thea told us the understandable (if somewhat of a bummer for the curious among us) reason she doesn’t want her appearance connected to the account.

“If people associate a picture of my face with the videos I think it might make it less funny,” she said. “Or ruin the mystery!”

Is there Sylvanian Drama merch? Ye defo.

Sylvanian Drama merch is now available on Teespring, including stickers, sweatshirts, face masks and more featuring fan favorites like Pizza Mole.

Photo: Thea Von Engelbrechton

You can also follow along with the drama on Instagram.

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.