By Mariah Bennett | Assistant News Editor
Sullivan, Wis., freshman Ella Kleefisch transferred to Baylor this semester with her 62.5k TikTok followers and 1.8 million likes in tow.
Kleefisch began her self-described “social media adventures” in February 2021, with her account Ella likes Jesus or @jupiterlikesjesus.
Kleefisch said she is a non-denominational Christian whose goal on TikTok is to spread the idea of Christianity in a way viewers haven’t seen before.
“The main message I’m trying to send is that Jesus is love, and it’s not about religion and it has never been about religion,” Kleefisch said. “It’s always been about the relationship that you can have with Christ.”
Fellow Christian TikTok creator Sergio Corona, or @sergiotheworshipper, said he finds Kleefisch’s content very relatable as a fellow Christian.
“She posts things I can relate to and reminds me to read my word, talk to God and reminds people that Jesus loves us,” Corona said.
Kleefisch said her account isn’t just for Christians.
“[My account is] for anyone interested in the faith and anyone who is interested in the style; I guess it’s just kind of a combination,” Kleefisch said.
Kleefisch said some people have followed due to a “cottagecore style of dress” she’s worn on certain days in videos, which then popped up on their For You Page. She said she has been able to make mutual followers and friends with those who don’t share any of her beliefs.
“Those people associate with me because they feel safe to and they feel like they’re not going to be judged,” Kleefisch said.
Kleefisch said she has a unique look, comparable to the alternative crowd, which doesn’t attract the common aesthetic most Christians associate with.
“A lot of times, people who resonate with this style and this aesthetic have been hurt by the church before or really see faith as religion,” Kleefisch said.
Corona said while his and Kleefisch’s platforms are similar given their Christian focus, there are key differences between the two.
“[Kleefisch] definitely is more creative in her videos,” Corona said.
Kleefisch said one of her favorite videos she’s created was a pinned video where she listed questions in its comment section opening respectful discussion about religion in general, not just Christianity.
“I found that that offered a lot of people a lot of stability in their own faith, as well as a very safe place to ask questions,” Kleefisch said. “It was honestly one of the most respectful comment sections.”
One of Kleefisch’s videos has over 315.2k views. In the highly-viewed TikTok, posted on Nov. 11, 2021, Kleefisch dons pastel green eyeshadow, a matching top, wavy hair and strawberry earrings while using American sign language to the song “Two Birds on a Wire” by Regina Spektor, following a popular TikTok trend at the time.
In the video, three pieces of text are highlighted: “Christianity isn’t exclusive.”
“I want to make Christianity not only something that’s not only relatable and good, but also clarify that it’s not about [your form of worship],” Kleefisch said. “It’s the relationship that you have with Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit.”