Mission area sisters are a TikTok sensation over their wholesome haircut video

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Zamarripa sisters Khaleesi, 9, Camelia, 8, and Valentina, 15, pose at their home on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mission. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Before Labor Day, Valentina Zamarripa and her family were going about their lives fairly quietly. The happy family of seven had just moved to Mission from Florida in August and fell in love with the Rio Grande Valley. They work, go to school, attend golf practice, and sometimes they go on TikTok for a laugh or to make a fun video of their own.

That’s where this story begins. Because in just 5 minutes and 46 seconds — the time it took to make a TikTok video that may change their lives forever — 15-year-old Valentina and her sisters Khaleesi and Camelia, who are 9 and 8, became media darlings who’ve garnered the attention of Halle Berry, Shea Serrano, CNN and now the Today show on NBC, not to mention countless other outlets.

“It’s very different. It’s a lot more attention,” Valentina said Monday night about her newfound fame. “A lot of people I don’t know will stop me in the halls or when I pass them … and they say, ‘I saw you on TikTok.’ Also in public, outside of school, a lot of people will ask me for pictures now.

“It’s cool but at the same time it can be a little overwhelming, but not in a bad way. It’s just very new to me.”

On Sept. 4, Gresia Zamarripa, a 38-year-old small business owner, and her husband, 39-year-old Pablo, a day trader, decided to take the family out to eat in celebration of their TikTok account reaching 100,000 followers.

They came home and Valentina asked to use her mom’s phone to make a GURWM video — or “get unready with me,” a trend where someone removes their makeup on camera while they tell a story.

The video, which is just under 6 minutes long, begins innocently enough with Valentina saying it had been a long day before one of her sisters, Khaleesi, goes into her room to borrow a pair of scissors.

Skeptical, Valentina agrees and reminds her sister to be careful. As the elder sister proceeds with the video, there’s a sudden and bloodcurdling scream that startles Valentina, and a worried Camelia runs into the room to say that Khaleesi cut her hair.

Panic ensues.

Meanwhile, Gresia is giving her 2-year-old, Gabriella, a bath and overhears the commotion. So she calls out to her daughters and asks what’s going on, reminding them that the next day is picture day at their schools.

@palmview956oficial GURWM gone wrong.. Camelia cut her bangs Again 😡🤯 #parati #sisters #hermanas #gurwm #valentina #scissors #camelia #magdalena #bangs #fypシ #956 #palmview956 #viral #rgv #zamarripa #zamarripasisters #fail #gonewrong #letsgetto200k #rgv956 #rgvtx956 ♬ original sound – Palmview956Oficial2.0

Valentina goes to Palmview High School. Khaleesi and Camelia go to E.B. Reyna Elementary School, also in Palmview.

To add insult to injury, their 3-year-old sister Magdelena approaches and tells the three of them, “Woah, you’re in trouble!”

What’s at stake? The Wi-Fi.

You see, it’s well-established in the Zamarripa household that if someone misbehaves, Gresia will turn off the Wi-Fi.

Ever resourceful, Valentina grabs her own phone, searches TikTok to learn how to cut bangs, and in two snips somehow, some way, trims Camelia’s hair with near-perfect precision and exclaims, “Camelia! You look like Hermione from Harry Potter!”

That’s when their mother pops in and demands to know what all the fuss is about, and Valentina hilariously hides Camelia under the desk before eventually having to come clean.

Zamarripa sisters Khaleesi, 9, and Camelia, 8, pose at their home on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mission. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Screams emanated, fingers were pointed, and then Gresia utters the words that seem to strike fear in the heart of Valentina: “Go show your dad.”

The video ends with an ominous plea from Valentina to her audience: “Pray for them.”

Their misadventure was uploaded the next day, on Sept. 5, to an overwhelming response with commenters remarking about the wholesome and comedic interaction between the sisters coming together in their hour of need.

The Zamarripas have now warmed the hearts of everyone who’s seen it, making them a cross-platform sensation with “X-Men’s” Storm herself, Halle Berry, tweeting on X, “Invested start to finish,” in response to the video.

Shea Serrano, the famed journalist and New York Times best-selling author from San Antonio, said of the girls’ TikTok, “the best movie of the year.”

“The girls were like, ‘How is a video where we’re almost going to get in so much trouble end up like that,’” Gresia said with a chuckle Monday afternoon, only an hour removed from talking to CNN and shortly after scheduling their appearance on Today.

Gresia said the video got 10 million views before her account was banned by TikTok, apparently triggered by the children’s innocuous screams, and has touched many people.

The video has since been reposted on their new account, Palmview956Oficial, where it’s still raking in hundreds of thousands of views weeks after it was initially posted.

Camelia, 8, covers her face as her sister Khaleesi, 9, holds small children’s scissors at their home on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mission. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

“There’s people on there saying they were going through a depression and this made their day, and others said their sibling died and this made them think of them,” Gresia said. “People are coming up to them wanting to take pictures with them. We are very humbled by it. They’re noticing our kids for a good reason. If we can bring this much joy to people, right on. This is awesome.”

The culprit, Khaleesi, was also pleased with the outcome.

“Very,” she said Monday when asked if she was scared about being caught. “Because a lot of times whenever we do something, we just get bored and just do stuff out of nowhere. I felt very scared because my mom was going to take off my Wi-Fi and take away my electronics. (But) it was her (Camelia’s) fault because she was moving around.”

On their stardom, Khaleesi didn’t mind taking the credit and jokingly said, “I mean I started the process.”

For Camelia, being the little girl from Mission who got the Hermione cut at the 11th hour hasn’t been a bad thing.

“There’s a ton of people at school telling me they like my hair,” she said with a giggle.

Pablo also thought the TikTok was amusing, according to Gresia, who’s originally from the Mission area and moved to Florida where she married and raised their family.

She moved back to the Valley with her family in tow about a month ago, and they can’t think of living anywhere else.

“They left Florida crying thinking that there was nothing better than Florida, and a week in the Valley changed them completely. They’re in love,” Gresia said with a laugh.

Khaleesi Zamarripa, 9, laughs as she plays around at their home on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mission. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

As the video continues to gain millions of views, Gresia hopes it continues to remind others of their brotherly and sisterly love.

“It connects people in a weird way,” the proud mom said. “I tell them that you all need to stick together. They can argue, they can bicker here and there and have their sassy cat fights, but you always stick together with your siblings because that’s the only thing your parents will leave you.”

Valentina embodies that piece of motherly advice so much that she’s moved to seek a career as a child psychiatrist.

“I just feel like I’m always with kids and connect really well with my sisters, and I enjoy helping them and being there for them and being their shoulder to cry on, so why not help other children as well,” Valentina said with empathy Monday evening, just after golf practice. “It brings me joy being able to help other people, and it makes me feel even better because I grew up with four sisters and they’re all going through different things. I can relate to what they’re going through.”