There’s something about listening to Katie McRose speak that makes you want to give up whatever life you have, start roaming the countryside, and shear farm animals.
McRose, 26, has amassed more than 1.2 million followers on TikTok, where she shares videos of herself and her wife, Darian, giving fresh haircuts to sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.
You’d think this would be niche content, but the pair have built a large and loyal following of viewers who just can’t get enough.
Take, for example, a recent TikTok of McRose shearing a rescued sheep named Penelope. The sheep had years’ worth of matted growth weighing her down. As McRose gently handles Penelope, she explains how the sheep was found wandering around with a potbelly pig.
As she shears the sheep, she talks through how she has to be careful getting through the tough mats because they cause tension wrinkles in the skin that are easy to nick.
In the end, you can’t help but feel satisfied at seeing Penelope enjoying the breeze again.
“Most people will agree that watching that fiber come off, roll off into a blanket is incredibly satisfying,” McRose told BuzzFeed News. “I feel like there’s almost like a zen to it. Watching that fiber fall gives you like a zen feeling.”
McRose began sharing her work on TikTok in late March, but she said it really took off as she started sharing the stories of the animals she works on. Some, like Penelope, are overdue. Others, like this llama and her baby, are just adorable to watch.
“I think people like to feel these emotional connections with these animals that I present,” she said.
But it’s McRose’s infectious enthusiasm for her craft and the animals that make the channel so enjoyable.
McRose spent most of her childhood in Lockhart, Texas, in a home she said was like a “Noah’s Ark” of animals. She had her own show goat in high school and after watching it get sheared, she gave it a try herself.
“My mom was on Craigslist and saw this lady needed or sheep shared and was like, ‘You know how to do that, right?’ I was like, totally,” she said.
She and a friend spent four hours shearing a small flock, but the results were less than ideal.
“They looked horrible, like Tempur-Pedic pillows,” she said.
But the customer was satisfied and starting recommending McRose to others and, suddenly, she had a business. The company’s name actually comes from the Texas A&M University T-shirts she and her friend would wear that said “the right choice.”
She stuck with it, managing to pay her way through an animal science degree. She was studying to be a vet but after graduating with no debt, it was a no-brainer to continue shearing.
She now hits the road for much of the year, traveling through Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and wherever else there’s a job to do. Her wife is now her business partner, helping wrangle animals and doing shearing herself when there’s a lot to be done.
And, for the record, she can shear a sheep in about 90 seconds now.
What she really loves about TikTok is getting to educate people on her craft. The comments are often asking if the process hurts the animals (no) and if they feel better after (definitely yes).
“I watched this fan base of people start regurgitating the information I was putting out there,” she said. “Like, how cool is that?”
It’s also a draw to see a lesbian couple in a world not often associated with queerness, although McRose said people would be surprised how many fellow LGBTQ farm owners she shears for. She said the videos and press attention has even gotten her more LGBTQ customers.
McRose and her wife have been together since high school, but actually spent years hiding their relationship from family members. After college, they decided to come out and soon got engaged.
For this year’s Pride Month, they shared a video about their story together.
On TikTok, McRose said she thinks people enjoy watching happy animals feeling fresh after their shear, and it’s also a little bit of escapism to a different way of life.
One viewer told her they’ve used her videos to talk about agriculture in the classroom; another said the videos were a temporary distraction while they recovered from injuries.
“I think it brings people to a happy place,” McRose said.