Jamaican Grandmother, 103, Becomes TikTok Star by Sharing Tips on Living Life to the Fullest

Jamaican grandmother Pearl Taylor of Dayton, Ohio, has become a star on TikTok by sharing what she has learned about during her 103 years of living. A vibrant and active woman who walks at Walmart for exercise and attributes her health to a special diet, Taylor believes that love is the secret to a long life and emphasizes the love of self. “You have got to think about yourself first. You help yourself first,” she shared in one of her TikTok clips that went viral.

A sharp centenarian

Featured on NBC’s Today.com website, Taylor told a reporter that everyone has to take responsibility for their own life, whether it is good or bad. “Whatever our life is, we create it,” she emphasized, adding, “It’s all about you. It’s not about anything out there. It’s all how you perceive.” Her philosophy has worked for her as she enjoys physical health, can climb the stairs in her two-story home, does her own grocery shopping, and walked unaided until a recent back injury required her to use a walker. She has never suffered from cancer but does have a pacemaker that regulates her heart.

Her granddaughter’s observations

Pearl Taylor’s granddaughter, Taylor Bernal, posts videos of Pearl on TikTok and loves to her thriving at the age of 103. Bernal believes that much of her grandmother’s longevity is the result of her “hyper independence,” along with the fact that she has lived on her own for years, eats healthy foods, and stays active. Bernal also cited Pearl’s positive mindset as a factor for her long life. Bernal is proud of how Pearl has become an inspiration to women of color and others via TikTok, calling her a great example “of loving yourself and keeping yourself very healthy with a great mindset.”

Proud of her diverse heritage

Pearl Taylor’s parents met in Cuba; her mother was Jamaican, and her father was from Pakistan. Taylor and her four sisters were born in Cuba, but the family moved to Jamaica when she was three. She moved to the United States in 1947, settling in an Ohio community where “there weren’t a lot of people who looked like her,” Bernal said, adding that she believes that had a definite impact on the family and that Taylor “stood up for their rights.” Taylor was married to a Jamaican man whom she divorced after 20 years. A second marriage to an American man lasted 37 years until he died at the age of 80. Three of her sisters also enjoyed long lives: one lived to 104, another to 100, and a third to 93.

Diet is important

Taylor credits her diet for helping her live a long life as well. A TikTok video shows her frying plantain, and she believes that home cooking is critical for maintaining good health. She noted that her family tends to have stomach problems, which she believes can be traced to what they eat in a typical American diet that is heavy on meat. Taylor eats a lot of fish, vegetables, and salads. She indulges herself occasionally with ice cream, sweet wine, and chips.

“Green juice” for good health

Taylor learned a recipe for a special “green juice” from an acquaintance who had a health food store. The recipe includes fresh aloe, kale, parsley, ginger, celery, powdered greens, and Splenda as a sweetener. Taylor has relied on this for some 30 years. She also eats a papaya and half a banana every morning and would like people to learn more about the fruit. Her family grew papaya in Jamaica, and according to the American Heart Association, it is rich in potassium, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Taylor also drinks hibiscus tea, which also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that support liver health, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Asking for what she needs

While Taylor emphasizes love and peace as necessary for living a good life, she also says people must be proactive. Her motto: Ask and you shall receive. In one of her TikTok videos she says people hesitate to do this because they are afraid “to be a bother,” but she notes that isn’t true, and they should ask. She started her search for how to be fulfilled in life after she read, “The Game of Life and How To Play It,” which taught her that self-love is the only way to happiness because when “love is coming from you, you can extend it to others.”

Photo: Taylor Bernal