How This 65-Year-Old Woman Became Canada's Most Unexpected Vine Star

    Judy Perly has thousands of fans on a platform she says she doesn't even fully understand.

    This is Judy Perly, a 65-year-old restaurant owner who, until recently, was best known for her weekly brunch specials. But in the last year Perly has also unexpectedly become a minor celebrity on Vine.

    Judy Perly / Via

    Perly owns the Free Times Cafe in Toronto, which she started 35 years ago after leaving her job as a high school art teacher.

    She told BuzzFeed Canada she didn't even install the Vine app on her phone. Someone else did that for her a couple years ago while doing some work on her restaurant's website.

    "I knew nothing about it," she said.

    Perly's rise to fame started with a vine she took on the plane headed to Barcelona for vacation.

    "Hi Judy here, on the way to Barcelona, just waiting for the plane, to take off."

    Something about Perly's enthusiasm for air travel touched a nerve.

    "My hair looked like a disaster. I had a piece of food on the side of my cheek," Perly said in an interview with BuzzFeed Canada, still somewhat miffed at why the vine proved so popular.

    The vine has gotten close to 5 million loops, thousands of comments, and hundreds of imitations since it was first published in July.

    Perly now has more than 11,000 followers and millions of loops on her videos. “Judy here” has become both her catchphrase and a Vine in-joke among her fans.

    She says she’s gotten hundreds of phone calls from teenagers, many of whom are desperate for a shoutout on her account.

    "The problem is if you start giving shoutouts, everyone wants one," Perly said.

    For her part, she still doesn't consider herself a Vine star, and she certainly doesn't obsessively prepare and edit her six-second loops like many of the service's most popular users do.

    Aside from a few "sexual" messages she's gotten, most of her interactions on Vine have been positive, she says. People her age can be so "narrow-minded about young people," she said, but she admires the fun and creativity she sees on the app.

    Perly says her focus is still on her business. Her Vine account is just where she gets to act goofy and weird to blow off some steam.

    Ishmael N. Daro / BuzzFeed Canada

    Perly said she's probably done about $1,000 in business from her Vine fans coming to eat at the restaurant, but otherwise her two worlds don't overlap.

    The Free Times Cafe just celebrated its 35th anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of its famous Jewish brunch.

    As for her own popularity, Perly has a theory.

    "It's like your mother or your grandmother, and she's off the wall," she said.

    "I'm just kind of myself. I don't even understand Vine completely."

    Here are some more of Judy's greatest hits:

    Judy following the ducks.

    Judy following the geese.

    And her latest masterpiece, Judy being way too excited to see a raccoon trying to get inside a Shoppers Drug Mart.

    You're amazing, Judy. Keep it up!

    Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

    Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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