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Summer Clayton    

Digital Creator, Known as "YourProudDad" on TikTok

Summer Clayton may not have children in real life, but he's a "proud dad" to 2.8 million people on TikTok.

Every week, he sits down to dinner and a virtual chat with his "kids." He looks into the camera with empathy and tells them he's proud of them. He teaches them how to shave, and reminds them it's OK to feel pain when life hurts. Some days, he prays with them.

Clayton, a civilian fitness trainer at Columbus Air Force Base in northeastern Mississippi, is not a therapist or a life coach. He's also only 26 and has no kids.

To some, his one-way conversations may seem silly. But his compassion and charisma come through in the TikTok videos, which have struck a chord among people who need a father figure -- or just someone who appears to listen to their troubles.

Clayton is a health buff who has a bachelor's degree in corporate fitness and a master's in kinesiology. When he's not working at the base or making his videos, he loves lifting weights, taking photos and cooking.

He started posting on TikTok in late 2020 with inspirational and how-to videos, prompting followers to jokingly call him "dad." His first video to go viral was a shaving how-to -- a response to a follower who sent him a message asking, 'hey Dad, can you teach me how to shave?"

The video blew up, earning him tens of thousands of new fans within hours.

Now he goes by "yourprouddad" on TikTok and on Instagram, where he has an additional 68,000 followers and counting.

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