By Asaka Park
A student answers a Zoom call in a plague mask, telling me that they have a livestream scheduled after our interview. It’s the kid, the myth, the legend.
It’s the Plague Doctor.
The student, who asked to remain anonymous, turned heads in Oct. 2022 when they started walking around campus in a plague doctor costume. With encouragement from their friends, they shared their adventures with TikTok, under the handle @icecreamplague. Before they knew it, their views climbed up to thousands.
@icecreamplague’s most viral video series shows them in Travers walking door to door in full garb, startling their unsuspecting classmates.
“A couple of people were like, ‘Hey! You know, you should scare our friends’ … I went with them after getting reassurance that their friends are going to be cool after I scare them,” the mysterious figure explained.
But not everyone was cool with the Plague Doctor. In November, Campus Police began to receive complaints from several students stating the costume made them uncomfortable. Some left nasty comments on social media.
“There was one person that might have threatened my life — maybe; I don't know if I misconstrued his words,” they said.
In December, the Plague Doctor announced via Instagram Stories that they would no longer wear the costume on campus. By then, the Campus Police had approached the student a total of seven times. They persisted because they were “not breaking any rules.”
Besides, the officers seemed to agree that the costume was a harmless joke. Still, the Plague Doctor feared that controversy had begun to overshadow their original mission: to make people laugh.
However, it wasn’t long until the Plague Doctor returned. During finals week, when the controversial Bible Believers had decided to make an appearance on campus, it was a good day for the Plague Doctor to pop out in a Mrs. Claus costume. As the Plague Doctor shimmied down the pavement, students erupted in cheers and laughter, drowning out the hate speech.
This semester, the Plague Doctor is finding their groove. On the video call, they appeared wearing a maid costume. Lately, they started experimenting with cute, frilly clothes to wear with their plague mask — a comical contrast that puts onlookers at ease when they’re in public.
“I'm really only doing this for just the people that enjoy it,” they said.
With 100k followers and counting, the Plague Doctor’s fanbase extends far beyond the College’s students. The student works tirelessly to engage their audience, with the ultimate goal of creating content full-time, like their childhood favorites Smosh and Fine Bros.
Being a content creator in college isn’t as easy as it seems. It requires dedication and hard work, along with careful good judgment.
Time management has been a learning curve. They said they used to stream on Twitch every day, but had to cut down to 3 days a week when they began to fall behind academically.
Another challenge is maintaining privacy. The Plague Doctor has not revealed their identity behind the mask and does not plan on doing so anytime soon.
“With the amount of people who despise me and the fact that I still want to pursue some career after college, I will keep myself masked and hidden,” they said.
However, they may reconsider if they attain greater influence.
“I don’t know… Reaching 1 million on TikTok or surpassing 20k on Twitch. Like, something insane.”