TikTok star ‘Doggface’ Nathan Apodaca was homeless — but now he’s lifting others
Sally Krutzig, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
IDAHO FALLS (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho’s cranberry-juice-sipping TikTok star has found a new way to help his home state.
Nathan Apodaca, better known by his social media handle Doggface, is preparing to rent out his famous trailer to raise money for Idaho’s homeless. The project was inspired by his own experience living in a tent in 2019.
Apodaca, 38, first shot to fame in September after his TikTok video went viral. It showed him sipping Ocean Spray’s Cran-Raspberry and lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while skateboarding through Idaho Falls.
The video has been viewed more than 100 million times across all platforms. It skyrocketed the 1977 “Dreams” to No. 1 on iTunes and was the second-most-watched TikTok video of 2020. Apodaca has since starred in commercials with Snoop Dogg, skateboarded with Wiz Khalifa and filmed a segment for President Joe Biden’s virtual inauguration parade.
And while his video was an instant hit, it was Apodaca’s humble story that most endeared him to the public. After going viral, Apodaca revealed in interviews that he was living in a trailer with no running water. Parked in his brother’s front yard, he would walk inside every time he needed to shower or use the bathroom. His trailer has since become “iconic,” according to Apodaca; a representation of how far he has come in the last eight months.
Yet few know that Apodaca was homeless before buying that used RV trailer.
He lived in a tent along a dirt road on the Snake River in Idaho Falls in 2019. After two months there, Apodaca received a call to rejoin a seasonal Idaho wildfire fighting camp crew on which he had previously worked. That job allowed him to at last save up enough to buy his trailer.
“That trailer meant everything, man,” Apodaca told the Idaho Statesman. “If I didn’t get that trailer that winter, I was going to basically freeze. I had a place to go. I could have went to my sister’s. But I would have to suck up my ego or whatever it (was) keeping me from going. I just wanted to do it by myself, you know what I mean? And then me, in this trailer, like it just showed myself that I could do it. That I could get myself out of the rut that I was in.”
RENT AN ICON, HELP HOMELESS
Knowing how easy it can be to find oneself without a place to live, Apodaca teamed up with Texas-based company Outdoorsy to create a unique way to help. Similar to Airbnb, Outdoorsy connects people with locally owned recreation vehicles available to rent while traveling.
Outdoorsy will be driving Apodaca’s trailer from Idaho to California for renovations. Outdoorsy will then park it near Los Angeles for Doggface fans to rent. The company plans to reveal more details on its website later this summer.
All proceeds from the rentals will go to a variety of charitable organizations of Apodaca’s choice that benefit Idaho’s homeless.
The first organization he chose is City of Refuge, a homeless shelter in Idaho Falls. Olivia Stauffer, community relations director of City of Refuge, said the state’s recent population growth has resulted in an increase in homelessness. She said it is important for Idahoans to be aware of the problem and ensure shelters have the resources needed.
“I reached out (to Apodaca) because he has a pretty big following,” Stauffer said. “People watch what he does. They admire him. … So if we can get enough awareness and support right now, we can continue addressing this in the capacity needed. As this area grows, we’re going to need more resources.”
FROM HOMELESS TO FAMILY HERO
Not only has Apodaca experienced homelessness, so have many of his loved ones.
“My parents been through it growing up. My family’s been through it. Everybody’s been through it that I know. It’s a struggle,” Apodaca said. “(Renting the trailer) is just another way of me getting out there to pay it forward. A lot of good things have happened to me in my life lately. My mom has always taught me to not be selfish, to just be generous with whatever you got.”
Today, Apodaca’s living situation is “better than I could’ve ever imagined.” He used his earnings from his newfound fame to buy a four-bedroom home in Idaho Falls. Apodaca’s favorite thing is his yard, where he can “go outside and see green grass instead of a dirt road along the river.”
He bought another house for his mother.
And, while he says many have encouraged him to capitalize on his internet fame by moving to Hollywood, Idaho will always be his home.
“I’m a born and raised Idahoan,” Apodaca said.” I’m going to stay. This is home. Everybody keeps telling me to move to Cali(fornia). And I’ll go to visit and everything, but this is home.”