Going to school with 10,000 other people can make it difficult to stand out. Many of us shuffle down the narrow sidewalks of the College, passing right by each other without a second glance. Despite this, even the College of Charleston is home to those characters whom we cannot help but notice, those intriguing few whom we look for every day just to say we saw them. What makes these people so special? Why do we admire them as much as we do? Well, perhaps we simply cannot look away from their bold fashion statements or find it difficult to ignore their unique customs. Or maybe we notice them for a deeper reason. Perhaps we notice them due to our inward admiration of their ability to so boldly be themselves, without showing concern for societal norms. Whatever our answers may be, many times we never stop to take a closer look in order to uncover the person behind the celebrity. Many of us know the aliases “Barefoot Scooter Guy” and “Tiger Backpack Girl,” but have no idea what their names are, where they come from or anything about who they are as people. To set the record straight, CisternYard News interviewed these street celebrities of the College in order to bring you all the personal stories behind the people we love to Yak about.
Charlie Jackson, aka “Barefoot Scooter Guy”
Charlie Jackson is a junior Biology major at the College of Charleston from Hilton Head, South Carolina, but many of us know him affectionately as “Barefoot Scooter Guy,” as he scoots around our campus day in and day out, almost always sans footwear. His nickname appears on Yik Yak daily, as students never miss a chance to post a sighting. How, then, did Charlie Jackson become the “Barefoot Scooter Guy” we all know and love today?
According to Jackson, he started using his famous scooter on his fourth birthday when he received it as a gift.. After a few years of scooting around barefoot, however, he lost touch with his scooter. “High school was when I started scooting again,” Jackson recalled. “I worked at a pizza place and we’d mop up the floor, and I would slide across the wet floors out to the stairs out front and mess around doing that before closing.” After reigniting the flame of love for his scooter, Jackson took his scooter with him when he moved around, staying in Asheville and Columbia before ending up in Charleston, where he finally became known as “Barefoot Scooter Guy.”
Jackson first noticed others were watching him one day after scooting to the hot dog stand on Glebe Street. When he got home, his roommate showed him that someone had posted about him on Yik Yak. “He showed me this app that he had on his phone and he started scrolling through it,” Jackson said, “and there was a post that said, ‘Barefoot Scooter kid looks like he moves weight.’” Although unsure of how he feels about this sort of press, Jackson says he enjoys meeting some of his fans that stop him to ask questions as he passes by. “I’ve met a lot of cool people who stop me and talk to me basically asking questions like, ‘What are you doing?’ and ‘Why are you doing it?’” Jackson said. “It’s flattering in a sense, but I just like to go under the radar and do my own thing.”
Despite his street cred at the College, all Jackson really wants after graduating is to lead a simple life. “Honestly, I just want a big plot of land and just live, grow anything I need, and raise animals. I just want to be secluded honestly, and live with close people, I think that would be cool,” he concluded.
Finally, for those who remain curious, Jackson has confirmed that he does, in fact, wear shoes.“I’m in genetics right now, so I have genetics lab and I have to wear shoes in there, and I wear them in some stores and restaurants. If it gets too cold, I wear them, too, but I usually don’t.” And the burning question – why? “It just feels weird, if I put shoes on my feet, they just get too hot.”
Tessa Torgovicsky, aka “Tiger Backpack Girl”
In addition to its old legends, the College of Charleston is also home to new ones. Tessa Torgovicsky is a freshman women’s and gender studies and psychology double major from Washington, D.C., but many know her as “Tiger Backpack Girl,” a name that speaks for itself. But just who is this newcomer who is appearing on Yik Yak alongside the likes of “Barefoot Scooter Guy,” and how did she acquire this tiger backpack?
Torgovicsky, an anime fan, said that she acquired the bag from a Baltimore anime convention called Otakon. “My brother told me: ‘Tessa, you need to get this so we will talk to you in college.’ So, he was joking, but I kinda looked at it as something useful and big so I was like, ‘This could be something fun!’” Although Torgovicsky remembers many of the convention attendees donning similar backpacks, the College of Charleston was a different story; Torgovicsky began to notice people noticing her. Suddenly, her friends reported to her that she was being posted about on Yik Yak and Snapchat alike. “I noticed people were really paying attention to me was when there was a Yik Yak about me and ‘Barefoot Scooter Guy,’ Torgovicsky recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh my god they put us in the same Yik Yak, I’ve made it.’”
Although she never anticipated the attention, Torgovicsky welcomes it gladly, as it has caused her to feel as though she belongs to the community of students at the College. Though many have come to know her from her backpack, Torgovicsky is much more than her bold accessory. In her spare time, Torgovicsky started a small business with one of her friends, called Xanoss Clothing. Together, the two of them design their own t-shirts to sell. She takes Hebrew for her foreign language, enjoys watching anime and works hard to keep up with her family in D.C. and her friends in the city. However, more than all of that, Torgovicsky says that her newest favorite pastime is simply taking in the beauty of her new home here in Charleston. “I take really long walks just meandering around the city. It’s nice because now I have a real feel for the area besides campus so I feel more like I live in Charleston than just going to the College of Charleston.”
After college, Torgovicsky hopes to make a real difference in the world, as her women’s and gender studies major has opened her eyes to important causes and issues of which she desires to take part and have a voice, believing in the importance of being an active member of her community as well as a voice for positive change in the world. Although she has had many dreams and aspirations in her lifetime, Torgovicsky has one longstanding dream: to become an FBI agent, where she hopes to find the true potential to be an active voice of positive change in the world. Citing one of her favorite quotations, Torgovicsky appropriately concluded, “I’m not causing a commotion, I AM the commotion.” For those who wonder, Torgovicsky HAS named her backpack; she fittingly calls her tiger head “Crookshanks.”