When Chae first saw Angela Vandusen, aka @angelatheegoddess, on her TikTok For You page last year, she was instantly smitten. A 27-year-old based in Michigan, Vandusen was a home health care aide and an aspiring natural oils entrepreneur, but she had amassed many devoted adherents by posting thirst traps on the platform, most of which followed a specific template: she’d turn her steely blue gaze on the camera, usually while biting her lower lip and lip-synching provocative lyrics, or simulating strap-on sex while winking to the camera. She’d built a following of about 50,000 followers based on those videos, as well as videos documenting her dramatic weight loss journey.
A single stay-at-home mom of two children, Chae, who requested her last name be withheld to protect her privacy, wasn’t looking for a girlfriend at the time. But when Vandusen popped into her TikTok Live late last year, she was giddy with excitement. “She was my biggest TikTok crush at the time,” Chae says. It wasn’t just Vandusen’s looks — the penetrating stare, the chest tats, the razor-sharp cheekbones — that attracted Chae. It was also the fact that Vandusen frequently made videos about her love of BBWs (big beautiful women), coupled with those documenting her own weight loss journey. As a BBW herself, Chae was intrigued. “She understands what a bigger person goes through, the insecurities and stuff like that,” Chae says.
Chae and Vandusen exchanged numbers, and they began chatting every day, sometimes late into the night while Vandusen was still working her shifts. When Vandusen told Chae she was involved in the kink lifestyle and wanted Chae to be her submissive, Chae says, she didn’t bat an eyelash; though she’d never dabbled in kink before, the prospect intrigued her. Same went for the fact that Angela had a slew of online admirers, who’d go into her Lives every Saturday to lobby for her affection: Chae was also interested in the poly lifestyle, and says she didn’t initially feel jealousy in that regard.
Then, in the winter of 2021, another one of Angela’s subs started calling her “daddy.” Angela apparently liked it, and on one of her Lives, she requested that all of her followers refer to her as “Daddy,” and that they refer to themselves as “Daddy’s Girls.” “It mainly was like a sisterhood,” says Chae. “At least, that’s how it started.”
Now, Vandusen, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, is alleged to be the leader of the Daddy’s Girls cult, a group of female devotees who identify themselves with a yellow heart in their bio (this was, Chae says, inspired by the fact that she once painted her nails yellow, and Angela liked the color). Many of the members of the so-called “Daddy’s Girls cult,” as TikTokers describe it, are Black women; their bizarre Lives, in which they pray to Vandusen like a god, have attracted the attention of black TikTok. The level of scrutiny around them was heightened last spring after Chae left the group and made several allegations against Angela publicly, such as that she forced her “Girls” to cut themselves and pull out their own hair if they displeased her. And while many of Vandusen’s so-called “girls” state that their relationships with her are consensual, and that they follow her of their own volition, cult experts disagree.
“What definitely is going on here is psychological manipulation,” says Diane Benscoter, a cult expert and former member of the Unification Church, who runs the group Antidote.ngo. “This person is taking advantage of TikTok and social media and it’s a business, almost, where the goal is total control over a specific group of people. It’s definitely got all of the components that one would call a cult.” In their Lives, Angela and other members of the group would also validate claims that the group was a “cult,” albeit in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. “They say it’s a cult,” Angela says in one Live, responding to another user’s comment and grinning. “Want to join?”