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Pop Culture

'Heaven's receptionist' is on TikTok and she's helping people cope with loss in a beautiful way

Taryn Delanie Smith first created Denise, a New Yorker receptionist working in heaven, as pure comedy. After one heartfelt request, everything changed.

miss new york, grief, tiktok
@taryntino21/TikTok

What started off as pure comedy became something else altogether.

Taryn Delanie Smith might have won the title of Miss New York in 2022, but these days she is repping her hometown in a whole new way. Over on TikTok, Smith plays Denise, a gum-chewing, white bathrobe-wearing receptionist ushering folks to the pearly gates—all with a quintessential New York accent and nonchalance.

As you can probably imagine, most of the videos in this delightful series lean toward comedy. I mean, Smith's receptionist impression is 100% spot-on, and many of her greatest hits involve talking about ghost outfits, for crying out loud. However, after one fan’s heartfelt request, things took a deeper turn.

The request was fairly simple. A viewer asked if Denise could greet their late mother Geraldine in the afterlife. Smith obliged, and according to Insider, she emailed the viewer asking for more details. A few days later, Denise was seen giving Gerry the warmest welcome into heaven. It’s really the sweetest thing.

Watch:

@taryntino21 Replying to @jennifertavernier13 for you and your mama ❤️ she absolutely qualified for angel premium plus btw! #heaven #receptionist ♬ Somewhere Over The Rainbow_What A Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

The sincerity of Smith’s video left viewers touched (and maybe a bit wrecked).

“This just made me cry sitting in my car in a drive thru. That was so sweet of you to make this video,” one person commented.

“This is a moment of genuine humanity. The love you’ve shown to someone I assume you have never known and take the time to help a soul heal. Beautiful,” added another.

Since posting that clip, other requests have flooded in asking Denise to help their loved ones who have passed on be welcomed into heaven. Though Smith told Insider that creating these personalized videos was an emotionally taxing and time-consuming process (since she wants to make sure they’re “special”), it’s a responsibility she gladly takes on.

Here are a few more:

@taryntino21 @michelleprice27 this one really weighed on my heart for a few days. Sorry it took me awhile. ❤️ #heaven #receptionist ♬ original sound - Taryn Delanie🤠
@taryntino21 Parts of this email were shared with permission from @Becca Darling ❤️ it took me awhile to be able to record this one without getting teary. Hugs becca. #grief #heaven #receptionist ♬ original sound - Taryn Delanie🤠
@taryntino21 Replying to @ashleynoelle29 #greenscreen ♬ Somewhere Over The Rainbow_What A Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Smith never expected Miss Denise’s popularity to take off in this way and has been moved by the overwhelmingly positive response. Something about the fictional character’s perfect blend of humor and heart have really helped people process grief and feel a little less anxiety towards death.

This is perhaps a bit of Smith’s own life philosophy shining through. “I think the best part of life is laughter,” she told her viewers. “I think the best part of life is finding joy and silliness in as many moments as you can and I cannot help but feel that the afterlife is gonna be the same.”

It’s true we have no idea what, or who, awaits us on the other side, but there is great comfort in imagining a possibility where our loved ones are never truly gone. God bless Denise for making that dream feel a little more real, one premium angel package at a time.

Catch even more of Denise doing heavenly deeds on TikTok here.

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With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

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