ALPHARETTA - One day in class, a friend told 16-year-old Bella Martina she looked like someone familiar. Martina, according to the friend, looked like Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence -- even providing a picture for proof. Others agreed, and Martina took it with a smile; thinking -- as teenagers today so often do -- that it might make for a funny video.
So, she got on the social media app TikTok, made a video where Lawrence's face was superimposed over her own, and got ready to share it with her Centennial High School volleyball teammates.
"I was like, 'I'll show my friends, they'll get a laugh,'" said Martina. "Then, next thing you know ..."
Next thing anyone knew, the 10-second video was everywhere. Fans shared it across various social media platforms, especially among Clemson Tigers football fans. The video even reached Trevor Lawrence himself: the Clemson athletic department posted a video (on TikTok, of course) showing Lawrence laughing as he watched for the first time.
Martina, who was brought up by a Florida Gators-loving mom and Mississippi State Bulldogs-cheering dad, was soon a Clemson fan herself. That led her to a trip to Death Valley as the Tigers hosted Wake Forest earlier this year. It seemed like everyone tailgating before the game had seen the video -- Martina took tons of pictures with fans.
Among those admirers -- Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who recognized Martina standing in the front row as the team got off their buses and walked into the stadium
"[Coach Swinney] was like, 'you're the girl!' I was like, 'I am the girl!'" said Martina. "He gave me a big hug. He asked if I can throw like Trevor."
Martina even got a picture with Lawrence as he walked through the crowd of fans.
By then, Martina posted a second doppleganger video, which went just as viral as the first. All the while, Martina never complained about being compared to a male celebrity, and didn't mind the small number of people who poked fun online.
"Because [Lawrence] has such an influence on football," said Martina. "Just the Clemson fans, they're insanely amazing people. When I went to the game, I didn't get one bad person that came up to me. Everyone was so welcoming, so nice. It was just, really, I had a very positive reaction. You don't see that a lot online these days. I know, looking like him is probably not the worst thing in the world."
Martina says she hears about the videos in the halls at Centennial, and even at boys basketball games where she serves as a team manager. Almost all of it is good-spirited.
"It's just so insane, and people know your name," said Martina. "Or Trevor, at least. I honestly respond to it by now."
Martina says she has an idea for a special tribute if Lawrence and Clemson win the national championship over LSU. Keep an eye on her social media if Clemson wins the title to find out what it might be.