What is Ballerina Farm? Their backstory and current controvery – TechVerdant

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There’s a new mumfluencer in town, or rather, a farmfluencer. 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you probably haven’t been sucked into the delicious, therapeutic rabbit hole that is scrolling the Ballerina Farm feed for hours.

But the good news is – I have! And I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about it.

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The mum-of-seven has over 13.2 million followers

Mum-of-seven, soon-to-be-eight, Hannah Neeleman, has over 13.2 million followers across Instagram and TikTok and has blown up this year for her beautiful content depicting her family’s life on a ranch in Utah. 

I justify the hours spent watching her videos by saying, ‘Maybe one day I’ll live on a farm and need to know how to milk a cow’ and ‘Perhaps I’ll get inspired to make sourdough pizza bases with freshly made ricotta’.

But the truth is, I will never live on a farm and I don’t even like ricotta. 

Still, I can’t look away.

I, like millions of other people, are obsessed with Ballerina Farm. 

Let’s unpack why. 

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How did Ballerina Farm start? 

Before we get into it, let’s take a quick look at Hannah and her husband Daniel, and how they ended up living on Ballerina Farm. 

The couple married in 2011 and were living in Brazil for Daniel’s job. There, they became interested in the farming communities and decided to try their hand at farm life back home. So, they bought a piece of land in Birdseye, Utah, and built their dream ranch.

At this point, they had three boys, Henry, Charles and George and a girl, Frances, on the way. They later went on to have more daughters, Lois, Martha and Mabel. 

The pair had absolutely no experience in ranching or farming, in fact, Hannah was a trained ballerina with a masters in business. 

Nonetheless, they dedicated themselves to learning; taking courses and watching tutorials on YouTube, and all the while, Hannah documented their journey online.

As their family grew in size, so did their following. 

Then they moved their farm to a larger property which was a whopping 300 acres of land in Kamas, Utah. There, they sold beef and pork along with merch like aprons, sourdough starter kits, kitchen utensils and cowboy hats. 

So, why is everyone obsessed with her? My first theory; a new take on mumfluencing

Cut to now and the Ballerina Farm has taken the world by storm. A typical video (which averages 10 million views) features anything from making food from scratch to harvesting fruit and vegetables.

The whole time, Hannah has one of her gorgeous kids in one arm and is getting on with her farm duties with the other. Her other kids are always nearby, watching and helping their mum as she goes about her day. 

This brings me to my first point, of why I think everyone is obsessed with Ballerina Farm.

She makes it all look easy. 

Seven kids, running a household, running a farm, oh, and she just won Mrs. American (while pregnant!)

The juggle doesn’t seem to exist for Hannah, or if it does, she makes it look effortless, even achievable. 

It’s this sort of aspirational content that’s seen women everywhere gush over her picture-perfect portrayal of motherhood. 

Yes, it’s totally, unashamedly ‘trad wife’ vibes (traditional wife) — she’s deeply religious, embraces tradition, cooks from scratch, is devoted to her kids and serves her husband. But while we might have our own opinions about that sort of domestic set-up, I think I speak for all her followers when I say – it just looks peaceful as f**k. 

I know that it’s an unattainable ideal and my benches will never be as clean as hers or my food as rustic, but a girl can dream.

My second theory; a simpler life

The second reason I think Ballerina Farm is so popular is that it almost feels like the direct opposite of what mumfluencer culture is like at the moment. 

We’re constantly bombarded with mummy bloggers spruiking the latest must-have toy or pram, telling us to buy buy buy. 

But Hannah, well, she wants us to have less. And not in a commercialised, minimalistic, Marie Kondoesque way.

It’s in an authentic and genuine way, where we’re encouraged to strip our lives back to the foundations.

Good food and a good family is all you need, apparently… 

The Ballerina Farm controversy

Speaking of having less, not more, it’s time to burst this perfect little bubble and get into one of the biggest controversies surrounding our favourite country gal. 

Yes, I know. I’m sad too. 

While Hannah and her family might inspire us to have less, apparently they actually have… a lot. Like billions a lot. 

Earlier this year, internet sleuths figured out that her oven (that’s in the background of lots of her videos) cost around $46,000.

From there, the sleuths continued sleuthing and uncovered that the family is backed by millions of dollars. In fact, they’re heirs to a billion-dollar fortune. 

Daniel’s father is David Gary Neeleman, the founder of major airlines like Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue Airways, Azul Brazilian Airlines, and Breeze Airways.

Safe to say, their fans were mad when they found out.

Not because the family has money, but because of their lack of transparency about it.

And on top of this, they’ve made their entire brand around their ‘humble’ farm life. 

As one person, Meg Conley put it, “They’re feigning normalcy, but [their lives] are not normal.

“Just say, ‘We come from a family with immense resources. We’re so lucky. We wanted to raise animals with all that good luck.’ 

“But the evasiveness on this point is ultimately destroying me. I wish they’d stop pretending they were living off the land. Because so many people who do live off the land are in such a desperate state.”

Hannah and Daniel have not addressed any of the criticism as of yet, and I doubt they ever will. 

If anything, all this controversy only adds to the attention they’re receiving. 

So as long as critics are trying to take them down, people will continue to watch their bucolic, albeit disingenuous, life online. 

Yep, including me.  

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