Jared Hernandez via Facebook; Screenshot via blshelby/TikTok

Many Latinos know the struggle of living with excessive body hair. And if you’re a woman, there is a lot of societal pressure to get rid of it by any means possible. But for some, the body hair struggle can start earlier than others. Like with four-month-old Mateo Hernandez who turned into what his parents affectionately call a “little gorilla” as a side effect of his life-saving medication.

After being put on medication for a life-threatening condition called congenital hyperinsulinism, parents Bri Shelby and Jared Hernandez began to notice that little Mateo Hernandez was sprouting thick, dark hair all over his body.


Since my other video got taken down he’s still so precious. #fyp #foryoupage #baby #hairy

♬ original sound – Camylio

Congenital hyperinsulinism is a rare, potentially lethal condition that affects only 1 in 50,000 babies. When a baby has this condition, it means that their pancreas is producing too much insulin for the body. In an interview with The Daily Mail, Bri explained she knew something was wrong when Mateo was shaking and eating too much after coming home from the hospital. Doctors put Mateo Hernandez on diazoxide and warned Bri and Jared that a side effect could be hair growth. But they had no idea just how much hair Mateo would grow.

Up until the unusual side effects began to show, Bri was already documenting Mateo’s hospital stay on TikTok, updating her followers on Mateo’s health status. When Mateo began to get hairy, Bri posted a video to TikTok of Mateo’s fuzzy thighs, writing “When your baby becomes hairy from having to take medicine 😢”

The video of Mateo Hernandez’s hairy body instantly went viral, racking up over 80 million views and 110,000 comments.


#fyp #foryoupage #baby #hairy

♬ original sound – Bri Shelby

Most TikTok users found Mateo Hernandez adorable, writing things like “Noooooo this is too cute. Lil fuzzy bambino. I love him,” and “Girl I know you had to have crazy heartburn.” And of course, many were concerned for Mateo’s health.

As Mateo’s celebrity grew, Bri continued to post funny videos of Mateo’s hairy body. In one video, she and Mateo’s father even brush Mateo’s back hair. If one thing’s for certain, both mother and father seem to have a good sense of humor about Mateo’s condition.

While the majority of the TikTok comments have been positive and supportive, there are a couple of internet trolls who, of course, will take any opportunity to spew hate online. Luckily, Bri is having none of it.

“We really, really do not care about y’all’s comments. Y’all’s negative comments, we don’t care,” she said in a video clapping back at trolls. “I’d rather my baby have a full body of hair and be healthy and alive than to have dangerously low sugars and be in the hospital still. So your comments are irrelevant.”

Bri Shelby told The Daily Mail that doctors expect Mateo to grow out of his condition and eventually go off his medication. However, because Mateo Hernandez’s condition is so rare, doctors don’t have a specific timeline for when that will happen. Until then, both Bri and Jared are happy that Mateo is healthy again. Besides, a little body hair never hurt anyone.