“Fat, Black and Gettin It”: The unexpected influence of Colorado’s outdoor TikTok star Nelson Holland

The Aurora transplant is earning million of likes while showing that Colorado trails aren’t just for the wealthy, white, musclebound bros

Dan England
The Colorado Sun
Nelson Holland at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 14. Holland moved to Colorado around 2014 and now has over 70,000 TiktTok followers under his account @fatblackandgettinit.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America

Nelson Holland battles negative thoughts all the time, so much so that they’re liable to knock his sizable frame to the ground.

When he feels this way, Holland goes to his favorite spot, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge at the edge of Denver, a place where Holland discovered nature and changed every part of his life. It doesn’t matter what he weighs there. The bison that Holland knows so intimately that he can tell you where they’ll move next don’t care. His dark skin color, braided hair and slight Brooklyn accent don’t bother them either. 

Holland not only found peace, some fitness and a kid’s love for the outdoors at the Arsenal, he found a way to become Colorado’s unlikeliest influencer and TikTok star.

He came to Colorado from Long Island, New York, after a friend from Boulder encouraged him to visit. 

Years later, Holland, who lives in Aurora, describes himself as a 3-year-old with his nose to the glass when he sees wildlife. You can see his joy in his TikTok posts, from the first time he came across bighorn sheep near Mount Evans to the moose in State Forest State Park to the time he woke up in Estes Park’s YMCA of the Rockies and saw an elk right outside his window.

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