Former felon finds TikTok fame as a role model for millions of young men. Here’s how

Screengrab from @trellthetrainer's TikTok account

Dontrell Britton’s Sundays start off as peaceful as possible: a deep clean of his house, complete with sprinkling baking soda on the rug and vacuuming the crevices of his couch. Then he moves on to a refreshing shower, a healthy meal and a quiet evening of Netflix.

His daily routines can sound like a far cry from life in prison, but that’s exactly where Britton pulls his inspiration from.

Britton, a former felon, soared to fame on TikTok with millions of followers — many of them young men, who his content is made for.

@trellthetrainer Some Will Call It “Institutionalized” But I Call It Taking The Good From Bad For Effective Rehabilitation! Not Only Are They Productive Habits They Also Remind Me Why I Should Never Go Back. THANKS FOR 1 MIL FOLLOWERS TOO. Love Y’all Man! #reform #prisontiktok #myroutine #prisonhabits #returningcitizen #cleantok ♬ DO 4 LOVE - Snoh Aalegra

The D.C. resident now uses his experiences being incarcerated to give advice to his followers. His videos range from dating tips, cleaning routines and hygiene practices that he gleaned from his own life experiences.

“You really teach me so much my father didn’t,” one follower wrote on his videos on dating advice.

“I’m (trying to) help where I can,” Britton answered, and said his father wasn’t around to teach him things, either.

Britton was arrested and charged with a felony before he graduated high school, he told Georgetown University’s School of Medicine’s Inmate Wellness Group in a 2018 panel.

“I had police march down my door with guns pointed at my whole family,” Britton told the panel. “I had a judge telling me that I was going to jail for 20 years.”

@trellthetrainer Sundays Are My Absolute Favorite Day Of The Week. Not Only Do I Get To Clean And Organize, But It Sets The Tone For The REST Of The Week! Take Advantage Of It. Brunch Can Wait! #cleaningtiktok #cleantok #howtoclean #hygiene #menshygiene #cleaningvideo #sunmerwalker #myroutine ♬ Karma - Sped Up - Summer Walker

Britton was part of a drug bust at age 19 and took a plea deal that would mean he’d end up spending four years behind bars, according to the Washingtonian. He helped fellow inmates work out during his time in prison and was paroled in 2015, where he started a business as a fitness trainer.

Now, his reach spans far beyond fitness and into the everyday lives of men on TikTok.

Britton, known as “Trell” on TikTok, has over 28 million likes on his videos. Some of his most popular include “Prison habits I still use today,” “Night time skin care routine for men,” and “Four principles I learned in prison.”

The advice isn’t surface-level, either. Britton offers a deep look into how prison changed him and how others can change themselves. He still kneels when peeing, like he did in prison. He eats during specific times of the day to help himself stick to a routine. He uses exercise to address trauma to avoid problems in his relationships.

@trellthetrainer These Same Principles Also Helped With My Transition Into Society! And I Still Use Til This Day! #prisontok #exfelon #reform #4rules #howto #myroutine ♬ Law - Yo Gotti

“Some will call it ‘institutionalized’ but I call it taking the good from bad for effective rehabilitation,” Britton wrote on one video. “Not only are they productive habits, they also remind me why I should never go back.”

“This is evidence that at any point in time you can change the trajectory of your life,” one viewer said, and echoed three words that flood Britton’s comments: “Proud of you.”

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