Fruit ninjas no longer exist solely inside of video games; they can be found in San Gabriel Valley, California: Alejandro Isabel and Daniela Benítez are mesmerizing audiences by slicing up fruit at fast speeds.
Isabel and Benítez, the owners of two “El Ninja” fruit stands in the community of La Puente, have garnered a following on TikTok of over 1.2 million for their impressive fruit-cutting videos and livestreams. They post their videos on the @elninja17_ account on TikTok.
Isabel came to the U.S. over 10 years ago and learned how to operate his own fruit stand from a fruit vending company, where he met his now-wife, Benítez. Both are from the Mexican city of Puebla, they said in an interview with NBC Los Angeles.
“The truth is that we both started from scratch, we both started without having anything,” Benítez told NBC Los Angeles. “We’re very compatible, we both have good thoughts. We always have the saying that 'two heads are better than one,’ so we always share our thoughts.”
The couple originally started their stands in Whittier but moved to La Puente when they noticed a lack of fruit vendors; they have been selling their fruit cups and items for the past six years.
Isabel credits his wife with giving him the idea to start a TikTok for their fruit business. During the pandemic, Benítez had began posting makeup tutorials to her account @lamaylob for fun. She decided, with encouragement from Isabel, to post about her fruit-slicing business as well.
Since then, she has amassed over 115,000 followers and clients of her stand often tell her they came because of her TikTok, she said. “There have been new people who tell me, ‘I came because I saw you on live and I craved the fruit,’” Benítez told NBC Los Angeles.
Their fruit-cutting talent has attracted a large following, who tune into their livestreams to watch their fruit-slicing skills and to learn more about the couple and their culture.
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The success from their fruit stands and social media presence has allowed Isabel and Benítez to help relatives start their own stands. They have also offered support to fellow fruit stand vendors who were impacted by the recent massive fire on the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles.
“I am very grateful for everything I have had and for everything this business has given me,” Benítez told NBC Los Angeles.