Isabelle Boemeke’s TikTok videos often take a surprising turn. The model opens with makeup tutorials and fitness routines, but as she opens her refrigerator to show what she eats, she changes topic. “One uranium pellet, roughly the size of a gummy bear,” she tells her more than 25,000 followers, “has as much energy as 149 gallons of oil.”
The 32-year-old Brazilian is a self-described nuclear-energy influencer, posting online under the moniker Isodope (a pun on the chemistry term isotope). After first learning about the benefits of nuclear energy from a tweet by American planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, Boemeke spent years reading scientific texts and connecting with experts in the field to expand her knowledge.
The word nuclear is often associated with disasters—Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island—but her message is that, properly managed and monitored, it’s a power source vital to moving the world away from fossil fuels. “When it comes to nuclear power, the world has been sold a bad meme,” Boemeke said in a recent TED talk. “An outdated one.”
In 2020, she started to add climate and energy information to her usual glamorous photo shoots. “My strength was having a social media platform and being able to communicate with people in a way that a lot of the scientists and experts can’t,” she says. At first, she got some “spicy comments and DMs,” she says. But she’s making real change.
Around the world, nuclear reactors are being retired, and in December, Boemeke helped organize protests against the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The plant closure has now been delayed until 2030, after clean-energy advocates made the case that the state would struggle to reduce its carbon emissions without it. Boemeke remains optimistic. This generation “really is the only hope,” she says.