Chanel The African Grey Parrot Is Living Her Best Life After Being Reunited With Her Owner
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Featured Image Credit: Instagram
Cast your mind back to April 2020 - we were all locked down, bored out of our minds and looking for something to cheer us up.
Luckily for us, happiness came in the unlikely shape of Chanel, The African Grey parrot who jumped out of quarantine and flew out of the window - causing an international man hunt.
What made the search of Chanel the Parrot so widespread? The viral video of Chanel's ma, Sandra Hannah, running up and down the streets of desperately calling Chanel's name.
The video spawned memes, TikTok videos and even a remix - cementing the iconic moment in the quarantine history books.
Thankfully, Chanel was found safe and sound just days later - leaving the African Grey and her owner to adjust to their newfound fame.
"Chanel is such a little diva," Sandra tells Tyla. "And I'm still recognised as the crazy parrot lady. Even this morning I was walking around and someone was like - 'You're the Chanel parrot lady!'
"My kids won't even go out with me! They're like 'Mum, everyone's shouting Chanel at you. I'm glad I'm as strong as I am to deal with it!
"But I love the memes. The Whitney Houston one, the Jurassic Park one, it was just funny.
"When we realised we went viral, we stayed up all night laughing. I couldn't believe it had gotten so far."
Sandra has had Chanel, full name Chanel Chanellington, since the parrot was just 12 weeks old - and even at such a young age, Sandra knew she had her hands full.
"She was like a naughty little child, she would pick up every naughty little sound," she explains.
"I tried to teach her to say all the kids names but no, she'd rather say bitch. Her favourite phrase at the moment is 'get out now.'
"I called her Chanel because my chihuahua is called Coco, and I thought it's got to go with that, and we just went with that - and then she just started to call herself Chanel Chanellington. She talks to herself a lot."
But while she may not be the most obedient parrot in the world, Chanel's great escape on the fateful day was completely out of character; having had her wings clipped as a baby, Chanel has never flown very far at all.
However, when a neighbour started drilling during that hot spring day, Chanel got spooked and flew three miles away from home - which resulted in Sandra's panicked video.
"I just went on Facebook Live to get as many people watching as possible, everyone was messaging me saying they were all out shouting for her. It was heart-breaking, how many people got involved trying to find her.
"I was getting loads of messages from people saying 'I found it' and it was a seagull or a pigeon and I was like, 'God, I'm going to get loads of these now.'
"But luckily, someone found her after they heard Chanel saying 'hello' in the garden and knocking on the window."
While Sandra, who has no qualms about making funny videos on Facebook to make others smile, was surprised at going viral, she adds that she wouldn't change it for the world.
"I have it tattooed on me, everything happens for a reason," she explains. "Everyone says I made their lockdown, and that they all felt depressed - then some crazy parrot lady ran down the street and made us all happy."
And now, Sandra and Chanel are navigating the world of meme fame, planning meet and greets when lockdown is eased.
"I've bought a little parrot bag so Chanel can come out with me," she laughs. "I've been asked to do tours and meet and greets, and loads of people want me to go out and have drinks with them.
"Everyone wants a Chanel baby! I wanted to breed her so I got a male parrot but she was too defensive, wouldn't let her go near him. She knows she's famous, you see."
Currently, Sandra has a Cameo account, which means people can request videos from her and Chanel. While many have been repeats of the iconic CHANEL call, she did have one strange request.
"One man wanted me to send a message for his daughter's birthday. He wanted me in my heels, in my shiny leggings but to sing happy birthday in the shower.
"I waited for it to rain, and he said that was fine instead."
As long as she's bringing happiness during lockdown, Sandra and Chanel are happy to keep entertaining.
"It's our third lockdown now, so you have to be as strong as an ox to keep positive," she says. "But as long as we stick together and keep smiling, we can get through it."