Mortician Eileen Hollis also tells PEOPLE about the hardest tasks she’s faced while working with the dead
Credit: tiktok

Mortician Eileen Hollis was exposed to the funeral industry since she was little.

The Syracuse native, 31, who is viral on TikTok, tells PEOPLE she grew up above Hollis Funeral Home with her family in what she described as a normal childhood with the occasional seance with friends as a teenager.

Due to legalities she was never exposed to watching her father – Hollis Funeral Home Director Charlie Hollis – perform an embalming, but she did see countless corpses during viewings as a child.

Eileen went on to study Mortuary Science and once licensed, she began working with her dad. Since then, she's done "over 1,000 services" for the dead which include embalming, cremation, hair and makeup, and more.

"I love working with my dad," she tells PEOPLE of her favorite thing about being a mortician. 

Credit: tiktok

Eileen adds, "He gives me so much freedom." 

The mortician explains that "the funeral industry is very traditional" and having tattoos and dyed pink hair like she does can be seen as "unprofessional and disrespectful."

"They really frown upon social media," the viral TikToker says. "They frown upon like any of your own personalization, but we're all about it for dead people."

Eileen tells PEOPLE her upbringing was also fun because having her father's business downstairs meant he could "accomplish work things and also be a parent." 

That is exactly why she plans to move from her self-described "Hobbit house" near the funeral home and back into the Victorian home she grew up in. The mortician hopes to one day take over the business and establish roots with her husband Neil and her future family.

Eileen shares with PEOPLE how much she loves her job, assuring that it isn't "as gruesome as [people] think," but there are some emotionally difficult tasks she has.

"A personal death for me whether it's a friend, family member [is difficult], but also infant deaths are extremely hard for me," she tells PEOPLE. 

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The mortician continues, "Especially because my sister just had a baby, and she's almost a year old. So when you get a 5-month-old or something, it really can shake you."

"I have a really wonderful husband so I can come back and he's really, you know, a safe place for me," Eileen adds.