The online world of social media is developing at a rapid pace, with companies like Facebook pushing for the development of a metaverse, Youtube’s monthly users rising to 2.3 billion, and over 6,000 tweets being made every second on Twitter.
In this new era of technology, it’s likely that you’ve heard of the social media platform TikTok.
Wildly popular among children and teens, the video-based platform has become one of the most popular social media platforms among Generation Z. Known for its viral, short-form clips, the app has more than 2.3 billion all-time downloads.
A big part of the app’s appeal is its ability to turn ordinary people into internet sensations. TikTok has been known to transform school students into fashion models and sending its most popular influencers to prestigious events like the Met Gala, or the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
Some of the biggest TikTok stars on the platform have millions of followers – in the eyes of their young fans, these creators are of celebrity status.
Maybe you’ve seen the young people in your life dance and lip sync to TikTok trends or heard them reference one of its many viral memes, and found yourself wondering – who are these celebrity-influencers, and what exactly are they famous for?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 6 most popular influencers on TikTok, to help you (and us!) get to know the ins and outs of the viral world. We’ll look at how these influencers came to fame and what they’re famous for, equipping you with the TikTok knowledge to impress your kids this Christmas!
Compass knows that we all have a role to play in ensuring that the internet is a safe and enjoyable place for young people to explore. While we are in no way encouraging young people to use TikTok, we acknowledge that they likely will encounter this content in one way or another.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your young people are accessing age-appropriate content on the internet, and are using social media responsibly and safely. We also provide information on internet safety for children.
6. Loren Gray (@lorengray)
Loren Gray initially rose to internet fame on TikTok’s predecessor, the Musical.ly platform, at the age of 13. The American social media personality held the title of TikTok’s most-followed creator between March 2019 to March 2020, after joining the platform in 2015.
Born in 2002, Gray is 19 years old and best known for her lip-syncing and comedy videos that she posts to the TikTok platform. In the videos, Gray mouths along to various viral audio clips, her videos garnering millions of views and comments from her fans.
In recent years, Gray has expanded her career into music, signing a record deal with Virgin Records in 2018, before the release of her debut single ‘My Story.’
Gray’s singing career has landed her entry to various prestigious events, including performing at the close of Sherri Hill’s catwalk show at New York Fashion Week. She has also collaborated with a variety of notable brands across her social media platforms, including Charlotte Tilbury, Revlon, PLushes Pets and Pandora, with her popularity continuing to grow – as of 2021, Gray has 54.3 million followers on TikTok.
5. Spencer Polanco Knight (@spencerx)
Recognised on the internet as Spencer X, this American social media personality is best known for his beatboxing videos. Self-described as a ‘Mouth Music Man’, Spencer X’s TikTok account has amassed 55 million followers since he first joined the site in 2019.
Spencer began beatboxing in High School, teaching himself using video tutorials. Spencer grew a following by posting his own beatboxing tutorials, where he taught viewers how to beatbox in one minute.
Spencer tried attending University on two different occasions, but dropped out both times in order to pursue his dream of becoming ‘the largest man-made business within the entertainment industry.’
Spencer’s TikTok videos showcase his impressive beatboxing skills, positing original songs, collaborations and covers of popular or trending music. He’s not just popular with teens, but with big brands too, securing partnerships with companies like Nickelodeon, HBO, Sketchers, Monster Energy, Sony and Oreos.
4. Addison Rae (@addisonre)
TikTok personality Addison Rae is mainly known for her dancing videos, which became a sensation in 2019. In her dancing videos that she posted to the TikTok platform, Rae choreographs dance moves to trending songs, creating ‘dance challenges’ for others to participate in, some of which go viral.
Rae’s TikTok presence is marked by a following of 85.9 million fans, with each of her videos amassing 5-10 million views each.
More recently, Rae has also made her debut in the music and acting industries. Rae’s media presence has rapidly grown, with the 20-year-old budding into a mainstream celebrity. She has released her own single, ‘Obsessed’, which garnered an impressive 24 million views since its release in March, 2021.
In 2021, Rae also starred in the 2021 Netflix remake of the 1999 film ‘She’s All That’, titled ‘He’s All That.’ Her acting and music ventures have seen her brush shoulders with a variety of celebrities, but her most notable – and bizarre – celebrity connection is with the Kardashian family.
Addison has been close friends with Kourtney Kardashian since 2020, starring in workout videos together, and meeting for lunch – sometimes at the Kardashian household.
3. Bella Poarch (@bellapoarch)
Bella Poarch is the woman behind the most liked video on TikTok. After joining the platform in 2020, Poarch shot to fame, becoming TikTok famous after a video of her lip-syncing to Millie B’s song ‘Soph Aspin Send’ went viral. The video accumulated over 658.5 million views, 54.2 million likes, and 2 million comments.
This video catapulted the 24-year old Filipino-American influencer to fame, earning her 86.4 million followers on TikTok.
Interestingly, Poarch served in the US Navy between 2015-2019 before her career as a social media influencer started, stationed in both Japan and Hawaii. However, following her success on TikTok, Poarch has since launched YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter channels, amplifying her online presence.
Continuing her rise to stardom, in May of 2021, Poarch signed a record deal with Warner Records and released her debut single, ‘Build a Bi*ch.’ The song critiques the social pressures placed on women’s bodies, and was hailed ‘an audacious, darkly comic slice of new-school pop’ in Billboard’s review of the song.
2. Khabane Lame (@khaby.lame)
Khabane Lame is a heart-warming internet success story, and one of the most famous TikTok stars. Having lost his job in the Coronavirus pandemic, the Senegalese-born 21-year-old found a new source of income in the form of TikTok popularity.
Joining TikTok in March 2020, Lame became famous for his unique style of video in which he reacts to unnecessarily complicated “life-hack” videos. In the videos, TikTok creators show off so-called life hacks that are aimed at making tasks, such as household cleaning or makeup, easier.
Unfortunately, most of the time, these hacks are nonsensical and appear to make these tasks even more complicated, such as using dish-sponge nail extensions to clean a plate, or using spoons to apply eyeliner. This is where Lame’s videos come in – his deadpan, wordless reactions in which he does the same task but in a far simpler manner, are a hit with his 123.9 million fans.
Speaking to the New York Times, Lame explained that his expressions are a ‘global language’, with the New York Times pinning his success on his ‘universal exasperated everyman quality.’
1. Charli D’Amelio (@charliedamelio)
With a jaw-dropping 131.8 million followers, 17-year-old, Connecticut-born Charli D’Amelio comes in first as the most followed creator on the TikTok platform.
D’Amelio started dancing at the age of three and was a trained competitive dancer for over 10 years prior to joining the TikTok platform. After joining TikTok in 2019, D’Amelio began growing an audience through the popularity of her dancing and choreography videos. A video of D’Amelio performing ‘the Renegade’ dance challenge is just one of her many dance videos that have achieved internet virality.
In the past year, D’Amelio’s fame has extended beyond the realms of TikTok platform, propelling D’Amelio into mainstream media. In January of 2020, D’Amelio (and her family) signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA). UTA work with the D’Amelio’s to produce digital content, books, podcasts and TV shows and also coordinate live tours.
Since signing with UTA, D’Amelio has become one of the first TikTok stars to ever star in a Superbowl Commercial. The family have also starred in their own Hulu docuseries, ‘The D’Amelio Show’, with Charli and her sister, Dixie, even designing their own clothing line with fashion brand, Hollister.
We hope that our guide to the top 6 most popular TikTok stars has helped give you some insight to the world of social media internet personalities. It’s fascinating to see how much the power of the internet can change young people’s lives, and we have no doubt that you’ll wow your family with your newfound knowledge over the Christmas period.
If you think you could change the life of a young person, get in touch with us to find out more about fostering.