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If you are over the age of 19, there is a good chance you’ve never heard of Charli D’Amelio.
Let us fill you in.
A 16-year-old from the suburbs of Connecticut, D’Amelio just passed the 100 million follower threshold on TikTok.
With no prior fame or glamorous family background to jumpstart her trajectory, D’Amelio first started posting lip-sync videos on TikTok in May of 2019 - just 18 months ago.
Today, she is by far the biggest star on TikTok and is one of only three “creators” to have eclipsed the 50 million mark. For reference:
On YouTube, it took 14 years before any individual channel hit 100 million subscribers. D’Amelio’s following dwarfs that of well-known celebrities who are active on the platform. Dwayne, “The Rock” Johnson, has less than 30 million followers. Mark Cuban, a regular TikToker, less than half a million.
How Does She Do It? Analysts say her mass appeal comes from being “relatable” and “authentic.” A columnist at CNET wrote, “it’s clear she has tapped into the authenticity that TikTok users crave.”
For example - earlier this year her TikTok bio read: "Don't worry, I don't get the hype either."
And D’Amelio is quickly becoming big business. This year she has 1) made her film debut 2) appeared in a Super Bowl commercial 3) had a Dunkin' Donuts drink named after her 4) launched a nail polish line 5) and is about to launch her first book: Essentially Charli: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping It Real.
All told, Forbes estimated she has earned $4 million this year.
Why It Matters: For social media platforms - the power of mega stars cannot be underestimated. Snapchat announced yesterday it will create a fund to pay its top creators $1 million per day to keep them on the platform.