Thanks to the fragmented state of fame, there is arguably more young talent competing for the spotlight than ever before. Have a hard time figuring out the next influencers and stars to watch? Here are five to keep on your radar…
Fame has fragmented, and it’s no longer simple to keep track of who’s trending with Millennials and teens. As we’ve said before, digital influencers have created a whole new category of entertainment—and these days social media has become an integral part of becoming famous in multiple industries. Increasingly, followers equal fame. In some cases, that can mean that everyday young consumers are catapulted into the spotlight. Take the guys behind the viral Damn Daniel video—just a few months after their silly, high-voiced clip made them a meme, they’re becoming featured talent on Ellen Degeneres’s new digital network. But though the ways you can become famous have multiplied, insta-fame is still a rarity, and the majority of both digital and mainstream young stars invest years into building their followings. From modeling to music, there is arguably more young talent competing for the spotlight than ever before. Here are five that have been laying the groundwork to a bigger spotlight, and could be the next stars to know:
The Beyoncé Protégés: Chloe & Halle Bailey
When you can say Beyoncé is your mentor AND you were featured in her now-famous Lemonade video, you are on a track to fame. Chloe and Halle Bailey are teen singers and sisters who got their start posting duet covers of pop songs to YouTube. When their version of “Pretty hurts” went viral two years ago, Queen Bey’s team reached out, and the teens were signed to a six album contract with Parkwood Entertainment. They have monthly meetings with Beyoncé herself, and send her all of the (hundreds of) songs that they write themselves. Oh, and they’ve met the Obamas as well—the First Lady insisted that they be added as the opening act for the White House Easter Egg Roll after meeting the girls at SXSW. New York Magazine calls them “The First Superstars of the Beyoncé Generation,” they have over 600,000 YouTube followers, and their hypnotic video for their single “Drop” has been viewed over one million times in the last month. Watch out for more from these two.
The Social Media Sensation: Shaun McBride, a.k.a. Shonduras
Shaun McBride, who we first talked about in our “friendertainment,” coverage, is one of the biggest creators on Snapchat. The 29-year-old has hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of views on the platform, and he prefers the social network because “everything is instant,” and he can communicate with fans in real-time. Brands like Red Bull and Samsung have partnered with McBride—Shonduras on Snapchat—because of his “relatability,” “fun-loving nature,” and “relatively family friendly approach.” While influencer content on other networks is scripted, McBride says “the best approach to branded campaigns on Snapchat is to simply be conversational.”
Fashion’s New It-Guy: Luka Sabbat
Complex Magazine called him “the Internet’s coolest teenager” and the New York Times spotlighted him as a fashion influencer—so you might want to pay attention to Luka Sabbat. Luka has over 200,000 followers on Instagram, and over 67,000 on Twitter—but beyond his social media clout, the teen is becoming known for working with some of the biggest names in fashion as a young model. Growing up as a child of a high-end stylist and designer, Luka came to fashion naturally, starting as a model at 15-years-old. Three years later, he’s worked with Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, American Eagle, and Kanye. Tom Ford gave him his suit to wear to prom. He’s cooler and more stylish than most adults, and on his way to being the fashion world’s new it-guy.
The Queen of In-Between: Barbie Ferreira
Nineteen-year-old “curve model” and social media star Barbie Ferreira is known as the “Queen of In-Between” and she’s become a beloved plus-size role model for teens. Barbie recently starred in an Aerie campaign, and according to the brand was cast “because she’s got nothing to hide, she’s strong and beautiful—she embraces her real self, which is the spirit of the Aerie Real message.” The photos from that campaign went viral, and the video was viewed over 1.8 million times. Millennials and teens have broadcasted their desire for brands to embrace the body positive mentality, and since the movement has grown, teens have been embracing plus-sized designs and influencers—purchasing of plus-sized clothing by 13-17-year-girls has nearly doubled over the past four years according to an NPD study.
Musical.ly is a lip-synching app that mixes Vine and Dubsmash’s appeal, and 60 million teen users have flocked to it, pushing it to the number one spot in the iTunes App Store in 19 countries. Users, called musers, can record 15-second music videos to their favorite songs with tools to edit the speed, add filters, and/or play the video backwards before posting. The app is currently being used by celebrities like Ariana Grande, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jason Derulo—but it’s also making stars. Fifteen-year-old Baby Ariel (her name on the app) has gained seven million fans in under a year for her catchy videos. Since becoming a famous muser, Ariel has expanded her social media presence and is becoming a full-fledged social star. Her YouTube channel has over a million followers (her YouTube video giving a Musical.ly tutorial has over 7 million views) and she boasts over 2 million Instagram followers.