Sep 08 2020
TikTok drama has been escalating in recent months, and it’s still unclear what the future holds for the app. It seems every week brings news of more brands (Microsoft, Walmart, Triller) who could step in to buy the platform and save the day. And of course, threats to ban the app in the U.S. are causing creators and brands to scramble for what to do next if TikTok disappeared.
But according to Variety, even if TikTok is banned, its stars don’t have to worry about finding work. From the D’Amelio sisters to “Renegade” dance creator Jalaiah Harmon, many popular TikTokers have built such a massive fan base that they would likely follow them to whichever platform they go to next. (Which YPulse research shows would most likely be Instagram.) But they also have brand partnerships to sustain them: Before the drama began, many top influencers secured sponsorship deals with brands like Hollister, Truly Beauty, Tinder, House Party, and Kaiser Permanente. The entertainment industry has shown interest too. After recent speculation, content creator collective Hype House is getting their own reality show—The Hype Life—which will give viewers a look into the members’ lives at their Hollywood Hills mansion.
The app has quickly become an incubator for some of today’s top online celebrities, and despite all the ban buzz it is as influential as ever among young consumers. Which is why brands shouldn’t sleep on the creators that are building their empires (and influencing brand purchases) on the app. While you probably know about bigger names like Charli D’Amelio (Dunkin’ just created a new drink named after her, after all) there are many more that should be on your radar. Here are four with millions of followers and big futures:
Addison Rae Easterling
Easterling, formerly a Hype House member along with Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, has blown up on her own in recent months. With 58.7 million followers on her @addisonre account, she’s known for her viral dance challenges on TikTok—and she has managed to secure several brand partnerships. American Eagle recruited her to be one of the faces of their first “remote produced” back to school campaign. Most recently, she was featured in the new ad campaign for Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims. But Easterling is also building her own media and brand empire: Spotify signed an exclusive deal with her, and her mother, to start the “Mama Knows Best” podcast where the pair will take listeners into the lives of their “mother-daughter dynamic” and talk about relationships, friends, and family. And in perhaps one of the biggest moves of her career yet, the TikTok star teamed up with brand innovation incubator Madeby Collection to launch Item Beauty where she serves as the co-founder and CEO. By joining the “Gen Z influencer brand wave,” she’s targeting teens with her clean beauty brand which features products like mascara, eyeshadow, brightening powders, bronzer duos, lip oils, and brow definers. According to Easterling, she wanted to create a brand that “supports individuality in a very real and authentic way.”
This young creator entertains 1.1M followers with his DIY special effects videos—and he’s been getting Hollywood’s attention as well. In July, Bass went viral for a video (which has received 13.1 million views) that showed him transforming into “Favorite Heroes” like a Jedi, Ben 10, and Spider-Man. Bass shared the video on Twitter with the caption: “if y’all can retweet this enough times that Disney calls, that’d be greatly appreciated.” Of course, Twitterverse didn’t disappoint. The short garnered even more attention on the platform with 24 million views and more than 579.9K retweets, plus attention from celebrities like director James Gunn and actors Josh Gad and Mark Hamill. Many even called for Bass to be cast as Miles Morales in the live action version of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. Sure enough, Bob Iger himself replied to the post saying: “The world’s gonna know your name!!!” The newfound attention earned Bass a spot on ABC’s Good Morning America, and less than a month later, ICM Partners signed him.
As teens turns to TikTok as a go-to source for all things skincare, “skinfluencers” have been emerging on the platform. The hashtag #skincare has 11.1 billion views, while #acne has 2.2 billion views. One of the most prominent “skinfluencers”? Hyram Yarbro, who originally started out at YouTube with his Skincare by Hyram channel and migrated over to TikTok where his @skincarebyhyram account has 6.1 million followers, and has emerged as the “de facto ruler” of TikTok “skinfluencers.” The account is full of content Yarbro recommending products, reviewing and critiquing celebrities and influencers’ skincare routines from Charli D’Amelio to Bella Thorne, and duets with followers. The hashtag #skincarebyhyram, which users use to submit their routines in hopes of participating in his signature reviews and duets, has more than 1.4 billion views. Skincare brands’ videos are often flooded with comments tagging him to see if the product has earned the Yarbro “stamp of approval.” Peace Out Skincare’s pore strips saw a “fourfold increase” within 24 hours after they began working with Yabro, while CeraVe collaborated with him after he frequently praised the brand—turning into a “cult favorite” among Gen Z.
Reality shows have been comfort viewing for young consumers during quarantines, and Boman Martinez-Reid, a.k.a. @bomanizer, has centered his content on parodying some of the most popular reality shows. In March, he first went viral for a video (which received 13.6 million views) showing what Coronavirus paranoia would look like if it was on a reality TV show. In it, a simple cough is given reality show-drama treatment, complete with intense editing, and a “confessional” reaction. His most popular videos—which often also star his friends—follow a similar format, turning everyday events like walking down the stairs or going for a drive into classic reality TV moments. Martinez-Reid currently has 1.3M followers, and some have suggested he should get his own Netflix reality series. It might not be too far-fetched: In July, he signed with CAA.
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