Simply put, a celebrity is someone who is well known by many people. Society has given a great value to celebrities due to their intrinsic talents. However, over time, fame has become more accessible. It has been passed down in families giving new generations within a specific name a headstart and has also been achieved by everyday people who know how to get creative on the internet. With persistent advancements in technology the world of fame has naturally created a hierarchy of its own ranging from social media influencers, to reality show stars and gifted artists. Yet, it recently seems as though the lines within that social scale are becoming blurred.

The increased popularity of the new app TikTok is allowing stars from the app to appear in more mainstream media and it’s leading us to question if our society is shifting values in the entertainment world. Will we soon veer onto a path of likes and followers being more recognized than talent and hard work?

Vogue Follows The TikTok Trend

Anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows that Vogue is one of the most exclusive magazines with a strong influence on fashion and lifestyle trends. But recently they were under fire for being a follower rather than a leader. The longtime magazine invited Tik Tok star Addison Rae Easterling, known as Addison Rae on the app, to participate in an episode of ‘7Days7Looks.’ The eight-minute video reveals the young influencer’s day to day [sub-par] fashion choices which didn’t sit well with Vogue followers after they shared a clip from the video onto their Instagram. 

The clip acquired over 670,000 views and 1,840 comments which is relatively high in comparison to the response that the majority of their posts receive. Some people defended Addison however, the majority of the comment section was filled with criticism. Users labeled the post as “embarrassing” and accused the brand of lowering their standards. One user commented “Remember when Vogue was high fashion.” Another one added, “Complete lack of a sense of style, I’m disappointed in Vogue.” One user even took a jab at Addison’s friendship with the infamous family, the Kardashians. “She doesn’t even really have a style let alone distinct enough style to be in Vogue. Kardashians getting to Anna again lol. Yawn.” Other commenters chimed in with “unfollowed” to let the magazine know how disappointed they were.

Wondering Who These TikTok People Even Are?

In the fall of 2019, at the age of 20, Addison made the decision to leave college at Louisiana State University to pursue a life in Los Angeles. Rae made her account in July of 2019 and now has 79.9 millions followers. When Addison’s videos continued going viral she began making TikToks which included her mom and were the “main thing that blew up.” Now, her mom, Sheri Nicole, has 7.7 millions followers and her dad, Monty Lopez, has 2.5 million followers on their personal TikTok accounts. Originally when Addison moved to the west coast it was just herself and only herself. But, that quickly changed when she realized that she needed her parents out there too. During an episode of her mother daughter podcast Mama Knows Best the popular dancer revealed “When we moved out here collectively as a family, that’s when things really started skyrocketing.”

And, Addison isn’t the only popular Tik Tok face to find herself in A-list celebrity situations. Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio have gotten their share of attention and opportunity as well. Charli alone is said to be TikTok’s biggest star. The 16 year old launched her page in May of 2019 and became known for the dances she performed to viral songs. Alongside her is 18-year-old sister, Dixie. She too is high on the list of biggest TikTok stars and is also known for her dancing. The two signed with UTA in January 2020 and not long after their parents did as well. In a statement Charli expressed, “If you told me this is what my life would look like in 2020, I would not have believed it. This partnership with the incredible team at UTA will give me and my family more opportunities to create and share our content, and I’m so thankful to our fans for their support as we find new ways to connect with them.” 

The D’Amelio family has been living out and capitalizing on what could potentially just be their “15 minutes of fame.” In 2021 the household will have their own eight-episode docuseries, The D’Amelio Show, on Hulu. The series is going to follow them as they “navigate their sudden rise to fame, all while staying true to their family values.” Looking at it through the eyes of Belisa Balaban, VP of documentaries at Hulu, viewers will get to experience what it’s like when your “social media dreams of becoming famous” actually comes true. The famous TikTok family will soon make their way from social media fame to reality television. Will an Oscar come next?

Is Society’s Standard For Quality Content Shifting?

Addison Rae

What is it about TikTok popularity that allows someone to jump ahead? As one user wrote in the comments on Vogue’s clip of Addison, “There’s a lot of talented and fashioned famous people. Really, a tiktoker?? On Vogue??”

It’s natural when someone becomes a big hit to have their time in the spotlight as a guest on talk shows or podcasts, and maybe even have a couple of interviews with pop-culture heavy magazines. However, with Gen Z having a heavy impact on consumer desires, social media influencers are gaining more attention from big brands than they typically would. For example, Netflix is releasing a show titled The Hype Life which will follow the life of very popular TikTok influencers in Los Angeles. Viewers will get a look at the behind the scenes life of “digital influencers” who make a living by making [viral] content. Although it’s interesting to learn about the come up of someone on the internet, do these great lengths need to be taken in order to showcase that? 

Instant gratification only becomes more desired as time advances. And we all know that the quicker something happens, the quicker it ends. TikTok is mass producing online celebrities who are quickly making their way into the world of A-list celebrities. Therefore, we can’t help but question if society is deciding to sell out their quality of work for a quantity of likes in this new found social media popularity contest.