Welcome to 2020 where stars are born on the internet. Their fandom isn’t contrived, it isn’t fought for (at first), it (sometimes) isn’t really even justified. From YouTube to Instagram to TikTok, there is a literal world of opportunity waiting for anyone willing to put themselves out there. That is, if their videos go viral.
When you first glance at Charli D’Amelio’s TikTok page, you see the portrait of a typical 15-year-old girl, happily pictured with her family, her dog, in her favorite hoodie, dancing to her favorite songs. By every appearance you’d think she was just sharing on social media with her closest friends … and then you notice it. A number. A very large number. Perched snugly on top, right under the coveted “verified account” checkmark, is Charli’s follower count: “48M.” Yes, you read that correctly. FORTY-EIGHT MILLION.
So, why is Charli so famous, you may ask? That’s a brilliant question. One her profile description shows she is not really sure how to answer as well: “don’t worry” it reads, “i don’t get the hype either.”
Who Is Charli D’Amelio?
Charli was born in 2004 to Marc and Heidi D’Amelio. From a very young age, Charli developed a love for dance, and has worked hard, dedicating the last 10 years of her life to competitive dance. So when she first joined TikTok in the summer of 2019, it was only natural that she would post dance content personal to her. Not long after her first video, Charli posted a video that — for some reason, still unknown to her — went viral, and in the last 10 months, Charli’s follower count has surpassed any other individual user on the platform causing the New York Times to nickname her the “reigning queen of TikTok.”
The Ups and Downs of Stardom
Since garnering over 3.1 billion likes on her profile, Charli has been able to appear in a Super Bowl commercial, dance with Bebe Rexha and Jennifer Lopez, appear on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, join the increasingly infamous TikTok “Hype House,” and work on countless other projects including partnering with UNICEF to promote body positivity and speak out against bullying. In less than a year, Charli has gone from the anonymity of her high school hallways to (essentially) overnight stardom, even hosting her own extremely well attended meet and greet.
As with any kind of fame, a massive internet presence doesn’t come without some really vocal critics. In 2019, Charli and fellow TikTok star Addison Rae caught criticism when their renditions of the popular dance “The Renegade” overshadowed the creator of the dance (14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon) from getting the initial recognition she deserved.
A Family Affair
In January 2020, at the height of this newfound stardom, Charli’s whole family was signed by the talent agency UTA. Charli’s older sister, Dixie (18), mom, and dad each have their own TikTok accounts and collectively bring in over 75 million followers. Dixie is also a member of the Hype House and collaborates often on videos with Charli.
Why Teens Love Charli
Despite the massive attention Charli has gotten from this platform, she remains humble and grounded in every interaction. If you watch just a moment of footage from any recent interview, you see she is just a normal teenager trying her best to be herself and love the life she has been given. Her ultimate goal is not to fly on the coattails of this stardom, but to ultimately pursue a career as a professional dancer. Her hard work and enthusiasm is infectious and would prove inspirational and motivational to any teen.
While this current culture of seemingly baseless internet fame may spark a concern for teens in how they treat themselves and the use of this platform, Charli is an awesome example to teens in how to wear it well. Charli and Dixie’s work in promoting positivity online shows just how much good can be done with the platform they have been given, and can serve to inspire teens to use their platform in the same wonderful ways.
Some great questions to ask your teens in conversation about this topic:
- Do you follow Charli? What do you think of her, the content she posts, and how she handles her internet fame?
- Do you desire social media fame? If so, what would you want to be known for? (Note: It’s good to validate, for your teens, that the desire for attention is normal; allow this question to be an opportunity to discuss healthy ways to work through this desire online.)
- If someone were to look at your social media posts, what do you think they would notice first? How can you better utilize your own social media platforms so that you are promoting positive and uplifting messages?