Most adults have probably never heard of Loren Gray. But plenty of teens know all about the TikTok celebrity with 38.4 million followers. What exactly makes a creator like Gray soar in popularity is somewhat of a mystery, but those who “understand trends and become early adopters are more likely to gain more traction,” says Ariadna Jacob, CEO of Influences. Creators’ strategies may vary, yet “one thing that makes someone on TikTok stand out is their ability to create authentic content that people want to watch over and over,” adds Jacob, who runs an influencer marketing agency. Here’s a short overview of the TikTok stars who are developing huge fan bases.
For now at least, Loren Gray (@lorengray) is the undisputed queen of TikTok, with more than 38.4 million followers. Having first started posting on Musical.ly in 2015, the 17-year-old singer has amassed a huge following on the platform that’s been renamed TikTok. Most of her videos showcase her lip-synching and dancing skills, and her TikTok fame helped her land a 2018 Virgin Records deal.
Magician Zach King (@zachking) is the reigning king of TikTok with 32.8 million followers. Known for his creative videos that feature sleights of hand and visual illusions, he first achieved fame on YouTube and Vine. The 29-year-old father of two has also appeared in Oreo, BMW, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Chipotle ads on TikTok.
Singer and actress Ariel Martin (@babyariel) has 30.2 million TikTok followers. The 20-year-old has parlayed her TikTok success into spearheading a variety of ventures: She has launched an anti-bullying campaign, called #ArielMovement, and starred in a Disney Channel film, “Zombies 2.”
Riyaz Aly (@riyaz.14) is a 17-year-old social media sensation who lives in Bhutan. Many of his nearly 28 million followers watch him collaborate with other TikTok influencers via #DuetwithRiyaz. Evoking comparisons to Justin Bieber, Aly often films comedic skits that include his lip-syncing and dancing.
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Since Charli D’Amelio (@charlidamelio) posted her first TikTok video in May, she has appeared in a Super Bowl ad for Sabra and danced backstage with Jennifer Lopez (her idol). The 15-year-old with nearly 23 million followers is a member of the Hype House collective, along with her sister Dixie who has drawn nearly 9 million followers to her account (@dixiedamelio).
Twenty-seven-year-old Spencer Polanco Knight (@spencerx) calls himself a “mouth music man” and his TikTok videos show off his beatbox skills. While TikTok is the platform where he attracts the most followers (19 million), he also has a sizable audience on YouTube (1.3 million).
Joelle Joanie “Jojo” Siwa first won acclaim by appearing on Nickelodeon and two seasons of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms.” The dancer and singer, now 17, has 17.4 million followers of her TikTok account (@itsjojosiwa). Recognized for her hair bows and colorful outfits, Siwa’s fans refer to themselves as the “Siwanatorz.” She even scored a merchandising deal with JC Penney.
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Identical twinfluencers Alan and Alex Stokes fill their TikTok videos with comedy sketches and choreographed dances. The 22-year-olds participated in Chipotle’s TikTok Timeout campaign, which ran during this year’s Super Bowl match. Nearly 15 million followers track their joint account (@stokestwins).
A member of the Los Angeles-based TikTok collective Hype House, Addison Rae Easterling (@addisonre) is known for her choreographed dance moves and lip-synching skills. With 13 million followers, she also appeared in the TikTok Timeout campaign promoted by Chipotle during the Super Bowl. Her mother, Sheri Easterling (@sherinicolee), posts content on TikTok similar to her daughter’s and is a self-professed “cool mom” with nearly 2 million followers on the app.
Both Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio have appeared in the videos of Flighthouse, whose owners call it a TikTok-first media company. And the company’s TikTok account (@flighthouse) has some 22.4 million followers. Flighthouse’s posts seem more like short TV episodes, with regular formats like “Dance Charades,” “Face Morph” and “Finish the TikTok Lyric.”