Gen-Z’s “celebrity” culture

Isabella Parish

Two of the biggest TikTok stars Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio shown taking a selfie at an event.
Photo: NBAE

The world today is run by social media and the internet. The term “influencer” goes hand-in-hand with social media. The term influencer can be defined as a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. There are normal people who gain popularity on the many different apps that can give them a platform. Once people have a platform, they are able to begin to grow a brand and can even make money all from an app. With a whole new category of fame there is a question that remains: Will influencer culture change the way traditional celebrities are viewed?

Influencers are a very niche group in pop culture. There are different influencers who reach different audiences of all ages with all different interests. Many influencers are even unknown to many people. The fact that there are so many different people with unique platforms is part of the appeal. TikTok stars Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio both gained popularity through dancing in TikTok. The two have a combined TikTok following of almost 200 million. 

There are no longer just categories of acting, singing, performing and dancing. Influencers can gain fame from having a fun personality, being good at makeup, educating people on different world topics and everything in between. 

The app TikTok is one of the most popular apps to gain popularity and it is a video sharing platform that is based off of short form videos in many separate genres. The main concept of the app is a ‘for you page’ which places random videos on your feed and eventually learns what you are interested in based on an algorithm. The more interaction a video gets the more for you pages it shows up on. The app has helped many creators gain fame quickly. 

Even though TikTok is a very popular platform to gain fame, there are many users on Instagram and Twitter who have become influencers as well. Instagram fame is dedicated to showing aesthetically pleasing feeds. Alexa Chung who has 4.2 million followers and Chris Burkard who has 3.6 million followers, are two examples of very popular instagram influencers. 

There are many people on multiple platforms who have gained fame and influencer status. Although these people are very popular and have large followings celebrities may continue to stay on a higher shelf. 

Influencers have slowly become more mainstream celebrities rather than internet personalities. With some of the most popular apps and Vine, popular creators were viewed as cringey and no one viewed them as ‘famous’ so this is a huge change. TikTok stars Rae and D’Amelio have been on late night shows like Jimmy Fallon. For people in the millennial generation and older it must surprise them to see ‘random people’ being on well known late night shows. 

Rae has used her fame to kick off her career in music and acting. She is starring in a remake of the classic film She’s All That. Rae has also released one single and plans on releasing more.

 D’Amelio has not gone on the traditional Hollywood path. She has a huge Dunkin’ Donuts partnership which has scored her two drinks on the menu. This drink has benefitted Dunkin’ in numerous ways because many of her fans have tried the drink and most likely have not drank coffee before. 

Many different social media platforms have allowed people to gain immediate fame.
Photo: Freepik

While Rae and D’Amelio are the two most followed TikTokers, other creators use the app to also grow their personal brand/business. Influencers on other platforms like Instagram and Youtube often have the same motives. 

Many influencers use their ‘fame’ as stepping stones, it proves how more traditional style celebrities will continue to have the dream Hollywood lifestyle. Famous actors and singers have a certain leverage point because of the stability of the conventional Hollywood route of fame. 

There are many people on multiple platforms who have gained fame and influencer status. Although these people are very popular and have large followings celebrities may continue to stay on a higher shelf. 

One thing about influencers, especially with video sharing platforms, is that their content tends to be more raw and natural. A huge movie production that takes one year to film and one year to edit is much different than a 20 second dance video in someone’s bedroom. 

With raw content being the main source of content, it makes the viewers of influencers feel like they are normal people and not even celebrities. Especially in some cases where influencers do not have an obvious passion for what they do, it seems obvious that influencers are not in the same category as traditional celebrities. 

Whether people gain fame on TikTok, Instagram, or any other social media the term celebrity is changing and what it means to be a public figure is evolving. Especially with younger generations these influencers are well known and will only continue to become more relevant within society.