While boomers flood Facebook with memes and status updates, Gen Z has found refuge in TikTok. The short-form mobile video app—think Vine 2.0—has its origins in China but launched in the US in 2018. Since then it's become the fastest-growing social media platform on the planet.
The beauty of TikTok is that a 15-second clip has the potential to turn everyday people into overnight stars. All it takes is a sense of humor, a love of lip-syncing, or an aptitude for the latest viral dance moves.
Here are the top 20 most followed stars on TikTok.
Fans who can't get enough of The Rock's charm and positivity on Instagram also follow him on TikTok. While the star doesn't post on a regular basis, the funny clips he shares are enough to keep viewers (and himself) entertained during quarantine.
Make-up artist and beauty guru James Charles skyrocketed to fame with his YouTube channel, but the 21-year-old has seen equal success on TikTok. From showing off his make-up skills to the occasional celebrity cameo (Lil Nas X, Kylie Jenner, and JoJo Siwa are among the most recent faces to appear alongside him), Charles is a fierce personality with a fandom to match.
Siwa got her first taste of fame in 2013, when she was the youngest contestant on Dance Moms spin-off Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. She cemented her fame on YouTube as a candy-coated pop star, but on TikTok, the 17-year-old reveals glimpses of a young woman who isn't always donning a rainbow and rhinestone attire. Perhaps that candid side is the reason followers flock to her on this particular platform.
Loaiza is a YouTube star whose channel is rated the third most-subscribed out of Mexico. She's done even better by crossing over to TikTok, where the 22-year-old's dancing and lip-syncing has earned her the honor of being the most-followed Spanish-language account on the app.
Over 30 million TikTok users who are looking for a laugh turn to Gil Croes for their fix. The native Aruban, who is also one half of the CroesBros on YouTube, is wildly popular for his lip-syncing and comedy videos.
Shaikh is a model, actor, and influencer from Mumbai. His comedic content easily draws millions of views, making the 25-year-old one of the biggest social media stars in India.
This 19-year-old singer and actress is a TikTok pioneer who used its earlier incarnation, muscial.ly, to lip-sync her way to fame. In 2017, she nabbed a spot on Forbes' list of top entertainment influencers, as well as Time's list of most influential people on the Internet.
Rivera originally blew up on Vine, so it's no surprise that his clips are a hit on TikTok. Whether he's poking fun at his own family members or creating comedic (and very relatable) content for his 20-something-year old peers, he's managed to generate over a billion likes since joining the app.
Derulo made a name for himself in the music world, but his TikTok fame is the result of his funny vids, and willingness to embrace viral trends (tip: don't use a power drill to eat corn on the cob). The unexpected but overwhelming response has given him a second wave of popularity to ride.
Le, a 20-year-old Floridian, originally earned a following with his dancing tutorials. But recently he's expanded his content to include lip-syncing and prank videos.
Just 16 years old, Aly is an Indian influencer known for his funny lip-syncing videos. His popularity on the app has led to collaborations with other Indian stars and appearances in music videos.
Poarch joined TikTok in April 2020, mixing gamer-themed content with lip-syncing and dance challenge vids. Her lip-syncing of Millie B's "M to the B" earned the honor of being the app's most-liked vid in history, with 42.6 million hearts to date.
The older sister of Charli (who takes the number one spot) didn't just ride her younger sibling's coattails to fame. She parlayed her TikTok popularity into an acting and singing career, and her vocal chops were enough to earn her a record deal with L.A. Reid's lab HitCo Entertainment.
It's no surprise TikTok's own account page takes the number six spot on the list. Think of it as the Cliffs Notes for the app—a place where the best content is curated for easy access.
Knight first earned a following with his impressive beatboxing skills. Since then, the 28-year old New Yorker has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Sean Kingston, and Marshmello.
At one time, Gray was the most-followed person on TikTok. These days, she divides her time between creating content and recording music. The 18-year-old is signed with Virgin and Capitol Records, and has already released eight singles to date.
Zach King originally attracted attention on Vine, where he performed "magic" (or brilliantly edited videos) for viewers. His tricks are just popular on TikTok, where they've earned the 30-year-old almost 626 million total likes.
After only one year on TikTok, Addison Rae has become an overnight success for her dance videos. She already has an estimated net worth of $5 million, thanks to partnerships with Reebok, L'Oréal, Hollister, and American Eagle.
Last year, D'Amelio—then just a teenage girl from Connecticut—joined the platform to upload dance videos. Today, she's known as "the Queen of TikTok." She recently lost a million followers overnight due to a minor scandal involving her picky eating habits; even so, no one comes close to her number of followers.
The internet is an eternal popularity contest. Anyone on the list can be knocked off in the blink of an eye. By the same token, an unknown person can skyrocket to a top spot overnight. With TikTok's user base growing exponentially, addicts of the app can undoubtedly expect to see new faces work their way up the ranks.