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These Are the 5 Most Followed People on TikTok

Warning, you may be inspired to create a TikTok video.

Hands holding a phone with tik tok logo (Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Everyone dreams of going viral on social media and TikTok has made it all the more possible. Gone are the days of YouTubers meticulously scripting, editing, and posting high-quality 15-minute videos daily— while taking years to reach that coveted 1 million mark. Now, an ordinary person can gain a million followers nearly overnight by posting a 10-second clip of themselves lip-syncing to a song on TikTok. While it isn’t common, the possibility is definitely real.

TikTok is a unique platform in that it features 30-second to 3-minute clips, filmed on one’s phone. Hence, there is less of a need for true filmmaking talent and more of an emphasis on improv, charm, creativity, and an aptitude for trends—meaning, that it is easier for ordinary people to become creators and garner large followings. For this reason, some of the top creators on TikTok are actually teenagers.

Teenagers and college-aged adults are especially drawn to TikTok because they can really just be themselves on the platform. They can do the things they’d do with their friends—making funny facial expressions, posing for a camera, lip-syncing to one’s favorite song, doing a cute dance, or cracking jokes—but now, get noticed by millions of people. If you’re wondering who the most successful TikTok creators are (got to know what the best do if you want to skyrocket to the top yourself!), here are the top five most-followed people on TikTok, and how they got there.

1. Charli D’Amelio

The #1 most followed TikTok user isn’t a well-known celebrity like Tom Holland or Angelina Jolie. Nope, it is 17-year old Charli D’Amelio, an American teen model and social media personality. Before she was TikTok’s biggest star, she was a competitive dancer for 10 years. Then, in 2019, she began posting content to TikTok. She never intended to go viral, simply posting a duet of her dancing to “Move With Joy” on the platform in July of 2019. She went to class shortly after posting it, and afterward, found it had gone viral and she had gained 2,000 followers.

From there, D’Amelio only continued to rise, sometimes even gaining 10,000 followers in a night. Her mother, who was in modeling, knew what her daughter needed and got her fitted with a manager, publicist, and agency. D’Amelio continued posting viral dancing videos and collaborating with other creators. Furthermore, she was one of the founding members of the Hype House—a home for TikTok creators who wanted to live together to collaborate on content.

Today, D’Amelio has 139.1 million followers on TikTok. She is the number #1 most followed TikToker and has branched out into YouTube, where she boasts 9.61 million followers. Furthermore, she made her feature film debut in 2020, lending her voice to StarDog and Turbo Cat. She has also appeared in two music videos, made multiple TV appearances, published a book, and launched her own nail polish collection.

2. Khabane “Khaby” Lame

The second most followed TikTok user is 22-year-old Khaby Lame. Lame was born in Senegal, however, he moved to Italy at age 1. Prior to his TikTok fame, he worked as a machine operator. When he was laid off during the pandemic, however, he started posting content to TikTok and steadily rose to fame. Lame’s earliest videos featured him dancing and watching films or video games with Italian captions. However, it would be his hilarious “life hack” videos that would truly cement his fame.

Lame is now most well-known for posting videos mocking ridiculous life hack videos. In these videos, Lame stitches or duets with users who give very unnecessary and silly life hacks. Lame doesn’t say anything, however, he silently demonstrates a much easier route than the life hack with a mocking facial expression and hand gestures. By July of 2021, Lame had become second most followed TikToker.

Today, Lame’s account boasts 136.2 million followers, making him and D’Amelio the only two TikTokers on the entire platform to surpass 100 million followers. He continues to make comedic videos and collaborate with other stars. He was also recently chosen to judge TikTok’s first Short Film Contest in association with Cannes Film Festival.

3. Bella Poarch

In third place is 25-year-old Filipina-American singer and social media personality, Bella Poarch. Poarch was born in the Philippines and was adopted at the age of 3. At age 13, she moved with her adoptive family to America, where they settled in Texas. Prior to TikTok, Poarch served in the U.S. Navy, enlisting in 2015 and serving for four years.

Poarch started posting to TikTok in 2020, mainly filming lip-syncing and cosplay videos. However, everything changed when she posted a 10-second clip of her lip-syncing “M to the B” on TikTok in August of 2020. The brief clip sees her lip-syncing, bouncing to the rhythm, and making facial expressions to the song’s beat. This short clip went viral and became one of TikTok’s most viewed videos ever.

Today, Poarch boasts 88.9 million followers on TikTok. Following her TikTok success, she launched a successful YouTube and Twitter page, and also kicked off her music career. In 2021, she signed a record deal with Warner Records and released her debut single, “Build a Bitch,” in May of 2021.

4. Addison Rae

The fourth most followed TikToker is 21-year-old American actress, dancer, and social media personality, Addison Rae. Rae was born and raised in Louisiana, where she was a competitive dancer beginning at the age of six. Prior to TikTok, she briefly attended Louisiana State University to study Broadcasting and Journalism, however, she dropped out to pursue her TikTok career.

Rae joined TikTok in July of 2019 and quickly gained traction posting dance videos. By December of 2019, she joined Charli D’Amelio as one of the founding members of Hype House and had gained a million followers. It was around that same time that she left college and moved to LA to pursue her career. She quickly signed on with a talent agency, created YouTube and Instagram pages, and started a podcast with her mother, Mama Knows Best. In 2021, she made her acting debut in Netflix’s He’s All That.

Today, Rae boasts 87.3 million followers on TikTok. Following He’s All That, she signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix, which will see her star in more films on the platform in the future.

5. Will Smith

Only one creator in TikTok’s top five is over the age of 30 and was an established celebrity before joining the platform. American actor and film producer, Will Smith, is the 5th most followed TikToker. Smith is best known for starring in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I Am Legend, Independence Day, Men In Black, and King Richard. Recently, the actor has been muddled in controversy after he slapped Chris Rock on live TV during the 94th Academy Awards, after Rock insulted his wife.

Many probably didn’t know that Smith had a TikTok account, but he has actually been active on the platform since 2019. Furthermore, his channel gives an inside look at the life of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He frequently shares videos documenting his travels, sharing workouts, collaborating with other stars, or promoting his films or new book.

Smith is actually the only big-time actor to make it to the top ten most followed TikTokers. The next actor to appear on TikTok’s most-followed list is Dwayne Johnson, who sits at number 14. Actors and celebrities have an advantage in that they have millions of pre-established followers who would migrate to TikTok for them. However, few actors who have migrated to TikTok are able to commit to a consistent posting schedule, making their channels less visible to potential followers. Hence, they get easily overtaken by those who are more specifically TikTok stars. However, Smith has managed to maintain quite an impressive following to gain his 5th place standing.

(featured image: MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.