The Met Gala: How will the presence of social media influencers affect the authenticity of the event?



TikTok has been the platform for many up and coming social media influencers.

Harper Clark and Chloe Isbell

2021 sparked the return of the Met Gala and new releases of TV shows and movies. However, with these new rollouts and the return of highly anticipated events, many were confused by the appearance of social media influencers, specifically TikTok influencers.

Influencer presence at the Met Gala

Harper Clark

The Met Gala is the world renowned event celebrating the opening of the annual fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. Highly influential people from around the world gathered here on Sept. 13 to attend the biggest fashion night of the year.

Every year, people eagerly await the release of the guest list to see which of their favorite celebrities made the cut. Instead of the usual excitement that the list kicks off, the event was met with backlash due to a certain type of celebrity that made the list: social media influencers.

Influencers like Dixie D’Amelio, Addison Rae, Nikkie de Jager (NikkieTutorials on YouTube) and Emma Chamberlain were some to get an invite.

Typically, to get on the prestigious Met Gala guest list, one must be invited by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour herself, but as social media platforms have become large sponsors of the event, YouTube and Instagram were able to buy tables at this year’s event to bring their own influencers.

Many people have questioned if influencers like Rae and D’Amelio deserve one of the coveted spots after gaining fame from creating what many consider to be boring and non-original content on platforms like TikTok. The pushback comes from ordinary people believing that too many influencers would slowly start to decrease the prestige of the Met Gala.

In a viral tweet, someone imagined a possible conversation between long-time invitee Lady Gaga who mistakes Rae for a waitress at the event.

Gaga fictionally asks, “Waitress can you get me some champagne?” In which Rae responded with, “I’m Addison Rae.” Finishing off the conversation, Gaga says, “Okay Addison Rae get me some champagne.”

This tweet was clearly meant to attack Rae for her ill deserved invite and miniscule amount of popularity compared to celebrities attending the Gala.

Unlike influencers who have easily obtained invites, movie stars and music artists have had to earn their invites by creating a world-renowned persona and even accompany the fashion designer as a plus one.

On the other hand, for celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, who graced her 12th Met Gala red carpet this year, their careers have been consistent since the beginning and those are what earned them an invite. But, it had still taken Lopez about 10 years of professional work before being invited to her first Met Gala.

Lopez is truly a triple threat. She has been successful in dancing, singing and acting. For celebrities like Rae and D’Amelio, who found stardom in 2019 by recreating dances on TikTok, they have already been invited to their first Met Gala, taking only two years to be invited to the most awaited fashion night of the year.

Not only have these influencers been handed invitations to the most esteemed fashion events in the world, but they have also been given opportunities that some hard working celebrities have yet to have.

Influencers building their platforms

Chloe Isbell

Since the beginning of social media, there has been a rapid rise in social media influencers. Some influencers, like Emma Chamberlain, have worked hard for the status they have today. Chamberlain was talented enough to gain nearly 8 million subscribers in two years. This was not without trial and error.

Before she even started YouTube, Chamberlain understood her preferred editing style from making videos with her friends. The viewers loved it, but she needed more than views. Eventually, she began seeking out collabs with other YouTubers and emailing companies to look for brand deals. Chamberlain has worked for the past four years building her image which has led her to partnerships from brands like Louis Vuitton. She was even the face of Louis Vuitton Squad and the Louis Vuitton Sunset sneakers campaign.

Chamberlain gained her popularity on YouTube, but the latest wave of influencers are from TikTok. TikTokers like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae quickly rose to fame on the app in late 2019. In December of that same year, D’Amelio was already sponsored by EOS.

Other influencers have to recruit, give a part of profits and often beg for brand deals from companies, yet all these TikTokers had to do was dance in front of a camera. While some of these TikTok dances are more difficult than others, the work that TikTokers do versus real influencers is not even comparable.

D’Amelio already has a dancing background, so learning a dance that is less than a minute may not take her much time. She also has a management team that will help her to decide what to post and when to post. For many YouTube influencers, this was not even an option in the early days of YouTube.

A vast number of YouTubers started their channel based on their own interest. This meant that they were responsible for editing the videos, following analytics to find the best time to upload and finding out the changes that needed to be made when views decreased. TikTokers do not feel that same kind of pressure when they have people helping them from the beginning.

People were especially outraged by this topic when TikTok influencers began receiving contracts for their own shows. The D’Amelio family recently released a show on Hulu called The D’Amelio Show. While some people enjoyed the show, referencing how it helped to de-glorify the life of an influencer, others still felt the show was unnecessary. As a reality show, there was no expectation for it to have an astonishing effect on viewers.

Fellow TikToker Addison Rae acted in He’s All That, a movie released on Aug. 25, 2021 on Netflix. Various online presences expressed their disdain with Rae’s acting in this movie.

Some went on to express their outrage through Twitter. One user, @the_fatman99, was particularly upset: “One of the most vapid, charmless, and dare I say “cringiest” movies I’ve ever seen. As of the time of writing this tweet, #HesAllThat is the worst movie of 2021.”

Before filling the role, Rae participated in various acting classes. Besides her fascination with television and movies in general, she had no other acting background. When you compare her to other attendees of the Met Gala, like Jennifer Lopez, it is a difficult concept to grasp. The amount of talent in each of these individuals is vastly different, yet they are being grouped into the same category during the Met Gala.

Still, social media influencers cannot be completely discredited. It is not their fault that so many brands want them to be the face. As different social media platforms gain popularity, brands are inclined to follow the path of the popular app in order to make the most profit.

Following the interests of consumers, companies utilize influencers as the faces of their campaigns to promote their brands and products. Twitter user @jonomxr provided a relevant perspective. “Unfortunately the fact that they get picked up for luxury brand deals speaks to their impact/stake on fashion whether we like it or not. They serve too much of a market for fashion to ignore.”

The presence of certain influencers at the Met Gala left many upset and with questions. Even while supporting influencers like Rae and D’Amelio, fans question the authenticity. There is an obvious difference between influencers and celebrities, and it does not make sense for talented, dedicated celebrities to be overlooked in order for companies to follow the latest trend.