Influencers building their platforms

Chloe Isbell, Photo Manager

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.