TikTok stars try out after-screen dreams
The Future. Considering how fast culture moves (especially on the Tok), figuring out life outside of TikTok has become a moving target for even the platform’s biggest stars. Call it a redux of the YouTube-creator graduation (which almost happened in the middle of the last decade). With mobile entertainment being what it is today, TikTok talent may have a better chance at the transition. But, TikTok is so big that that transition may not matter anymore.
Some of TikTok’s stars are managing the transition from internet glory to mainstream talent better than others.
- Charli and Dixie D’Amelio’s The D’Amelio Show has set the sisters as the Gen Z equivalent of the Kardashian family. In true Gen Z fashion, the show is peppered with vulnerability, anxiety, and the terror of recapturing old talents (Charli with dance) and new ambitions (Dixie with music).
- Noah Beck is giving the ole’ “put a personality in a challenging situation” form of entertainment with AwesomenessTV’s Noah Beck Tries Things, which finds Noah trying a new thing every episode — some critics have likened it to Noah figuring out what the future for him looks like after online fame.
- Addison Rae is plotting a move into acting, starring in Netflix’s He’s All That, and signing an overall deal with the studio. She has also moved into podcasting (Mama Knows Best) and business (Item Beauty), showing that Rae is operating squarely within the entertainment playbook.
- Josh Richards is going for the control-your-destiny business strategy, launching CrossCheck Studios with mentorship from none other than Mark Wahlberg and a deal with STX. It’s the clearest example of a TikToker plotting a move into a realm that feels more adult.
Why does this all matter? Well, TikTok is the rebirth of the digital-first influencer market that tried to become a thing in Hollywood around six years ago… but mostly fizzled. Only a few creators — Jimmy Tatro, Anna Akana, Andrew Bachelor, Lilly Singh — actually made the transition from YouTube glory to mainstream success. That’s a far cry from the “new class” of Hollywood stars that was promised by companies like AwesomenessTV and Fullscreen.
It’s possible that the market, and the world at large, just wasn’t ready for digital-first talent going from kid-driven popularity to adult-respecting art. But with TikTok being so ubiquitous and undeniable, maybe there’s no way for the first class of influencers to be ignored by the wider culture. Your response to this story may be the first litmus test.