I won’t lie: there’s still a part of me that thinks I could make it as a TikTok influencer. Learn a dance, lipsync to an unreleased Lana Del Rey demo and boom! Plus, the thought’s become even more appealing now I know that Charli D’Amelio, the most followed TikTok user, made a whopping $24 million in 2021.
No shade to Charli, but I too would like to earn 24 million bucks in a single year. That’s an actually mindboggling amount of money. With that sort of income, you might even be able to buy a one bedroom apartment in Sydney.
The data comes from Forbes, who’s done the hard work of running the numbers and came up with estimates for the highest paid TikTok stars.
According to their calculations, Charli made an estimated AUD$24 million last year (aka $17.5 million in America money).
Charli’s mega bucks don’t come exclusively from her TikTok: as we know from the early years of YouTube, it’s all about those brand partnerships, baby!
She’s had partnerships with Invisalign, Dunkin’ Donuts and Morphe makeup, plus launched a Hollister fashion range called Social Tourist with her sister Dixie.
And, surprise surprise, Dixie D’Amelio came in second on the rich list, reportedly having made around $14 million (or USD$10 million).
As well as the D’Amelios’ many, many joint collabs, Dixie’s also released a couple of singles (Be Happy has been stuck in my head for over a year) as well as touring in 2021 with the Jingle Ball.
Of course, the D’Amelios also had a TV show called (predictably) The D’Amelio Show, which launched last year.
Forbes put Addison Rae in third place with an estimated $12 million (USD$8.5 million) after she was named top of the list in 2020.
As well as her TikTok, Rae’s got a collab with American Eagle plus a makeup line, and she starred in Netflix’s He’s All That in 2021 too.
Bella Poarch came in fourth with an estimated earning of $6.9 million (USD$5 million), having done ads for Tinder, Prada and Google plus releasing the pop song Build A Bitch.
Poarch is tied for fourth place with a guy called Josh Richards, who I have literally never seen or heard of in my entire life.
He’s apparently had beef with Lil Huddy, co-hosts a Barstool Sports podcast and cofounded a venture capital firm, so I’m going to take a wild guess and assume I’m just very much not his target audience.
According to Forbes, one of the projects his venture capital firm has invested in is a genetic-engineering lab which wants to resurrect woolly mammoths, which I can get behind. Like Jurassic Park but with less pointy teeth.
In tied fifth place was Avani Gregg, who’s probably best known for her many makeup skills, which she shares on TikTok. She’s got a palette with Morphe, a published autobiography and has starred on web series Chicken Girls.
She and Charli D’Amelio are pals, and often collab together.
Also in fifth is Kris Collins, a former hairdresser-turned-TikTok-comedian who has a host of brand deals as well as a popular YouTube channel. Both she and Gregg made an estimated $6.6 million (USD$4.75 million) in 2021.
I’d love to see a Refinery29 Money Diary of a week in the life of any of these people, please.
Right, that’s confirmed it: I clearly need to invest in a gruelling lipsyncing regimen and some top notch dance classes if I ever want to get on the housing ladder.