The TikTokers’ Takeover at the Met Gala

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Nidhi Nair, Staffer

We’re all familiar with seeing the most famous TikTokers on our phone screens, whether you’re scrolling through Charli D’Amelio’s feed, watching Addison Rae (attempt to) dance or listening to Bella Poarch’s music. However, the media has recently begun to idolize these TikTok stars and publicize them as “celebrities,” which personally bothers me. The main event that serves as a perfect example is none other than the recent 2021 Met Gala. After the 2020 Met Gala was cancelled due to Covid-19, the media had high expectations for this year’s event.

Normally, prestigious and highly-praised celebrities attend the Met Gala, including well-known actors and musicians like Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Michael B. Jordan and many more iconic celebrities. Unfortunately, and to many viewers’ dismay, TikTokers are also now being included in this list of “celebrities.” 

The main TikTokers that attended the 2021 Met Gala were Addison Rae and Dixie D’Amelio, each of their rapid fame and large followings buying them a ticket into the event. Several other YouTubers also attended, including Emma Chamberlain, Eugene Lee Yang, Jackie Aina and NikkieTutorials. During the previous Met Gala in 2019, the influencer Met Gala attendees included James Charles, Liza Koshy, Lilly Singh and Camila Coelho, none of whom made a reappearance this year.

So what exactly did these influencers do to gain so much recognition? Quite frankly, I doubt that anyone has a reasonable answer to this question. Although there are many interviews and videos online of TikTok stars expressing their “hard work,” “dedication” and “effort” into their careers, we all know that it takes zero effort to press record and film a 15-second video of yourself throwing it back. 

I will truthfully acknowledge that some of the YouTubers that attended the event do put a significant amount of effort and work into their profession, but at the same time, it feels quite odd to treat them as celebrities when they are just normal people who make videos. It should be agreeable that none of these influencers have an outstanding or show-stopping talent that makes them extremely worthy of the fame and fortune they have been receiving. This is not only exclusive to influencers, as the Kardashians also have no significant talent.

Influencers being invited to the Met Gala has been an ongoing controversial topic, as many people (myself alike) are confused about why they were invited in the first place, while others are supportive of their recognition. There is a clear difference between talented, inspirational celebrities and unoriginal TikTokers who follow video trends for a living. 

Not to mention, Addison Rae and several other TikTokers were accused multiple times of performing TikTok dances made by black creators without giving them any credit, and Dixie D’Amelio is essentially only famous because her sister Charli blew up on the app. And let’s be honest, do we think that her music career is actually successful enough for her to attend events like the Met Gala? Charli D’Amelio flourished in popularity for no specific reason. Sure, she’s a good dancer, but you get my point. She immediately rose to stardom after posting a TikTok of her doing a ripped-off version of the “Renegade” dance that was actually created by Jalaiah Harmon, who received no credit whatsoever. Her unbelievably quick rise to fame led to her having her own drink at Dunkin’ Donuts, a clothing brand and makeup palette with her sister Dixie, appearances in several movies, music videos, and shows and a television show for her family on Hulu. Truth be told, these are just normal people in our generation who got a lucky path to stardom for no apparent reason.

Overall, there are many different opinions scattered around the media about these TikTok stars, and countless scandals with influencers getting cancelled every day. The next time you scroll through social media and see pictures of celebrities at the Met Gala, I hope you take the time to question why these TikTokers are also being included at these events because I surely don’t know why.