Using social media to gain fame is not a new phenomenon — just look at Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. But the new generation of social media stars are YOUNG… so young that they even make a teen like me feel ancient.
Insta-famous tweens are becoming increasingly young and sensational in order to get views. These young Instagram stars are using the platforms to launch their brands… no matter how questionable they may be. And if I’m honest, it’s hard to look away.
For better or worse, here are some of the cringiest and needlessly famous social media stars.
1. Lil Tay, 9, @liltay
Lil Tay is, in her own words, “the most flexing nine year old on the planet.” She has 1.6 million Instagram followers. Her videos feature her throwing money, yelling racial epithets, and bragging about how she is better than everyone else. She claims to have no mother and to have “birthed herself,” through her mom is occasionally seen filming Lil Tay in her videos. Needless to say, Lil Tay is not my favorite person on Instagram, and yet I view her page often.
2. Woah Vicky, 18, @imwoahvicky
While Woah Vicky has a private Instagram and won’t let me follow her, I can still see many of her exploits through Twitter and YouTube. To sum her up, she’s an 18-year-old white girl who thinks she can say the N-word. A lot. She’s a big supporter of Lil Tay and recently got into a fight with the next person on our list: Bhad Bhabie.
3. Bhad Bhabie, 15, @bhadbhabie
Bhad Bhabie AKA Danielle Bregoli rose to fame after a clip of her at age 13 telling Dr. Phil and his listeners to “Cash me outside” went viral. While Bhad Bhabie didn’t originally start out on Instagram, she quickly utilized and monetized all forces of social media to boost her rap career. But if we thought we could laugh and have her go away, the joke’s on us. Adults took notice of her meme-status and she landed a deal with Atlantic Records. And she’s even nominated for a Grammy.
4. and 5. Logan and Jake Paul, 23 and 21
The Paul brothers, collectively known as, “oh those guys” around our newsroom, made the jump to YouTube after Vine shut down. The two brothers collectively have a total of 31 million followers, although I have to assume that some of those must be attributed to hate watchers. And the brothers supply many things to hate. Between Jake’s “It’s everyday bro” music video and Logan’s ill-fated and badly thought out vlog of him laughing at the body of someone in Japan who died by suicide that led to international outrage, the two have made quite the name for themselves on the internet.
6. Yodeling Walmart Boy, 11, @lilhankwilliams
The yodeling Walmart boy, real name Mason Ramsey, is possibly the sweetest and least problematic person on this list. The video of him yodeling a Hank Williams song in Walmart quickly became viral (tbh it’s still stuck in my head). Pretty soon, remixes were made and he even performed at Coachella. His first single “Famous,” which I admit I am listening to as I write this, debuted at #4 on Billboard’s hot country chart. This kid is going places.
Hopefully, he won’t lose his childhood or innocence in the process.