"I want to revolutionize Hollywood as we know it."
TikTok stars are taking over the entertainment industry! With over 1 billion users around the world, the app has made its top creators household names. And with their followings constantly on the rise, these digital stars are bringing in millions thanks to brand partnerships, personal merchandise, commercial appearances and more.
Stars like TikTok's most-followed creator, Charli D'Amelio, and her sister Dixie are making the most of the opportunity, monetizing their newfound fame with their own clothing brand, a reality show, and sponsorships where they can earn as much as $500,000 for a single post.
Forbesonce again took a look into what goes on behind the scenes for TikTok's top stars and compiled a list of the app's biggest earners. The outlet estimated the overall income for these stars from January through December of 2021, excluding creators who were celebrities prior to joining the app like actors and musicians. As for what they found? TikTokers are making more than ever, earning more than double their rates from the year prior.
If one thing is for sure, it's that TikTok stars are here to stay.
Find out who made the most money on TikTok in 2021…
Kris Collins made it big on TikTok in 2021! Just two years ago, Kris had a career as a hairdresser but when the pandemic hit, she found herself without work. At the suggestion of her brother, she turned to TikTok -- and her career there has totally taken off. The family-friendly comedy skits she regularly posts to her 41 million followers have made her a hot commodity for numerous brands, including Hershey, Lionsgate and Pantene. She's also working on writing her own show and hopes to one day get into acting.
"I feel like this is maybe a stepping stone for me into something else, but for right now, it's wonderful. And I love doing TikTok and YouTube. It's nice to just be able to do what I want to," Kris told DH News.
Like Kris, Avanni Gregg also brought in an impressive $4.75 million in 2021, going from lifeguard to social media superstar with over 39 million followers in just two years. When her makeup videos went viral in late 2019, she moved from rural Indiana to Los Angeles and joined the Hype House, befriending some of TikTok's other biggest stars. Over the course of 2021, she landed numerous sponsorships, released her own autobiography, and was cast in a new season of "Chicken Girls." She even made Forbes' 30 Under 30 list. She also starred in her own Snap show and released new episodes of her Facebook Watch series, "Here for It with Avani Gregg."
Josh Richards tripled his income in 2021, earning $5 million over the course of the year, a cool $3.5 million more than the year prior. Josh has long been known for his creative ventures expanding beyond the typical social media star method of selling merch and gaining sponsorships. Aside from his sponsorship deals with brands like Amazon and CashApp, Josh also worked on building CrossCheck Studios with his co-founder Mark Wahlberg. Additionally, he pushed his Ani energy drinks into major retailers like Walmart and raised money with his venture capital firm, Animal Capital. He also has a Barstool Sports podcast, "BFFs," that he cohosts with Barstool founder Dave Portnoy.
"I want to revolutionize Hollywood as we know it and prove that anyone can do the impossible if they put their mind to it. I hope I get to serve as a pioneer and trailblazer for other creators to pursue their dreams," Josh told Variety.
After Bella Poarch created the most-liked TikTok video of 2020, she skyrocketed to fame in 2021. Her 87 million followers make her the third most followed person on the app and have helped her launch a massively successful music career. The music video for her debut single "Build A Bitch," has racked up over 300 million plays since being released in early 2021. She also partnered with numerous sponsors including Google, Prada and Tinder.
In 2021, Addison Rae got knocked down from her top spot on TikTok's highest earners list but it doesn't mean she made less money. While her $5 million profit in 2020 put her in the number one spot that year, she made over $3 million more in 2021. With 86 million followers on the app, she's landed partnerships with companies like American Eagle and Vital Protein. And in the past 12 months, she's expanded her makeup line, Item Beauty, which is now sold in stores like Sephora.
In perhaps her biggest career move, Addison also launched both her music and acting career. In March, Addison surprised fans when she dropped her debut single "Obsessed" and later that year, she earned a starring role in "He's All That," the Netflix remake of "She's All That." The film went to No. 1 in 78 countries and weeks later, Netflix announced it had inked a multimillion-dollar deal with Addison which will see her both star in and executive produce various projects developed specifically for her.
Dixie D'Amelio made a name for herself in 2021, stepping out of her younger sister's shadow. She focused on her music career, releasing two hit songs, "F**k Boy" and "Psycho," and hit the road on tour as part of the Jingle Ball concert series. Dixie didn't leave her sister behind though! The duo made impressive deals including a makeup collection with Morphe and their own Snap show, "Charli vs. Dixie," which features 10 mini-TV episodes. The entire D'Amelio family also signed a deal with Hulu and their reality show, "The D'Amelio Show," premiered in September -- and got renewed for a second season.
This past year, Charli D'Amelio remained the reigning queen of TikTok. With 134 million followers, Charli is the most followed person on the app -- and has the sponsorships to go along with it. In addition to her Snap and Morphe partnerships with Dixie, the duo also launched their Social Tourist clothing line in collaboration with Hollister. Sales were so impressive that Hollister saw nearly a 10% sales increase through September 2021. They've also got sponsorships through their podcast "2 Chix," like Invisalign and Dunkin Donuts, where Charli launched her second signature drink at the beginning of the year.
"That way, you're always striving to be better at what you do, but you're also never bored," Charli told Variety.