If you’re not on TikTok, you’re probably a little curious about it. And late-night host Jimmy Fallon is also wondering what the hype is about. On last night’s (March 10) episode of The Tonight Show, he spoke to viral TikTok star Charli D’Amelio about the popular video platform, her rapid rise to fame, and how she’s working to combat cyberbullying. And yes, she even schooled him in a few viral TikTok dances.
D’Amelio kicked off the interview by diving into what exactly TikTok is. So if you’re unsure, listen up. “TikTok is a very creative app,” she said before explaining that it can’t be placed into one single category. “It’s 15- to 60-second videos of really doing whatever you want. Sometimes I vlog, I mostly dance. A lot of people do comedy, there’s a lot of art. It’s really all over the place.”
But D’Amelio, who mostly posts videos of herself dancing, has seemingly found the formula for success. “In less than a year, you have almost 35 million followers on TikTok,” Fallon said. “You have over 2 billion likes. Billion. You have 9 million followers on Instagram and you were actually featured in a Super Bowl commercial. This is less than a year.”
The viral sensation’s meteoric rise all began with a single video, which she posted before heading off to dance camp. And although she’s grown so much so fast, she still recognizes the importance of staying true to herself and making the type of content she loves. “You just have to be authentic,” she said. “You can’t fake a smile. You have to do what you actually enjoy.”
Unfortunately, along with viral internet fame can often come online hate, and D’Amelio told Fallon that she certainly gets her fair share. That’s why she and her sister Dixie — who’s also famous on TikTok — teamed up with UNICEF for Safer Internet Day. “I feel like it’s really important to raise awareness about that because a lot of people don’t like talking about the hate they get,” she said. “And I know — especially me — I get a lot.”
But regardless of whether you have 35 million followers or just 35, cyberbullying hurts the same. And D’Amelio knows because she’s experienced it prior to viral fame, as well. “It hurt the same when I was in school and someone would comment ‘oh, you’re ugly’ under my Instagram post and I had like, what, 40 followers?” she said. “So I just feel like it’s very, very important raising awareness and showing everyone it’s OK to not be OK. You just have to know that these people aren’t worth your time.”
Though her message about cyberbullying is certainly an important one, D’Amelio couldn’t leave the show without teaching Fallon some of the most popular dances on TikTok. And after teasing that she might be heading out on tour this summer, she schooled the host in everything from Doja Cat’s “Say So” to the Spooky Scary Skeletons dance challenge. And yes, she crushed them all.
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