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Charli D'Amelio: From Regular Teenager to TikTok Celebrity and Startup Investor

Capitalism.com
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January 20, 2021
Charli D’Amelio

Charli D'Amelio is proof that you can make money as a teen. If you've been scrolling through TikTok, you've likely stumbled on one of her dance videos. Charli is the first TikTok user to amass 100 million followers. Today, she’s published a book and invested in a financial startup. Let's explore how this teen TikTok influencer exploded her brand in under two years.

The Story Behind Charli D'Amelio: TikTok Influencer, Author, and Startup Investor

Charli D’Amelio Profile

Who Is Charli D’Amelio?

Charli D'Amelio is a TikTok influencer and dancer. Her impressive dance TikToks and collaborations helped her fame skyrocket. She has collaborated with celebrities and amassed 100+ million followers on the video app.

Charli has collaborated with brands, including EOS and Orosa Beauty. She and her sister have also created exclusive product lines for Hollister and Morphe. Sabra even featured Charli D'Amelio in one of their Super Bowl commercials. Charli also published a book and invested in Step, a financial startup. 

Charli D’Amelio Net Worth

For this article, we'll base Charli D'Amelio's estimated wealth on how much money she has accumulated since starting TikTok in 2019. According to Forbes, this Charli D'Amelio has amassed an estimated net worth of $4 million

Charli's income sources include:

  • Sponsored posts (reportedly $100,000 per post)
  • Sales from her merchandise sales
  • Product line collaborations with various brands
  • Ad revenue from her YouTube channel

Various sources report her Sabra Super Bowl Commercial alone raked in $1 million. Moreover, Charli published a book in December 2020. You can find Essentially Charli: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping It Real at major retailers, including Target and Amazon. Her recent investment in Step may significantly increase her net worth down the line.

How Charli D'Amelio Became a TikTok Influencer

Before TikTok fame, Charli led a relatively everyday teenage life in Norwalk, Connecticut. Charli was already dancing since she was three years old and started competing at five years old. In June 2019, Charli posted her TikTok video in June 2019.

In her interview with Jimmy Fallon, Charli shares the story behind her first viral TikTok video. She posted a duet video with @movewithjoy before leaving on a 90-minute drive to her summer dance class. "Before I walked into dance class, it was about 50,000 [likes]," Charli D'Amelio said.

Charli later moved to Los Angeles (presumably to collaborate with California-based influencers). She briefly joined the Hype House, home to multiple TikTok personalities for creating content. Charli has already made several notable appearances, including:

  • A cameo in Doja Cat's music video, "Baby, I'm Jealous"
  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Live with Kelly and Ryan
  • Sabra Hummus Super Bowl commercial

Charli's fame led to new opportunities, including a podcast, book deal, and startup investment (more on these later).

From TikTok Influencer to Financial Startup Investor

Charli D'Amelio invested in Step, a banking startup for teenagers. Charli often did run-of-the-mill female influencer deals — makeup and clothing companies. Though a bold move, a financial startup felt relevant, given her newfound wealth.

"As I started making my own money, it was important for me to find a banking app that felt like it was designed for me," Charli said in a statement. 

CJ MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko started Step in 2018. Step's goal is to improve the financial future of the next generation, according to their website. This banking for teen service offers a free FDIC insured bank account and Visa card with no interest and fees. Other celebrity investors in Step include Justin Timberlake, Eli Manning, The Chainsmokers, and Will Smith.

It's little surprise why MacDonald and Kalinichenko chose Charli D'Amelio for their influencer marketing strategy. Charli fit their primary demographic and with her massive audience. She was the perfect gateway to accessing their target market.

Charli D'Amelio's Other Projects

Charli D'Amelio's empire has grown beyond TikTok. In addition to being a TikTok influencer, Charli has been podcasting, growing her YouTube channel, and even published a book.

Podcast

Charli and her sister, Dixie, launched their first podcast episode in September 2020. Titled Charli and Dixie: 2 Chix, the sister duo share snippets of their life and thoughts on current trends. Their first episode went live in September 2020.

Book Deal

Charli D'Amelio published her first book, Essentially Charli: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping It Real, in December 2020. The book shares stories of the teen influencer behind the scenes. She talks about the challenges of becoming viral and shares tips on coping with cyberbullying. 

YouTube

Charli added YouTube to her social media empire, publishing her first video in November 2019. Charli's YouTube collaborations include James Charlies, a beauty influencer, and Bebe Rexha, an American songwriter. Given her existing TikTok following, Charli quickly grew her YouTube channel. She currently has 8.7 million subscribers after just one year.

Product Lines

Charli has kept busy by developing product lines for various brands. Notable collaborations include:

  • Orosa Beauty: Charli and Dixie launched a limited edition line of nail polishes. 
  • Hollister: The sisters were in the July 2020 "Jean Lab" campaign. Hollister also featured a limited edition line of sweatshirts. 
  • Morphe: Charli and Dixie launched an exclusive makeup line in July 2020.

Charities

Throughout Charli's TikTok career, Charli has contributed to various philanthropic causes. Charli D'Amelio partnered with Procter & Gamble in creating the #distancedance challenge. This challenge encouraged people to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic. The raised funds supported Feeding America, a nonprofit that feeds America's hunger. 

Charli also had a meet-and-greet in Connecticut. She sent the proceeds raised from charging tickets to two charity organizations. The first is Breath4ALS, which funds research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The second is Carnival for a Cause, which raises funds to support those with developmental disabilities.

Reasons Behind Charli D'Amelio's Skyrocket To Fame

Gen Z Culture

Generation Z (Gen Z) has created a unique culture surrounding entertainment. Unlike prior generations, Gen Zers are doing more than consuming entertainment. Teenagers are both creators and consumers — anybody can pick up a smartphone and publish content. Also, Gen Zers resonate more with social media influencers like Kylie Jenner than A-list Hollywood celebrities. 

TikTok's growing popularity (46 million downloads in 2019) paired with Gen Z culture created an opportunity for Charli. Dance videos are a cornerstone of TikTok. Charli's prior dance skills allowed her to shine. It's little surprise why Charli D'Amelio, a member of TikTok's target user base, found fame on this app.

Authenticity

"You just have to be authentic. You can't fake a smile. And you have to do what you actually enjoy." -Charli D'Amelio

TikTok's "don't take yourself too seriously" vibe was a refreshing departure from Instagram's picture-perfect platform. When Charli entered the picture in 2019, she was just dancing, posting funny videos, and being herself. Charli's most popular videos often had minimum staging with minimal makeup and dressed in sweats.

This authenticity translated to her audience. "She's so nice. Compared to all the Tiktokers, I feel like she's not as fake as them. She's like a real person that actually wants to talk to us," said a fan at Charli's 2019 meet-and-greet.

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from This Teen TikTok Influencer

#1 Cultivating a Following Opens Doors

Charli's journey to wealth and fame proves this timeless truth: cultivating a following opens doors. Charli started only on TikTok, but her reach has evolved into sponsorships, a podcast deal, and a book deal. Charli even amassed enough resources to invest in a startup company.

New and seasoned entrepreneurs can build an audience to help them achieve their business goals. A loyal audience means you have a pool of prospective customers you can sell to. Loyal followers will also rave about your business to their friends and family.

We think partnering with content creators who’ve built audiences, and helping them build legitimate businesses serving those audiences is the single most overlooked business opportunity in the world today. Here’s why:

#2 Know Your Audience

As an influencer, your followers are everything. Without them, companies won't reach out to work with you. The bridge between influencer and follower is trust and authenticity. People can tell when influencers are in it for only the money. 

And they can usually tell by the brands they work with. Hollister and Morphe and other retail or beauty brands made sense for Charli — they fit her audience. 

Even her investment in Step, a banking startup, made sense for Charli's younger audience. If it were any other type of bank, you might suspect that Charli was promoting this company for the money. Since it was a bank specifically for teens, it worked with Charli's audience. 

Be conscious of what brands you promote to your followers. They must be relevant and create VALUE for your followers.

#3 Know When to "Quadruple Down"

Charli D'Amelio recently sat down with Gary Vaynerchuk for advice on her newfound stardom. She asked Gary Vee what her next step in growing her brand should be. "Quadruple down," he responded.

In just one year, Charli commanded a massive audience on TikTok. There is almost no way you can do that organically with Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter today. It's possible, but it's certainly a challenge.

Industries and trends are continually shifting. TikTok fits a unique niche in the market, and Charli hopped on this golden window of opportunity. As we now know, it looks like Charli followed Gary Vee's advice. She worked with multiple brands, creating a podcast, and even published and sold a book. She leveraged her massive following to the maximum.

FAQs about Charli D’Amelio

How much money did Charli D'Amelio have in 2020?

Charli's net worth hovers around $4 million. Charli's income sources include brand sponsorships, merch and book sales, and ad revenue. 

Who pays Charli D’Amelio?

Charli has multiple income streams. She has worked with brands, including Morphe, Invisalign, Sabra, and Hollister. She also generates revenue from her YouTube channel, website merchandise, and book sales.

Does Charli D'Amelio go to school?

Yes, Charli attends an online one-on-one schooling program. Charli attended online schooling before the coronavirus pandemic caused schools to close. Her flexible schooling lets her fit her education around her busy schedule.

Who is Charli D'Amelio's family?

Charli isn't the only talented individual in the D'Amelio family. Heidi, Charli's mother, is a professional photographer and also did modeling and personal training. Marc, Charli's father, is a business owner and politician. He ran as a Republican for the Connecticut State Senate but lost the general election in 2018. He also owns a clothing apparel business.

With 46 million TikTok followers, Dixie, Charli's older sister, is impressive in her own rite. She often features alongside Charli in various brand collaborations and events. The sister duo launched product lines for Hollister, Morphe, and Orosa Beauty.

Why is Charli D'Amelio so famous?

Charli is famous because of her viral TikTok dancing videos. She is the first TikTok creator to reach 100 million followers. Her explosive fame landed her on:

  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Music videos by Jennifer Lopez and Doja Cat
  • Brand campaigns by Hollister and Morphe.

How old is Charli D'Amelio?

Charli D'Amelio was born on May 1, 2004, in Norwalk, Connecticut. She is 16 years old at the time of this publication.

Is TikTok getting banned in the U.S?

Trump issued an executive order in August 2020 about the risk of using TikTok. He addressed how TikTok may have connections to advancing the Chinese Communist agenda. Recently, a federal judge blocked Trump's attempt to ban TikTok. While Charli has already expanded her brand beyond TikTok, she has also joined Triller, TikTok's competitor.

Charli D'Amelio: The Bottom Line

Charli D'Amelio is proof  that you can get into entrepreneurship at any age. Making money as a teen is easier than ever because of the proliferation of social media. What's unique about Charli is how she leveraged her following to grow her brand, build a business, and become an investor. In one year, she went from obscure TikToker to millionaire influencer. 

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