TikTok star Charli D’Amelio reflects on her fame: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m still 15 years old’ (2024)

Charli D’Amelio has been busy this year.

The TikTok star, 19, dropped a collection with her fashion line in January, attended the Grammys in February, hosted the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in March, went to Coachella in April, and walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival amfAR Gala in May.

To close out June, she celebrated the launch of Tamagotchi Uni, a revamped, Wi-Fi-enabled version of the popular ‘90s toy.

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio reflects on her fame: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m still 15 years old’ (1)

Chatting with D’Amelio, it’s easy to forget that she is one of the most famous teenagers in the world. She’s friendly, soft-spoken and easy to talk to.

Online, though, she’s the second-most followed creator on TikTok, with an audience of over 150 million followers.

D’Amelio's meteoric rise to stardom is now a familiar story. In 2019, when she was only 15, she began posting dance videos on TikTok. Her talent and perceived relatability quickly gained her hundreds of thousands of followers on the fledgling social media app.

D’Amelio was one of the first influencers to build their platform on TikTok, and thousands of content creators have followed in her footsteps — though relatively few have managed to replicate her success.

Now, like many 19 year olds, D’Amelio is figuring out her next steps — but unlike most teens, she has millions of eyes on her as she navigates the future.

“Hopefully, I’ll have done things that I will be able to look back on and be really proud of," she tells TODAY.com. "But I don’t know what those things are yet, so we’ll see. Maybe it’ll be stuff I’ve already done."

"So who knows?”

Building the ‘D’Amelio’ brand

D’Amelio's fame has brought her other family members into the limelight, notably her older sister Dixie, who is now a singer and influencer.

Along with their parents Marc and Heidi, the D’Amelios launched their family company — D’Amelio Brands — last year, combining Marc’s business experience with his daughters' popularity.

The family’s lives are also chronicled in the Hulu docuseries “The D’Amelio Show,” which premiered in 2021 and was renewed for a third season in December.

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio reflects on her fame: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m still 15 years old’ (2)

As a TikTok creator, D’Amelio largely posts short, self-directed clips that rarely span longer than a minute. Filming a reality show has been an eye-opening experience.

“I think the biggest, craziest thing is just how long you sit for interviews. I’m very used to shortform, and longform is very different,” she tells TODAY.com.

One thing she's had to learn how to do is talk through her everyday actions, she says.

"Sometimes I notice that I’ve filmed the whole time and only said four words. So actually having those type of conversations is super weird for me — but also super fun, and I think better for me in the long run as a person," she adds.

She's also embracing the ability to share more of her life in context.

In 2020, the D’Amelios faced backlash after clips from one of their YouTube videos went viral, during which they appear to gag over a meal prepared for them by a private chef and complain about their follower counts. They faced a significant amount of online hate, losing one million followers, and even death threats. In an Instagram Live that November, D’Amelio tearfully opened up about the toll online comments took on her.

“People just, like, blatantly disrespecting the fact that I’m still a human being is not OK at all,” she said in the livestream video. “You can hate on me for whatever I’ve done, but the fact that all of this is happening because of a misunderstanding, I just feel like that’s not OK. And if this is the community that I’m in and the community that I put myself in, I don’t know if I want to do that anymore."

D’Amelio seems to have a more positive experience with the show.

“I think it’s really fun to express yourself with a show because you have so much more time to say and explain in context,” she says. “Fifteen seconds versus 30 minutes is a big difference. It’s definitely really interesting when it comes to a creative outlet like that.”

Keeping up with the D'Amelios?

Of course, “The D’Amelio Show” draws inevitable comparisons to the reigning heavyweight of family reality television, Hulu's "The Kardashians," now in Season Three.

The Kardashian family has been sharing their lives on reality TV since 2007. Equally high-profile has been the family’s expanding collection of businesses, including Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line Skims,Khloé Kardashian’s clothing brand Good American, and Kylie Jenner’s beauty brand Kylie Cosmetics.

D’Amelio herself is closer with the Kardashians than ever due to her relationship with Landon Barker, Travis Barker's son. Landon became Kourtney Kardashian Barker's stepson after she married the Blink-182 drummer in 2022. The couple is now expecting their first child together.

D’Amelio and Kardashian Barker recently hung out at Coachella together, posing for a selfie together backstage at Blink-182's performance.

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio reflects on her fame: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m still 15 years old’ (3)

D’Amelio calls the Kardashian family "admirable."

“When it comes to a family like the Kardashians, you really have to look at them and pride them on how long they’ve been able to do what they’re doing,” she says. “I think that it’s very admirable. I’m very lucky to have met them and understand that they’re just really, really great people.”

In five years ...

D’Amelio's online profile continues to grow. She seems a bit wistful when describing where she would like to be in five years.

“At this moment, I would hopefully be on the beach,” she says. “That’s just always what I want to be doing. Surrounded by people that I love.”

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio reflects on her fame: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m still 15 years old’ (4)

At the same time, she's nostalgic for her childhood.

"I just went through my mom’s phone actually and got all the pictures of me from when I was a little kid,” she says. “Looking through that and seeing me and Dixie when we were little, Halloween costumes growing up, all the little outfits that we would put on, dance classes, videos from when I was younger. There was so much fun stuff that I was doing that now I can look back on.”

It’s easy to forget that she has only been a public figure for a few years. In 2020, when D'Amelio began to rapidly gain popularity on TikTok, she was a sophom*ore in high school.

“Sometimes I still feel like I’m 15 years old,” she says. “Even then — being in high school and hanging out with my friends — all that fun stuff that you think about now, and you think, ‘Aw, I want to be doing that right now.’”

D’Amelio has previously said the competition for views, likes and comments has led to her "losing her joy for TikTok.” But would she ever consider taking a step back from the spotlight?

“I think that a healthy balance is always the way to go,” she answers. “That’s how you stay sane for a long, long, long, time. You have to give yourself time to do other things, time to put your phone down and just focus on other things while also hopefully enjoying the things that you’re doing for work, the things that you have to do. I think those go hand-in-hand, and they should. That’s how it keeps everyone happy.”

In the immediate future, after wrapping up her busy event schedule in New York City, D’Amelio says she'll head home to Connecticut for a taste of a simpler summer.

“I’m kind of just focused on having fun with my friends, my hometown friends,” she says. “I’m from Connecticut, which is very close to where we are right now, so I’m going there after to be with all my people and hopefully just, you know, see my grandma, eat a lot of good food, and have a good summer.”

Sophie Caldwell

Associate Lifestyle Reporter

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio reflects on her fame: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m still 15 years old’ (2024)

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