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What the Hell Happened: Alix Earle’s Rise to Fame

Alix Earle is a Tik Tok influencer whose rise to fame began with her Get Ready with Me videos.
Alix Earle is a Tik Tok influencer whose rise to fame began with her Get Ready with Me videos. By geehairimages/Wikimedia Commons
By Claire C. Swadling, Contributing Writer

Chances are, if someone pulls Dior Addict Lip Glow out of their purse, discusses the need to acquire white eyeliner, or has scrolled through it-girl TikTok in the past month, they’ve probably heard of Alix Earle. The newest lifestyle and beauty influencer to take the platform by storm, Earle is a senior at the University of Miami who has recently sprung into the spotlight for her entertaining GRWMs and juicy life updates. Not only does she boast 4.9 million followers on TikTok and another 2.4 million on Instagram, but she is another example of a lifestyle creator whose popularity came about because of her unique approach to college vlogging — only to become consumed by the lure of trending audios and brand sponsorships.

Earle posts much of the typical content one would expect from a college student who went viral for her makeup routine last December. Her videos range from chatty makeup sessions and fit checks to trending dances. However, sprinkled through these normally run-of-the-mill TikToks are her candid life updates, allowing fans to slowly build a parasocial rapport with her. Before long, viewers are checking in again — not to see if her makeup routine has changed, but to see how that football game or date went.

As a TikTok user popular for her trend commentary, user katiexsocials observed that Earle creates her own intimate community by making us “feel like we’re in the in-crowd; we feel like we’re her friend.”

Fans feel inclined to binge the rest of her videos if they find themselves out of touch with what’s going on. Thus, by reminding her audience of what she’s been up to lately and letting them know about what’s to come, Alix Earle cultivates a devoted fanbase on an app that throws new creators at our faces daily.

However, since her rise to virality, Earle has been unapologetically chasing easy trends and, well, the bag. Nowadays, her videos are trendy dances complete with a sponsored outfit tagged in the caption, snapshots of her life where she tells her audience about even more exclusive events that she attends thanks to her newfound fame, or straight-up sponsored posts (with collaborations ranging from protein powder to the recent Forever 21 x Juicy tracksuit revival). If one might stumble upon her page now, at the height of her popularity, they might not even guess her relatively humble beginnings. After all, isn’t she just another young college student drowning in views?

Despite coming from a relatively affluent background, Earle managed to maintain a down-to-earth demeanor, both before and after she became a viral sensation. However, it’s impossible to overlook the greater degree of separation between her and her followers now — Earle’s lifestyle once seemed attainable, but now it is much too far out of reach. Perhaps the wider access to VIP events her fanbase granted her makes the glitz and glam of her current videos harder to relate to.

Earle’s content may have taken a turn for the generic, but her rise to fame provides an important case study in internet popularity. While creators do what they can to differentiate themselves while striving for internet success, the viral posts, free PR, and exclusive influencer events that come with mainstream TikTok fame. Even so, her fans from day one will always remember Earle’s original GRWM excitement whenever they apply their Charlotte Tilbury magic cream.

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