I have talked endlessly about my love for Paris Hilton. Low key, I can’t shut up about her. Here I go, talking about her some more. Let me get to the point. Paris Hilton is the reason why people can become famous on the internet overnight. I said what I said. Here are 10 stars who followed in her footsteps and used social media to become famous. You know all of these names, but maybe you didn’t know these celebs made it big from social media.
1. Justin Bieber
Before Justin Bieber starting working with his manager Scooter Braun, he was making videos on YouTube. His talent for singing is what made him blow up seemingly overnight. I’ll admit that Justin’s appeal has gone down over the years, but it’s no small feat that he was able to turn his YouTube days into internet stardom. That’s more than can be said about some other celebrities!
2. Kylie Jenner
When I was in high school, one of my friends insisted I follow Kylie Jenner on Instagram. We all watched the Kardashians religiously and knew Kylie was part of the Kardashian clan. However, in the show’s early days, she was simply one of Kris Jenner’s children and not much else. Because of Instagram, she became one of the celebs who made it big on social media. Now she has her own lip kit line that continues to sell out time and time again, and she has her own skincare products—all that from hype just from her social media following. Nice work, Kylie!
When I was a freshman in college, I went to see a concert in Portland, Oregon, and Halsey was the opener. None of us knew who she was before then, but she totally stole the show. Halsey is a household name because of hits like “Without Me” and “Bad at Love.” We can thank YouTube for that. If it weren’t for the site, Halsey would not have been noticed by such a large audience. We love celebs who made it big from YouTube!
4. Shawn Mendes
Mendes is another one of the celebs who made it big from YouTube. He taught himself how to play the guitar, and the rest is history. That was almost 10 years ago (gasp!), and you know what really propelled him into stardom? Vine! Does anyone else remember Vine? Kids nowadays will never understand what that short-lived app could do for a person’s career. Shawn Mendes is a necessary reminder that social media can turn ordinary people into stars.
Everyone knows the hilarious celebrity Awkwafina, and YouTube is to thank for that. Her comedic song “My Vag” exploded in popularity on YouTube, and it all happened seemingly overnight. Now, you can find her in movies like Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. Celebs who made it big from YouTube seem to be a common theme here. Are you feeling inspired yet?
6. The Weeknd
The Weeknd began as an anonymous YouTube user who rose to fame in the past 5 years. His career as The Weeknd began in a Canadian nightclub, and now he plays festivals worldwide. We love YouTube for giving him his start! Part of the beauty of The Weeknd, and the internet in general, is that it’s impossible to know who’s behind the artist. Social media can overexpose everything, but it also gives you the chance to stay anonymous. This mystery can make you stand out as everyone tries to figure out who you really are.
7. Leslie Jordan
If you watch American Horror Story, you probably know who Leslie Jordan is. If the name still isn’t ringing any bells, think of who kept you entertained during quarantine. For me, it was Leslie Jordan. He uploaded hilarious videos chronicling his quarantine thoughts and advice, and I owe him my sanity. For me and thousands of others, he was the reason we kept opening up Instagram throughout the pandemic. Party on, Leslie!
8. Kate Upton
Model and actress Kate Upton has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and Shape. She signed with her first modeling agency when she was a teenager, and now she’s a mom! I included her on this list because social media allowed her to grow as a model. She opened up about being comfortable in your own skin on Instagram and used the platform to highlight the importance of taking care of yourself. Fuck the haters.
9. Jenna Marbles
If you’re too young to know who Jenna Marbles is, then boy do I feel sorry for you! Miss Marbles was my introduction to comedy. I remember spending hours watching her YouTube videos when I was in middle school. Over a billion people have watched her videos, which is pretty fucking crazy.
Iconic makeup artist NikkieTutorials is the only reason I don’t leave my house every morning looking like a clown. Nikkie would be devastated to see photos of me from the past because I had absolutely no idea how to do makeup. That changed with Nikkie. Now, I consider her a celebrity because millions of people have seen her videos. Plus, she does makeup for other celebrities.
These are all celebs who have made it big from social media. Which ones are your favorite? Let me know in the comments!