Social media has become a part of our lives ever since the introduction of Myspace in 2003. Then came the infamous Facebook in 2004, when social media really took a hold of our lives. Now, there are countless platforms for social media but the reigning platforms remain to be: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. With these platforms, certain individuals have discovered that if you can successfully monopolize on a particular niche and followers, sponsors, and fame will come soon after.
Currently, millions use these platforms each day, so the rise of “social media stars” were certain to come. While the word “famous” was once only associated with the rowdy rock star or glamorous actress, it is now used to describe cosplayers with a million Facebook likes, Twitter political commentators, YouTube gamers and Instagram make-up artists. These individuals have learned the ins and outs of social platforms including when to post, how to manipulate photos and videos, and how to quote en quote “click bait”. The stories of how these stars came to their massive followings are different with each experience, but most social media stars would admit their lives are much more exciting working as an entertainer. Many of these social media influencers have found sponsorships which have enabled them to travel the world, gain access to certain events, or the latest products. To their credit, many of these stars spend hours writing, creating, and editing their content for millions to judge. To better introduce you to these influencers, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 media sensations you should know about!
15. Lele Pons
Lele pons is a perfect example of the millennial dream come true! Pon started her social media journey on Vine, on which she was the most followed in 2016, while she was still in attending Miami Country Day High School until 2015 when she graduated. Already having millions of Vine loops and followers on her various Instagram, YouTube and Facebook accounts Lele decided to pursue a career in entertainment. Lele’s experienced many obstacles in her life from being bullied in high school for her appearance and race to drama with ex-bestfriend Amanda Cerny which surfaced on the gossip website, the Dirty. The drama between the two costed Lele a couple million in Instagram and Vine followers, which she regained within a month due to her intense popularity. Currently Lele is focused on her YouTube account, releasing videos every week!
14. The Philip Defranco Show
Opposite to Lele Pons fame, Philip Defranco had a slow rise to internet fame, but now dominates in the political commentating niche. Defranco has acquired upwards of 5 million YouTube subscribers and his videos have acquired a whopping 1,790,787,540 views under the username “sxephil”. Philip has grown from filming inside his dim-lite studio apartment to an actual studio with a full staff. When YouTube was still a sphere to be dominated without the competition of 15-year-olds doing their make-up, Defranco came up with an idea to increase his viewership. What was said idea? Basically, click bait. The Philip Defranco Show’s thumbnails almost always include some type of attractive click bait (usually female). This grasped the eye of male viewers who saw a sexy girl in his thumbnails before they saw a middle-aged man. Not a bad way to become a millionaire!
13. Dan Bilzerian
Dan Bilzerian saw an opportunity to exploit his rich, over the top lifestyle back in 2012 when he started posting videos of barely clothed models operating machine guns in the Las Vegas desert on Instagram. Bilzerian is the son of millionaire Paul Bilzerian (investigated for fraud), who gave his son the taste of full luxury. Dan found a way to further support his lifestyle without wasting his families entire fortune by dominating the poker industry. Dan’s earned a recorded $50 million from the card game which helps him support his 20 million Instagram page dedicated to the dreams of every 15-year-old boy. With his guns, lavish L.A parties, and abundance of super cars, it’s not hard to see why! Dan Bilzerian is also responsible for the rise of many Instagram model accounts, such as Lindsay Pelas, Corin Jamie Lee Clark and many more!
13. Jay Alvarrez
Former boyfriend to Instagram hottie, Alexis Ren, Jay Alvarrez’s Instagram blew up between 2014-2015. This is partly due to the duos relationship which was described by every teenager as, “total goals”. The two travelled the world and filmed their adventures, usually subliminally advertising a product at the same time. Both patrons Instagram’s blew up but after Alexis and Jay broke up in August of 2016, Jay seems to be the only one keeping up with the travel adventures and radical stunts (which turn out to be killer photos!). Jay is sponsored to travel all around the world and work as a cinematographer, model, and stuntman. As if his life weren’t already perfect, Jay grew up in tropic Hawaii before moving to Los Angeles as a model where he met his former girlfriend, Alexis. Not a bad way to start off the first 21 years of your life!
12. Jessica Nigri
Jessica Nigri came to the public eye in 2008 when she cosplayed her “sexy Pikachu” at San Diego Comic Con. Before every hot girl next door tried to exploit the average nerd, Jessica Nigri was the only name associated with cosplay. Starting off on Facebook, she reached a million likes long before social media careers were a thing. Originally called the Official Jessica Nigri Fan Page, Jessica began creating her own comic book or video game related costumes and wearing them to conventions. Being an attractive female in little clothing was enough for Jessica to sky rocket to the top and now she receives 25K a month just from her Patreon. Jessica has also found sponsors from brands which she advertises in her YouTube videos or on her Instagram page. This is has become a very lucrative business for Nigri and has inspired many other girls to follow suit.
11. Logan Paul
Logan Paul’s fame was first noted on Facebook, on which he’s now received 14 million likes. Paul began creating his own videos and posting them on various platforms which caught the eye of many fans. Born in Westlake, OH the 21-year-old now resides in Los Angeles where he collaborates with other social media influencers such as Amanda Cerny, Lele Pons, and Juanpa Zurita. Logan’s trademark is his over the top energy and catchy one liners which he exudes in every video. Logan Paul has had so much success with social media he’s created his own production company, “Maverick Media“, and even participated in a vine based advertisement for Pepsi. Not bad for a kid who went from 900 YouTube subscribers to 1.5 million in the course of 4 months. Logan has famous brother as well, Jake Paul.
10. Do It With Dan
Straying from the Viners trend, Dan (last name unknown) is a popular moto-vlogger dominating YouTube right now. His following has reached 700K subscribers on YouTube for his funny and entertaining videos. So what is moto-vlogging? It’s the act of video blogging while ridding a motorcycle. What sounds dangerous to some is a form of entertainment for others and Dan has recently been able to quit his day job to pursue a full-time career in moto-vlogging. This is through YouTube money, Patreon, and merchandise sold through Dan’s channel. Featuring his girlfriend, Laura, in many of his videos has skyrocketed his viewership making it possible to monetize his own videos. Dan lives in sunny South Georgia which makes for the perfect environment for riding a motorcycle year round.
9. King Bach
One of Canada’s most famous contributions to the vine-sphere is King Bach. King Bach, real name Andrew B. Bachelor, was born in Toronto, Canada and found his search for fame by creating funny vines which caught the attention of millions. Accumulating over 16 million vine followers, 12 million on Instagram, and 1 million subscribers for his YouTube, BachelorPadTv. This is the station where Andrew makes content usually poking fun at dating life, going out, and the overall life of a bachelor. Andrew has since moved from Toronto to Los Angeles to further pursue his career and has made other social media famous friends such as Amanda Cerny (who regularly shows up in videos) and Logan Paul. Bachelor also has a background in acting from when he regularly appeared on the MTV skit-show, Wild n Out.
8. Amanda Cerny
Amanda Cerny was born in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went to Florida State University where she attended for a few years before submitting herself for Playboy in 2011. Lucky for us, she was accepted and became October’s Playmate of the month for 2011. This gained her some attention but that wasn’t enough to build a million following empire, that was until she met Lele Pons. Amanda and Lele became instant friends and soon after began creating Vines and YouTube videos together. The duo gained each influencer millions of fans but when a fight broke out between the two, things got nasty. Amanda accused Pons of defacing her social media work by deleting popular posts and setting her accounts on private. Since then, the girls haven’t followed each other or been seen at the same events or in the same friends group.
7. FaZe Jev
FaZe Jev, aka Jason Eugene V started uploading videos of himself playing Call of Duty and other first person shooters while commentating. Since his first YouTube video four years ago after another channel he started in 2009 didn’t do so well. Jason has since then accumulated over 2 million subscribers and many other followers on Twitter and Twitch. This popularity has given Jason a new career in game vlogging which he receives sponsorships for and is able to monetize his videos. Not much is known about “FaZe Jev’s” personal life but he opens up in little bits during his YouTube vlogging. Jason’s entertaining content has recently led him to advertise the new instalment of Resident Evil: Resident Evil Biohazard 7. Jason resides in New Jersey and is a part of another popular Youtube account by the name FazeClan.
Dope2111 or Promise Pham is a beauty blogger from the beginning! Promise joined YouTube in 2010 and since gained a 4 million subscriber following on YouTube and 960K on Instagram. Unlike other beauty bloggers, which are of an abundance on YouTube, Promise has the ability to completely transform herself. She proved this by her on-camera transformations into Scarlett Johansson, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and even an Avatar. It was these transformations that skyrocketed Promise’s account from the generic everyday make-up look videos to a whole different level. Off camera, Ms. Pham is a professional makeup artist but spends most of her time creating YouTube content on skin care, new makeup products, and fashion advice. Promise Pham is sister in law to Michelle Pham, another very popular beauty YouTuber and the two are often seen collaborating.
Juanpa Zurita is a 20-year-old Mexican living in Lala land making funny Vines and catchy YouTube videos. Jaunpa started his entertainment career on Vine where he posted his Vine “That dog killed Chuck Norris and was after me” in 2013. Zurita became an instant success earning him millions of Vine loops and an even more impressive 3 million YouTube subscribers and 7.1 million Instagram followers. Jaunpa, who now splits his time between Los Angeles and Mexico, is one of Instagram’s fastest rising sensations in 2016. You’ll find many of Jaunpa’s comedic videos are in collaboration with other social media sensations such as Lele Pons and Amanda Cerny. Juanpa is also related to another popular Vine star named Andres Zurita (his brother). Be sure to check him out!
SourceFed is a branch off of The Philip Defranco Show (created by the man himself) which strays from the one man-tell-all narrative and replaces it with seven hosts whom discuss world events, politics, celebrity news, and just general buzz. These seven hosts consist of Steve Zaragoza, William Haynes, Bree Essrig, Ava Gordy, Candace Carrizales, Mike Falzone, and Steven Suptic. The cast originated of Steve Zaragoza, Elliot Morgan, Trisha Hershberger, and Lee Newton but grew when Lee decided to further pursue a career in the entertainment industry. SourceFed has earned a whopping 1.7 million subscribers and 895 million views total. The show breaks up into different segments including: SF news, table talk, SF podcast, live shows, and bloopers. Generated more towards the comedic side, SourceFed offers a great source of daily news that will keep you entertained!
3. Bretman Rock
The best way to describe Bretman Rock would be a boy who probably likes makeup more than you and he’s got the contour to prove it. Bretman took the internet by storm when he uploaded his contouring routine on Instagram in June of 2015. Since then, he has accumulated over 7.1 million Instagram followers and 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube. Of course, living in the controversial world we do, a boy putting on makeup has received just as much criticism as he has praise. However, Bretman seems unmoved by the haters always replying back with a witty comment or funny picture. It’s that captivating personality and perpetual attitude, along with a bit of controversy, that keeps fans coming back for more. Nonetheless, Bretman Rock has accomplished a lot more than the average 18-year-old.
2. Franchesca Ramsey
Franchesca Ramsey is a triple threat in a whole new way! This writer, actress, and video blogger has found the perfect niche to put her skills to work by creating YouTube content. Most know Franchesca by her YouTube tag, Chescaleigh, which gained popularity after the uploading of her “sh*t white girls say… to black girls” video went viral in 2012 earning an impressive 1.5 million views in under 24 hours. Since then, Ramsey’s found plenty of opportunities to further express her skills that aren’t YouTube including an MTV web series run by Ramsey entitled Decoded. At times, Franchesca gets political but for the most part Franchesca is an entertainer just here to make us laugh! Oh and it doesn’t hurt if it makes you into a millionaire
Originating in New York City, Jordan Taylor aka Taylorcutfilms, began his social media journey through photography. Taylor began taking photos at local night clubs in New York which eventually earned him a ticket on Ushers OMG tour as a backstage photographer. Fast forward a couple years and Jordan is now living in Los Angeles producing travel vlogs with his girlfriend, Alyssa Lynch. The two are very captivating and give you that “total goals” envy when you see them running through the tropics in Mexico or the temples in India. Nonetheless, Jordan Taylor is living the dream producing his own creative content while still working as a professional photographer to the stars. Not to mention his fellow social media stars such as Lele Pons, King Bach, and Amanda Cerny. As of now, his YouTube channel is fast and rising but he stands at 368K followers and growing every day!