Creators are the beating pulse of TikTok, as the app frequently proclaims. They are, after all, the force behind viral videos and billions of viewers. But as many creators as there are, TikTok has chosen a select ten, featuring by huge fandoms, millions of followers, and innovative content.
Today, TikTok released a major 2021 roundup, with all the trends, filters, and moments that defined this year on the platform. A part of this report is focused on the breakthrough creators, those whose popularity and engagement metrics rose, as well as their influence.
“These are the creators who grew massive fandoms with their captivating content,” the TikTok newsroom post reads.
So who made this sparkling set? Here are the ten people who ruled our FYP pages in 2021.
1. Taylor Swift
She hardly needs an explanation, but added another accolade under her belt this year. Swift became the reigning queen of TikTok when she joined the app in August 2021. For her 93+ million followers, she jumps onto viral trends, dances with her cats, and teases highly-anticipated music videos.
2. Olivia Rodrigo
Rodrigo holds a similar position to Swift on this list, with existing fame that bolsters TikTok success. Her TikTok breakthrough is synced with her skyrocketing music career, which has truly taken off over the past couple of years. The Gen-Z pop artist is no doubt a TikTok favorite, considering its her age group that holds court on the app. With 11.7 million followers, Rodrigo plays around with funky, bespoke filters (mirroring her album aesthetic), sings angelically, and imitates TikTok games.
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3. Emily Mariko
There are creators who went viral pretty much overnight, and for various reasons. Take Emily Mariko (@emilymariko), a Bay Area lifestyle vlogger who attained fame in a very 21st century way: with a viral recipe, a touch of ASMR and a resulting array of inspired think-pieces. Her legendary recipe consisted of reheated rice, leftover salmon, seaweed wrappers and carefully-placed cubes of ice. Fast-forward to the end of 2021, and Mariko is synonymous with lifestyle TikTok, noted for her relatability and accessibility alike.
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4. Jonathan Graziano
Jonathan and his pug Noodles simply follow a daily ritual (of identifying whether it’s a “bones” or “no bones” day), but have millions of people tuning it to witness this. The Noodles-Graziano duo appear on the TikTok trend report twice, for both breakthrough creator and sources of joy.
5. Oneya D’Amelio
In similar vein, creator Oneya D’Amelio (@angryreactions) does exactly what his handle suggests – reacting to and dueting with other videos in hilarious and emotive ways, all while declaring positive affirmations. I personally recommend his reaction to Zuckerberg’s announcement of Meta.
6. Lissette Eduardo
A blend of humor and positivity is a great way to make a name on TikTok, as Lissette Eduardo (@chikybombomrea) has proven. A creator from the Dominican Republic, Eduardo delivers honest advice, positive messages, and underscores every piece of content with the purpose of empowering women.
7. Dr Shah
Breaking through the TikTok noise is also accomplished by teaching people things, shedding light on new and old information, or simply delivering tutorials. After all, the app has become a guide to hacks of all sorts, from cooking to beauty. To attest to this is the presence of Dr Shah (@dermdoctor), a dermatologist who presents viral skincare and beauty videos, a blend of advice and suggestions.
8. Mikayla Nogueira
Similar to Dr. Shah, TikTok has deemed beauty guru Mikayla Nogueira (@mikaylanogueira) another breakout star. She posts makeup reviews, fantastical gold and emerald hued tutorials, and does it all with a lot of laughs.
9. Chef Puff
TikTok is also just…weird. The platform is a place for the unexpected, the never-before-seen, the cute. It’s no surprise then that Chef Puff (@thatlittlepuff) made the cut of 2021 honorees. These videos are creative, with a little cat chef (yes, really), watching recipes, debunking food myths, and just generally being adorably addictive. Just watch him meowing over mooncakes and you’ll get the gist of this account.
10. Anna Sitar
On the note of funny creators who don’t really fit into one niche of TikTok comes Anna Sitar, who often just speaks to followers, takes them through her self-care chronicles (which means a trip to Target), singing makeup routines, and very frequent Starbucks (or “Starbies”) runs.
While TikTok’s main list was focused on the US for now, they also gave a shout-out to global creators too: @abbyroberts, @BTS_official_bighit, and @thedutchgoalkeeper. The ultimate breakout star, though, is @khaby.lame, who has 122 million followers. The Italy-based creator has made headlines for his burgeoning fame on the platform, rising well above the rest.
For more information on this year’s top creators, check out the TikTok newsroom here.
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