For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year's PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).
Gather around, because Brooke Averick AKA @ladyefron (yes, as in Zac Efron's wannabe wife) is the master of storytime. Whether she's narrating the incidentals of her daily life, recalling a deeply embarrassing (or it would be, to most people) middle school moment or straight up reading from her 2009 diary, you'll want to hear literally everything the 24-year-old creator has to say. Her comic timing is impeccable, her sense of shame nonexistent and her messages to her haters unapologetic. Dig deep for the Bar Mitzvah content, it's worth it.
What's your favorite animal social media account to follow and why?
Definitely @wolfgang2242. It's run by a guy named Steve who exclusively adopts senior dogs (he also has a pig, chicken and turkey) and finally gives them their forever home. Follow at your own risk because every time one of the dogs dies I can't get out of bed for a week.
What's your go-to appetizer?
Chips and guac every time.
Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.
The last photo on my phone is a screenshot from Google of Pauly D from Jersey Shore without hair gel.
Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?
New Girl and The Office. I've seen them each over 10 times all the way through, but they're a huge source of comfort for me which is what we all need in 2020.
Clothing: Marc Jacobs
When was the last time you cried?
Honestly 10 minutes ago when my Chipotle was delivered and they forgot the guac.
If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?
I'd donate all the money to different teachers and schools. Having been a preschool teacher for two years, I know how hard teachers work and how little they get in return.
What's your next move if TikTok is banned?
I'll restart The Office and New Girl.
What was your first reaction after going viral?
I quit my job. Hindsight's always 20/20.
What's one thing you'd change about TikTok?
Not being able to edit captions after you post. 90% of my posts are riddled with typos.
What's the worst zodiac sign?
I've never met a mentally stable Gemini. Let the records show that I'm a Gemini.
Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York) Styling: Erika Golcher Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin