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).
"Whoever said beautiful people can't be funny was right!" writes Manuel Santos AKA @themanuelsantos in their TikTok bio. Then why are we laughing so hard? The London-based actor and performer is hilarious whether strutting around their bedroom like it's a runway, giving a wardrobe tour of their treasured Zara heels or dispensing a rosé-fueled pep talk to their devoted followers (or, as they call them, "biatches").
Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 now go worship @themanuelsantos !!!♬ original sound - papermagazine
Which pop star do you most relate to and why?
Beyoncé of course, we're basically the same person!
If you could write the headline for your profile, what would it be?
Manuel: Extremely hot, skinny, self-centered and quite possibly narcissistic, will never love you as much as they love themselves. Perfect right!
Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.
Manuel looks sad and desperate, their gaze is directed to their right as they glance off camera to the abyss. Are they pleading?
Where do you want to be five years from now?
On your cover.
What's your most overused word or phrase?
Previously B*tch, but more recently Byatchesz (not the official spelling).
When was the last time you cried?
Last week, contrary to popular belief I am actually capable of experiencing sadness! Although my last cry was of happiness...
Who was your childhood hero and why?
Definitely my future self. I hadn't met me yet, but I just knew I was going to be THE ONE. ("Jokes" aside, my mother.)
What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)
A lot of things — too many things if you ask me! On the one hand I am someone very confident, opinionated and independent, but I am also consumed by my subconscious as well, so I tend to overthink and self-analyze A LOT.
If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?
1 MILLION??? Just a sec, I'm creating a charity for myself as we speak! On a real note, I would split the money and donate it to different charities that support and aid LGBTQ+ people, ESPECIALLY Black trans women! Most of the time, they are left out of the conversation or not even talked about at all, but in today's society they are the ones who need our voice and support the most! Some charities that come to mind: For The Gworls Party, Marsha P. Johnson Institute and the Black Trans Travel Fund.
What's your favorite TikTok sound?