There’s a new generation of talent rising on TikTok. In 2020, the app is rewriting the rules of what it previously took to become a household name, quickly evolving past the dance challenges and lip-sync videos into a satellite industry populated by 60-second audition tapes.
Serving as an antidote to the more FaceTuned and superficial corners of the internet, it gives its users the freedom to express their most authentic selves. Favouring personality, uniqueness, and imperfection, it has become a place in which previously unknown musicians secure record deals, songs are boosted to the top of the Billboard charts, heads of casting agencies are turned, and queer short stories gain as many views as Netflix shows.
To highlight the vast array of talent on offer, The Face has hand-picked 21 TikTok creators establishing a new cultural conversation around music, art, fashion, comedy and activism. Think of it as our very own “For You” Page. You can check out the first 10 here and the second set below.
Meet our second set of TikTokers
With his low, booming voice and intricate lyrics, Unknown T has always been hard to miss. Now the same goes for his TikTok account, where he launched the “T‑Bop Challenge” dance alongside workout fails and wholesome hair growth content this summer. The Hackney rapper, who made UK rap history when he was passed the mic during a Tim Westwood Crib Session in 2017, is all about spreading positivity on the app. His mixtape Rise Above Hate, even features a cameo from fellow TikTok stars Young T and Bugsey on recent banger Main Squeeze.
If Alt Scouse Fashion TikTok is a thing, Jade is the CEO. The 17-year-old from Liverpool is known for her colourful aesthetic, cracking sense of humour and increasingly surreal videos (case in point, dancing around her garden in a cape and venetian mask to WAP). Jade is just as much a business woman as she is a laugh, and uses her platform to share handmade designs from her clothing brand The Unconventional, which sells a range of sustainable, upcycled, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Aaliyah’s account radiates big feminist energy. Self described as a “proud, hairy, independent, unique woman” the 20-year-old model uses her voice to share videos advocating for female empowerment and self love. She pushes boundaries by diving into a variety of “taboo” topics such as body confidence, beauty standards and body hair, prompting all women to appreciate their bodies and hold up the middle finger to societal expectations.
Armed with his excellent knowledge, fashionboyy, aka Ben, uses educational and witty videos to give followers a tour through fashion history, untangle terminology and dish out honest opinions on the industry. Having had a strong interest in fashion from a young age, Ben was quick to notice the fashion scene on TikTok was yet to be saturated and successfully honed his journalistic skills to suit. Going forward, he hopes fashionboyy continues to provide an entertaining and educational perspective on fashion while working with brands and magazines to provide a deeper look behind the curtain.
20-year-old Nxdia is an Egyptian-born singer-songwriter from the suburbs of Manchester. Her first single was an LGBTQI+ anthem titled Complex, which deals with ideas of fluidity, growth and not limiting yourself to the confines of primitive labels. Since the release, Nxdia has spent time developing her sound and creating new work, as well as documenting her process, performing lip-syncs and creating wholesome content of her bunny rabbit.
Rising actor Milly Shapiro made her film debut as Charlie in the 2018 horror movie Hereditary. However, the star has since made a name for herself on TikTok as an “18-year-old who worships Kermit The Frog”. Although initially joining the platform was “just for the lols”, Milly found it to be a space for self-expression and rapidly became a sensation clocking up 170k followers. With her neon-green hair recently dyed to match her idol, Milly can be seen working playful E‑girl-esque makeup, jamming on the ukulele and experimenting with cosplay.
At just 18 years old, the multi-talented Aima has already established herself as an activist, photographer and co-founder of All Black Lives UK, a youth-led organisation that fights for racial equality and justice. Describing herself as like both an older and younger sister for her followers, her account has become a safe space in which she can openly be herself, discussing mental health and race, as well as a mix of funny, relatable clips and a display of her A*+ music taste.
With her fluorescent yellow hair and eclectic style, Jender Anomie is no normie. Discovering that TikTok was a place for self-expression and individuality, Jender signed up in November last year and in five months amassed over 115k followers intrigued by her vintage clothes, ever-changing makeup and DIY tutorials. Sure, she might get laughed at in the street from time to time, but the candy-coloured creator left restricting labels behind a long time ago, and finds freedom in publicly experimenting with her style.
The world of beauty has increasingly steered towards uniqueness and individuality over perfect skin and unreachable standards. This attitude is especially fostered on TikTok, where a multitude of experimental trends break first. Futuristic Sessa is no exception: a mixed media artist pushing these ideals to new heights with her conceptual beauty filters. From butterflies to dollar signs, Sessa’s reality enhancing work provides users with endless possibilities of transformation, sharing the intricate process behind her works and pushing the boundaries of what modern, personalised beauty can look like.
Manuel encourages his viewers to be the main character in their own stories. Initially set out to be pure entertainment, Manuel soon realised their followers on TikTok were actually empowered by the way in which they carry themselves online, and decided to channel this energy to show their fans can also be “narcissistic biatches” in the best way possible.
Pandaisntbamboo is a musician and skater injecting TikTok with high energy and eclectic style. The 19-year-old joined only a few months ago having discovered it as an avenue to display his lifestyle and grow his fanbase. Now the South Londoner uses the platform to share his latest experiments with trap and ambient rap as well as his skate adventures through the city.