The ex-factory worker who makes worldless reaction TikToks now has more followers than Charli D’Amelio.
Well, it’s been a good reign. Charli D’Amelio has finally lost the top spot on TikTok, where she became a celebrity for her dance videos. The new most-followed TikToker in the world is Khaby Lame, a Senegalese 22-year-old who has risen to fame primarily through his dialogue-free TikToks mocking “life hack” videos.
Lame, whose username is @khaby.lame, joined TikTok in 2020 after he was laid off from his factory job. During the pandemic, his deadpan reactions to self-help videos quickly became viral. On June 23, Lame hit 142.5 million followers, beating Charli D’Amelio’s 142.2 million.
@khaby.lame#stitch con @belleryanooo52 No no Skippy I know you r scared but you are not gonna do that ð¶â¤ï¸ !! ð³ ð¤£ Love you Skippyyy#learnfromkhaby#learnontiktokâ¬ suono originale – Khabane lame
The TikTok fame has helped Lame ascend from his humble beginnings. Born in Senegal, Lame moved to Chivasso, Italy, at the age of one, and grew up in public housing units. Now, the comedian is landing sponsorship deals with brands like Hugo Boss, and has been seen hanging out with big names like Ed Sheeran. Lame credits his success to his upbringing. “Public housing is a place to which I owe everything,” said Lame in an interview with Olhar Digital. “They taught me education and allowed me to cultivate many bonds.”
Lame was working at a factory in Turin as a machine operator in 2020 when the pandemic suddenly hit Italy. The factory was shut down, and Lame found himself unemployed. To stave off boredom, he downloaded TikTok and started making videos. He gravitated to satirizing the “life-hack” videos that are so popular on the platform, acting out easier ways to do what the TikToks were trying to accomplish. It was this wordlessness that made his appeal so universal.
“I came up with the idea because I was seeing these videos circulating, and I liked the idea of bringing some simplicity to it,” Lame said to CNN. “I thought of a way to reach as many people as possible. And the best way was not to speak.”