All hail Dixie D’Amelio, the internet’s favorite sister
If you are unfamiliar with the D’amelio sisters I can only imagine you’ve been living under a rock for the last year. Charli, the primary sister in this dynamic duo, shot to unbelievable amounts of fame in the digital world within the last year. Harnessing TikTok as her weapon of choice, she began posting videos of herself dancing in July of 2019.
By December of 2019 she had grown her TikTok following to 30 million fans. At the beginning of March she was entertaining about 45M fans. And of course, thanks to our annoyingly treacherous pandemic, which caused a surge in popularity for the video sharing app, she is currently sitting atop a baffling 100M fans. About 25M of whom regularly tune in to witness her terse, yet oddly mesmerizing dance numbers.
If you were to peruse the comments on any of Charli D’Amelio’s videos, you would find yourself party to an unending debate among the in-cel community and horde of teenage girls bickering about how Charli’s fame is a complete mystery. It actually makes perfect sense though.
There is a certain amount of “right place-right time” effect that goes along with any popular trend. You could also argue that the talents Charli possesses goes hand-in-hand with TikTok. The skyrocketing popularity of TikTok during the pandemic probably played a part. It’s also hard to ignore America’s fascination with celebrity; the same voyeuristic curiosity that popularized the Kardashian clan.
The reality is that Charli is simply a cute girl that lets people watch videos of her dancing. She typically wears tights with cut-off t-shirts, she has a smile that is incredibly inviting, she’s humble and nice, down to earth, and she has a likeability that makes even the staunchest of critics come running to her aid whenever the trolls dare to bare their ugly heads.
There are plenty of girls posting videos of themselves on TikTok, but there’s something about Charli that makes her stand out. It’s what Simon Cowell would call an “X” factor: that thing you can’t quite describe but you know it makes someone a star. I tend to think of it as that girl-next-door aura that made Britney Spears so popular during the late 90s. Sure, she’s cute, but more importantly, she’s relatable.
Dixie, Charli’s older sister, is, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of her sister.
She’s gruff, she’s mean, she has attitude. She’s not that nice. She’s not afraid to start shit. A large number of her videos are simply her calling out her haters in a call-to-arms for her followers to attack. She’s vindictive, petty, bawdy, and gross.
She’s the kind of girl who will let out a raucous belch in the hopes that someone will criticize her indecency just so she can call out a double standard.
However, in spite of that (or possibly because of that, I’m not quite sure which) she has an undeniable sex appeal that has launched her to being one of the most popular figures on TikTok as well.
She typically sports track pants with a sports bra, often accentuated with a flannel shirt; either draped, unbuttoned around her torso or wrapped around her waist. She’s the definition of the “tomboy” fantasy that every boy has. A girl who will join you at a romantic dinner and later snuggle with you on the couch, while the next day is first in line to go mountain biking or smash mailboxes with you and your friends.
She’s real, she’s raw, she’s unfiltered, and undeniably incredibly fun to watch.
In the same way I would compare Charli to Britney Spears, I would compare Dixie to Julia Roberts. A person who is not the typical definition of Hollywood star, but who has a reasonable amount of good looks which, when paired with her attitude and hilarious personality, makes her irresistible to most men.
So much so in fact, that it has caused her to score some of the biggest heartthrobs on the internet today. She has been paired with boy toys like Taylor Holder, Griffin Johnson, and Noah Beck; which I am told, by people a little more familiar with this world than me, is a big deal.
While Dixie has certainly achieved a significant amount of notoriety, she would be the first to tell you that she has no idea what she’s doing on TikTok. She admittedly doesn’t know how to dance like her sister, she doesn’t tell jokes, she can’t do crafts or anything else that is popular on TikTok. So she has started to turn her attention toward YouTube where she is having quite a bit of success.
In summer of 2020 she began the Dixie D’amelio show where she is getting around 8–10M views per video. She released the song “Be Happy” in June of 2018 which currently has over 500M streams on Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, and Youtube combined. And she is reportedly slated to star in various internet based TV shows aimed at teenagers.
Where Charli has a limited appeal outside of TikTok because she is primarily only a dancer, Dixie has a much wider array of talents. She sings, acts, interviews celebrities, and is, what I would consider to be, a true entertainer. And the thing that’s so funny about it, is that all of this seems to come naturally to her. Her success seems to be as bewildering to her as it is to most other people.
Hailing from the small town of Norwalk, Connecticut, the D’amelio family was launched into superstardom almost overnight thanks to TikTok. They recently moved to California where they now reside in the Hollywood Hills.
Charli and Dixie recently announced a makeup partenership with Morphe. Charli appeared in a Superbowl ad for Sabra hummus while Dixie appeared in a promotion for T-mobile.
Dixie doesn’t have quite the influencer appeal as Charli, who is allegedly able to charge $40,000 for a TikTok post and even had a signature drink named after her at Dunkin’ Donuts. However, her star appeal still attracts much more attention than most influencers get.
Together, the D’amelio sisters are reported to be worth at least $5 million which is only predicted to go up from there. In one of her YouTube videos Dixie revealed that she drives a Tesla, which means the 19 year old has been making some money and is not afraid to spend it.
The world of internet influencers is a strange world. A tsunami of fitness models, singers, make-up artists, pranksters, and boy toys have hit the internet in the hopes of grabbing even a small fraction of the fame that Charli and Dixie have fallen in to.
Using Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter they hope to build a career where they can spend their days taking photographs and filming videos in a somewhat sad attempt to make some money hawking facecreams, sleep counters, apps, and water bottles.
And of course, just like has always been the case in Hollywood, most of these pursuits will likely end in a trail of tears once they realize they just don’t have that “it” factor. I could probably spend all day trying to analyze why certain influencers don’t make it, I would probably get nowhere though.
What’s more interesting to me is in trying to figure out why certain people do make it. Especially at the level of the D’amelio sisters. And while most people will be watching Charli, I’ll be more interested to see where Dixie winds up.
Charli certainly has a base of fans who enjoy watching her dance videos, but it seems to me that Dixie has a much broader appeal. It’s hard to know how long she’ll be around since fame can be so fleeting, especially internet fame which is still somewhat underground compared to the mainstream fame that movie stars receive.
I do think that Dixie is a person to watch however. In the same vein as other comediennes who acquired popularity on the internet like Lizza Koshy, Nikki Glaser, Sarah Cooper, or Ellie Kemper, it would not surprise me if she winds up becoming a superstar. She’s an innovator who certainly has the capacity for it if she has the stomach to weather the pressures of fame.
Chase is a freelance writer based out of Kansas City. He writes mostly about the dissection between technology and culture. He has an undergrad and MBA from the University of Kansas. Follow him on twitter @ChaseBAnderson.