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Photography BLACKKSOCKS, styling Lewis Munro

Noen Eubanks is the ‘softboi’ TikTok star with ever-changing hair

The viral star discusses the inspiration behind his videos, how the app has changed his idea of beauty, and what he’s got coming up next

It’s 10am in LA and although he’s not dressed, TikTok star Noen Eubanks already has his trademark make-up on. “I just started wearing blush,” he tells me over the phone, “which is something if you told me a year ago I’d be like ‘no, that’s so weird’, but now it’s just a part of my life.” Now boasting over three million followers, the 18-year-old never expected to be catapulted to viral fame when he first posted to the social media app.

Having grown up in the quiet Atlantan suburbs, Eubanks spent his time playing video games, skateboarding, and lounging in local restaurants with his friends. Always keen to ‘make it’ online, the teenager tried his luck on YouTube before finding his feet on TikTok. “The first TikTok I made was a joke that I sent to my brother,” Eubanks recalls. “Then I just kept going, making jokes that were no good at all.”

Renowned for his self-declared “softboi” aesthetic – ever-changing brightly coloured hair, dark nail polish, and a black heart stamp on his cheek – Eubanks’ videos range from vlog-style life updates, musical memes, and on-going jokes about the ‘feud’ between E-boys and softboys. In one of his most recent videos, the star addresses questions about his sexuality – “this kid has to be bi?” – with lyrics from Lykke Li’s Twilight song “Possibility”, as he mouths: “There’s a possibility.”

As he signs with Gen-Z television network Kyra, Dazed Beauty publishes photos from Eubanks’ recent shoot with photographer BLACKKSOCKS, and speaks to the TikTok star about his changing ideas of beauty, how he’s adjusted to fame, and what he’s got coming up next.

Why did you start making TikTok videos?

Noen Eubanks: The first TikTok I made was a joke that I sent to my brother. Then I thought, ‘OK I’m funny sometimes’, so I (uploaded the video to TikTok). A month later, I hop back on the app and was like ‘oh wow’ – I think I got around 100 views and 10 likes, and for me that was crazy. I was losing my mind because I had always tried to make it on YouTube – well, I say try, I would half try like most people do – but then I saw a little bit of progress (on TikTok) and thought I was onto something. So I just kept going, making jokes that were no good at all; I thought they were great, but apparently I was the only one!

You’re clearly not the only one now! How did you manage to grow your account?

Noen Eubanks: I just kept putting out content, and it slowly progressed. I started out making jokes, but I don’t really do that as much anymore. (I suppose) they were never really jokes, it was just me being weird on camera for 15 seconds. When I began, I would post eight times a day – I’d just go all out there and post as much as I could. Because I was doing that, I’d see the things people liked more, and I started to do them a little more, or a little less (depending on reactions). Although there have been times when things are really popular, but I don’t want to do them, so I don’t. 

How did it feel when you started to get a following?

Noen Eubanks: I had mixed emotions. Obviously it’s something I’ve always dreamt about having, but with that also came side effects in my personal life – my relationships with my friends, or even people in my school went downhill. My peers at school weren’t too fond of it.

Why not?

Noen Eubanks: I don’t know! I asked myself that a lot.

Do your classmates use TikTok?

Noen Eubanks: My friends don’t really use it, they know what it is but I think part of the reason I call them my friends is because they don’t really care about any of it. They know me and like me. (In terms of classmates), a couple of people had a little bit of a following, but for the most part they didn’t use it much. This current school year – the one I’m not in – everyone’s gone for it.

Other than at school, how else have you had to adjust to being in the spotlight?

Noen Eubanks: I feel like my privacy has been taken away a little bit. That sounds very negative, but it’s not really – it’s just that people always know what I’m up to.

I’ve seen that you often try to engage with fans on your videos.

Noen Eubanks: I try my best to interact with people. I love to meet my fans and talk to them.

What’s the inspiration behind your videos?

Noen Eubanks: A lot of times I’ll hear audio, like a clip from a song, and it will make me feel a certain way, so I’ll want to capture that (in a TikTok video). Or sometimes I’ll see a different clip and I’ll have a punchline in mind, and think ‘this is a hilarious joke I’m going to do with this sound, and people are going to love it!’ Although sometimes it happens the other way around where I have an idea and I find the sound to match afterwards.

Your looks have changed a lot since you started on TikTok – do you think the platform has influenced your idea of beauty?

Noen Eubanks: Yes. I’ve always wanted to do certain things but never felt comfortable with it. Growing my platform has helped me become more at ease (and willing to try new things). For example, I just started wearing blush, which is something if you told me a year ago I’d be like ‘no, that’s so weird’, but now it’s just a part of my life.

Can you tell me a little bit about your shoot with BLACKKSOCKS?

Noen Eubanks: We were in Hackney Marshes in London, and I’d just had my hair dyed a couple of days before. We just went out to the marsh with a bunch of outfits and took pictures in different spots. It was a mix of my style with clothes (selected by the stylist).

You posted a couple of images to Instagram, but I’ve noticed you don’t use the platform much. As someone whose image is key to their persona, I wondered why that was?

Noen Eubanks: TikTok has more people and my videos are shared with users who don’t necessarily follow me, so there’s more joking around on there. On Instagram, it’s more like dedicated followers, or people who actually care about me, so I have trouble with posting. A lot of times I’ll have an idea for a post, but I won’t end up sharing it because it isn’t up to my standard. I think I judge myself too harshly. 

You’ve recently been signed to Kyra – congrats! How did that come about?

Noen Eubanks: They reached out to me in May and said they’d like to talk to me. Not even a week later, one of the co-founders flew from London all the way down to Atlanta. It was crazy.

What kind of things will you be doing with them?

Noen Eubanks: Just a little bit of everything. They’re helping me visualise my ideas – so if there’s a video I want to make but don’t have the means to do it, that’s where Kyra comes in. I have full creative direction over what I want to make, and they make it possible. For now, it’s just on TikTok, but it will be moving over to YouTube.