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Five rising TikTokers changing the face of entertainment

In the first instalment of our Icons in the Making series, we profile five TikTok stars leading the platform’s entertainment category, from food to comedy

Ever-evolving, TikTok has come a long way since the Dalgona coffee tutorials and main character-isms of 2020. Today, the app is an online entertainment network led by young voices that are shaping youth culture across the globe.

Over the next four weeks, Dazed and TikTok will be profiling 20 need-to-know TikTok creators, as part of our Icons in the Making series. Each week, Dazed will spotlight five young TikTokers that are blazing a trail and inspiring a new wave of creativity across four different spaces: entertainment, fashion, beauty and culture.

Icons in the Making: Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, there’s usually a clear divide between the audience and the performers. You can’t step into your television screen and ask your favourite star to drop their skincare routine, for example. But on TikTok, creators break down the fourth wall, speaking directly to us with an intimacy and familiarity that you’d normally expect to find on FaceTime with a friend. Then there’s the comments, which are usually a source of entertainment themselves – remember that time Charli D’Amelio commented “you’re telling me this isn’t me?” on a video posted by her literal doppelganger?

What constitutes entertainment on TikTok? There are no hard and fast rules: sometimes it’ll be as simple as a creator adding their unique twist to one of the app’s many trends, telling a funny story straight to camera, or memeifying a relatable experience. On TikTok, being creative, innovative, and genuinely funny are valued over complicated edits or 20-minute-long soliloquies.

Of course, TikTok wouldn’t be TikTok without the creators that are moulding the platform into such a disruptive industry force. Here are five Icons in the Making who are changing the face of entertainment.

Simply Ni 

@dazed #IconsintheMaking 💫 Meet Manchester-based creator @Simply Ni🌱, whose food creations have us drooling over our screens every time he pops up in our FYP. @tiktok_uk x #Dazed ♬ original sound - dazed

Manchester-based creator Ni Kabvina started making videos about food around August last year. Since then, his profile has taken off, and he now boasts over 2 million followers.

“When I first started off on TikTok I couldn't afford a tablecloth,” he tells Dazed. “So I got a pillowcase from this old hotel, cut it in half and put it on the table. Now I can actually afford a tablecloth which is pretty cool.”

Ni’s content centres around food, like this mouthwatering chicken, leek and potato dish. He cites the Japanese theory of wabi-sabi, which promotes the idea that there’s beauty in imperfections, as a source of inspiration. “A lot of times you’ll see me make a mistake and I’ll still keep it in,” he says. “I just think there’s something really cool, relatable and accessible about that.”

Tega Alexander 

@dazed #IconsintheMaking 💫 Meet @tegaalexander, Nigerian content creator, dancer and creative transforming the face of entertainment one TikTok at a time. #Dazed x @TikTok UK ♬ original sound - dazed

Tega is a Nigerian content creator, dancer and creative, currently based in London. When began dancing at 15, he instantly knew that he was meant to be a performer. “I fell in love with creativity, fell in love with performing and entertaining,” he says. Keen to make the most of social media, he learnt how to film and edit his own videos. Since then, his career has gone from strength to strength, and he recently hosted the red carpet for the House of Gucci premiere.

On TikTok, Tega doesn’t stick to any one genre. “My content varies, from fashion to lifestyle to comedy to entertainment. I’m just here to bring good vibes,” he says. “I really don't actually have a niche on TikTok, because I've found it's the best way for me personally to continue to explore my creativity and continue to push myself out of my comfort zone.” With over 800,000 followers, it’s clear Tega is doing something right.

What inspires Tega? Seeing people like him succeed and excel. “I just think it's incredible to see so many creatives that look like me do their own thing,” he says.

Coco Sarel

@dazed #IconsintheMaking 💫  From discussing politics to reality TV, @Sarel Madzebra wants to dabble in anything and everything. Meet the 28-year-old content creator based in Milton Keynes transforming the face of entertainment on @tiktok_uk #Dazed ♬ original sound - dazed

Sarel Madzebra is a 28-year-old content creator based in Milton Keynes. At present, she’s got over 500,000 followers on TikTok, where she posts snappy videos discussing politics, celebrities, and reality TV. 

Sarel started off working as an actor, but when the pandemic hit, she pivoted to making videos online. “I’ve always been quite a creative person,” she says. “I would describe myself as multidisciplinary. I want to dabble in anything and everything.”

What are her future plans? “I’d love to go into radio or presenting or broadcasting. I’d love to have a podcast,” she says. “But I think the goal isn’t necessarily to do things for my career. The goal is to fulfil myself on the inside.”

David Larbi 

@dazed #IconsintheMaking 💫 From lyric analysis and observational humour, to the odd parody video and mindfulness, meet London-based musician and content creator @David Larbi transforming the face of entertainment on @tiktok_uk. #Dazed ♬ original sound - dazed

David Larbi is a musician and content creator from London. He’s racked up over 375,000 followers on TikTok, with his videos deciphering song lyrics a firm favourite among his fans. “My content is a lot of things,” he says. “Lyric analysis, observational humour, the odd parody video, and mindfulness.” 

He loves how he can engage with his followers on TikTok. “There’s nothing that means more to me than when my content means something to somebody,” he says. “A song lyric can become an incredibly sentimental tattoo, a joke I didn't think was that funny in the first place can produce the funniest comments section on earth. And none of that would happen if I kept all these things in my head.”

Larbi is also a passionate musician himself, and has been creating and releasing his own tracks since 2019. “I just released the first single from my EP which is coming out later this year,” he says. “Music’s been my biggest dream for the longest time so I'm really excited to start down that path as well.”

Sayo 

@simply_sayo So happy to be named as one of the ✨ Icons In The Making✨ as part of the @dazed x @TikTok collaboration 😌🍾 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #iconic #IconsInTheMaking ♬ original sound - SimplySayo

Adéṣayọ̀ Tàlàbí – aka Sayo – is a spoken word artist, poet, satirist and, content creator. She quickly rose to fame during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, and at present has over 320,000 followers on TikTok. She’s even caught the eye of Zoella, and was featured in the iconic vlogger’s ‘People We’ve LOVED Following on Social Media in 2021’ round up.

“My style of content is quite niche,” Sayo says. “I write pieces exploring news, current affairs, culture, and contemporary topics. My content is heavily inspired by culture.”  She’s also used her platform to raise awareness for sickle cell disease.

What’s next for Sayo? “In the future, I’ll be honest, I see myself as nothing less than a titan of the industry,” she says. “World domination is in my short-term plan.”