Top Creators 2022

These 49 social media savants—and one dog—are redefining celebrity for our connected age.

View the List: #1-10


Courtesy of MrBeast

#1 • 2021 Earnings: $54M

Jimmy Donaldson (MrBeast)

Total Followers: 162M

Avg. Engagement: 5.99%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Stunts like spending 50 hours buried alive and attempting starvation for 30 days are well worth it when they net $54 million a year. The predictably high viewership of antics like these explains why Jimmy Donaldson AKA MrBeast has made most of his money from ads on his YouTube videos. MrBeast earned the No. 1 spot on this list not only because he’s making more than anyone else, but also because his restaurant concept, MrBeast Burger, is a truly entrepreneurial mechanism for the YouTuber to monetize his fame. Rather than invest in cooking equipment or delivery infrastructure, MrBeast created the ghost kitchen operation in December 2020, in which people order a MrBeast Burger online and an affiliated restaurant with extra staff prepares the order for delivery. Read More

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#02 • 2021 Earnings: $17.5M

Charli D’Amelio

Total Followers: 203.7M

Avg. Engagement: 2.16%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

In 2021, 18-year-old Charli D’Amelio was the highest-earning TikToker, making $17.5 million from her casual clothing brand Social Tourist (a joint venture with Hollister and sister Dixie), Hulu show the D’Amelio Show and deals with brands like Invisalign, Morphe and Dunkin’. While she still posts videos of dances, D’Amelio also devotes much of her content to pushing her own brands and partnerships. A huge part of this is D’Amelio Brands, her family’s consumer product company, which nabbed a $100 million valuation as a pre-revenue, pre-employee and pre-product company, as it has publicity rights to the whole family and will make D’Amelio-branded products in areas like skincare and footwear. She and her family also launched $25 million venture capital shop 444 Capital to back nascent companies in everything from insurtech to consumer brands. Read More | Watch Full Interview

Gurerin Blask for Forbes

#03 • 2021 Earnings: $20M

Alexandra Cooper

Total Followers: 3.6M

Avg. Engagement: 15.98%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Talking about sex—her own, as well as that of friends and celebrities—has made former college soccer player Alexandra Cooper into a multimillionaire. Cooper started her fornication-focused podcast, “Call Her Daddy,” with her former roommate Sofia Franklyn. After the two gained popularity, they signed a deal to produce the podcast under Barstool Sports. After parting ways with Franklyn in 2020, Cooper signed a reported $60 million deal to bring the podcast to Spotify. Cooper’s turned raunch to riches, and the podcast is currently ranked the No. 1 female-focused podcast on Spotify globally. Read More

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#04 • 2021 Earnings: $30M

Elliot Tebele (FuckJerry)

Total Followers: 20.1M

Avg. Engagement: 1.77%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Remember when the most entertaining internet content was photos with funny captions—otherwise known as memes? Well, that time is long gone, but original mass-market meme maker FuckJerry, helmed by Elliot Tebele, has diversified into games, tequila and television to stay relevant. It’s working. The company’s card game, What Do You Meme, has become somewhat of a family recreation staple–it’s currently Amazon’s 17th most popular board game. The company’s JAJA tequila, marketed as a memefied Casamigos, launched in 2018 and is sold at restaurants and liquor stores around the U.S. Read More

Jasper Soloff

#05 • 2021 Earnings: $12M

Emma Chamberlain

Total Followers: 27.6M

Avg. Engagement: 6.84%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Of all the creators on this list, Emma Chamberlain has one of the highest engagement rates, with nearly 12% of her Instagram audience engaging with her content (that’s extremely high for someone with 15 million Instagram followers). Chamberlain, who dropped out of high school before even tasting fame, is known for her wit and deadpan humor, which have helped make her a popular vlogger. She’s also the founder of Chamberlain Coffee, a premium coffee and tea brand that happens to sell a ton of merchandise and raised a $7 million Series A. She’s also done a major deal with Louis Vuitton. Read More

Courtesy of Huda Kattan

#06 • 2021 Earnings: $13M

Huda Kattan

Total Followers: 63M

Avg. Engagement: 2.17%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Growing up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Iraqi-born parents in a mostly white Baptist neighborhood, Huda Kattan was frequently bullied for her ethnicity. At 12, she started wearing heavy makeup as a comfort. “I always felt like a misfit,” Kattan told Forbes in 2018. “Even now, I still struggle with this a little bit. And I think that’s what probably motivates me so much.” She’s one of the earliest creators on this list as she started her beauty blog in 2010. That led the then-financier to start booking clients and eventually start her own cosmetics line, Huda Beauty, launching with false lashes. The brand has expanded into skincare and all sorts of cosmetic goodies, retailing direct-to-consumer and in stores like Sephora around the world, helping Kattan reach a net worth of $400 million, making her one of the richest self-made women in the world. Read More

COURTESY OF RHETT & LINK

#07 • 2021 Earnings: $30M

Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal (Rhett & Link)

Total Followers: 11.8M

Avg. Engagement: 1.34%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

McLaughlin and Link met in 1984 during first-grade detention after writing profanities on their desks and later performed comedic sketches in grade school. Now, the North Carolina State University grads deliver sketch comedy to some 5 million YouTube fans. The two made Forbes’ 2022 Highest-Paid YouTube Stars list earning $30 million in merchandise, festival and solo show appearances, music sales and endorsements. They’ve also started their own $5 million accelerator fund to jump-start the careers of other creators. Read More

STEFANO GUIDI/GETTY IMAGES

#08 • 2021 Earnings: $10M

Khaby Lame

Total Followers: 231.4M

Avg. Engagement: 3.57%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

With more than 146 million TikTok followers, Khaby Lame is now the most-followed TikToker in the world (he surpassed Charli D’Amelio in June). The 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe honoree creates comedy skits that mock overly complicated “life hacks”—all without saying a word. Prior to establishing himself online, Lame lost his job as a factory worker in Italy at the onset of the pandemic. Now, at age 22, the Sengalese-born creator is becoming the face of Web3, signing a deal with cryptocurrency exchange Binance in July 2022. He’s also inked partnerships with soccer club PSG and fashion house Hugo Boss. Altogether, Lame made $10 million in 2021, Forbes estimates. Read More

RICH FURY/GETTY IMAGES

#09 • 2021 Earnings: $8.5M

Addison Rae Easterling

Total Followers: 133M

Avg. Engagement: 6.43%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Growing up in a trailer in Lafayette, Louisiana, Addison Rae Easterling never expected to obtain 88 million TikTok followers and make over $27 million. But trained as a competitive dancer, Easterling’s ability to bring a song to life with her own versions of popping, locking and dropping, has made her an entertaining follow for people around the world. While other TikTokers have cross-platform chops, Easterling is a grande dame. She got partnerships with Pandora, Vital Proteins, American Eagle and a multi-million-dollar Netflix deal. She’s also the founder of cosmetics line Item Beauty, which retails direct-to-consumer and via Sephora. Read More

MIKE STOBE/GETTY IMAGES

#10 • 2021 Earnings: $45M

Jake Paul

Total Followers: 57.3M

Avg. Engagement: 1.49%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Jake Paul has made millions switching from prankster to pugilist. Paul—who got his start with controversial YouTube spectacles like eating IcyHot and throwing water balloons at women—now makes most of his money as a boxer. The trash-talking Paul uses his social reach to build hype and drama, around his boxing and MMA matches, which he streams to his 20.4 million subscribers—converting eyeballs into massive merchandise and advertising dollars. Read More

#11-20


DANIEL ZUCHNIK/GETTY IMAGES

#11 • 2021 Earnings: $38M

Mark Edward Fischbach (Markiplier)

Total Followers: 49.5M

Avg. Engagement: 5.55%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Though Mark Edward Fischbach has not gotten rich as a fashion influencer, he’s made a heap of money on his merch. His earnings doubled from 2020 to 2021, largely due to his Unus Annus collection of T-shirts, hoodies and other apparel. Fischbach, senior to many on this list, was an early YouTube adopter, joining the platform in May 2012 and recording videos of himself playing horror video games like Dead Space and Penumbra. In 2021, the YouTuber moved into podcasting, working as the star and executive producer of the mystery-thriller Edge of Sleep. Earlier this year, it was announced the show would return for a second season and be adapted for TV. Read More

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#12 • 2021 Earnings: $8M

Felix Lengyel (xQc)

Total Followers: 13.5M

Avg. Engagement: 19.38%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Felix Lengyel was the most-watched Twitch user in both 2020 and 2021. Despite controversies involving racist, homophobic and sexually explicit content, Lengyel has attracted 11 million Twitch followers. Lengyel first started his Twitch career at 19, competing in Overwatch online tournaments. Now he streams games like Multiversus, Counter-Strike and more. Read More

Forbes

EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY IMAGES

#13 • 2021 Earnings: $28.5M

Nathan Johnson Graham (Unspeakable)

Total Followers: 18.8M

Avg. Engagement: 2.16%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Kid-friendly YouTube star Nathan Johnson Graham has attracted more than 14 million subscribers by playing games like Minecraft and pulling stunts that include filling his home with packing peanuts and plastic balls. The stunts have paid off—he made $28.5 million in 2021 by selling his catalog of YouTube content to Spotter, hawking merch and endorsement deals. Read More

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

#14 • 2021 Earnings: $15M

Patrick Simondac (Patrick Starrr)

Total Followers: 11.7M

Avg. Engagement: 0.38%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

At age 12, Patrick Starrr knew he was gay, but felt he had no forum in which to express himself in Orlando, Florida. The Filipino-American found himself drawn to makeup. Working at the local M.A.C. store after graduating from high school, Starrr started uploading makeup tutorials to YouTube in 2013, making him an early makeup artist creator. His platform took off. Now, he’s garnered 372 million views and has been featured in L’Oréal and M.A.C. campaigns. His own makeup brand, ONE/SIZE, has garnered 235,000 Instagram followers of its own. Read More

Courtesy of Sean Jacksepticeye

#15 • 2021 Earnings: $16.8M

Sean McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye)

Total Followers: 43.9M

Avg. Engagement: 10.29%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

When Irish YouTuber Sean McLoughlin, who goes by “Jacksepticeye,” submitted his application for the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Sports & Games list, he listed his dream mentor as actor Ryan Reynolds. This may not seem like the most logical choice for a guy who catapulted to fame after then-mega YouTuber PewDiePie spotlighted his voice impressions in 2012. But since then, McLoughlin has expanded his game play videos–viewed by 110 million a month–from cat game Stray to home videos. He’s also got a clothing merchandise line with fellow Top Creator Markiplier, making him one of the richest YouTubers on the planet. Read More

Igor Malakhov

#16 • 2021 Earnings: $51M

Danielle Bregoli (Bhad Bhabie)

Total Followers: 29.9M

Avg. Engagement: 1.30%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Danielle Bregoli, who goes by “Bhad Bhabie,” made $49 million in 2021 from content subscription service OnlyFans. For just $24 per month, fans can access lingerie and bathing suits-clad photos of Bregoli–who encourages her subscribers to tip and receive more explicit content privately. The 19-year-old earns as much as top Hollywood actors and more than TikTok stars like Addison Rae Easterling. Bregoli, however, may be less palatable. The Florida teen entered the public eye in 2016 after a feud between her and her mother over Bregoli’s obnoxious (and sometimes illegal) antics on Dr. Phil went viral when she exhorted the jeering audience to “cash [her] outside.” Following a moderately successful rap career, Bregoli translated her starpower into an OnlyFans account after her 18th birthday last year—reportedly making over $1 million in the first six hours. Read More

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#17 • 2021 Earnings: $5M

Josh Richards

Total Followers: 34.7M

Avg. Engagement: 6.01%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

By being a handsome, dancing TikTok teen, Ontario-born Josh Richards attracted millions of fans. He’s managed to parlay his teen heartthrob status into a content empire. He cohosts Barstool podcast BFFs with Barstool founder Dave Portnoy. He’s also the cofounder of energy drink Ani and VC firm Animal Capital, which has $17 million in funding and is raising a $40 million round now. Last month he announced a partnership with Amazon in which he’ll be a brand ambassador, producer and creator for the giant’s streaming service. He was also the chief strategy officer of controversial social platform Triller, though he says he had no involvement in the company’s reported lack of payments to Black creators. Read More | Watch Full Interview

COURTESY OF MARQUES BROWNLEE

#18 • 2021 Earnings: $6.5M

Marques Brownlee

Total Followers: 21.3M

Avg. Engagement: 4.32%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Marques Brownlee became popular for his gadget-focused YouTube channel MKBHD, which posts reviews of everything from video games to drones to smartphones. The 2015 graduate of the Stevens Institute of Technology and 2021 Under 30 alum, Brownlee has even scored interviews with tech icons such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, who apparently selected Brownlee’s video as winner of a nationwide contest to promote the company’s new Model S electric car. Read More

COURTESY OF TYLER BLEVINS

#19 • 2021 Earnings: $12.5M

Tyler Blevins (Ninja)

Total Followers: 63.8M

Avg. Engagement: 1.23%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Detroit-born Tyler Blevins, AKA Ninja, is one of the most popular gamers on Twitch. He’s amassed 18 million-plus followers by streaming Fortnite and Valorant for an average of six hours a day. Though Blevins no longer gets the number of concurrent viewers he did at the peak of his stardom, which coincided with that of Fortnite Battle Royale in 2018, he’s still a top earner, making $12.5 million. (About those concurrent followers: He broke Twitch’s record with 667,000, when he gamed with Drake.) Blevins is also a husband and has diversified his streams into lifestyle content like cooking. Read More

COURTESY OF OLAJIDE OLATUNJI

#20 • 2021 Earnings: $10M

Olajide Olatunji (KSI)

Total Followers: 45.1M

Avg. Engagement: 3.42%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

British YouTuber turned rapper and boxer, Olajide Olatunji, known as KSI, and his promotional company Misfits Boxing recently staged his comeback in the ring at his “Two Fights, One Night”; he won both events. Olatunji got his start in 2009 when he started posting YouTube videos commenting on FIFA video games. Later as part of the Sidemen, a group of British internet personalities, he cofounded restaurant chain Sides and Vodka brand XIX. He also cofounded workout drink Prime Hydration with Logan Paul. Read More

#21-30


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#21 • 2021 Earnings: $10M

Dixie D’Amelio

Total Followers: 89.4M

Avg. Engagement: 1.88%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Early on, Dixie D’Amelio was embarrassed by the dance videos her younger sister Charli (#2) was posting to a nascent TikTok. She’s since joined the party—amassing 57 million followers and earning $10 million in 2021. She’s leveraged her TikTok fame to launch a pop music career, reality show on Hulu and Snap and a family VC firm 444 Capital. Now, with sister Charli, mom and dad, Dixie is switching from influencer to owner—their D’Amelio Brands will create footwear and beauty lines to sell to their combined 200 million TikTok fans. Read More | Watch Full Interview

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#22 • 2021 Earnings: $8.2M

Dani Austin Ramirez

Total Followers: 2.3M

Avg. Engagement: 5.17%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Fashion and lifestyle influencer Dani Austin Ramirez first started out on YouTube in 2012, sharing fashion advice, wedding plans and experimenting with wigs. By posting the latest Nordstrom sales and Amazon fashion finds, sharing her family life and talking about Christianity, she’s gained a rabid following on Instagram. Her fan loyalty has helped the Dallas native start her hair growth company, Divi, which has generated $23 million in sales to-date. Read More | Watch Full Interview

COURTESY OF RYAN KAJI

#23 • 2021 Earnings: $27M

Ryan Kaji

Total Followers: 33.2M

Avg. Engagement: 1.33%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Ryan Kaji is beating the child star curse. In 2017, at the age of 6, Kaji became the youngest person to ever make a Forbes top earners list, raking in $11 million as his parents filmed him reviewing toys and posted cute kid’s critiques to YouTube. Now that Kaji has almost aged out of toy age, his channel has pivoted to DIY science, doodles and animated costars. His AdSense revenue, merchandise and proprietary line of toys helped him make very adult money in 2021: $27 million. Read More

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#24 • 2021 Earnings: $5.5M

Michael Le (JustMaiko)

Total Followers: 56.6M

Avg. Engagement: 0.92%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Michael Le has gained an impressive following by dancing and making highly stylized videos with his 15-year-old sister and 5- and 7-year-old brothers. He was also a pioneer of the “collab house” trend as a cofounder of the Los Angeles-based Shluv House, where he lived with four other creators to live and create videos together. He’s since opted for own residence. Le has partnered with companies like Prada, Hugo Boss, Disney and Ray-Ban to promote products. This year, Le cofounded a new Web3 esports company, Joystick, which lends NFTs to players for a small fee and in-game rewards, allowing players to keep 100% of their earned revenue. Le and his cofounder, Robin DeFay, have raised an $8 million seed round and are in the process of raising $110 million in Series A funding. Read More | Watch Full Interview

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#25 • 2021 Earnings: $2.8M

Aimee Song

Total Followers: 7.1M

Avg. Engagement: 16.62%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Aimee Song was one of the first people to prove that social content creation (or blogging, as it was known) could be a full-time job. The Los Angeles native turned the readership of her architectural design blog, which started in 2008, into Fashion Week invites and brand partnerships, amassing over 6.6 million Instagram followers. Song has partnered with companies such as Valentino, Prada, Amazon Fashion and clean beauty brand Biossance. Her Biossance face oil registered more than seven-figures in sales when it launched, according to a rep. Song’s clothing brand, Song of Style, exclusively sold at Revolve, was the retailer’s first in-house influencer brand. A big advocate for mental health, Song uses her “online journal” to open up about her own therapy and, in a classic influencer monetization play, has partnered with BetterHelp. Read More | Watch Full Interview

RODIN ECKENROTH/GETTY IMAGES

#26 • 2021 Earnings: $12M

Desi Perkins

Total Followers: 8M

Avg. Engagement: 1.51%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

From vlogging in the early days of YouTube to developing two namesake brands, beauty influencer Desi Perkins shares everything from pregnancy and home decor to fashion and makeup with her audiences of 4.4 million Instagram followers and 3.2 million YouTube subscribers. Perkins has founded eyewear company Dezi and skincare brand Dezi Skin, which launched in April 2021. Read More

SEAN ZANNI/GETTY IMAGES

#27 • 2021 Earnings: $6.1M

Bretman Rock

Total Followers: 41.6M

Avg. Engagement: 3.86%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Before Bretman Rock’s foray into influencer fame began with makeup contour videos on TikTok. He’s since expanded into filming comedic workout, cooking and fashion his nearly 20 million TikTok followers. Since then, Rock has catapulted into cross-platform fame with his MTV reality series, Following: Bretman Rock and becoming the face of Nike’s “Be True” Pride campaign in 2021. Read More

COURTESY OF NOAH BECK

#28 • 2021 Earnings: $4.5M

Noah Beck

Total Followers: 44.5M

Avg. Engagement: 6.69%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Like other TikTok stars on the list (including his girlfriend, Dixie D’Amelio), Noah Beck went viral during Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. Prior to TikTok fame, Beck was the recipient of a full scholarship to the University of Portland as a star soccer midfielder. But when Covid hit, soccer was canceled and, forced to attend school from home, Beck dropped out. Though he never fulfilled his dream of becoming a professional soccer player, Beck now has partnerships with FIFA and Major League Soccer (and others with Balmain, Ami Paris and Barebells, among others). This year he’s starring in and producing his first feature-length film, The QB Bad Boy and Me. Read More

TAYLOR HILL/GETTY IMAGES

#29 • 2021 Earnings: $5M

Bella Poarch

Total Followers: 111M

Avg. Engagement: 11.18%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Bella Poarch is the only person on this list to have served in the military. The former Navy helicopter mechanic has continued to be a true crossover star. Since attracting 90 million-plus TikTok followers with her lip synching videos, Poarch has been trying to make it as a musician. The Philippines native’s single “Build a B*tch” reached No. 58 on Billboard’s pop chart in May 2021. She’s done deals with luxury fashion house Moncler and video game Call of Duty, helping to make her one of the highest-paid TikTokers in 2021. It’s worth noting that though Poarch is one of the most-followed TikTokers and has impressive engagement, she’s not earning as much as others with similar bona fides, like Easterling or the D’Amelios. Read More

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#30 • 2021 Earnings: $2.5M

Camila Coelho

Total Followers: 12.1M

Avg. Engagement: 2.51%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

First generation Brazilian-American Camila Coelho began helming the Dior cosmetics counter at the local Macy’s and would upload makeup tutorials to YouTube to stay in touch with friends in Brazil. The videos expanded beyond her inner circle to her now 12 million followers across her social media accounts. Today she sells her own namesake brand of sexy, loud dresses with Revolve and her beauty brand, Elaluz. Together, the businesses generated more than $10 million in sales in 2021. Read More

#31-40


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#31 • 2021 Earnings: $7.3M

Adam Waheed (Adam W)

Total Followers: 28.9M

Avg. Engagement: 5.48%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Comedian Adam Waheed first went viral in 2016 with a comedy sketch about his girlfriend doing her makeup in the car. In his popular TikTok and YouTube videos, Waheed performs slapstick stunts like working out in the gym atop a toilet, eating a “train salad” (nails and bolts atop a bed of arugula and tomatoes) and staging his death after stubbing his toe. Now, he’s moved into the big screen, signing a three-picture content deal with Jimmy Kimmel’s production studio, Wheelhouse. Through this and his partnerships with the NFL, Old Spice, Dr Pepper, Doritos, Samsung and T-Mobile, Waheed’s businesses made over $7 million last year, per Forbes’ estimate. Read More | Watch Full Interview

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#32 • 2021 Earnings: $11M

Christina Najjar (Tinx)

Total Followers: 1.9M

Avg. Engagement: 3.91%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Lover of french fries, inventor of hot girl walks and giver of dating advice, Christina Najjar “Tinx” has earned a reputation as TikTok’s older sister. For this, her engagement is extremely high, with 6.64% of her TikTok audience engaging with her content. It’s no wonder the Stanford-educated creator has her own Chipotle bowl named after her and SiriusXM radio show, It’s Me, Tinx. Read More | Watch Full Interview

COURTESY OF PERSONA PR / Jonny Marlow

#33 • 2021 Earnings: $2.5M

Rickey Thompson

Total Followers: 9.5M

Avg. Engagement: 2.16%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Bullied in high school, North Carolina native Rickey Thompson got his own sweet revenge posting over-the-top comedic videos on Vine and later Instagram. Thompson, who now has 3 million followers on TikTok, has done sponsored content for brands like YSL Beauty, Moncler and Marc Jacobs. He’s also a regular face of Coach campaigns, has an exclusive deal with Spotify for his “We Said What We Said” podcast and is starring in his first feature film Good Mourning with Machine Gun Kelly, Megan Fox and Dove Cameron. Read More

TRENT BARBOZA

#34 • 2021 Earnings: $9.5M

Bailey Sarian

Total Followers: 12.1M

Avg. Engagement: 3.81%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Bailey Sarian was first hired at Sephora at 20 and started her YouTube channel in the early teens of 2013. She has one of the most interesting shticks on this list: She does amazing makeup transformations while sharing true crime stories with her audience. The mashup was inspired by her time shadowing her mom as she worked as a 911 dispatcher. Her true crime-meets-glam has attracted deals from HelloFresh, Audible and SimpliSafe—about 6.5 million YouTube subscribers. Read More

GETTY IMAGES/VOGUE

#35 • 2021 Earnings: $4.75M

Avani Gregg

Total Followers: 62.1M

Avg. Engagement: 1.79%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Avani Gregg got her first taste of fame in the summer of 2019 when she became known as TikTok’s “clown girl” for posting makeup tutorials that showed her rocking Harley Quinn-inspired red and blue stars on her face. Since then, she moved from big-top looks to TikTok’s big top, earning a spot on Forbes‘ 2021 list of highest-paid TikTokers with making nearly $5 million in earnings. More recently Gregg wrote an autobiography with Simon & Schuster, snagged a role in web series Chicken Girl as a bossy high school cheerleading captain and now has her own Facebook Watch show called Here for It with Avani Gregg. Read More

COURTESY OF MIKAYLA NOGUEIRA

#36 • 2021 Earnings: $2.4M

Mikayla Nogueira

Total Followers: 15.5M

Avg. Engagement: 12.15%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

With her distinct Boston accent and transformative makeup artistry, 24-year-old Mikayla Nogueira has garnered over 13 million TikTok followers. Over 13% of them interact with her content, making her the fourth-most engaging creator on this list. Her audience’s loyalty has played a key role in her earning $2.4 million last year from deals with Charlotte Tilbury, L’Oréal and CVS. Nogueira’s first brand collaboration was with Latinx-founded cosmetics brand Glamlite, and she quit her job at Ulta in October 2020 to take content creation full time. “I was terrified,” Nogueira says. “I didn’t know if I could be successful doing this.” Since then, Nogueira has crafted two eyeshadow palettes with Glamlite. Read More

COURTESY OF SHROUD

#37 • 2021 Earnings: $2M

Michael Grzesiek (Shroud)

Total Followers: 19.1M

Avg. Engagement: 5.60%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

In the mid 2010s, Canadian gamer Michael Grzesiek, who uses tag Shroud, began attracting fans by playing on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive—a multi-player shooting game. Known for his chill demeanor, the celeb gamer has attracted over 556 million total views and is one of Twitch’s top streamers. Read More

STEFANI REYNOLDS/GETTY IMAGES

#38 • 2021 Earnings: $2.5M

Ziwe Fumudoh

Total Followers: 1M

Avg. Engagement: 7.31%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Northwestern-educated Ziwe Fumudoh got her start as a viral star as the creator of YouTube show Baited With Ziwe, in which she comically confronts people about racial issues. More recently, Fumudoh has cohosted Crooked Media’s Hysteria podcast, served as a writer for Stephen Colbert, late-night show Desus and Mero and the New Yorker, among others. She now has her own Showtime show, simply called Ziwe. Read More

COURTESY OF LELE PONS

#39 • 2021 Earnings: $3M

Lele Pons

Total Followers: 94.3M

Avg. Engagement: 2.93%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Caracas, Venezuela-born Lele Pons is one of the few stars on this list whose creator career began on Vine. In 2015, Pons became the first Vine star to hit 1 billion loops, or views. Though Vine now exists as a memory, Pons currently makes slapstick videos for Instagram and TikTok, and is vying for a multi-hyphenate entertainer career. She coauthored a novel based on her school experiences, started a jewelry brand and starred in TV, music videos and a made-for-YouTube movie. Though we may never see another Pons-authored novel hit shelves, she may continue to drop singles, as her first one, “Celoso,” went three times platinum in 2018. Read More

SHAQUILLE KOKUMO

#40 • 2021 Earnings: $1M

Jalaiah Harmon

Total Followers: 3.5M

Avg. Engagement: 1.99%

Entrepreneurship Score: 3

Choreographer Jalaiah Harmon’s dance move called “Renegade,” became a TikTok trend when TikTok megastar Charli D’Amelio (#2) performed the move before her 100 million plus followers. The only problem: D’Amelio did not credit Harmon as the creator. D’Amelio later fixed her mistake, giving a shoutout to Harmon and posting a collaborative video of them performing the choreography together. Today, Harmon has sponsors including Coca-Cola, Levi’s and Netflix. Read More

#41-50


Ryan Duffin

#41 • 2021 Earnings: $2M

Benito Skinner (Benny Drama)

Total Followers: 3M

Avg. Engagement: 4.37%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Benny Drama is arguably the top celebrity impersonator on TikTok. His ultra-campy impressions of stars like Billie Eilish and Timothée Chalamet have gotten millions of views and landed the LGBT creator partnerships with Svedka, McDonald’s, Ulta, Pepsi and Target. His playful rendering of Kourtney Kardashian’s relationship with Travis Barker also caught Kardashian’s attention, leading the two to collaborate, both playing twin lovestruck Kourtney Kardashians. Read More

GUERIN BLASK FOR FORBES

#42 • 2021 Earnings: $1.5M

La’Ron Hines

Total Followers: 9.9M

Avg. Engagement: 4.05%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

By asking the adorable kids at the family daycare he works at, and co-owns with his parents, “Are you smart?” followed by a question with a seemingly obvious answer, Mississippi-born La’Ron Hines has gone totally viral. He’s expanded the shtick to red carpets with celebrities like Keke Palmer and Bia. Last year he made $1.5 million from partners like Fashion Nova, Capital One and McDonald’s. Read More | Watch Full Interview

GUERIN BLASK FOR FORBES

#43 • 2021 Earnings: $0.17M

Lynn Yamada Davis (Lynja)

Total Followers: 16.6M

Avg. Engagement: 4.47%

Entrepreneurship Score: 2

Youth may be wasted on the young, but TikTok is not—as proven by Lynja. At 66 years old, Lynn Yamada Davis, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a civil engineering degree and Columbia University with an M.B.A. and an M.P.H., went viral for her—you’ll never guess—cooking. It’s weird because she says she was never that good at it. But when her videographer son uploaded a special-effect-laden video of her making a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich to TikTok in July 2021, she blew up. Now her simple cooking with Jurassic Park-level effects have won her deals with Amazon, Chobani and McDonald’s, among others. Read More | Watch Full Interview

COURTESY OF THE OLD GAYS

#44 • 2021 Earnings: $1M

The Old Gays

Total Followers: 8.1M

Avg. Engagement: 7.02%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

TikTok is by the young, for the young. No one told that to Robert Reeves, 78, Jessay Martin, 68, Mick Peterson, 66 and Bill Lyons, 78—who go by “The Old Gays.” The four are maybe the oldest people to live in a TikTok collab house, but it works—they’ve partnered with Oreos, Lay’s and Netflix—to create dance, comedy and heartfelt content about being old and gay. Read More

Halle Roland Photography

#45 • 2021 Earnings: $1M

What About Bunny

Total Followers: 9.3M

Avg. Engagement: 5.85%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

In a Forbes first, an animal has made a list. This talking sheepadoodle has managed to attract over 1.1 million Instagram followers by telling her owner that she misses her dad, loves her mom and smells weird things. Bunny communicates with her humans by using a soundboard with 92 word buttons like “love,” “outside” and “chase,” supposedly employing muscle memory to press each with her paw. It may just be a getup, but it’s made Bunny a business pooch: she’s got a partnership with sustainable pet food brand Open Farm Pet, among others. Read More

DENISE TRUSCELLO/GETTY IMAGES

#46 • 2021 Earnings: $1.5M

Sophie Dee

Total Followers: 12.3M

Avg. Engagement: 1.96%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Adult film star Sophie Dee got into porn after a difficult childhood in Wales. She starred in a topless newspaper shoot for The Sport, then went on to act and model for various production companies. With that bit of notoriety, she launched an OnlyFans account in 2017. Now she makes about $200,000 per month from OnlyFans subscriptions and fans who pay for her to direct-message them content. She’s also an investor and founder of influencer agency Gig Social. Read More

Lauren Wade

#47 • 2021 Earnings: $0.5M

Elyse Myers

Total Followers: 7.5M

Avg. Engagement: 8.30%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Elyse Myers originally went viral in October 2021 when she posted a video recounting an awful date she had with a man who coerced her into buying him 100 hardshell Taco Bell tacos. Since then, Myers has been focused on making deadpan videos about her depression and anxiety, which in turn has helped her secure partnerships with Audible, Aerie, Hyundai, Peacock and CheezIts, among others. Read More

JASPER SOLOFF

#48 • 2021 Earnings: $0.9M

Remi Bader

Total Followers: 2.5M

Avg. Engagement: 5.21%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Though curve model Remi Bader only started TikToking full-time in March 2021, she’s accumulated 2.1 million followers on the platform by showing her audience looks from apparel companies like Cider, Skims and Free People while critiquing fashion trends. In her short time as a professional creator, she’s launched a collection with Revolve and done partnerships with Victoria’s Secret and Walmart, among others. “When I finally started going with the flow and with my gut, that is when things worked out,” says Bader. Read More

GUERIN BLASK FOR FORBES

#49 • 2021 Earnings: $0.5M

Elsa Majimbo

Total Followers: 3.8M

Avg. Engagement: 3.21%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Comedian Elsa Majimbo found fame during the Covid pandemic. Majimbo grew up in Kenya, was among the first members of her family to go to college before dropping out to pursue comedy. The comedian, who also has 2.5 million Instagram followers, posts parodies of quarantine life and living an indulgent, lazy life. Majimbo, 21, has partnerships with Maison Valentino, Bumble and Beats By Dre. Read More | Watch Full Interview

COURTESY OF HEROPHOTO

#50 • 2021 Earnings: $0.2M

Vivian Tu

Total Followers: 2.4M

Avg. Engagement: 2.17%

Entrepreneurship Score: 1

Former Wall Street trader Vivian Tu is now a top financial literacy TikToker. In less than a year, she’s grown her TikTok following to over 1 million by advising viewers on credit card debt, crypto, their 401(k)s–all with a focus on underserved communities. As the bull market fell to bear territory, her content has gained more fans—and lucrative endorsement deals from Citibank, Lululemon and Invesco. Read More

Additional Reporting: Abigail Freeman, Abram Brown Editorial Operations: Justin Conklin Design Director: Alicia Hallett-Chan Photography Director: Robyn Selman Photographer: Guerin Blask Art Director: Fernando Capeto Designer: Philip Smith Photo Researchers: Merrilee Barton, Gail Toivanen Video Producers: Kirsten Taggart, Juliet Muir, Julia Ferrier Video Director/Editors: Chad McClymonds, Brian Petchers, Bernard Osei, Simone Varano Audio: Adam Borel Database Managers: Ken Barney, Dmitri Slavinsky Production: Peter Schanitmann and Janet Baus. Charli D’Amelio: styled by Jill Jacobs, hair by Laura Polka, makeup by Liv Madorma. Dixie D’Amelio: styled by Mimi Cuttrell, hair by Hayley Heckmann, makeup by Rokeal Lizama. Tinx: makeup by Taylor Fitzgerald, Hair by Suzanna Halilli. Aimee Song: wears her own Song of Style Collection. Dani Austin: styled by Alexandra Cohen. Adam W’s barber: Quentin Thrash. Josh Richards: Styled by Fiona Skye, Assisted by Kacey Cerretani and Alyssa Mitchell. All others: styled by Brandy Snow, makeup by Veronica Sinclair.

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