How Charli D'Amelio Really Got So Famous On TikTok

In 2019, Charli D'Amelio went from ordinary teenager to overnight sensation. Now, the social media star has amassed more than 140 million followers on TikTok. She initially acquired a fanbase for her casual dance routines to popular TikTok songs such as "Renegade," per Insider. Following her success on the app, Charli began building a business empire. Her ventures include a clothing line and a makeup line with her sister Dixie D'Amelio, who has become popular in her own right.

The D'Amelio family even has a reality TV series called "The D'Amelio Show." The Hulu series, which debuted in September 2021, follows Charli, Dixie, and their parents, Heidi and Marc, as they navigate the highs and lows of social media fame. And that's not all. In 2022, Charli and Heidi joined Season 31 of "Dancing With the Stars," where they became the first family members to ever battle against one another, per Good Morning America.

With an ongoing wave of business and creative pursuits, it's certainly hard to keep up with the D'Amelios. But how did the family rise to the top? Well, it all started with a dance video that Charli posted on TikTok. Read on to learn how Charli became famous.

Charli D'Amelio's simple dance video went viral

It didn't take long for Charli D'Amelio to amass a huge social media following. According to The New Yorker, she started her TikTok account in spring 2019. In a 2020 appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Fallon revealed that in less than a year, D'Amelio gained nearly 35 million followers on the popular platform.

D'Amelio told Fallon about the viral video that catapulted her to fame. "It was a duet of this woman, @movewithjoy who makes easy dances. And it's her voice speaking, and you just copy whatever she says," she explained. "So I dueted the video that she did — and it was just like, step, step, hip, hip, like stuff like that, very simple. It was like eight moves, and I posted it." On the way to dance camp, D'Amelio watched her amount of likes skyrocket. The rest is history.

So, what exactly made D'Amelio an instant hit? New York City-based choreographer Grace Buckley, who previously worked with D'Amelio, shared that the TikTok star "has always had a natural, self-assured sense of style while she's dancing, which has translated very successfully to TikTok," per The New Yorker. And D'Amelio quite literally made moves. In an interview on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," she revealed that shortly after going viral, singer Bebe Rexha directly messaged her and asked her to dance at her show. What a start!

What was Charli D'Amelio's life before fame?

Before hitting it big, Charli D'Amelio lived in Connecticut with her sister, Dixie, and her parents, Marc and Heidi. Throughout her childhood, she participated in dance competitions, per Insider. On "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," D'Amelio said, "I've been training in dance since I was 3. I actually started competing when I was 5." Prior to joining TikTok, the soon-to-be social media star would share pictures and videos from competitions on Instagram, per Insider.

On "Live with Kelly and Ryan," D'Amelio revealed that her friends introduced her to TikTok by encouraging her to learn and teach them dances. She recalled her experience to The Guardian, saying, "They said, 'Oh, you've got to teach us.' And I said, 'I don't want to. It's weird. I don't even have my own account.' But then I started making videos, and I guess I started having a lot of ... fun?"

But D'Amelio didn't just go viral; she ended up breaking a record on TikTok. According to Forbes, D'Amelio was the very first user to reach 100 million followers. So, how has the popular dancer and TikTok personality dealt with the pressures of massive social media fame? Referring to her family, she told the outlet, "We know nothing lasts forever — there's going to be ups and downs. We're just here to do as much as we can and enjoy this time."