It’s October 6, 2021 and a cluster of faculty ladies collect simply exterior of the Inked headquarters on twenty second Avenue in Manhattan. After being tipped off by a social media submit—the modern-day siren’s name—every had made the choice to skip that day’s courses to arrange camp exterior. They brace towards the crisp New York air, every craning to get a glimpse of the person who’s stopped by for a photoshoot and a brand new tattoo. May or not it’s the subsequent charted rapper or Hollywood’s newest silver display screen sensation? Nope, it’s TikTok heartthrob Vinnie Hacker.
TikTok has lifted its elite content material creators to superstar standing as the varied platform provides limitless methods through which somebody can accumulate a fandom. Hacker discovered his success by turning up the attraction and leaning into the burgeoning thirst lure market. This earned him a legion of fangirls virtually in a single day but it surely has additionally led the 19-year-old to really feel like his character is a bit misunderstood.
“I really feel like individuals prefer to consider that I’m form of a dick,” Hacker says. “I completely perceive why they assume that earlier than they meet me due to the content material I submit. I can perceive why guys may hate me as a result of I appear tremendous cocky. However in actuality, I don’t even take a look at my TikToks after I submit them. I don’t actually take a look at them as a result of I really feel like it could be bizarre to make one thing like that, take a look at it, and be like, ‘Oh yeahhh!’”
Though Hacker at present lives a unprecedented life and sometimes has a horde of fangirls following him in all places he goes, he’s nonetheless a traditional man deep down. He has his humble beginnings to thank for that. “Rising up, I used to be clearly blinded by quite a bit as a child,” Hacker says. “My mother was working two jobs and my dad was working a ton of additional time as an electrician. I went to an all-boys Catholic faculty and it was quite a bit completely different there. There wasn’t a lot competitors as a result of the fellows wouldn’t have something to compete for, so it was tremendous chill and I had a reasonably good childhood.”
Acquiring social media stardom when you’re nonetheless in highschool is fairly unusual by itself. However throw in a same-sex Catholic faculty and thirst traps—that’s a completely completely different league of bizarre. “I believe I pivoted towards any such content material as a result of I went to an all-guys faculty and I used to be so disadvantaged of any feminine consideration in any respect,” Hacker says. “However the guys in school didn’t care, everyone within the faculty might make a thirst lure and no one would say something. I truthfully assume our sister faculty made enjoyable of me extra.
“I used to be pressured into going to an meeting at their faculty to do a TikTok dance trivia,” he continues. “I didn’t do TikTok dances clearly, I made thirst traps, which I don’t assume the varsity board knew about. I believe they only thought I used to be a TikToker. I acquired up there and I used to be tremendous awkward. I’d by no means been in entrance of a crowd earlier than and all of those individuals knew who I used to be, however I didn’t know any of them.”
This type of consideration can go to simply about anybody’s head, particularly in the event you’re nonetheless a young person. Nonetheless, Hacker didn’t get into this line of labor to fulfill his personal vainness or to spice up an inflated ego. “Once I was in highschool, I used to be even skinnier than I’m now and I’ve by no means actually gotten that picture of myself out of my head,” Hacker says. “Yeah, I’d get a confidence enhance from feedback and whatnot, however that picture of me being that freshman child who was tremendous skinny nonetheless lingers at the back of my head.”
Two days after graduating from highschool, Hacker took the plunge and moved to LA to additional his profession. Whereas he was nonetheless at school, posting to TikTok was one thing he did between finding out for exams, however with that chapter within the rear view posting turned his important precedence. “I needed to fend for myself and that’s after I realized if I’m coming to LA to pursue this then I’ve to have the ability to deal with it as if it’s one thing I’m getting paid for,” Hacker says. “It was nonetheless enjoyable and it nonetheless is, however I additionally had to think about it from a enterprise perspective. It’s undoubtedly been arduous, particularly for somebody like me who doesn’t like saying no to individuals. It’s a must to know when to say no and you need to know your personal self-worth so far as reaching out to individuals or individuals reaching out to you.”
Studying the ropes of LA’s intense social media local weather is a problem, notably for a 19-year-old with a legion of followers. All the things might simply spiral uncontrolled, however Hacker was capable of navigate by way of all of the challenges comparatively unscathed. “I lived in LA for about eight months after which I moved about an hour out to Thousand Oaks,” Hacker says. “Once I was residing in LA there have been a whole lot of events occurring and assembly faux individuals who need to use you. It’s one thing you need to determine for your self, [especially] methods to take care of and methods to distance your self from these individuals. It’s a must to encompass your self with individuals who make you are feeling snug and who you’ll be able to belief. In any other case, the faux individuals will see you doing effectively and attempt to take you down.”
As soon as Hacker mastered the artwork of sussing out faux individuals he turned his consideration to one of many main conflicts all content material creators inevitably face—sustaining profession longevity. If we’ve realized something from Friendster, MySpace and TikTok’s direct descendent, Vine, is that nothing lasts eternally. Hacker’s profession may be beginning out, however that is nonetheless a query that retains him up at evening. “TikTok will die down sometime and Instagram may die out fully,” he explains. “It’s a must to develop a fanbase and supporters of your personal. That’s what lots of people who get into social media don’t notice—you’ll be able to’t leech off of individuals and you may’t be faux. It’s a must to get individuals to love you for being you and provides them different retailers to allow them to learn about you. You may’t simply submit thirst traps on TikTok, it’s not going to work eternally.”
If Hacker was going to be taught from the errors of those that got here earlier than him and construct a long-lasting profession, he would want to department out; these thirst traps gained’t work eternally, in spite of everything. As he contemplated an answer, he turned to a ardour he had largely stored hidden from his followers—music. He started making music whereas nonetheless in highschool, however in contrast to the aforementioned TikToks, he determined to not submit his songs. It wasn’t till he had constructed a loyal fanbase that he discovered the arrogance to place himself out there. “I began posting my music now as a result of I wished to listen to individuals’s opinions on it,” Hacker says. “I don’t submit my music for cash or something. It’s simply me and my buddies Adam and Ben who sit in our studio and we simply throw our songs on the market.”
Though Hacker posts to TikTok on a semi-regular foundation, his followers solely get to see a small share of who he’s. Via his songs he’s capable of present the world a very new aspect of his character. “My music is unquestionably one thing I exploit to clarify my historical past and what I’ve been by way of,” he says. “Once I launch an album it’s going to incorporate a whole lot of the steps I’ve taken in my life and people reminiscences. I’ve talked with my followers quite a bit about psychological well being and have actually opened up. I like being actual with them as a result of not a whole lot of influencers are capable of attain out and share what they’re going by way of.”
Along with sharing different sides of himself by way of music, followers have been capable of be taught extra about their favourite TikToker by way of his rising tattoo assortment. “The humorous factor is, I acquired these tattoos earlier than I used to be large on TikTok,” Hacker says. “Lots of people used to assume I acquired them as a result of individuals on TikTok like tattoos on guys, however I’m fairly certain that I’ve wished them since I used to be, like, 14.”
Since getting his first tattoo shortly after turning 18, Hacker has added to his tattoo assortment extensively. He’s ornamented his arms with a constellation of fineline black-and-grey tattoos and has inked up some fairly painful locations like his sternum. And like many tattoo fanatics his age, Hacker didn’t stray away from getting his palms tattooed up. “I waited a couple of 12 months after getting my first tattoo on my palms,” Hacker says. “I’d truthfully advise individuals to attend even longer as a result of nothing’s a given. I don’t know the way lengthy these things will final and I see individuals on a regular basis who get their first tattoos on their palms. I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re nuts.’ It was even a stretch for me to get them after having simply my arm tattooed.”
Vinnie Hacker might not know the way lengthy his profession as a TikTok thirst lure sensation will final, however he’s having fun with the trip. If the final two years have taught us something, it’s that TikTokers are taking on and there’s no restrict to what they will accomplish. It’s their world, we’re simply residing in it.