The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Sorry you went viral

By Drew Harwell and Taylor Lorenz

21 Oct 2022 · 12 min read

Editor's Note

TikTok has created a new era of celebrity. The powerful platform hoists ordinary citizens into to stardom - often unwillingly. In this article, we hear about how things can get pretty nasty.

When Junna Faylee started making money on TikTok, the 21-year-old anime and gaming fan in London made it the centerpiece of her life. She devoted every night and weekend to making videos. She optimized her room in eye-catching pink. And she hired a management team to handle her video-branding deals and bookkeeping, even though she still lived at home.

Now, as the 9-million-follower "nintendo.grl," she is one of the app's biggest successes, and she feels like she's achieved a creative dream. But competing for attention, she said, can often feel like working a shift that doesn't end. And winning it can feel even worse, since her most viral videos also bring on the heaviest floods of hateful insults and sexist trolls. She has woken up in the middle of the night to check her phone and, after some videos, has refused to sleep, feeling too anxious about the response.

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