Entertainment

How Addison Rae went from living in a trailer to earning MILLIONS as a TikTok star


TikTok star Addison Rae could well serve as the poster child for ‘overnight success,’ having shot to global fame — at least among her fellow Gen Zers — in a matter of months after securing her status as one of the video app’s most popular users. 

Less than two years after uploading her first post on the platform, the 20-year-old has gone from an unknown Louisiana teen to burgeoning social media star to celebrity ‘It Girl,’ complete with A-list pals like Kourtney Kardashian, lucrative brand deals, a Netflix movie role, and a spread in the latest issue of Vogue, cementing her status as a true Hollywood star.  

As quickly as her star as risen, so have her earnings, with Addison — whose full name is Addison Rae Easterling — being named as TikTok highest-paid star, pulling in an estimated $5 million in earnings in just one year.    

But long before she made it big on social media, moved her family out to live the high life in LA, and started palling around with the likes of the Kardashian family, Addison was an aspiring dancer whose family struggled to make ends meet  and even had to live in a one-room camper that was loaned to them. 

Superstar: Addison Rae Easterling, 20, has more than 80 million TikTok followers, a debut single, and an upcoming movie, among other lucrative projects in the works

Support system: The influencer is close with her parents, Sheri Nicole Easterling and Monty Lopez, and her younger brothers, Enzo and Lucas

Support system: The influencer is close with her parents, Sheri Nicole Easterling and Monty Lopez, and her younger brothers, Enzo and Lucas 

Mentor: Addison has developed a close friendship with Kourtney Kardashian, who has taken her under her wing

Mentor: Addison has developed a close friendship with Kourtney Kardashian, who has taken her under her wing

Hitting the big time: The former college student landed her first spread in Vogue this month, which sees her modeling high-fashion designs while opening up about her new-found fame

Hitting the big time: The former college student landed her first spread in Vogue this month, which sees her modeling high-fashion designs while opening up about her new-found fame 

High praise: The magazine describes Addison as a 'social media phenomenon' and 'multi-hyphenate creator-artist'

High praise: The magazine describes Addison as a ‘social media phenomenon’ and ‘multi-hyphenate creator-artist’

Addison was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, to parents Sheri Nicole Easterling and Monty Lopez on October 6, 2000. 

She opened up about the ups and downs of her childhood last summer on the first episode of her Spotify podcast, Mama Knows Best, which she co-hosts with her mom. 

Sheri Nicole had just turned 21 and was dating her now husband Monty when they welcomed Addison, their first of three children. They married in 2003 but divorced about a year later, making Sheri Nicole a single mom.    

Addison said she didn’t spend much time with her dad between the ages of three and six, though Sheri Nicole noted she would see him every once in a while. 

The influencer explained her parents had an ‘on-and-off’ relationship throughout her childhood. Addison was six when her mother got pregnant with her brother, Enzo, after reuniting with Monty. This was also the age that she started dancing and traveling across the country for competitions.

A year after Enzo was born, the family was living in a camper with ‘one main room and a bunkbed,’ Addison recalled. She explained that the trailer business her father worked for allowed them to borrow an RV because they ‘didn’t have anywhere to live.’ 

Memories: Addison, who was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, has been candid about her humble beginnings and growing up with hardly any money

Memories: Addison, who was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, has been candid about her humble beginnings and growing up with hardly any money

Hard times: Her parents divorced when she was three and had an 'on-and-off' relationship throughout her childhood

Hard times: Her parents divorced when she was three and had an ‘on-and-off’ relationship throughout her childhood

Separated: Sheri Nicole was a single mom when Addison was between the ages of three and six. The rising singer said she didn't see her dad a lot during this time

Separated: Sheri Nicole was a single mom when Addison was between the ages of three and six. The rising singer said she didn’t see her dad a lot during this time 

Tight quarters: Addison and her family shuffled between Louisiana and Texas, and at one point, they lived in a camper with 'one main room and a bunkbed'

Tight quarters: Addison and her family shuffled between Louisiana and Texas, and at one point, they lived in a camper with ‘one main room and a bunkbed’

‘It was so hard to shower in an RV,’ she recalled, noting: ‘It was not an RV because RVs are super luxurious. This was like a camper.’  

When she was in fifth grade, her family briefly moved to Texas, where they lived for two years. Sheri Nicole and Monty, who were still divorced, welcomed their youngest son, Lucas, during that time. (Both of Addison’s brothers have taken their father’s last name, Lopez, though she continues to use her mother’s maiden name.)

After Monty got a job offer he couldn’t refuse, the family returned to Louisiana — this time the northern part of the state —  when Addison was about to start eighth grade.

The social media star said they moved into an apartment and had ‘pool chairs’ in their living room in place of furniture. 

‘It was a really hard time for me,’ explained Addison, who was bullied throughout her childhood. 

She recounted one instance in which the kids at her new school in Louisiana teased her for wearing a secondhand pair of Bearpaw boots instead of higher-priced Uggs.  

Talented: Addison was six when she started dancing and traveling across the country for competitions

Talented: Addison was six when she started dancing and traveling across the country for competitions

Tough time: Addison said she was bullied as a kid, recalling on instance when she was teased in middle school for having secondhand Bearpaw boots instead of higher-price Uggs

Tough time: Addison said she was bullied as a kid, recalling on instance when she was teased in middle school for having secondhand Bearpaw boots instead of higher-price Uggs 

Happy times: Addison eventually made friends and became a member of her high school cheerleading team. Her parents remarried in 2017, two years before she graduated

Happy times: Addison eventually made friends and became a member of her high school cheerleading team. Her parents remarried in 2017, two years before she graduated 

Rejection: Addison skipped her senior prom to try out for the Louisiana State University dance team known as the Tiger Girls, but she ended up getting cut

Rejection: Addison skipped her senior prom to try out for the Louisiana State University dance team known as the Tiger Girls, but she ended up getting cut 

‘They literally bullied me, like, “You can’t afford real Uggs, like that’s embarrassing,’ she said, recalling how she came home crying. 

Even though the family couldn’t afford it, her mom took her to the store that day and charged a $200 pair of Uggs with the hope that Addison would stop getting picked on.  

Addison eventually made friends and became a member of her high school cheerleading team. Her parents got remarried in 2017, and she graduated two years later.  

The teen, who had been dancing most of her life, had her sights set on joining the Louisiana State University dance team known as the Tiger Girls. She was so dedicated to her dream that she missed her senior prom to attend tryouts.   

‘It was kind of a priorities thing at that point,’ she explained on an episode of her podcast last August. ‘I obviously would love to have gone to prom and I just never did, but it was really important for me to make this tryout and try my best to hopefully become a Tiger Girl.’

While she made it past the first round, she was eventually cut, which broke her heart and made her briefly reconsider attending LSU. She ultimately decided to go to the school, and her family moved to Baton Rouge with her to save money on room and board — but she wasn’t there for long. 

TikTok sensation: Addison made the life-changing decision to join TikTok in July 2019, the summer before she entered her freshman year at LSU, recording videos from her bedroom

TikTok sensation: Addison made the life-changing decision to join TikTok in July 2019, the summer before she entered her freshman year at LSU, recording videos from her bedroom

Low key: Like many other teenagers, Addison began filming herself in her home in Louisiana - but unlike others, her posts racked up millions of views

Low key: Like many other teenagers, Addison began filming herself in her home in Louisiana - but unlike others, her posts racked up millions of views

Low key: Like many other teenagers, Addison began filming herself in her home in Louisiana – but unlike others, her posts racked up millions of views 

On the rise: The then-teenager's videos began getting serious traction on the app, and just a few days after joining TikTok, Addison already had 300,000 followers

On the rise: The then-teenager’s videos began getting serious traction on the app, and just a few days after joining TikTok, Addison already had 300,000 followers 

On the rise: The then-teenager's videos began getting serious traction on the app, and just a few days after joining TikTok, Addison already had 300,000 followers

On the rise: The then-teenager's videos began getting serious traction on the app, and just a few days after joining TikTok, Addison already had 300,000 followers

Moving on: The TikTok star dropped out of college a few months into her freshman year and moved to Los Angeles with her family to pursue her career in entertainment

Addison made the life-changing decision to join TikTok in July 2019, the summer before she entered her freshman year at LSU, where she studied broadcast journalism.   

She remembers the exact date she reached one million followers, telling Forbes it was October 27, 2019. By that point, people were starting to recognize her on campus thanks to her videos, which mostly showed her dancing and lip-syncing.

‘My name would be called out when I was walking to class, which was pretty mind-blowing,’ she recounted.   

A month later, she dropped out of school. Around the same time, she shared her first sponsored content post for the online retailer Fashion Nova. By December 2019, she had moved to Los Angeles to turn her budding fame into a lucrative career. 

She befriended other TikTokers and helped form Hype House, a content creator collective that calls an LA mansion of the same name home base.  

As her star continued to rise, she scored branded merchandise and sponsored content deals. Forbes reported last year that she made an estimated $5 million from June 30, 2019, through June 30, 2020, with the two revenue streams counting for two-thirds of her estimated earnings. 

Big deal: As her star continued to rise, she scored branded merchandise and sponsored content deals, including a partnership with American Eagle last year

Big deal: As her star continued to rise, she scored branded merchandise and sponsored content deals, including a partnership with American Eagle last year 

The next Kylie? Addison, who has her own clean makeup brand, ITEM Beauty, made an estimated $5 million between June 30, 2019, through June 30, 2020

The next Kylie? Addison, who has her own clean makeup brand, ITEM Beauty, made an estimated $5 million between June 30, 2019, through June 30, 2020

Close as can be: Addison's meteoric rise to fame led to her friendship with Kourtney, 42, whose son Mason was a fan of the TikToker's videos

Close as can be: Addison's meteoric rise to fame led to her friendship with Kourtney, 42, whose son Mason was a fan of the TikToker's videos

Close as can be: Addison’s meteoric rise to fame led to her friendship with Kourtney, 42, whose son Mason was a fan of the TikToker’s videos 

Getting grilled: The two have gotten so close that Kourtney's sister Kim actually questioned in a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians if they were romantically involved

Getting grilled: The two have gotten so close that Kourtney’s sister Kim actually questioned in a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians if they were romantically involved

Mentor: Addison has credited Kourtney with helping her to navigate the pitfalls of fame, including dealing with trolls and criticism

Mentor: Addison has credited Kourtney with helping her to navigate the pitfalls of fame, including dealing with trolls and criticism  

Superstar: The TikTok star's friendship with Kourtney led to her modeling in a campaign for Kim Kardashian's brand Skims

Superstar: The TikTok star’s friendship with Kourtney led to her modeling in a campaign for Kim Kardashian’s brand Skims

In January 2020, Addison signed with the WME talent agency, which also represents her parents. That same year, she was named a global spokesperson for American Eagle and was featured in the brand’s digital and print campaigns as well as TV spots. 

She also launched her new clean makeup brand, ITEM Beauty, which is a joint venture with the startup Madeby.

Over the past year and a half, Addison has been spotted hanging out with her close friend and mentor Kourtney Kardashian, who knows a few things about being famous for being famous. 

The two have gotten so close that Kourtney’s sister Kim actually questioned in a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians if they were romantically involved, which Addison denied. 

‘I think they meant it lightheartedly!’ she told Vogue of the awkward confrontation. 

Addison, 42, described Kourtney as being ‘motherly,’ saying she introduced her to everything from her famous avocado smoothie to handling public scrutiny.  

‘She knows firsthand how to really handle all of this,’ she said.  

Moves: Addison recently performed TikTok dances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, but she faced backlash after she failed to credit the black creators behind the routines

Moves: Addison recently performed TikTok dances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, but she faced backlash after she failed to credit the black creators behind the routines

Goals: The aspiring singer dropped her debut single Obsessed in March. She is currently working on her first album

Goals: The aspiring singer dropped her debut single Obsessed in March. She is currently working on her first album 

Ready for the big screen: Addison is set to star in He's All That, a Netflix remake of hit 90s flick She's All That. The movie will premiere on the streaming site in August

Ready for the big screen: Addison is set to star in He’s All That, a Netflix remake of hit 90s flick She’s All That. The movie will premiere on the streaming site in August

Strike a pose: Addison showed off her figure in a barely-there top at the MTV Movie & TV Awards red carpet on Sunday

Strike a pose: Addison showed off her figure in a barely-there top at the MTV Movie & TV Awards red carpet on Sunday 

Unforgettable: Addison and her He's All That co-star Tanner Buchanan sent sparks flying when they locked lips while presenting Best Kiss at the awards show

Unforgettable: Addison and her He's All That co-star Tanner Buchanan sent sparks flying when they locked lips while presenting Best Kiss at the awards show

Unforgettable: Addison and her He’s All That co-star Tanner Buchanan sent sparks flying when they locked lips while presenting Best Kiss at the awards show

In the past few months alone, Addison has released her debut single Obsessed and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she taught the host viral TikTok dances. 

However, the segment sparked backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation after she failed to credit the black creators behind the dances. 

Addison addressed the issue in an interview with TMZ days after the segment, saying: ‘I think they were all credited in the original YouTube posting, but it’s kinda hard to credit during the show.

‘But they all know that I love them so much and I mean, I support all of them so much. And hopefully one day we can all meet up and dance together. They deserve all the credit because they came up with these amazing trends.’

The entertainer is now working on her debut album and awaiting the release of her first film He’s All That, a redo of the 1999 teen film She’s All That starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook. 

Most recently, she celebrated her first interview with Vogue, sharing images from the high-profile shoot on Instagram Monday. 

‘Pinch me!! This is so surreal,’ she wrote. ‘My first time being photographed for @voguemagazine Vogue!! In the June/July issue on stands soon. Thank you so much to everyone involved. I will never get over this feeling.’





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