Are influencers really the new celebrities?

Veronika Zivotska

Influencer: a person or thing that influences another.

Everyone knows them. Everyone talks about them. It’s safe to say that at this point influencers are pretty much everywhere. However, the bigger the fame is, the more hate you receive. Especially when you are compared to world-renowned celebrities. Influencers are quickly crossing over into the mainstream world, where they are starting to be considered celebrities. This causes controversy as some think that they are not good enough to be there, while others support it.

“Influencers are the new celebrities. i said what i said.” Words of a famous Instagram persona Nikita Dragun that were tweeted after she closed out a show for New York fashion week. Unsurprisingly it did not provoke the best reaction:



Nikita jumped on her Instagram stories and called people out for saying otherwise. “If you have a problem with influencers at the met gala, influencers in fashion, influencers doing music, influencers creating business… get over it! I am just so tired of seeing comments of people being like “oh my god why are they inviting influencers to that gala, oh my god why are they letting influencers model, oh my god why are influencers creating so many beauty brands.” Like, get over it! I’m so tired of this narrative about influencers not being celebrities. Why do influencers think we’re celebrities? Because we are! We really are. You’re watching, everyone’s watching… I’m just so heated because I see these comments all the time… like you guys are the ones who build us…”.

In my opinion, she’s completely right. We decide who the next influencer will be. We are the ones giving them attention which is the fuel to their success. The more followers they have, the more brand deals they get. It’s simple like that. Because the fandom on social media is so massive and diverse there are thousands of influencers at this point. Different people follow different influencers, so it’s also about respecting people with different tastes. People complain about influencers being over- hyped because they don’t work as hard as ‘actual celebrities’, but what is a celebrity in the first place?


Celebrity: a famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.


Entertainment is the keyword here because social media is normally referred to as the new form of entertainment that slowly pushes the old-school TV away. Naturally like on TV, apps like TikTok or Instagram, will have people that stand out more than others. Those people will get more views and eventually become famous. See the correlation? While the ‘talent’ is perceived more valuably on TV, it’s perceived more sceptically on social media. That’s because social media looks less complicated. After all, it’s just about entertaining someone for 15 seconds with a catchy song in the background, right? In simple terms, yes, but there’s much more behind it that we do not realise.

It may sound odd, but some people did not choose to be famous. Especially on TikTok where the algorithm plays a big role. For example, Charli D’Amelio, currently the most-followed TikToker with over 125 million followers, repeatedly says her fame is an accident. Her whole family was a normal family from Connecticut that had something abnormal happen to them. To show what an influence she has, this is a graph showing how many people decided to subscribe to her TikTok account, and then roughly compared to how many people subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. Those are people who willingly decided to click one button, and thus changed the life of this 17-year-old girl. Keep in mind that she didn’t ask for any of this to happen to her, it’s the over 100 million people who decided to follow this one person.

Seeing these comparisons is a bit unbelievable, but it well explains why the mainstream media cannot ignore these influential starts since their followings are so incomprehensible to traditional celebrities. According to “70% of Teens Trust Influencers More than Traditional Celebrities”. This only emphasises how hungry companies are for these digital starts. Yet even with such power, these influencers are not a company run by thousands of people, but ordinary individuals and being looked at by millions of people is a huge responsibility for one person.

Personally, I would say that this is one of the biggest struggles in terms of being an influencer. It all starts when the name of the person becomes a business brand. The person is still judged as a human being although, in reality, they must act, talk, look and behave like a company. For better understanding, these two diagrams display the difference between a brand run by numerous people and a single individual who represents the whole brand.

This is a pyramid of a typical company where even the CEO can be replaced. Whenever that happens the people working under would still be there and the pyramid would not fall.




This is then a pyramid of a single person media company where it’s all based around one individual. If the individual leaves, the company falls and people like managers or assistants lose their job.



Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say that influencers are completely clueless because they are under certain pressure and must constantly act to a certain expectation. I think that majority of them is aware of the power they have and take it seriously. Despite that, they are still human beings who grow and learn, so they make mistakes. I wouldn’t say that they don’t work hard. Maybe not as hard as actors or singers, but we never know what’s behind the curtains. I understand why people get upset about influencers, yet we must realise that without the audience influencers would be normal people and the same applies to celebrities. Therefore, I think influencers are the new celebrities!