When the TikTok star posted her first video in 2019, she didn’t anticipate becoming the most followed person on the app. But Charli D’Amelio’s criticism has never held her back, and just seven months after becoming the first TikTok creator to reach 50 million followers, she became the first to reach 100 million. Replace princess of Genovia with TikTok’s unofficial CEO and you’ve got a modern day retelling of The Princess Diaries. It took Dixie D’Amelio a bit longer to get onboard with the platform; at first, she thought Charli’s videos were embarrassing. But she, too, has been able to amass over 50 million followers.
The sisters are two of the most followed TikTokers (as of now, Charli has 124 million followers, and Dixie has 55 million), and they’ve just added another title to their résumés: TV stars. The D’Amelio Show, a documentary series about the D’Amelio family that focuses on Charli and Dixie’s quick and sudden rise to fame, was released on September 3, on Hulu. This new series gives the girls’ fans an insider look at their family’s day-to-day lifestyle, focusing mostly on their struggles with mental health, hate comments, and adjusting to their fame. The D’Amelio Show doesn’t necessarily explain why there’s so much hype surrounding their family — probably because the D’Amelio’s don’t even understand it themselves — but it does give viewers an honest look into the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you’re not educated, it would be irresponsible to speak on something.
Becoming famous overnight in your teenage years isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Both sisters have struggled with their mental health. “If you’re not educated, it would be irresponsible to speak on something,” Charli tells Her Campus. “The things we’re very open about are things we’ve dealt with firsthand.” Through the show, Dixie is opening up about her experiences with anxiety and depression, and Charli has shared that she struggles with panic attacks. The two point fingers at social media.
The sisters’ experience with haters on the platform have undoubtedly impacted the way that they interact on TikTok. Charli no longer acknowledges those who have anything negative to say to her. “They don’t get a reply from me; they don’t deserve that,” she says. Instead, she prefers to share positive content, and replies to her fans only. “With so many people watching what I do, it’s important not only to share positivity, but let my followers know that it’s important that they do, too,” she says. “It makes the internet a bit of a more positive place.”
The D’Amelios also make sure not to speak out on topics that they don’t know about, a decision which has led to both praise and criticism. In June 2020, after the killing of George Floyd, Charli changed her TikTok profile image in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. But in February 2021, when Charli didn’t immediately post about James Charles’ grooming allegations, fans asked for accountability. But the sisters remain unbothered. “As long as you’re doing your research, being smart, and not hurting the situation with what you’re posting, I think it’s amazing to speak out and give other people voices,” Charli says. But Dixie prefers to elevate the platforms of those who are more educated, whatever the situation may be. “We’ve been trying to open up the conversation, to let people who know what they’re talking about speak,” Dixie says.
It’s so important to be able to realize when you’re wrong and own up to it, in order to move forward.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Over the last couple of years, both sisters have been “cancelled” more than once, despite being very young (ages 17 and 20) creators with plenty of room to learn. Since being accused of stealing dances from Black creators, Charli has tagged choreographers in all of her dance videos. The “snail drama” – referring to a YouTube video entitled “Dinner With The D’Amelios” in which Dixie spits out a snail and Charli mocks the menu – cost Charli over a million followers on TikTok. And backlash for travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic also served as an important lesson. But Charli says there’s nothing she’d change about any of her mistakes. “I don’t believe that I have any genuine regrets,” she says. “I think everything that I’ve done has been a lesson learned, and a way for me to grow into the person that I am today. Without those mistakes, I don’t know if I’d be able to be doing what I’m doing today. It’s so important to be able to realize when you’re wrong and own up to it, in order to move forward.”
In other words, Charli and Dixie are just figuring it out. Other things they haven’t quite nailed down yet? “How much should I share?” and “What relationships should be kept private?” This summer, Dixie’s boyfriend, Noah Beck, announced that their relationship was going private. “People know we’re dating, but we don’t need everyone’s opinions,” Dixie says. Seeing posts about her relationship that were telling her what to do and how to act put a strain on their relationship. “We’d see all those videos and wonder, ‘Do you actually care about me? Do you love me?’ We’d take in people’s opinions who we didn’t even know!” Since taking back control of their relationship, the two have been doing much better, Dixie says.
Since ending her relationship with Chase Hudson (aka Lil Huddy) in April of 2020, Charli also plans to keep her future relationships – as well as her friendships – offline. “It’s a little uncomfortable when you’re hanging out with people and there’s always a phone out,” she says. “Now, when I hang out with my friends, we want to have fun.” She does share that her relationship with Lil Huddy was a “right person, wrong time” type of situation, and hopes there may be a chance for them in the future. (The hashtag #Chacha, Charli and Chase’s ship name, has more than 2 billion views on TikTok.)
At the end of the day, it’s up to the D’Amelios to decide what they’re willing to share. “Every time you open up your personal life to the internet, it’s obviously scary at first,” Charli says. “There are lots of eyes and lots of thoughts, no matter what happens.”
This series is their way of controlling the narrative, something they’ve been arguably struggling to do throughout their rise to fame. “I think we did a good job at keeping some things personal, but everything we filmed was real,” Dixie says.
I’ve gotten hate comments for doing nothing, so I’d rather do it all.
There’s so much work that goes into being a professional TikTok star, from brand partnerships to interviews to behind-the-scenes tasks. Charli continues to struggle with attending awards shows. At this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards, she felt so nervous about attending the show that Dixie had to comfort her — The D’Amelio Show showcased the youngest D’Amelio sister about to have a panic attack before the award show. Meanwhile, Dixie also experiences anxiety around live performances, afraid of receiving criticism and hate. “I think that for a long time we’ve both held ourselves back from doing things because of public opinion, and not wanting to be made fun of,” Charli says.
But Charli and Dixie have figured out a way to shake off the haters. “I think we’re both getting to the point where people are going to say whatever they want no matter what we do,” Charli says. “I’ve gotten hate comments for doing nothing, so I’d rather do it all, experience it all, and have fun while doing it. The hate will come no matter what, and I’m ready to try as many things as I can.”
Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.