|Kwaylon Rogers, Raynell Steward & Kaylen Allen|
By Brenda Alexander
I often sit with friends and joke that we need to make an IG video that’ll get enough attention to secure us a spot on a reality show; or, at minimum a Fashionnova or Flat Tummy Tea endorsement. We may laugh, but deep down inside, I’m seriously considering it now that social media seems to be the fast track to making your entertainment dreams a reality.
Before Bodak Yellow, Cardi B was a stripper who was loved for her dialect and way with ebonics (okurrrrrr). Mona Scott Young took notice and Cardi landed a prime spot on Love & Hip Hop NY before segwaying into rap royalty. This is what a large social following on IG, Twitter or YouTube can produce if managed properly.
Nowadays, social influencers are ranking in major cash from various business deals, hostings, club appearances and even television and movie deals, with some being sought after before top actors and actresses. Here are 5 digital stars who are transferring their fame from the internet to the masses.
After The Shade Room re-posted her spot on impersonation of Love & Hip Hop’s Tara Wallace, Jess continued to attract national fans by posting satires of other reality show happenings. Soon, she began making her way around her hometown of Baltimore’s comedy club scene with open mic nights and gained traction on IG with a weekly segment she calls “Jess With the Mess,” a roundup of hot topics. When Nick Cannon called on her for an official spot on MTV’s Wild-N-Out, she jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back. Since then, she has done stand up routines for All Def Comedy, performed in comedy clubs across country as part of her own tour and was recently cast in FOX’s comedy pilot Rel, replacing Angel Laketa Moore who had been originally cast in the role but was cut after the table read.
2. Kwaylon “BlameItOnKway” Rogers
He went from being an Instagram personality to starring in a Fenty Beauty Ad as a brand ambassador. With over 3 million IG followers, the social media sensation has the gram in constant hysterics with his “TiTi” character, a classic around the way chick. He’s internationally known after being booked at Dubai Fashion Week. His TiTiMoji app went #1 in the IOS app store, he has a successful accessories line dedicated to the character and was crowned BET Social Awards Comedian of the Year. Recently, he met with Tyler Perry. Guess we’ll see him make a cameo in whatever Madea flick is premiering this fall.
3. Raynell “Supa” Steward
This NOLA girl came out of nowhere, at least to me. A friend posted a video of her at a Popeyes drive thru where she warns us to stay away from the $5 box before she hilariously orders one. Her southern, deep drawl drew me in and I followed her immediately thinking she was just another rising IG comedian. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was instead a beauty mogul who happened to crack funny jokes. Supa is the CEO of The Crayon Case, who with the help of Instagram, went from being an amateur makeup artist to owning and operating a cosmetics empire right out of her hometown. Not only was her brand part of this year’s Essence Music Festival Beauty Pavillion, but she also was on a speaking panel with other beauty entrepreneurs. This former waitress now owns a million dollar beauty empire.
4. Kalen Allen
Everybody knows that once Ellen DeGeneres invites you onto her show as a guest and you are not a celebrity, you’re on your way to being one. That’s exactly what happened with Kansas City native Kalen Allen. As an internet food critic, he gained success for his comedic reactions to people’s recipes. After catching Ellen’s eye, she called him “the best new thing on the internet” and invited him on her show. That appearance alone earned him 6,000 new twitter followers within 24 hours. DeGeneres offered him an official deal and he’s now living in the City of Angels full-time working with the talk show maven. Not bad for a Temple University alum like myself (#TempleMade)!
5. Andre “KendallKendyll” Kendall
Instagram’s favorite “bestfran,” the former Human Resources Associate from Michigan, built a following from reality television recaps from his couch. He gave hard core advice complete with a loud and infectious laugh. Kendall went from nightly television recaps to giving his 300k followers (at the time) skincare, cooking and dating tips, leading to millions of digital views. He set his eyes on landing a reality television talk show, launched an online merchandise line and migrated to LA where he now hosts red carpets and provides digital commentary for Viacom. His IG following has risen to over 1 million and he still finds the time to give us the raw recaps we yearn for.
Do you have a favorite IG star?