The D’Amelio sisters have millions of followers on social media and now a show on Hulu. Behind the dances and lavish lifestyle, the show reveals a sense of humanity and evokes empathy in the everyday social media user.
TikTok is the latest phenomenon in the age of social media celebrities. Everyday teenagers can now go from suburbia to stardom in a matter of days and with minimal effort. All it takes is getting lucky with the app’s algorithm to receive audiences of more than one million viewers.
Birthed out of this internet celebrity age is the stardom of the D’Amelio family. Sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio might just be the biggest names on TikTok. With over 124 million followers and just 17-years-old, Charli is the most followed TikTok user; 20-year-old Dixie follows closely with 55 million followers.
It’s no surprise then that Hulu released a reality TV show focusing on the daily life and stardom of the D’Amelio family. The show reveals a behind-the-scenes look at the absurdities of the D’Amelio’s daily lives and leaves viewers with a little more empathy for the D’Amelio sisters as real people behind their social media personas.
Don’t get me wrong, The D’Amelio Show has all the cringey, absurd aspects viewers would expect from a reality show about teenage social media stars — TikTok dances, influencer meetups and outrageous expressions of wealth. However, the producers of the show succeeded in portraying the harmful effects overnight stardom has had on these newfound celebrities.
Balanced with the fun, entertaining scenes throughout the show are heavy moments where the young stars open up about social anxiety, mental health issues and dealing with the hate faceless users comment on their videos. Throughout the episodes, these comments pop up on the screen to give viewers a sense of the constant negativity these sisters face.
At the end of the first episode, viewers are let into this mental anguish, seeing Dixie have a full-blown panic attack over responses to a YouTube video she filmed. Users call her “musty” and question the validity of her fame.
“This just makes me feel like I don’t deserve anything. I’m trying to do everything I can to better myself and it just gets worse,” said Dixie during her breakdown. “Everyone just picks apart every single thing I say and do and the way I look.”
The two sisters live in the critical eye of the public at almost all times, yet they are still just two young girls who have only been famous for a little more than a year. Charli’s first video to gain traction was posted in July of 2019, and since, her growth as a public figure has been exponential. No teenager is prepared to deal with that change in level of attention and criticism overnight.
That instant fame hasn’t gone unnoticed in Charli’s life. The show portrays her as the average teenage girl in America, yet there are millions of strangers judging her everyday actions. Viewers see her in dance lessons and hanging out with friends, and then a scene later she’s dealing with anxiety from negative comments on a video.
“Dance used to be the most fun thing in my life and now I don’t like it,” said Charli in an interview with the show’s producers. “Social media has robbed me of that.”
Despite successfully portraying the mental health impacts of celebrity life on the family, the show falls short in entertainment value. Most of the scenes feel as though nothing noteworthy is happening, and the most interesting content comes in the last scene of each episode to draw viewers in.
For viewers expecting something resembling a reboot of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, like I was, The D’Amelio Show doesn’t reach this high standard. The Kardashians’ personalities were enough to keep viewers entertained, while most of The D’Amelio Show feels like watching a random suburban family talk. The sisters seem shy when the cameras come around, and except for the emotionally raw moments, the scenes feel staged.
The editing also gives the show a discontinuous feeling, and the graphics look poorly made. I could see this same reality show being on YouTube. Simply put, the show looks unprofessional and doesn’t fit the standard for mainstream television.
Overall, The D’Amelio Show gives the everyday social media user a look into the humanity behind celebrity. Despite its poor production, the show emphasizes the impact of faceless criticism and negativity on young celebrities. The D’Amelio sisters may have millions of fans, but they are still human and still deal with mental health issues like the average teenager on the internet.