“I genuinely cannot sit through multiple episodes of them crying about their lives. It’s kind of out-of-touch and tone deaf,” Rylee Rayball ’22 said.
Teenage influencers Charli D’Amelio (17) and her sister Dixie D’Amelio (20) rose to fame in mid-2019 on the social media app, TikTok, where they create signature “TikTok dances” and follow light-hearted trends to short clips of music.
Since their almost instantaneous thrust into the public eye, their lives have been exposed on the internet from public breakups to severe scandals, their actions intensely judged by fans and the media. More recently, they have been receiving much more criticism in response to projects such as the release of their collaboration with popular beauty brand Morphe, as well as their work with Vogue and other sophisticated companies.
Before watching The D’Amelio Show, I expected the dynamic to be similar to that of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, a show following the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, filled with both drama and hilarity. However, I found the episodes to be rather uncolorful for a so-called reality TV series.
On a surface level, the show is entertaining in that it reveals the behind-the-scenes events and activities that the sisters do in their everyday lives, most of which their TikTok followers don’t necessarily see. And yet, after watching the eight-episode series, I am left unconvinced that they truly deserve the fame, especially considering how insensitive and self-pitiful they seemed while filming.
Quen Blackwell, close friend of the sisters and an influencer herself, said, “[Dixie] is so unapologetically herself that it’s completely, like, comedy gold. But she can’t do that on social media… because her place in her fame won’t allow that.”
Similarly, Charli mentioned in one of the episodes that her love for dance can be overpowered by the feeling that she must constantly prove herself to everyone.
This idea of “not being enough” was constantly introduced throughout the show by the girls in their interviews and furthered by the hate comments from their social media platforms that would appear in the episodes. These comments were aimed to give insight into the hate and how it impacts them, but seemed more like a sad excuse to make viewers empathize with them, or even feel sorry for them.
The fact of the matter is that as a celebrity, it is inevitable that one will experience a share of bad publicity, hate and judgement from the public. Additionally, they have the choice to stay in the limelight.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek and melodramatic feel of the show, there are a few good lessons that can be taken to heart.
“The show brought some awareness to mental health issues, and how influencers don’t have the perfect life that people think. Sometimes they don’t want to be happy.” Callie LaValle ’22 said.
Charli and Dixie’s mother Heidi D’Amelio explained that she did not want to film her girls’ therapy sessions or doctor appointments for the show, but also wanted to bring light to these issues and knew the girls would want to help others in any way. At the beginning and end of each episode, Hulu provides an informational page for those to seek help if they are struggling with mental health issues, which was a nice touch on its part.
Additionally, Charli and Dixie announced the drop of their clothing company Social Tourist, which Charli herself commented that she hopes it will be “very empowering to a lot of other young women that maybe would like to be entrepreneurs one day and don’t have someone else to look up to.”
Despite the short-lived inspirational scenes in the series, it is difficult to get past the girls’ tasteless embellishment of their struggles with fame. Ultimately, an underlying question arises: was this show truly an outlet to spread awareness about the dangers of hate and social media to build positivity or was there an alternative agenda?