It is no secret that Addison Rae, amongst a slew of influencers, gained popularity through TikTok in 2020, when everyone was locked up at home and social media was the only escape. Since then, Rae has worked tirelessly to last in a world where influencers come and go every day. The 2023 Addison Rae is a popstar, who hangs with a different crowd with different hair and different clothes than the country girl we first met. Rae now has a new EP, titled AR, which establishes her as a persona separate from a dancing Tik Toker and cements her into the world she once aspired to be a part of.
Rae, originally from Louisiana, came on the scene with blonde hair and simple TikTok dances, soon switching out one LA for the other. Rae joined the infamous Hype House, a sorority-like influencer collective producing endless Tik Tok production, along influencers like Noah Beck and the D'Amelio sisters.
The Hype House collective, which even ended up snagging a Netflix series in 2022, isn't exactly known for its talents. As Beck put it in an interview with New York Times, "A lot of people started to follow me because I danced with my shirt off, and I kind of ran with that." This seemed to have been the reality for all of Beck's companions as well, and Rae was no exception.
Soon enough, Rae began to venture into different fields like acting, making her debut with Netflix's He's All That, the 2021 spin-off remake of the 1999 classic, She's All That. The film was met with mixed reviews, leaning negative, with The Guardian calling it "dull" and "underbaked."The critics blamed Rae for the film being underwhelming, The Washington Post declaring the now-actress had "nothing to offer" on-screen. Fans felt as if Rae was being handed the opportunity because of her good looks, with Twitter users commenting on the bad acting.
Later in 2021, Rae released her debut single, Obsessed, following in the footsteps of fellow Tik Tok stars like Dixie D'Amelio and Bella Poarch. The song was a fun pop song describing her self-love, with Rae singing, "You say you're obsessed with me so I took a second / And I said me too," in the chorus.
The listeners, however, were not obsessed. PopDust wrote upon the release of the single, "Addison Rae's embarrassing new single is proof that she should stick to lip-syncing." Many called the song generic and referred to Rae as talentless.
Despite the negativity, it was clear that Rae was no longer envisioning herself as a mere Tik Tok star. In fact, during press for "Obsessed," when TV host, Andy Cohen, compared her to Britney Spears, Rae's response was that she related to Spears' trajectory. This left fans puzzled and wondering if Rae thought she was a bigger deal than she actually was. Rae's perception of herself seemed to have shifted around this time, which presumably helped her carve a path to stardom.
By this time, Rae had already established a friendship with Kourtney Kardashian, even making a cameo on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Rae and Kardashian were often shot by paparazzi around this time, if they hadn't posted the pictures themselves first on social media. Rae laid off music and acting, but somehow still couldn't escape scandals.
In June 2022, stories of Rae's father, Monty Lopez's, affair with women Rae's age began to circulate online. By August, Sherri Easterling, Rae's mother, was kissing rapper Yung Gravy on the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet. These controversies kept Rae's name in people's minds, with many switching over to Rae's side to defend her against "embarrassing parents," gaining her a new set of fans willing to pay attention to her career as a form of support.
Source: Rolling Stone
By the time a few of her unreleased tracks leaked across Tik Tok, Rae had gained a cult-like following that wanted the tracks officially released. The tracks, "2 Die 4" and "I got it bad," became fan-favorites as they pirated them online. Rae's version of scrapped Lady Gaga song, "Nothing On (But The Radio)" won over a community of gay supporters, according to Buzzfeed.
The tides continued to shift for Rae as she strayed from girl-next-door style of her Tik Tok days for an edgier pop girl style, making Y2K her own. The singer dyed her hair brunette and didn't miss any chance to show off her newfound style, whether it was through red carpet shots, Instagram or being caught by paparazzi on the street. By 2023, Rae was spotted several times with popstars, Olivia Rodrigo and Charli XCX, a long road from Dixie D'Amelio and Bella Poarch, further implementing herself as a pop girl.
Now, with the release of "AR," her debut EP featuring the previously leaked tracks, the reviews are raving, with Nylon calling it a "proper pop star debut," and Twitter users calling her the "princess of pop," all through the publicity surrounding Rae shifting from Tik Tok personality to someone people take seriously.
Rae utilized her self-perception as well as her style and controversies to build a following outside of Tik Tok. As Rae shifted from influencers to A-listers, her status shifted from influencer to A-list as well. Now, Rae is willingly compared to stars like Britney Spears without many complaints from naysayers, which seemed to have been her mission all along.