🚀 Can you ~manifest~ fame?
A deep dive on Emily Uribe, the biggest celebrity you've likely never heard of.
Welcome to the first Accelerated of 2022 👋
For my final holiday edition, I’m sharing one of my favorite stories of 2021. It’s about a college student who ~manifested~ fame. I think she’s the perfect example of what makes Gen Z special. Hope you enjoy!
In March 2021, Emily Uribe was a typical college student. She was living with her parents in Salinas (an agricultural town outside the Bay Area) and taking classes online at Cal State Northridge. Emily was an aspiring actress and producer, but for now she juggled retail jobs, piercing ears at Claire’s and serving boba.
She was also pretty active on TikTok, posting updates and commentary about the band One Direction. Like many Gen Zers, Emily grew up running fan accounts for celebrities - she spent hours poring over their interviews and media appearances, mining clips and stories to discuss with other “superfans” online.
In the break room at work one day, Emily filmed the video that changed her life - a POV where she was a celebrity appearing on a Marvel Avengers panel. The video was just 15 seconds, but it quickly racked up likes and comments. The feedback was so positive that Emily went to the comments to tell viewers: “I’m doing more of these.”
And she did! Emily has posted hundreds of these videos over the past nine months, pretending to be a celebrity in a range of scenarios - from being interviewed at the Met Gala to chatting with a friend on IG Live. My personal favorite might be her video on how she’d walk out at different talk shows, but there are many to choose from.
She’s so good at mimicking the phrases and mannerisms of celebrities that it’s easy to forget she’s not actually famous. And as her comment section illustrates, many of her viewers already consider Emily to be a bona fide celebrity. It feels like a foregone conclusion that she’ll eventually be famous - her followers are getting a sneak peek before she’s truly “discovered.”
Emily now has 840k followers and ~100M likes on TikTok, and she’s gotten shoutouts from celebs like Lizzo and Stephen Colbert. She’s been profiled by People Magazine, Bustle, and Backstage. In November, Emily was invited to the red carpet premieres of Eternals and West Side Story - where she was interviewed for real! Emily is now represented by an agent, and will be shooting a sci fi / fantasy pilot this summer.
To me, Emily’s story illustrates how Gen Z is the first to fully embrace the power of the Internet. Instead of waiting to get noticed and promoted by traditional “gatekeepers,” Gen Z’ers are using social apps to break down barriers and make things happen for themselves.
This is happening across every industry, from music (Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Loren Gray) to VC (Harry Stebbings, Gaby Goldberg, Meagan Loyst). And while having an audience might seem glamorous, it’s hard work. Consistently creating content that people love takes a ton of time and effort, and the eventual payoff is unclear.
Platforms like TikTok have made it easier to get impressions, but it’s still hard to break out - let alone convert that into a career. Emily, for example, has now posted more than 7,600 TikToks! She plans, films, and edits multiple videos a day, while ALSO finishing her degree and working in retail.
Investing in audience building is the ultimate bet on yourself, and it requires a unique combination of energy, confidence, and persistence. You’ll always have people who don’t “get it” and think you’re wasting time. But if you can make it work, it’s magic - and it will supercharge your career.
In 2022, I’m betting we’ll see Emily appear in her first professional production. And I’m also hoping to see more of you follow her lead! If you’re looking for a sign to start a Twitter account or post your first TikTok video, this is it 👀
Found - Biz Ops Analyst (Remote)
Chapter - Software Engineer (NYC, Remote)
Cardless - Product Manager (SF, Remote)
Pulley - Biz Ops (SF, Remote)
a16z - Financial & Data Analyst, Growth (Menlo Park)
Twitch - Chief of Staff, Creators* (LA)
Techstars - Investment Analyst (NYC)
Oscar - Biz Ops & Strategy Associate* (NYC)
SYN Ventures - Investment Analyst / Associate (NYC)
*Requires 3+ years of experience.
Alinea - Business Strategy Intern (Remote)
Morning Brew - Commerce Intern (Remote)
OnDeck - Scale Intern (Remote)
Recharge - Biz Dev Intern (Remote)
AptDeco - Marketing Intern (Remote)
Blend - PM Intern (Remote)
Uber - Strategic Finance Development Intern (SF)
Lyft - Data Science Intern (SF)
Meta - MBA Business Product Strategy Intern (Menlo Park)
puppy of the week 🐶
Since we’re talking TikTok, it’s only appropriate to feature a TikTok-famous dog! Meet Bunny, a 2-year-old sheepadoodle with 7.2M followers (@whataboutbunny) 🤯. She communicates by pushing buttons for specific words - it’s amazing to witness.
If you’re not on TikTok, you can find her on IG @whataboutbunny.