Khaby Lame, also known on TikTok as @khaby.lame, becomes the first TikTok creator in Europe and the second in the world to hit 100 million followers.
With few words and just some meaningful hand movements, which have become his signature, Khaby Lame started on the platform during a particularly difficult time in his life — Italy was in lockdown and he had just lost his job because of Covid-19.
The beginning of coronavirus lockdowns in Italy cost him that job, freeing up time for his next act: recording videos in his bedroom and posting for fun. He gained 50,000 followers between his first video, which showed him moisturizing to the “Whoa Dance” on March 15, and May 14. His more than 900 videos since have generated 1.5 billion likes and a net worth of at least $1 million, by one estimate.
“It’s my face and my expressions which make people laugh,” he said to the outlet, while adding that his muted expressions are a “universal language.”
According to TikTok, “With his iconic facial expressions and use of irony in his videos, he continues to inspire us to stay true to who we are and live life with joy.”
In his response Khaby Lame, “I am honoured to have achieved this milestone, made possible by the global TikTok community. I am passionate about entertaining and making people laugh since childhood, and I am thankful to TikTok for offering me a global stage to share my passion with the rest of the world. I will continue to work towards my dreams, knowing I can count on a beautiful community ready to cheer me on. Thank you and I love you all!”
Khaby Lame has also paid tribute to Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and even Omar Sy, whose films have inspired his humour. Since his start, the young performer has made videos that have gone viral with Italian soccer players such as Alessandro Del Piero: “I’m grateful and happy about it, but I always remain down-to-earth and true to my original idea of making videos to have fun and make others laugh. I consider myself a simple guy,” he explained.