Who is Khaby Lame? 8 Things to know about TikTok’s No. 1 star
With TikTok’s explosion in popularity over recent years, the platform has changed the lives of many users, turning regular people into social media celebrities after going viral. One of the lucky few is Khaby Lame, but he isn’t just any social media celebrity.
If you’re a frequent scroller on the For You page, you might’ve come across one or perhaps even a few of his videos. With his audience of millions, he’s quite hard to miss. The 22-year-old star went from working regular jobs in early 2020 to becoming the King of TikTok in 2022—without speaking a word. Despite his massive recognition, his silent humour has left us wondering: Who is he and how did he get here?
Below, here are eight things to know about TikTok’s number one star.
He was born in Senegal
Khabane Lame—otherwise known as Khaby Lame (pronounced Kabby Lahmay)—was born in Senegal on 9th March 2000, but is currently based in Italy since his family moved to a public housing complex in Chivasso when he was merely a year old. He studied in Italian schools following his move up until he was 14, when he was sent to temporarily study in a Quranic school near Dakar, Senegal.
He is a practising Muslim
In an interview with an Italian media outlet, Lame responded to one of his frequently asked questions about his religion and whether he is a Muslim. To which he casually responded, “Yes, I am Muslim, a practising Muslim. I don’t know what else to say.” He is also a Hafiz e Quran, which represents someone who has memorised the holy book.
He was a machine operator
Prior to his TikTok stardom, Lame worked as an operator in an Italian factory before getting laid off in March 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the loss of his job, he began his journey as a TikTok creator where he silently climbed the ranks overnight.
He is still waiting for his Italian citizenship
Despite growing up in Italy, Lame has yet to receive his Italian citizenship. In an interview with The New York Times last year, Lame revealed that he still uses a Senegalese passport which makes it harder to obtain a visa to visit the United States.
He became TikTok’s most followed user
Unlike most of the biggest creators on TikTok at the time, Lame wasn’t a member of the Hype House or anything of the sort. His early videos on the platform consisted of dancing, gaming, and lip-syncing—the usual content we’d see on the For You page.
Lame started to go viral after making ‘duets’ and ‘stitches’ mocking overly complicated life hacks without uttering a single word. Clearly, it’s no creative masterpiece but his silent humour was a brilliant method to reach a universal audience.
By April 2020, Lame surpassed Gianluca Vacchi as the most-followed Italian creator on TikTok,ranking second below Charli D’Amelio as TikTok’s most-followed creator. By 22 June 2022, Lame finally dethroned Charli D’Amelio on TikTok with 142.1 million followers and she was more than happy to pass her crown.
During a panel at VidCon, D’Amelio explains, “I had number one for two years. It’s time for someone else to have that spot, and I’m proud of him. He’s a friend, and there’s no bad blood. It feels great to know that someone else is getting that spot—someone that is sweet and a good person and loves what they do.”
He is an ambassador for Boss
Lame gained many opportunities following his rise to fame, including an invitation to the Venice Film Festival in September 2021 as a special guest for the first screening of Lost Illusions, and signing a multi-year partnership with Hugo Boss in January 2022.
He has a net worth of $5 million
To give you an idea of Lame’s success, his net worth is roughly $5 million and his estimated rates for sponsored posts go up to a whopping $13,380 to $22,000. You might wonder, “How does someone who makes videos with such low production value make so much?” Well, that’s exactly it. The lack of grand production in Lame’s career as a content creator is precisely why he gained millions of loyal supporters. In this age of media consumption on the internet, viewers value genuine, organic personalities from non-controversial creators who aren’t consumed by fame.
His goal is simply to make people laugh
Despite holding the number one title, Lame remains authentic and committed to his goal—to make people laugh. In a statement to CNN, he says, "I don't care if I'm first or second or fourth most popular on TikTok. I started making videos because I wanted to make people laugh in that period of lockdown. And I keep making videos with the same ideals. I'm happy about my accomplishments, but those are not my main things."
Here are some of Khaby Lame’s viral TikToks
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