The path to fame is often surprising, but rarely does it come from a simple shrug. In the world of social media, however, the no nonsense observations of Senegal-born Khaby Lame have garnered him 114 million followers on TikTok, making him the most popular man on the platform.
When Italy first went into a coronavirus lockdown last year, Khabane Lame had just lost his job at a factory near the northern city of Turin. He spent his days holed up at his parents’ home in Chivasso with his three siblings, looking for other jobs.
One day, he downloaded TikTok and started tinkering with it in his bedroom, posting videos of himself under the name Khaby Lame. And gradually, a surprising career was born. At first, like a lot of TikTokers, he created clips of himself dancing, watching video games or doing comedy stunts.
Then, earlier this year, he began making fun of the life-hack videos that flood social media platforms — reacting to them with a wordless shrug or a look of exasperation — and he struck a chord. And Lame, 21, does it all without saying a word. On TikTok, his silence speaks volumes.