London/New Delhi: She is only 23, but already has 16 million fans on social media video app TikTok. She needs to be protected by bodyguards and her earnings have made her mother quit her job.
Meet Holly Horne, Britain’s biggest superstar you may never have even heard of. With glossy pouted lips, wide brown eyes and manicured fingernails, she tilts her head coquettishly towards the camera and pretends to whistle.
Her TikTok video ends in 15 seconds but its appeal is baffling. The short clip has been viewed a staggering 77.2 million times since it was uploaded on TikTok last year.
It’s a figure that producers of BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, which attracts 10 million views per episode, can only dream of, Mail Online reported.
The video has propelled Holly to a phenomenal superstardom on the Internet. A devoted army of 16 million fans — mostly aged between eight and 15 — pore over every detail of her daily online posts, which involve lip-synching to current pop hits or performing goofy dance moves, the report added.
But while Holly’s videos may appear childlike and innocuous, she knows exactly what she is doing. Such is her appeal to her international audience that her online business pulls in an estimated six-figure salary from promotional partnerships with some of the country’s biggest brands.
TikTok’s peculiar format, which hosts videos less than 59-seconds long, is described as ‘junk-food television’ due to entertainment packaged in bite-sized, attention-grabbing pieces.
Clips are usually funny, silly or slapstick in tone and, if not paused, will play continuously on a loop.
No one is more bemused by her stratospheric success than her mother Jody.
“My friends are like, ‘What is that?'” Jody, 45, told The Mail on Sunday. “Honestly, it’s weird. I don’t really understand it but she’s making money out of it so we just go with it. And it’s a lucrative career. It shocks me.”
Holly — who still lives at home with her siblings Megan, 19, and Phoenix, 12 — has moved her family from Guernsey to a four-bedroom house in West Sussex to remain closer to London to meet advertisers and agents.
A team of beefy bodyguards accompanies her to events in case things get ‘out of hand’ with her fans — 80 per cent girls, 20 per cent boys — according to her TikTok data, who can become ‘hysterical’ when they spot their idol.
“It’s so sweet,” Holly says.