There are few viral stars more unapologetically themselves than Avani Gregg… and at 18-years-old with 32 million followers watching (and commenting on) your every move, that is no mean feat.
TikTok has afforded a select group of creators a meteoric rise to fame, and thus an onslaught of opportunities for these young stars. However, with opportunities come certain caveats, something Avani is wildly conscious of— the influencer is notoriously private when it comes to her friendships and long-term relationship.
Centennial Beauty sat down to chat exclusively with Avani about said opportunities including her recent collaboration with Morphe, balancing being a private person with being a social media star and how she is figuring out who she is, while under a microscope.
After getting her start on Musical.ly, as many popular TikTok creators did, Avani has found her niche (if you can call 32 million followers a niche) in fashion and beauty. “I’ve always loved doing makeup and getting creative with it… it’s been in my life for a while now. I started getting more into it in the past five years…and it’s been amazing for me and my journey. Makeup is a form of art and it’s an escape from various parts of my life,” she explains.
Despite becoming popular for her ‘Clown Makeup’, she has managed to pivot creatively into what is easily her biggest and most exciting collaboration yet— the Morphe x Avani Gregg collection. “[It’s] very colourful and fun,” she says of her ‘For The Bebs’ palette. “It contains both eyeshadows and cake liners which is amazing. [It also] has drawings all over it, which might come off a little chaotic, but it all makes sense because makeup is a creative space and sometimes things just need to be chaotic.”
Of the process she says, “I really wanted to make sure I included my all time [favourites] for the shades. I also wanted to make sure I involved memories and ideas that I’ve always loved within it. I hope everyone that’s mentioned truly knows that I put my heart and soul into it, which is also why they’re in it.”
Something that young creators often lack is perspective, but this is a trait Avani possesses in spades. Her thoughtfulness shines through in her collection with Morphe, and also in a number of other areas. From taking regular ‘social media breaks’ to hosting her online talk show Here For It, she is refreshingly honest when it comes to what the job of being a ‘creator’ actually looks [and feels] like in 2021.
“Here For It was so much fun to do. I just wanted to talk about issues that go on today with gen z and social media. Being able to have people come on the show and share their experiences was just amazing,” she says. Hand in hand with this awareness comes a certain honesty in regards to social media. While Avani acknowledges its importance in getting her where she is today, she is realistic about the dark side. “Breaks on social media are so important. It can take over your life if you’re really serious about it,” she says. “I take breaks almost every month just to clear and refresh my mind.” Of the hate that is undoubtedly a major component of the job, she says “People can be ruthless on social apps and use it as a tool to hurt others. At times, social media can be toxic and taking breaks to realise your worth before you decide to [return] is the best [thing] you can do for yourself.”
On maintaining some semblance of a normal life with so many people invested in your day-to-day, she says “I still like to do all the same things…going out with friends, shopping, enjoying a meal outside,”. However, she notes it has become harder than it used to be.
A cultural shift that has only been recognised recently, TikTok creators are the new A-list celebrity to a significant (and growing) portion of the population— namely those under 25, the world over. The para-social relationship between creator and follower is a phenomenon that is not yet entirely understood… so it is no wonder it seems overwhelming for the young stars navigating this kind of fame. “These days it is harder to go out without drawing attention to myself, which can be overwhelming. [It’s hard] because my life is on social media, [so] people seem to have more of a curiosity [about] my personal life and want to voice their opinion on things, including my relationship and friendships,” she says.
Ever grounded, Avani takes it all as it comes; which seems to be a trait increasingly prevalent in gen-z— a generation that has experienced so much cultural and political change in their lifetime already. Of her skyrocket to viral stardom, Avani explains, “It has changed my family’s life drastically. We went from living within our means in a small town to suddenly living our dreams. I grew really fast in the beginning and it was a shock. We didn’t know what would happen, but now we are grateful for the way that it did.”
Morphe x Avani Gregg Collection includes the ‘For The Bebs’ eye palette, a mini gloss set, two bold lip duos, three bronzers and a liquid highlighter. The collection will be available from March 24th on morphe.com and in Morphe stores.