The Louisiana native was crowned the social platform’s highest earner, although she only ranked as the second most followed TikTok star, with a follower count of 54.2 million.
Charli D’Amelio was the most followed video-maker on the platform, having accumulated 76.9 million followers since her first post in June 2019, but the 16-year-old came in second on Forbes’ list with estimated earnings of $4 million.
Dixie D’Amelio — Charli’s 19-year-old sister —joined Easterling and D’Amelio in the top three of the Forbes ranking, having raked in $2.9 million.
To compile the list, Forbes estimated the social stars’ pre-tax earnings from June 30, 2019, to June 30, 2020. The publication noted that the rankings only took into account “native” TikTok stars and discounted any YouTubers and Hollywood celebrities who were also popular on the app.
Easterling enjoyed a swift rise to fame over the past 12 months. Her Forbes profile noted that just one year ago she was a student at Louisiana State University who shot choreographed TikToks in her spare time.
It wasn’t until October 27, 2019, that she hit 1 million followers and started getting recognized on campus.
“My name would be called out when I was walking to class, which was pretty mind-blowing,” she told the publication.
In fall 2019, Easterling uploaded her first sponsored content posts and that December moved to Los Angeles where she helped build creator collective Hype House. Branded merchandise and sponsored content deals followed this move, and Forbes estimates that these two revenue streams accounted for two-thirds of the teen’s estimated earnings.
Easterling’s career continued to go from strength to strength in July, when it was announced she would become the main global spokesperson for American Eagle.
In an interview with People about her campaign for the brand, the dancer spoke about learning to focus on the positives.
“One of my friends, Kourtney Kardashian, has told me to appreciate and look at the bigger picture and to not get so caught up in the micro,” she said. “Just enjoy what you have and don’t let things get to you too much because there’s so much else to be happy about.”
Indeed, the 19-year-old recently struck up a friendship with Kourtney Kardashian, 41, and the reality star’s ex, Scott Disick, 37, with the sizeable age gap between the celebrities prompting media speculation.
On July 31, Kardashian poked fun at the rumors surrounding the trio when she headed over to Instagram to post a sweet snap with her young pal. In the relaxed image, Easterling wore a blue T-shirt and a floral bandana, while her new friend sported an almost identical outfit in pink.
Kardashian teased her fans as she captioned the post, “my husband’s girlfriend and I exchanging stories.”