@addisonraee, professionally known as Addison Rae, became the second-most-popular human being on TikTok — amassing 73 million followers during the pandemic. And like many social media personalities, she has sought to monetize her popularity, putting out her first makeup and skin-care line, Item Beauty, with Madeby Collective.
Though revenues from beauty and personal care dipped during quarantine, over all, consumers have nearly doubled spending in the past 15 years, as prices of products have risen and beauty has entered a phase of total pop-culture domination. Rae’s venture with Madeby, a sister brand of Ipsy, the largest beauty subscription service in the U.S., is but a small part of this shift. But people with clout, from celebrities to lifestyle influencers, are exploiting the intimate relationships they have with their fans in a way that wasn’t possible before.
“Me and my makeup are a pair,” Rae said. “We’re working together, and we’re together.”
Rae dreamed of becoming a beauty mogul when she was younger, but it was hard to imagine how this was going to happen. Rae’s mother was 21 when Rae was born and split with Rae’s father shortly thereafter. Her father was in and out of the picture, though both parents now appear in the background of Rae’s 15-second TikTok videos as a happy family.
Despite seeming excited about the new line, Rae, in an interview, didn’t seem able to get into specifics about producing Item Beauty and she did not comment on her financial arrangement, which might be far smaller than her title of co-founder implies. To promote the line she has turned to TikTok — generating videos of herself looking cute in a new lip gloss while sashaying around to a rap song — basically what she was doing before she had her own lip gloss to sell.