The Comeback Kings and Queens of TikTok

Amanda Putter

 “TikTok you don’t stop!”


Where do all of these phrases come from? TikTok, of course! The social media app, formally known as, has been the most widely used app among Generation Z. The app allows people to take short 30-60 second videos of themselves dancing, making social and political commentary, responding to other people’s videos, and share other forms of self expression. While the majority of users are teenagers, many older celebrities have been reviving their careers through TikTok. Those sayings above are coined by Rosie O’Donnell and Gordon Ramsey, respectively. These two pop up on For You pages everywhere on a regular basis. Jason Derulo, known to many adults as the guy who says his name at the beginning of every song, was the first to capitalize on this concept. You might have not seen these three people in a while, or ever, but you better get used to them.

Gordon Ramsey, best known for his angry temperament showcased on cooking shows from the early 2000s, such as Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef, and of course Kitchen Nightmares, now has a strong following of 17.8 million people on TikTok, and his videos constantly rack in at least 1 million views. Ramsey’s most popular videos consist of him giving commentary on other people’s cooking choices, and rarely does he have a nice word to say about them. Ramsey’s videos have seen the revival of some of his most well known catchphrases from his TV shows, such as the ones mentioned above, which included calling people a donut and an idiot sandwich. This content is nostalgic for the OG Ramsey fans, and exciting for the younger fans (who weren’t even born when Gordon Ramsey was popular on T.V.) New followers are intrigued by his very blunt personality, which “shows a sense of character that people find funny and want more of,” said South High sophomore Julia Weinreich.

Through this platform, Ramsey has been able to keep his usual audience entertained, while gaining a few young Gen-Zers. Ramsey is currently working on other projects that will  be released shortly. TikTok has been a great way to engage with his fans, even when he isn’t putting out new episodes of his television series. Through these short stimulation videos, Ramsey stays relevant.  
Rosie O’Donnell’s account is a different story. In the 1990s when many teens’ parents were in high school, Rosie O’Donnell was hosting her own talk show, as well as being an outspoken advocate for the lesbian rights issues, as she is an out lesbian herself. 

In mid-2020, she began appearing on the screens of millions of people’s For You pages. Rosie O’Donnell is building up her TikTok platform by interacting with her followers by following them back, and posting videos of herself reacting to their reactions of her following them. Even though she only has 1.2 million followers, she makes sure to connect with them on a personal level. Her catchphrase on TikTok has been “TikTok you don’t stop.” She is capitalizing on this catch phrase by selling tee-shirts and mugs with this phrase on it, as well as the phrase “Rosie freaking O’Donnell,” as that is what her followers say when O’Donnell follows them back. Rosie O’Donnell looks to use her platform to spread positivity and brighten people’s days.

Jason Derulo has used his TikTok account to completely shift direction in his career focus from singer to bonafide TikTok star. You may know him as the artist who always says his name in the beginning of every song, or the guy that broke his teeth trying to eat corn off a rotating power drill. Unlike the other celebrities on this list, Derulo, who is hoping to enter a different phase of his career, is using TikTok as his main platform. While Derulo recently made the song Savage Love, this was mainly in order to launch him as a TikTok star by creating a dance challenge to the song.         

Coming in hot with 42.1 million followers, Derulo is now known to the young Gen-Zers on the app as the cool guy who hangs out with other TikTok influencers, such as Ondreaz Lopez. Like a typical influencer, he celebrates his follower milestones, most recently celebrating his 40 million follower milestone the Jason Derulo way: with food.       
The culture among Gen-Z has led to TikTok becoming instrumental in the revival of Derulo’s new place in pop culture, while in the case of Ramsey and O’Donnell, TikTok is just a supplementary platform. While many teens use Tik Tok as a distraction while doing their math homework, Tik Tok has proven to be a useful platform for celebrities to build up their audience. From Tik Tok, all three of these celebrities have opened up their audience to span across a whole new generation. The question that remains is who will be the next celebrity that will grace your For You page?