Noah Beck does not know why he’s famous

TikTok star Noah Beck in Los Angeles, on September 1, 2022. (Photos: NYTimes)
Noah Beck’s first TikTok post was a flop.

In January 2020, while home in Arizona during winter break from the University of Portland, his sister, Tatum, introduced him to TikTok. “She had, like, 8,000 followers, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a lot,’” Beck said. “I was the annoying little brother who was like, ‘I bet you in two weeks, I’ll have more followers than you’.”اضافة اعلان

He posted two videos, including a nine-second one in which he lip-synced rap lyrics from a Megan Thee Stallion song. Shot in his bedroom with an iPhone, it had all the mundane markings of a suburban teenager’s life: white T-shirt, floppy hair, string lights, walls covered with photos and posters.

It went nowhere. But a few months later, when the pandemic shut down campus life everywhere, the video mysteriously took off. “When I woke up, I had 20,000 followers,” he said. “And each video had, like, 300,000 views. I thought it was a glitch.”

Today, Beck, 21, has more than 34 million followers on TikTok, putting him a bit behind Kylie Jenner (49.1 million) and girlfriend of two years, Dixie D’Amelio (57.5 million) — more on that later. He has gone from being an anonymous college student training to be a professional soccer player to a TikTok superstar who, in recent months, sat in the front row at Paris Fashion Week, wore a white tuxedo to the Cannes premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick”, modeled for AMI Paris, and played in a celebrity soccer match for UNICEF.

He is not only recognized on the street by Gen Z fans but also by fellow celebrities. When he has been introduced to one of his idols — guys like David Beckham, Mark Wahlberg and Drake — they often have said the same thing: “I know who you are.”

“Drake knew who I was,” Beck said, still sounding surprised. “Unreal”.

Beck is now taking that recognition and using it as a springboard into more traditional avenues of fame. In January, he signed with the Creative Artists Agency and will star in a feature film, “The QB Bad Boy and Me,” that is scheduled to begin filming in a few months. Beck is also a producer of the movie, which is a project from Creator Plus, a company that specializes in films with social media stars.

“It’s pretty surreal that you are doing something just for the fun of it, and people are following you,” he said. “While I have these opportunities, I’m going to make the best of it.”

In August, Beck was enjoying one of the perks of fame: watching a Los Angeles FC match from the private box of the team’s chief brand officer, Rich Orosco.

Beck showed up alone and wore the uniform of someone trying to go unnoticed: a black team cap pulled down over his face, paired with a black T-shirt, black jeans, and black sneakers.

He took a seat behind Snoop Dogg, who was surrounded by a small entourage, and chatted amiably while watching the game, stopping every so often to absorb a momentous play or to cheer on his adopted home team.

He went largely incognito until two teenage girls timidly approached during the second half. They wanted a selfie. Beck immediately lit up, revealing a Cheshire cat grin and cocked eyebrow. He snapped a few photos with their phones and chatted easily with them before they giggled and walked away.

The encounter summed up his boy-next-door appeal. “The real fans know everything about me because I’ve told them,” he said, sounding genuinely excited. “I want to be their best friend.”

Like many social media stars of his ilk, Beck has no discernible skills or talents to explain his meteoric rise. He does not sing, his dancing is standard fare, his acting is untested, and his brand of humor is not particularly edgy.

Indeed, his TikTok feed is not so different from many other 20-something influencer guys. He lip-syncs to viral tracks. He dances. He records himself getting ready, or what’s known in social media parlance as a GRWM (“get ready with me”). He tries the latest filters or memes.

Some posts are so mundane — picking up lunch, buying bread at Target — that one wonders: How did Beck become one of the world’s biggest TikTok stars?

His popularity, it could be argued, comes from being an everyday bro who turns the drudgery of daily life into short videos. And as his mostly young and female fans can attest, it does not hurt that Beck is conventionally handsome, has an easy smile, is built like a soccer player, and looks good without a shirt.

“I gained a lot of fans because of my abs, as ridiculous as it sounds,” he said. “A lot of people started to follow me because I danced with my shirt off, and I kind of ran with that.”

Being shirtless, however, can only get you so far. His fame got a huge boost in May 2020 when he was vacationing with his family in Newport Beach, California. Members of the Sway House, a content creator “collab house” in Los Angeles, liked his content and invited him to come by.

It was around that time that he met D’Amelio, who was dating another Sway House member, Griffin Johnson. Beck and D’Amelio are cagey about their relationship — including when they became a couple — which is paradoxical, considering that each built their brands by oversharing. Even now, they are rarely seen publicly together.

Asked directly about their relationship, the most Beck would say was, “She is the most grounding person to me, and I love her to death. It’s funny because she’s got this dry sense of humor that plays off my golden retriever energy.” (D’Amelio declined to comment through her publicist.)

And while Gen Z followers cannot seem to get enough — videos tagged “Doah” (short for Dixie and Noah) have more than 1.7 billion views on TikTok — they may be disappointed (or thrilled) to learn that the couple have since broken up.

“We can confirm that the pair are no longer together but remain close friends,” Larissa Saenz, Beck’s publicist, wrote in an email Tuesday.

Influencer next door?
Getting views is no longer enough for Beck. “I want to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “I want to really explore the fashion world. I want to stay in the world of soccer. I can’t get away from soccer; it’s my life. And I want to try acting.”

In preparation for “The QB Bad Boy and Me,” he has hired a series of acting coaches. The experience has been humbling. “It’s hard,” he said. “It’s not what I expected”.

Beck is still very active on social media: He has 9 million followers on Instagram, nearly 2 million on YouTube, and 5 million on Triller, as well as a podcast called “Put a Sock in It”/

Beck insists that fame has not gone to his head. He drives a 2016 black Nissan Altima. “It gets me from Point A to Point B,” he said. “And it’s safe.” He plays Fortnite several hours a week with his college soccer buddies. He geeks out over “Game of Thrones”. And he does not drink, preferring amusement parks over nightclubs.

But there is no doubt that his life has changed. He recently bought a 2021 Tesla Model Y for his mother, Amy Beck, who teaches second grade. After the Sway House shut down last year, he rented a sprawling house in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles with three other creators that have walk-in closets, a steam room, and swimming pool. Then, in August, he started posting from a new townhouse with dark wood floors and empty shelves. In an interview, Beck described it as a duplex in a townhouse community in West Hollywood. It is the first time he has lived alone.

Naturally, you can watch him decorate it on TikTok. “I don’t need a mansion with a basketball court,” he said. “It would be intimidating to have a huge house in the hills all to myself. It’s kind of lonely.”

Back at the soccer game, with Los Angeles FC dominating Charlotte FC in the second half, Beck hung back in the suite and took stock of his life while relaxing on a leather couch and keeping one eye on the game on a large television.

When asked why millions of people find him so captivating, he still struggles to answer.

“I ask myself that question all the time,” he said. “Sometimes when I’m in Europe, and I’m looking out the window, and there’s hundreds of fans down there, waiting for me, outside the lobby, I’m like, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ I want to go down there and survey them — not fishing for compliments, just genuinely ask, ‘Why do you enjoy my content?’”

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