Alix Earle's Guide to World Domination
First she conquered TikTok. Now, the Internet's favorite It Girl is gearing up for even more.
Alix Earle has had a rough morning. Prior to our late afternoon Zoom call, she flew home to Miami from an appearance in Chicago at Alex Cooper’s Call Her Daddy live show. The duo went out after, and Earle was deathly hungover on her travels, even stopping in her Uber to the airport to throw up. I know all this because I saw it all, uploaded in real time in 60-second increments on TikTok throughout the day. “That one was a little rough this morning, coming from Chicago,” she says when I ask how her day is going. “I was just like, ‘Get me home.’” She doesn’t elaborate or give further context. And there’s no need. Earle knows we’re watching.
If you are even mildly active online, it’s likely that you’re one of the 6.1 million people who follow Earle on TikTok. At the very least, you’ve seen one of her signature Get Ready With Me videos, where she goes through her makeup routine before a night out while idly chatting about her day. The format is as simple as they come, but over the past year, Earle has taken the views and transformed them into a post-grad career. The secret to her success? Hold nothing back. “My audience and I are very close,” she says. “They always say, ‘I feel like I’m your best friend.’" And I’m like, ‘You guys literally know as much as my friends do.’ It’s always girls that I would want to be friends with anyway, so it’s always a good time.”
The Alix Earle effect is something that will likely be studied in media studies classes for years to come (and in fact, was recently the subject of a recent Harvard Business School report). This time last year, Earle was just another college senior with a TikTok account. How and why she became an algorithm favorite (at the beginning of the year, it was estimated she was growing her account at the rate of just under 100,000 new followers each day) — but you can’t deny why it stuck. Whether it was her love for white eyeliner or the celebration of her “boobaversary” — the one-year anniversary of her breast augmentation — that sucked you in, Earle has a natural openness and sense of humor that makes you hang on to every word and feel deeply invested in her world. While post-pandemic many content creators’ output has begun to feel contrived and overthought, Earle, despite her rising stardom, has remained true to her straightforward and straight-shooting roots. “These are in-the-moment videos. I will just pick up and record,” she says. “There was a point a few months back where I was stressing myself out about holding myself up to the standard of posting three to four times a day, [but] I realized that it’s good to give myself those break days and not force content out… When I make content, it always feels fun and organic and natural.”
For an entire generation of 20-somethings, a blue checkmark and having “Influencer” as your Instagram bio are career goals. But upon graduating from the University of Miami in May, Earle wanted something more. For her, the next step was obvious: podcasting. “I was trying to think of what would be best to get into after school, and I just couldn’t think of a right path for me, and podcasting just felt like I was able to still do what I’m doing but have people get to know me on a different level,” she says. The timing happened to be perfect: As she started to look into potential platforms for the show, Alexandra Cooper of Call Her Daddy reached out about a brand new network she was gearing up to launch. In September, Hot Mess debuted on Cooper’s Unwell network.
The weekly podcast, available in video form and out exclusively on Spotify, is an extension of Earle’s TikTok brand — candid, straight-to-camera stories of her life. Still, there was a learning curve navigating the new platform. “I feel like I’m still in the workshopping phase of it, where I’m figuring out what content’s working,” she says, crediting Cooper as a mentor in learning best practices. “She is the queen of just being herself, and she knows her audience very well and how to capture them. When I was filming the first episode, I would tell a story, and she was like, ‘Do it again. Be more yourself. Just don’t be afraid.’”
Earle has taken that advice to heart. She does not script out her episodes, opting for more a stream of consciousness storytelling, or as she describes it: “I just pick up the microphone and start talking and see what comes out of my mouth.” As simple as it is, the method works, and has led to some of the podcast’s most earnest moments. In her third episode, released on Oct. 5, Earle disclosed her experience overcoming an eating disorder in her early teenage years, a topic she had not previously discussed. “I was super nervous before putting out that episode,” she says. “I didn’t want to trigger anyone or not touch on it correctly, but I really just told my story.” The feedback from listeners, she says, was “insane.” “I have met now maybe 20 girls out and about, and they’ll come up to me specifically about that episode and how it helped them, how it moved them, how they were able to relate to it,” she says. “That is just obviously the reason that I put stuff out like that, just to help other people, and it definitely makes me want to do content similar to that.”
Earle is a chronic oversharer, but the night before we talk, she announces something that is new to even her most devoted fans: Alix Earle is officially off the market.
“I’m pretty much an open book. What you see is online, and it’s what you’re going to get.”
OK, fine, we all knew that, but at Cooper’s live show, she confirmed that, after months of playing coy when it comes to labels, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Braxton Berrios is officially her boyfriend. As with Cooper’s fiancé Matt Kaplan, who was previously only known as Mr. Sexy Zoom Man before their engagement, Berrios is referred to almost exclusively on Earle’s social media as “NFL Man,” a happy accident that just happened to stick. But while Cooper strived to hide Kaplan’s identity, Earle is not so into secrets. “I’ve definitely been sharing more [about our relationship] with the podcast just because I’m talking in longer-form content,” she says. “I’m still learning what those boundaries are going to be for me, so I’m still testing the waters with that so far, but I always say I’m pretty much an open book. What you see is online, and it’s what you’re going to get.”
Prior to the Call Her Daddy live show, she and Berrios took a romantic trip together to a private island in the Bahamas; over the three day trip, she posted 14 TikToks of their vacation. Berrios appears gamely in 11 of them. “Creating content when you’re on a vacation can be a lot, and it does take up a good amount of time, but I’ve gotten pretty quick with learning how to capture the videos and edit them down,” she says. “He has been super supportive, and I know this world can be very different in terms of what I’m doing for work and it does take patience at times, but he gets it and he supports it; he always gives me time. I’m on my phone editing stuff, and he’s like, ‘I know you’re doing that right now. Take your time. You’re working.’”
He’s also a quick learner; the two recorded an episode of the podcast during their stay. On the second day, Earle posted a video of 36 roses laid out to celebrate 36 weeks since their first kiss. The caption read, “he even got out the Hot Mess cameras to record my reaction.” And as for the “surprise” boyfriend confirmation, that’s on the podcast, too. ”We recorded the moment when we officially said it or asked or whatever,” she says. “It was pretty funny that we got everything on camera. [The relationship] feels good, and it feels right for right now, so just having fun with it. We’ll see where it goes.”
Earlier this year, many people thought Earle and her extended family — her dad, mom, step-mom, younger sister, and three half-siblings (Earle’s stepmother first had her own brush of fame thanks to her involvement in the Eliot Spitzer scandal over a decade ago; today, the entire family remains close, with Earle’s mom still coming over for Thanksgiving, in a very Kardashian-like blended family model) — were angling for a reality TV show. Earle can exclusively share that was never the case. “My family’s in New Jersey, and they’re still getting accustomed to what I’m doing, so I think that would be a lot to throw them all into that,” she says. “But I am not opposed to maybe doing reality TV at some point.”
For now, she says, she’s enjoying being her own boss. “I’m the one producing it and putting it out and seeing everything. It’s my narrative and my story, and I like being able to tell it and have control,” she says. I ask how much of her life she views as Alix Earle the brand and how that can translate into a business. “I’m constantly thinking about ways to evolve the brand, what I can do next. I was literally on vacation and woke up in the middle of the night, like ‘I have a business idea.’ Braxton was like, ‘Go to bed,’” she says. “I am pretty much always thinking about stuff like that. I definitely want to start my own business or a few businesses in the future.” What exactly those businesses will be, she’s not quite sure yet, but she’s also not that concerned about it. “I think I’m at a really exciting place because I feel very grateful that I have the opportunity to start something like that,” she says. “I’m still workshopping what a future brand would look like, but that's definitely my overall goal as of right now, and definitely keeping up with Hot Mess, to see where that evolves.”
To be fair, it’s hard to imagine your life in five years when you’re currently moving at breakneck speed. Just this time last year, Earle was an average college senior; now her alma mater has a literal scholarship in her name. “A year ago today, no one cared what I was doing,” she says. The insta-fame hasn’t come without consequence, she notes, and a good part of the year has been spent building a thick skin to online criticism. “You have to be very sure of yourself and strong-headed because putting yourself out on social media is scary at times and you’re subjecting yourself to a lot of opinions,” she says. “It’s about getting to a place where you are OK with the fact that not everyone’s going to like you.”
“I’m constantly thinking about ways to evolve the brand, what I can do next. I was literally on vacation and woke up in the middle of the night, like ‘I have a business idea.’ Braxton was like, ‘Go to bed.’”
Taking occasional social media breaks, she’s learned, is healthy, but she can never stay away for too long — and that’s just how she likes it. “I just genuinely enjoy taking pictures, editing videos, and the process behind it,” she says. “‘Do I put the text here for two seconds or five seconds?’ I just love all the thought that goes into it. I don’t really experience burnout in the sense of not having joy making the videos.
“I always say, ‘Oh, in January I'll take a break,’ and then all of sudden, I’m busy again,” she continues. “I’m sure it’ll always be hectic, but I honestly prefer a hectic schedule rather than having too much time to myself. I like to be a little panicked.”
Top image credits: Miu Miu clothing
Photographs by Elizabeth Wirija
Styling by Stephanie Sanchez
Hair: Romina Manenti
Makeup: Carolina Gonzalez
Photo Director: Alex Pollack
Editor in Chief: Lauren McCarthy
SVP Fashion: Tiffany Reid
SVP Creative: Karen Hibbert
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