Loren Gray has been doing this since she was 13 years old.
Hustling, that is, and not in the bad way. In the way that she seemingly never stops working. In the way she wakes up at 6 a.m., watches the sunrise and does five interviews before noon.
“The only way that I feel good about a day, is if I get everything done,” she told In The Know. “I just keep busy all the time, or else I go crazy.”
It’s hard to even pick a job title for Gray, who is 18 years old. She does everything — she’s an influencer, a content creator, an actress, a singer and a jewelry mogul.
Gray is best known for her social media presence. She got her start on Musical.ly in 2015, where she had one of the most-followed accounts on the app. When Musical.ly became TikTok in 2018, she didn’t miss a beat. She now has just shy of 50 million followers on the app, and an additional 20.8 million followers on Instagram and 3.9 subscribers on YouTube.
“Growing up on social media has kept things interesting,” she said. “I just sort of love sharing my life.”
And share she does. Most people, looking back on what they shared on social media in their middle-to-high-school years, would cringe. Gray has managed to keep her reputation so sparklingly clean that she’s hesitant to even accept the title of “unproblematic fave.”
“I’ve had my moments. I made my mistakes,” she said. “I think the most important thing is just being able to learn and grow from those things.”
So many social media stars rely on controversies and feuds to gain attention and views — and some aren’t even afraid to admit it.
Part of the reason she stays out of trouble is just because of her personality, she admits. She keeps to herself. But she also knows that those millions of followers are also millions of sets of eyes watching her and, well, being subjected to her influence.
She doesn’t just try to behave herself for them, either. She interacts with them — shares their art, encourages them through hard times, and so on. Her own Instagram is a sort of tribute to her fans, or “angels,” that lift her up.
“Knowing that there’s so many kids that look up to me … I wish I would have had someone to look up to when I was younger that was reachable,” she said. “I talk to my fans a lot, and I have a really close bond and a close relationship with them.”
This paints another stark contrast against her peers — many of whom have continued to attend parties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some apologize and seemingly stop, some apologize and continue and others refuse to slow down.
Gray condemned that behavior.
“Well, I feel like it’s pretty self-explanatory why you shouldn’t [party],” she said. “I don’t think some influencers realize that you know, you do impact the people that watch you. That’s kept me from doing anything crazy.”
Gray just launched a jewelry line called &always, partially because she hadn’t seen any other influencers tackle that space. She designed the pieces and has been involved with every step of the process, from research to design, and so on.
Many of her designs include the shape of an old-school Hollywood mirror. Gray wanted to take that mirror, which is so often a source of insecurity, and turn it into a symbol of self-confidence.
She also said she’s drawn to the sentimental nature of jewelry and how that draws her to form meaningful relationships with her fans.
Where does she go from here — a multi-hyphenate career woman at the age of 18? Gray has a few ideas.
“I just did some voice acting recently for an animated movie,” she said. “I’m filming a show in the next coming month … and hopefully an EP at the beginning of next year.”
She added that there are a “million other things” going on in addition to the items on that impressive list. She’s always hustling, after all.
That doesn’t mean she’s not satisfied with how far she’s come, though.
“I don’t come from anything special. I don’t come from money … I never thought that I’d be able to do anything like this,” she said. “I guess I’m really proud of myself for getting this far.”
It’s possible that no one expected her to make it this far, either — and how could they? Gray is unprecedented.
If you enjoyed this story about Loren Gray, check out our coverage of fellow social media role model Sienna Mae Gomez.
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