For Variety’s Power of Young Hollywood issue, we interviewed TikTok stars about their lives in quarantine.
Noah Schnapp goes to a regular school with normal people and cringes when his parents watch him on TikTok. He just got a Husky and regularly makes videos with his sister, Chloe. He also just so happens to star on one of the biggest streaming success stories (having already broken into the entertainment industry as an actor on “Stranger Things”). He spoke to Variety about his life on and off social media.
When did you get on TikTok?
All my friends had it before me and they were always using it and I always thought it was weird. I was like, “I’ll never get on TikTok. I’ll never be on there.” And then last year, everyone started to join and it started to get really big. And I was like, “O.K., I’ll give in.” The second I downloaded it, I got super addicted and was on it 24/7. It took up my whole screen time.
How does the cast of “Stranger Things” feel about your TikTok account?
They appreciate my TikToks but it’s not for them. I always text Finn [Wolfhard] and say, “Do a TikTok dance with me. People would love to see that.” But I got Millie [Bobby Brown] on there and it really took off. I’m getting them one by one.
Some of your TikTok fans don’t even realize you’re on a hit show!
I find that so funny. Some people come up to me in public and they’re like, “Oh my God, are you Noah from TikTok?” It’s so weird to get recognized for that. I think it’s the really young fans who have never even heard of “Stranger Things.” Sometimes I’ll see a group of little kids on the street and they’ll be like, “Noah! Renegade for us!”
You have over 11 million followers on TikTok. How did that happen?
When I first got it I told all my Instagram followers to follow me and I got a few million followers. And then, I don’t really know. I started to make a bunch of TikToks and get really active on there and really just enjoy myself. And then I made this dance. I don’t even know why. It was just some random thing. I wanted to say that I made a dance because I feel like everyone does that on there. Then all the creators started doing it and tagging me, and I got a lot of followers from them.
What does your for you page look like? Are you on alt TikTok?
I’d say I’m on alt TikTok. There are so many little inside jokes and different sides of TikTok.
Are you invested in Tati and Devin (two TikTok stars who accidentally became Rom-Com sensations)?
Yeah! You know about that?
Of course! What is your parents’ understanding of TikTok? Could you explain Tati and Devin to them?
They would never understand. They got TikTok, which I was so annoyed about, so they can watch me and my sister. It’s just so embarrassing. I don’t want my parents watching me. I tried to make them delete it, but they refused. So now they have it and they watch everything I do on there, which is great.
How do you use your platform?
I mean on TikTok it’s crazy because when you post things, it doesn’t just go to your followers. They also blast it onto everyone’s for you page and everyone sees that. So it’s really weird to think that I can post and it can reach so many people. I love using TikTok for comic relief. I use all the apps in different ways.
You also have a YouTube page. How is that different than TikTok?
YouTube is more of an organized TikTok. It’s a longer, more organized place where people still get the inside scoop on my life. It’s really casual and they get to follow me around and see what I’m doing, but it’s not like TikTok where it’s just random stuff. Then Instagram is more professional and serious for promoting stuff and speaking on important issues. I use it more professionally.
Have you always been an Internet kid?
Oh, of course. I love being online because I feel like you can just be yourself and it’s so easy to open up. I just love social media because it’s just on a screen with all these people. You don’t see anyone so it’s easy to open up and have fun and not worry about what other people think. TikTok especially is just so casual and very nonjudgmental. It’s one big inside joke and everyone understands it. It’s crazy to see how everyone can collectively come together and agree and decide on doing things.
What prompted you to start a YouTube channel?
I made my own channel and I just decided to do it myself and make all these videos. I wasn’t really planning or organizing anything. It was just like, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to make a YouTube channel. Now’s the time to do it.” Maybe four years ago, I made my first video and then it kind flopped. I used a song that got copyrighted and then it got deleted. That was kind of a fail. Then maybe two years ago I decided I’m going to do it again and do it for real and actually organize myself and make sure everything’s put together well. I got a team to help me and then I just decided to start going and I filmed a bunch of videos to get stuff out there and start, and then it just went from there.
What are you bingeing while in quarantine?
I started “Outer Banks,” because there’s so much hype around it. I saw one episode and I didn’t really continue, but I got to keep going at it. Two of the actors on there were also in “Stranger Things,” and all my friends always ask, ‘Oh my God, you know Madelyn Cline. She was in ‘Stranger Things’ too.’ And so I was like, okay, I got to watch it. I started and I haven’t finished it, but I’ll get down to that.
What would you do if Donald Trump bans TikTok?
I don’t know. I’ve kind of just been reading up on that and my dad told me about what was going on with that, but I don’t even really know what’s going on there. But if, if I lost TikTok I know that I would be very upset. All my friends were texting me like, “Oh my God, what’s going on? I’m going to cry. Is this really happening?”
Have you ever deleted apps from your phone? How do you detox?
Yeah, I did a few months ago for New Year’s. I was like, “O.K., for my New Year’s resolution, I’m going to get off TIkTok. It’s just taking so much of my time.” But when you delete the app, you lose all your drafts, and I didn’t realize that. After two weeks I re-downloaded it and instead of deleting it and getting off of it, I just learned to manage my time on there.
Who is your dream TikTok duet? You’ve already met Charli.
Probably Addison [Rae]. I love her so much. I’ve talked to her a few times and she’s the nicest person ever.