What do Crazy Russian Hacker, Girl With No Job, and the author of Harry Potter have in common? They’re among the 50 best people on the internet right now.
We identified the top digital stars of 2015 by looking for people doing hilarious, amazing, or inspiring things that have never been done before, or doing old things in new ways that caught our attention.
The people on our list may not have the biggest follower counts (that would be the likes of Justin Bieber or Kardashian sister), but they have got lots of devoted fans, and they have built their small communities on the world wide web by being awesome at the internet.
Who could have predicted that millennials would turn out to be so obsessed with the occult?
Since Newsweek first spotted the trend, dubbing its adherents the 'Witches of Bushwick,' it's grown and grown. Etsy even had to come up with a 'spells policy' recently to regulate the selling of metaphysical wares on the platform. The trend even apparently inspired the book 'Praying for the Unsaved Millennials' to include a section on Gen Y witches.
That's where Instagram witches like Crystal Lee Lucas come in.
Lucas and a handful of other Instagrammers share a gloomy and occult-tinged world with their legions of followers. She's in it for more than the aesthetic, too, having studied occult texts and concepts since age 16.
She puts tremendous effort and forethought into every shot she posts for her 51,500 followers.
'I've stood at the edge of cliffs, handled kerosene-drenched torches, sat or knelt in the snow for an hour or two, hiked a few miles up frozen waterfalls, asked strangers to photograph in their homes or on their property, carried furniture on hikes, slept in a car for a week in Iceland so I could get photographs of specific places at specific times,' she told TI. 'If I have an idea in mind, I'll figure out a way to create it, even if it means discomfort or pain or possible injury.'
Medieval artwork with topical captions -- who knew this mix could be so hilarious?
After seeing someone funnily caption a Renaissance artwork on Twitter, Cathal Berragan went searching for his own old art to annotate. In the process, he stumbled upon what he terms 'the weird world of Medieval Marginalia,' the puzzling images drawn in the margins of manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
He collected the most absurd images -- a woman with a tree head, a man whose mouth is located... in a spot other than his face -- and started adding captions. 'It somehow blew up,' he said, and the account, launched just this year, quickly grew to 327,000 followers.
Now Berragan works for a company called The Social Chain, which manages Twitter and Facebook accounts like his own, as well as Instagram and YouTube influencers.
'Creating my Twitter page a couple years ago has led to a strong position in an exciting marketing company,' he said, 'which I'm insanely grateful for.'
Billy Eichner is most recognisable when running around Manhattan with a microphone, quizzing unsuspecting New Yorkers about pop culture for his show called 'Billy on the Street.'
The program was picked up by Fuse after producers found Eichner's YouTube channel. Then it switched over to Funny Or Die where Eichner had celebrity guest appearances from the likes of Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and First Lady Michelle Obama.
After gaining over 13 million YouTube views and 380,000 Twitter followers, Eichner became a household name in comedy when NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' brought him on as a regular character. His latest project -- Hulu's original show 'Difficult People' -- has been met with wide acclaim.
This year, 'Billy on the Street' is switching to TruTv and TBS.
Jacob Bernstein of The New York Times hilariously described Eichner as what would happen if 'Perez Hilton mated with a cactus.'
In a world where comedians are accusing The Fat Jew of stealing their jokes and everyone's copying each other on Instagram, Claudia Oshry's Instagram account -- Girl With No Job -- is a must-follow.
The 21-year-old NYU student posts funny pop culture memes and fills her blog with true stories about her own life. She has over 1.3 million people keeping up with her on Instagram, 15,000 followers on Twitter, and even partnered recently on a jewellery collection with NYC brand Ryan Porter.
She says she posts things that make her laugh, whether it's jokes of her own creation or other comics' material (she always credits them, to be fair).
Her jokes fall under the 'relatable' category for teens and young 20-somethings, often hilariously commenting on current events or topical cultural happenings.
While her internet star is getting bigger, Oshry told TI the thing she needs to work on is developing a thicker skin.
'I don't deal with criticism well,' she told TI. 'I wish I were cool enough to say that I don't read the mean comments and that they aren't hurtful, but I do and they are. Someone once told me that I sit at home all day and smell my dog's genitalia. I don't even have a dog so that really hurt my feelings.'
While you might remember her first hit video, 'How to trick people into thinking you're good looking,' YouTuber Jenna Mourey -- who goes by Jenna Marbles -- has come a long way since she posted that low-quality makeup tutorial spoof in 2010.
With over 1 billion views and 15 million followers, Mourey is the top female content creator on YouTube, ringing in just behind Taylor Swift's VEVO channel. Along with her sidekick dogs, Mr. Marble and Kermit, Mourey has maintained her position atop YouTube's leader board for years.
All this popularity translates to financial success too. Mourey is worth a reported $US2.5 million.
On top of making YouTube laugh-out-loud with videos like 'How to Avoid Talking to People You Don't Want to Talk To,' Mourey also hosts a radio show on Sirius XM and this year was signed with CAA, a talent agency whose clientele also include actress Meryl Streep and Instagram personality The Fat Jewish.
She's still making videos. Her recent video about the good stuff of adulthood has over 1.9 million views on it.
'She may be unique, but she is no viral-video fluke,' the New York Times wrote in a profile of Mourey. 'To a younger generation who spends more time on YouTube than TV, Jenna Marbles already embodies the future of celebrity.'
Though Chrissy Teigen has been dominating the modeling industry since 2004, it's her presence on Twitter and Instagram that has fully catapulted her into stardom.
The Sports Illustrated cover girl knows it's important to laugh at yourself — when she cried as husband Jon Legend accepted his Golden Globe award, she was one of the first to point out how silly she looked.
On her Instagram, she eats pie, takes videos of her two dogs, and posts delicious looking meals from her upcoming cookbook.
She's also not afraid to get controversial. Recently, she posted a naked picture of herself with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple. Later, she posted a selfie with Kim Kardashian at a Waffle House.
When you're following Teigen, you never know what you're going to get — but the internet just can't get enough.
Even fitness instructors like Cassey Ho have insecurities when it comes to their bodies.
In April, Ho uploaded 'The 'Perfect' Body' video on YouTube, sharing it with her 2,539,033 followers. In the video, she Photoshopped her body to look 'perfect' based on negative comments she had received from viewers about her physique.
'It's just wrong to criticise anyone, so I decided to do something about it. I wanted to express how I felt visually,' Ho told Tech Insider. 'I didn't just do this for myself, I did it for anyone affected by bullying.'
Thanks to its powerful message, the video quickly went viral.
When she's not tackling cyber-bullying, Ho's popular YouTube channel, 'Blogilates' is devoted to 'intense and upbeat POP Pilates workouts every week that will help sculpt your entire body.'
She's also the founder of O Gorgeous, an online store where her fans, or 'POPsters,' can buy workout gear designed by Ho.
Known on Youtube as Crazy Russian Hacker, Taras Kulakov has videos dedicated to everything from survival tips for the zombie apocalypse to the right way to eat chicken wings.
His videos have been viewed over 835 million times and he has 5.4 million subscribers and counting. But for a man with such a huge following, very little is known about Kulakov.
The 6-foot-7 Russian started making videos back in 2012. His good-natured personality, thick accent, and cool experiments became so popular that by 2013 he was able to quit his job at Wal-Mart and make YouTube videos full time.
Kulakov's recent video, 'Soda Can Life Hacks,' reveals how to turn a can into a popcorn maker, oil lamp, lock pick, and more. It hit 500,000 views ... in less than 24 hours.
While some kids struggle to pick out a matching outfit, four-year-old Sydney Keiser, better known by her nickname 'Mayhem,' has already designed a clothing collection for J. Crew, released earlier this summer.
'Mayhem and her new crew (J. Crew executives Jenna Lyons and Jenny Cooper) all sat down on the floor and played. And made stuff. Out of paper and tape and beads and glue and crayons, ' Mayhem's mom, Angie, wrote about the collection. 'They sprinkled their magic J.Crew fairy dust on it and turned paper into fabric.'
Mayhem, with a little help from Angie, took the fashion world by storm in 2014 after Angie started posting pictures on Instagram of her daughter dressed in intricate dresses made of paper. Now Mayhem has nearly 500,000 followers.
Mayhem's looks often draw inspiration from real life celebrity red-carpet looks, like Emma Stone at the 2015 Oscar Awards or Helen Mirren at the 2015 Golden Globes.
'The ideas are pretty much a 50/50 split, but Mayhem constructs a lot more than most people would probably believe,' Angie told the Huffington Post. 'That's one of the best things about this project, I see her learning new skills every single day.'
Mayhem and her paper styles were even featured on Vogue's Instagram account. You can also keep up with the four-year-old fashion phenom on her mom's blog, 'Fashion By Mayhem.'
Four years ago an Instagram account that showed a woman leading her photographer boyfriend by hand around the world went viral. Thanks to a proposal and gorgeous wedding in Moscow, Murad and Natalia Osmann are still the internet's favourite photogenic couple.
They have come a long way since they first started posting their #FollowMeTo series, and now have a crew of people helping them capture some of these moments. Osmann insists the extra help doesn't take away from the shots but enhances them.
'It doesn't affect the authenticity and intimacy (of the pictures),' he told Tech Insider. 'It helps us to do things more professionally, travel more and share more locations, experiences, and emotions!'
Paul Nicklen is an acclaimed Canadian photographer who grew up in the arctic north and lived with an Inuit tribe. After completing a degree in marine biology and studying wildlife in the early 90s, Nicklen switched gears and took up photography.
Nicklen's photography is a core expression of his desire to educate the public about 'impacts of their day-to-day behaviour.' By capturing images of remote and endangered areas, Nicklen aims to shed light on global warming issues.
His Instagram account gives background on specific shots, with insights on how to get the perfect picture. When explaining how he approaches bears, Nicklen's recent caption stated 'I want to be ghost or a fly on the wall and not interfere with wildlife while they do wild and natural things.'
When Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla -- the comedic duo better known as Smosh -- started posting lip-sync videos online in 2005, they had no they were launching a career that would continue to grow for the next decade.
'We had no one to hang out with and we just decided to joke around in my room and record ourselves on the webcam,' Padilla told Tech Insider of their modest beginnings. Now they have plenty of people to hang out with on the internet -- about 20 million people follow the best friends.
As for the name 'Smosh,' the guy's website describes the made-up term as 'the act of making, viewing, and/or congregating around content with like-minded individuals.'
Today, the pair isn't just popular on their main YouTube channel but also has millions of followers on their second channel, a channel devoted entirely to gaming, and channels for their Spanish and French fans.
Their feature film, 'Smosh: The Movie,' rolled out at VidCon this summer, and also starred some of YouTube's top talent, including Jenna Marbles and Grace Helbig.
But when she first started blogging back in 2009, Schuman had no idea that Cupcakes and Cashmere would turn into her career.
'It was more of an outlet for creativity,' she told Tech Insider of her early posts. 'The major change came when ... the revenue from my ad placements began to surpass my salary.'
Her stylish-yet-attainable look and likable voice have led to two book deals and countless brand partnerships, including Birchbox, Club Manoco, an upcoming collection with Shutterfly, and more. When her Cupcakes and Cashmere collection launched this year on ShopBop and Nordstrom, Schuman was celebrated for her stylish pieces -- and when some women were upset that her line didn't include plus sizes, Schuman listened.
'We're really happy with the launch of the clothing line and it's been selling exceptionally well,' she told TI. 'We did hear from some readers who wanted more sizing options and it's something we plan on implementing with the spring/summer 2016 collection.'
'I love how pop culture shapes a generation,' Franta told MTV about his channel. 'The trends, fashion and events all play a key part in how we live our present lives, and will mark how we will be remembered in the future.'
The YouTube star is well known for his vlogging antics discussing everything from pop music to shaving off one eyebrow, but it was his emotional coming out video this December that really put him on the map and helped him reach nearly five million followers.
The 22-year-old's work isn't exclusive to the video platform either.
His memoir, 'A Work in Progress,' was released in April and made Franta a New York Times best-selling author. This year, Franta co-founded his own music label, Heard Well, and also released his third curated album, which featured up-and-coming artists selected by Franta, and even made it to the Billboard charts.
'I would love to continue working behind the scenes in music -- to produce and manage up-and-coming musical talent would be a dream,' Franta told People of his plans for the future.
When Barack Obama was first elected to office in 2008, comedians around the country were nervous -- it had been so easy to make fun of George W. Bush! What would they do now that someone so cool, unflappable, and unable to be parodied was taking office?
But a few years later, Iman Crosson showed that the best Obama impersonation was found not on Saturday Night Live but on a new app called Vine. Now he has 3.2 million followers who hope his impressions outlive Obama's near 8-year-run in the White House.
His Vines of a spot-on Barack Obama impression put him on the map early on (the first lady even responded to that Vine we embedded above!), and he continues accumulating fans with Drake lyric parodies and jokes about dating. He even claims to be 'the first person in history to hit that Nae Nae in the White House,' according to this Vine.
He starred in an independent feature-length film, 'Along the Roadside,' in May. Now, he's looking to get more work as an actor.
Australian comedy trio Lana Kington, Shae-Lee Shackleford, and Madison Lloyd stumbled on a perfect recipe for going viral: lip-synching in a car.
The three women make up SketchShe, a comedy troupe whose two most famous videos, 'Bohemian Carsody' and 'Mime Through Time,' show them goofily singing along to familiar songs. The videos boast 25 million and 30 million views, respectively.
Actually, they have been seen hundreds of millions times more than that thanks to radio stations and other users jacking their videos and uploading them to Facebook without crediting SketchShe.
'We learned very quickly that it was crucial to add a watermark to your video and also an end card that directs viewers back to your social channels,' Kington told TI. 'You live and you learn.'
Still, they have been so successful on YouTube with their sketches about Disney princesses and girls-only fight clubs, that the women have all quit their day jobs in other aspects of show business like production and TV presenting to work on SketchShe full time.
They're also in talks for a musical TV show -- 'kind of like 'Flight of the Conchords' but with popular songs,' Kington said. 'Expect a heavy '80s influence.'
With close to 450,000 followers, 23-year-old Caroline Calloway is living the dream.
After posting Instagram updates about her life in the form of a fairy tale, she landed a book deal to continue to the story, teaming up with literary agent Byrd Leavell to publish a memoir in 2016. The title? 'And we were like.'
Her Instagram process is wonderfully elaborate: 'First I edit the photo, then I write about what happened, usually rifling through old journals and diaries to dig up any details I might have missed,' Calloway told Tech Insider.
'Next I email what I've written to myself and copy and paste the whole thing into Instagram ... Right now I will spend anywhere from a day to a week working on a single Instagram caption.'
'It sounds almost cheesy to say, but I think of my followers as my friends,' Calloway said. 'The secrets and stories I tell my followers are the same as what I tell my friends over coffee between lectures.'
32. Aliza Licht revolutionised the way the biggest names in fashion connect with the people wearing their clothes.
Tweeting for a brand is notoriously fraught territory -- people love to hate on brands when the people behind them make social media missteps.
Many brands have responded to this by making their tweets as impersonal as possible. But Aliza Licht, DKNY's SVP of global communications, proved from day one that if you have the right sensibility, you can make your brand's social accounts incredibly personal without offended or annoying the public.
Licht is basically the fairy godmother of Brand Twitter.
With her 'DKNY PR Girl' persona, she was one of the first social media managers back in 2009. Tweeting from @DKNY about fashion, 'Gossip Girl,' and living in New York, she grew her brand's following and even set off a string of 'PR Girl' copycats for other designers on the platform.
Now, she's left the DKNY account behind as the company rebrands. She's focusing on her own projects, tweeting from her own account, and released a book this year: 'Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill It In Your Career, Rock Social Media.'
Licht proves that social media is vital and important to companies. When it comes to return on investment, she says social media is much more economical than a billboard in Times Square -- plus, it lets you or your company control the message.
'The conversation is happening regardless of your brand's intention,' she told us. 'Do you want to respond to the people speaking about your brand or do you want your competitors to speak for you? There's only one right answer.''
31. Kate Siegel takes having a close relationship with your mother to a whole new level on Instagram.
After checking out Kate Siegel's Instagram account (Instagram) @CrazyJewishMom, you may never feel embarrassed by your own mother again.
Last September, after Siegel showed her friends some of the ridiculous text messages her 'neurotic mother' had sent, she was inspired to start posting screenshots of the conversations on her Instagram account.
From nagging text messages about the fact that (Instagram) Siegel's boyfriend has yet to propose to (Instagram) recommending her daughter do some kegels, Siegel insists that all of the content on @CrazyJewishMom is real.
'She's a wild lady, so the situations she gets herself, and me, into are pretty hilarious,' Siegel told TI. 'The other day she broke up the relationship of two complete strangers after she overheard them talking about their relationship at a restaurant.'
You can follow along too -- Siegel's @CrazyJewishMom account that has grown to include over 700,000 followers.
A book and television show is in the works -- think 'Everybody Loves Raymond' meets 'Gilmore Girls.'
Rihanna might be an unapproachable, über-cool 'bad gal' on Instagram, but on Snapchat, she's just like any other 20-something.
And that's thanks to Melissa Forde, her best friend and the assistant who holds the camera and Snaps away while Rihanna goes about her daily life.
Forde displays the singer's kookier side on Snapchat, narrating all the while: Watch Rihanna trying to kill a bug, Rihanna going to her friend's wedding, Rihanna coming home from the club with a brand new puppy at 4 a.m.
All throughout, you'll hear Forde laughing at her friend while calling her 'Rob' -- short for Robyn, Rihanna's real name. It's a master class in how to appear more relatable to your fans: Let them see you through your best friend's eyes.
29. Riley Curry is the internet's favourite 2-year-old thanks to a cameo at an otherwise boring press conference.
Riley Curry went from a toddling two-year-old to viral icon in May as her dad, the Oakland Warriors' Stephen Curry, led his team to the NBA championship.
It started when Curry took the stage for a post-game press conference and brought Riley onstage with him. The precocious toddler admonished him to 'be quiet' and bounced around the stage while he talked. The footage went viral.
Riley became a favourite fixture at her dad's press conferences when she showed up at another one.
Those two videos combined now have more than 7 million views on ESPN's YouTube account, as well as countless others on accounts that have ripped the footage.
Then, Riley pulled a hat trick, going viral a third time earlier this summer when her mum posted a video of her dancing the Nae Nae on Instagram.
There's got to be a Disney contract in this celebrity spawn's future.
In the age of viral videos, internet fame can be fleeting, but YouTuber Ryan Higa seems to have found the secret to success.
The 24-year-old Hawaiian, who started posting YouTube videos in 2006, calls his fame 'accidental,' the Wall Street Journal reports. His YouTube channel, 'NigaHiga,' is a combination of hist last name, Higa, and the Japanese word for rant, 'niga.'
Even with his most popular rant-style videos like 'How to be Gangster' and 'How to be a Ninja,' racking up over 40 millions views each, Higa has always stayed loyal to his viewers interests. He often uses YouTube comments as inspiration for his video content, like this upload where Higa impersonates emoji at the request of a fan.
In April, Higa launched his own app, TeeHee, which lets his fans access new video content and chat directly with the Higa. His fan-focused strategy seems to be paying off, Higa's net worth is a reported $US2 million, according to Business Insider.
'OfficialSeanPenn is like if US Weekly and Lisa Frank got together and had a stoned, horny baby, ' Caroline Goldfarb, the mastermind behind Instagram account @OfficialSeanPenn, told Tech Insider.
Goldfarb combines photos of celebrities and a healthy number of marijuana references to create popular Instagram collages and GIFs for her 190,000 fans.
She started posting on the platform in 2012. By 2014, Goldfarb says she knew she was onto something big when her follower count jumped from 1,000 to 100,000.
'Don't be afraid to completely abandon your core values in the quest for fleeting internet fame,' Goldfarb said of her rise to Instagram fame.
Today, she's turned @OfficialSeanPenn into her own business, selling stickers, buttons, and even customised cakes with her signature stoner collages.
And in a time where ownership of online content is constantly being questioned, Goldfarb isn't afraid to stand up for her work.
'If you post one of my GIFs or collages without crediting me, I'll hunt you down and kill you,' she said. 'I consider myself an artist.'
24. Tess Holliday doesn't care what you think of her body, and she inspires other women to feel the same.
Ryann Hoven -- who goes by Tess Holliday -- is one of the most famous models in the world despite measuing an atypical 5-foot-4 and 280 pounds, and it all started on Facebook.
'I had no idea what I was doing -- I was just sharing my life,' she told Tech Insider. 'It was around 100k followers when I realised it wasn't slowing down anytime soon.'
Holliday has been in campaigns for Benefit Cosmetics and H&M and nabbed the cover of People magazine. She now has over 970,000 followers on Instagram and 1.1 million likes on Facebook. She speaks out about race and body image issues and coined the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards.
Holliday's career hasn't been without controversy. In a Guardian Weekend interview, she said 'black men love me,' which caused a stir online. Holliday posted on her Facebook apologizing for her flippant comment. And though some critics accuse her of promoting an unhealthy body image, Holliday ignores them.
'I honestly feel bad for people that are so unhappy they feel the need to put other people down,' she said. 'You can't reason with or even try to understand people like that.'
Jake's artistic partner, Vince McKelvie, created a website called
emoji.ink, enabling anyone to draw pictures using Emoji. In March of this year, Jake directed a Pepsi commercial featuring his original Emoji renderings of Usher and Serena Williams.
His latest experiment with music and social media is 'Both' -- a music video you have to watch on two separate phones, while viewing two different Snapchat accounts' video stories, and an emoji.ink app that will allow emoji lovers to create art from their smartphones.
When asked if he was an early adopter of the emoji keyboard, Jake told Tech Insider: 'Warhol wasn't the first to eat Campbell's soup, he just noticed its cultural significance.'
Marques Brownlee can't tell you exactly when he became a household name in the world of YouTube tech review videos. He just knows that it happened.
'It's hard to pinpoint a 'moment' that validated years of work,' Brownlee told TI. 'Instead, imagine a colour gradient from yellow to blue. Yellow on the left, faded to blue on the right. Where's the first blue pixel?'
Since joining YouTube in 2008, the 21-year-old, known online as 'MKBHD,' says he has become a go-to source for 'opinions and crispy video on smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, cars, and games.' H
is recent review of the new iPhone 6S is already approaching 3.5 million views, just a few days after the Apple Live event.
'Anything with an on button is game,' Brownlee told Tech Insider of how he chooses what to discuss on his channel. His 2.7 million followers agree.
After graduating from college earlier this year, Brownlee told Tech Insider he's now a full-time YouTuber.
Long known as 'The King of Instagram,' Dan Bilzerian is constantly surrounded by gorgeous women, huge guns, insane cars, and he rarely works except to play poker. He posts photos of his exploits to his Instagram, where he has 12.2 followers. And recently, he went on a national 'campaign tour,' complete with fake Bilzerian-for-Prez posters.
But wherever Bilzerian goes (Vegas, the desert to shoot guns, and his pool, mostly), controversy seems to follow.
He was sued in 2014 for throwing a woman off his roof during a photo shoot and for allegedly kicking another woman in a night club, TMZ reports. He got in trouble for using explosives in an unauthorised way once and had to make a PSA to atone for it. Recently, he's made the news amid allegations that his family money isn't exactly legit.
There's only one Dan Bilzerian, though -- for better or for worse.
Five years ago, Brandon Stanton set out to capture portraits of New Yorkers for a new Tumblr blog called 'Humans of New York,' creating small but intimate views into the lives of strangers he would meet on the street.
'Humans of New York' (often abbreviated to HONY) is now also a Facebook page with over 15 million likes, as well as a New York Times bestselling book. And while it's not a political project whatsoever, President Obama and Hillary Clinton are fans.
How does Stanton get his subjects to open up to him? He simply asks them questions about their lives, or even their days, sometimes interviewing each person for up to an hour.
'Occasionally the quote that I use will be the first words out of a subject's mouth,' Stanton tells us about his process to tell his subjects' stories. 'But more often than not the caption results from a rather lengthy interview process.'
But the impact of Stanton's cultural project goes far beyond satirical copycats -- and beyond New York. Stanton now travels the world to tell stories of humans everywhere; not just Manhattan.
And as HONY's global reach increases, so does the impact of his portraits.
One of his recent posts from Pakistan spurred a donation campaign to end forced labour -- more than $US2.1 million was raised in just two days.
Among the top ten Vine stars in the world, 19-year-old Lele Pons is one of only two women.
'Women have to work twice as much to get where men are,' Pons told TI. 'The higher I get, the stronger I feel about the need to stand up for those who can't. I feel the need to open doors for women and give access to those who are struggling.'
Three years ago, Pons started posting six-second clips on Vine featuring quirky antics that had previously made her a target for bullying in school. Today, Pons has channeled that nerdiness into mega-stardom.
Pons was the first Viner to top a billion loops on a single Vine and she regularly posts Vines featuring other top Vine talent, like Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier.
Pons thinks of her Vines as a 'journal' of 'her daily experiences as a teenager,' she told us. Just like the journals we kept when we were teenagers ... except 9 million loyal fans are following hers.
Love him, hate him, or love to hate him, there is no denying Josh Ostrovsky -- you know him as the 'Fat Jew' -- is having his year.
The 30-year-old social media star, best known for this video where he leads a satirical Soul Cycle class for homeless people, made headlines earlier this year after accusations began flying that he stole many of his Instagram memes and jokes from other people.
Despite the backlash, Ostrovsky maintains that he never actually stole his jokes...if you're looking to get technical. He just forgot to credit the creators!
'I didn't realise that if you don't have a source for something, then you couldn't necessarily post it,' Ostrovsky told Vulture. 'I don't think that was always clear.'
But amidst the controversy, Ostrovsky's career only continues to grow, including a line of wine, 'White Girl Rosé,' and signing with Hollywood talent agency CAA. He even had his own runway show in this season's fashion week, though running in tandem with how he operates his Instagram account it appeared he didn't actually make any of the clothes himself.
His book, 'Money Respect Pizza,' will be available in November. Until then, Ostrovsky has plenty of Instagram content to keep his millions of followers busy. It just might not be his.
Cyrene Quiamco is living the dream -- she's getting paid to Snapchat, something we all do for free!
The 26-year-old uses a stylus to sketch imaginative portraits. From selfies with Ellen Degeneres to gorgeous Disney Princesses, the power of her Snapt art has even been noted by the company itself, who contacted her to act as their guest artist and sent her to Disneyworld.
Now, her brand has reached such monumental heights that she is making upwards to $US10,000 for a single snap.
This year she launched an online community network called rhe '11th Second.' There, fellow Snapchatters get to showcase their art. It's gotten so popular that even celebrity Snappers like the Jonas brothers are getting in on Quiamco's project.
Quiacmo's efforts have helped make the app a viable digital medium to showcase art. Her vision is allowing Snapchat to evolve from disposable content to permanent ... and timeless.
Logan Paul started out by creating funny Vines on his college campus, but now the 20-year-old teen heartthrob is taking Los Angeles -- and the internet -- by storm.
He's one of the most famous Vine stars in the world with over 8 million followers on his account and a staggering 3.4 billion loops on his videos. He dropped out of college to become 'the biggest entertainer in the world,' he told us back in July, and he makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year doing sponsored content for brands and products.
Looks like he's well on his way.
In August, Paul brought his comedy to New York City in a viral Vine of him doing the splits all over Manhattan that millions watched. Earlier this year he appeared in the Gamergate episode of 'Law and Order' and has plans to begin production on a full-length film.
In July, Paul spoke with Forbes alongside David Dinetz to discuss a movie script the two had completed, along with Paul's younger brother Jake. As Dinetz described it, the movie will be 'an ensemble cast of social media stars' in the vein of 'an updated, modern, millennial 'Aeroplane.''
'It's going to rock Hollywood,' Paul said.
Author and transgender activist Janet Mock isn't afraid to get to personal online.
'As a millennial who grew up on the Internet, I don't know any other way to be,' Mock told TI. 'I share parts of my personal life in an effort to live visibly and authentically.'
In 2012, Mock started the first social media hashtag campaign focused on the experiences on trans women. Called #GirlsLikeUs, Mock says her campaign helped create a space where the transgender community could come together to share experiences and raise awareness.
'If our phones and tablets are extensions of our bodies and ourselves, then the hashtags and social media campaigns we create are our voices,' she said.
Since then, she's been recognised by TIME as one of the 30 most influential people on the Internet. This year, in addition to being a New York Times bestselling author for her memoir 'Redefining Realness,' Mock added television show host to her resume. You can catch her show, 'So POPular!' on MSNBC.
Her surreal comedic voice comes from consistently channeling a persona 'devoid of sex or gender,' Amram said. Now, she deems her craft as 'overtly feminist' and she mainly touches upon 'issues of sexism and stereotypes about women.'
In the last few years, Megan's career has transcended Twitter's character limit.
She was poached by 'Parks and Recreation' showrunner and creator Mike Schur to write for the cult comedy, she's written a faux textbook, 'Science...For Her!' which accurately satirizes women's lifestyle magazines, and now she writes, produces, and hosts the web series 'Experimenting with Megan Amram' via Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. Oh, and she's also writing for this season of 'Silicon Valley.'
Somehow, Amram isn't too busy to tweet ... or write for herself. Some of her most poignant work resides on her Tumblr with standout personal essays about the anniversary of 9/11 and an homage to her mother.
'The essays have come very organically from my strongest feelings,' Amram said. 'So many longform things feel redundant to me, so I'm trying to only write something when I think my perspective is unique enough to merit a new essay.'
Amram has her heart set on more creative opportunities including writing her own scripts for potential projects between gigs.
'Hopefully (those will) turn into something someday,' Amram said. 'Or not! I'm fine to keep writing tweets about butts.'
YouTuber Lilly Singh is known around the world for her signature snap-back hats, love of unicorns, and endearing sense of humour.
With more than six million subscribers, she's come a long way since her first YouTube video, a spoken word poetry recitation, which only garnered 70 views back in 2010.
Today, she's better known as 'Superwoman,' her plucky online alter-ego.
'Superwoman is very fearless. You'll never see her nervous. You'll never see her sad,' Singh told Flare of her digital persona. 'But Lilly is a human. She is the person behind Superwoman, who gets sad and tired sometimes.'
As a South Asian woman, Singh regularly incorporates racial discussions and her Indian heritage into her channel, though, it's not without humour. She often posts videos pretending to be her Mum and Dad, complete with thick accents and even a beard.
'Everyone's voice should be heard when it comes to racial barriers,' she told Flare. 'I started YouTube because I didn't see anyone else like me doing it.
Felix 'PewDiePie' Kjellberg's success flies in the face of any parent who ever told their kid video games were a waste of time.
Since dropping out of college and joining YouTube in 2010, the 25-year-old Swede has built an online empire of over 35 million fans, whom he calls 'bros,' for his gaming videos featuring Kjellberg's comedic and sometimes crass narration.
He is currently the only YouTuber to top 10 billion views on the platform.
Earlier this year, Kjellberg made headlines after it was reported that he earned over $US7.4 million from YouTube in 2014. After reading social media comments that his work didn't warrant such a massive paycheck, Kjellberg took to YouTube to defend himself.
'If you think someone else is funnier, go refresh their videos, that's how we get paid,' the YouTuber said in his response video.
So what's next for YouTube's top bro? Kjellberg's book, 'This Book Loves You,' will be available in October, and as you read this, he's head down, working on a super 'top secret' video project in Los Angeles.
She may have starred as Rue in the 'Hunger Games' in 2012, but Amandla Stenberg is taking over the internet -- and world -- this year. She's has been both writing and speaking about cultural appropriation, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and even getting young women excited about STEM fields.
Did we mention she's 16?
Whether its on Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr, Stenberg is not only helping her generation understand how to talk and think about complicated subjects, she's also making it cool to think critically about the world we live in.
'I think it's a really critical time right now, especially for millennials, because we're facing sexism and we're facing racism and police brutality,' she told Huffington Post. 'I feel like we're the generation that's really going to make a change.'
Beauty vlogger Ingrid Nilsen stunned the online world when she came out to her 3.8 million fans in a YouTube video earlier this year.
'I want to live my life un-apologetically because I am proud of who I am,' Nilsen said in her emotional 19-minute video. '
I'm not going to apologise for who I am anymore.'
The video has since racked up over 12 million views and has become Nilsen's most watched video.
But Nilsen is no stranger to viral fame. Since joining in 2009, her makeup tutorials and lifestyle videos have racked up millions of views. She was also featured at this year's VidCon, where she spoke about what it's like to live your life online and gave tips to YouTube hopefuls, MTV reports.
'It's about having patience and kind of going into it with no expectations,' Nilsen advised. 'It's great to have goals, but it's also great to just walk in with pure intentions.'
Brendan Jordan shot to fame when a video of him performing Lady Gaga choreography in the background of a news broadcast set in a mall went viral.
A few short years later, the uninhibited teen parlayed that quick 15 minutes into a full-fledged YouTube career. He's documented his coming-out story, his eyebrow makeup tactics, and his relationship with Miley Cyrus's Happy Hippie Foundation. He was also an early adopter to this spring's insane #KylieJennerChallenge, when teens all over social media suctioned their lips with shot glasses to mimic Jenner's full pout.
Brendan has also become a refreshing addition to the world of YouTube celebrity. A recent video uploaded to his channel shows him dishing about his experience at the VMAs, interspersed with a frank talk about gender-separated bathrooms. Brendan identifies as both male and female (though tells us he prefers 'he/his' pronouns), and he is often credited for giving a voice to underrepresented teens on massive social platforms.
American Apparel recruited him to model for its November print ad because it liked 'the way he uses his platform to raise awareness for the LGBTQ community.'
And this is only the beginning for the 15-year-old.
'I ... cannot wait to share more new and exciting things with everyone and for everyone,' he told Tech Insider.
Sanam's selfies caught the attention of pop icon Rihanna this summer and turned the 25-year-old into a social media star with 82,000 Instagram followers.
In an interview with Vice, Sanam revealed that Rihanna messaged her on the photo app, asking if she wanted to help with a 'special project.' Just days later, Sanam was on set for the 'Bitch Better Have My Money' music video.
Her story ricocheted around the internet, inspiring people to turn up their own selfie game in hopes of getting a friend out of Kim Kardashian or Taylor Swift. And her fame wasn't just a one-day thing either -- Sanam recently met up with Rihanna for
a selfie-filled reunion in NYC.
Sanam is now having her year.
She's become a contributor for Refinery29, where she writes about self love and beauty products. But more than that, she tells us it's a great platform for her to speak to 'so many talented young women of colour who they don't the opportunities other people would get ... (to) help women I know who deserve the same amount of attention I'm getting.'
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