Charli D’Amelio on being the ‘smiley girl’ on the internet: ‘Not every day is going to be the best day ever’

·5-min read
Charli D'Amelio opens up about avoiding social media pressure. (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Charli D'Amelio opens up about avoiding social media pressure. (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

At just 17 years old, Charli D'Amelio has accomplished more than most adults after becoming the most followed person on TikTok, with 118.2 million followers and scoring a number of business deals as a result. But even while having all eyes on her nearly every day, the youngest of the D'Amelio family of four — all of whom have bustling social media accounts — says she's managing to not fall victim to the external pressures on her, thanks to the help of those closest to her.

"I think that comes a lot to the fact that I obviously have amazing parents that keep me very grounded and don't put me out too much to where I feel like I have to live up to Hollywood standards," she tells Yahoo Life. "I'm still learning new things every day and I feel like that's what's so exciting about being a teenager."

Just nearly two years into being in the spotlight, Charli has already been subjected to criticism from people across the internet — nearly being "canceled" for appearing "immature" in a YouTube video — and has even opened up about serious topics, including mental health and her struggle with an eating disorder. As for her partnership with Invisalign, a company that creates clear alternatives to metal braces, she explains that it was important that she made the decision to improve her teeth on her own, without taking unsolicited opinions into account.

"When I started this, I already did want to get my teeth a little bit straighter and more to my liking than what they were before," she says, referring to herself precelebrity. "When I got my braces off, I wasn't happy with my teeth, but they said they were ready to come off so I believed the doctors. Now I get to wake up every morning and be actually confident in my smile."

People know you as a relatively happy, bubbly teenager, but you haven't shied away from sharing vulnerable moments on the internet. Why is it important for you to show both sides?

I feel like it really comes with age. Everyone knows teenage years are not the easiest. You're learning who you are and there's obviously going to be ups and downs and not every day is going to be the best day ever. The people that are watching me, I try to let them know that not every day is going to be the best day for me, but the days that you see me smiling and laughing and with my friends and having the time of my life and taking pictures I feel confident in, they know that that's real. And I feel like that's so important because if I don't feel like posting or I'm not having a good day, I really don't feel like I have to. I need to let myself feel instead of trapping myself in this bubble of like being that smiley girl all the time. But at the end of the day, I know that I can sit back in my room with a smile on my face because I'm happy.

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What keeps you feeling happy despite so much pressure from social media?

I feel like the best part of how my family's doing all of this is that we're all doing it together. I don't have to feel like the pressure is a 100 percent on me and they don't know how it feels, so I can't talk to them about it. We go through it together because at the end of the day, they were there for me before I had any followers on social media and they're going to be there for me when this chapter of my life is over. 

At the end of the day, if you feel like no one cares, I know I have the three of them by my side.

How will your personality and your personal mental health struggles be showcased on your family's upcoming Hulu series The D'Amelio Show?

You get to see a lot of different sides of all of us. I think there's a lot of dynamics that don't come across on 15-second videos. In this longer form, I feel like everyone can really see what life is like when there isn't a TikTok being made. You actually get to see the ups and the downs and how we really work through things as a family. 

It's like first and foremost, our family is so important and how we lift each other up and how we help each other through the hard times, because social media or not, life is tough sometimes. And we really have to work hard to stay together and stay positive and just get through it all the best we can without any guidance, you know, there's no rule book.

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How do you unwind?

At the end of my day, I usually take a shower, wash my hair, lay in bed and watch TV for hours. Really. That's what I do. I feel like TV is another way to disconnect from reality and that's something that I do all of the time.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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