Addison Rae was thrust into the spotlight at 19 years old as TikTok videos that the Louisiana native made for fun gained the attention of millions of users. Now, at 20, the college dropout is still figuring out who she is while making big career moves, which include co-founding ITEM Beauty, hosting a podcast, launching a music career and starring in the upcoming Netflix movie He's All That.
"There’s no right answer for how to handle it," she told Elle magazine of her sudden fame. "Everyone handles it very differently. Some people are super strong and are able to go through a lot. Others have moments of weakness. I can admit that I have moments of weakness sometimes. It’s hard to have your life under a microscope when you don’t have everything figured out yourself. I’m still learning, I’m still young."
Rae put the complexity of her life into further context, clarifying that she had just graduated from high school in 2019. She had started studying at Louisiana State University the following fall before taking advantage of opportunities in California just three months into the semester.
"Coming from a small town ... I feel like a lot of people don’t normally hear someone say they want to go to Hollywood and be an actress. That’s not a very common thing. Or maybe it is something that people say but don’t really get the chance to do. I felt like it was unattainable at the time," she explained of earlier dreams that she had to pursue a career in Hollywood. "When my videos were blowing up, a few people in L.A. reached out to me, and I was like, ‘I need to go. I need to go.’ So my parents supported me fully."
There is no guidebook for the type of fame that she's acquired in the short time since, especially in being among the first to gain such success from TikTok. "That’s the part where experience comes through. You live and you learn, and that’s how you figure out exactly how you’re going to handle [trolling] from that point on. I’ve done a lot of that. I think living and learning and figuring out what are the things that are personal and private to me, and what are the things I want to share. And then really making sure I differentiate the two, always," she said. She adds that she's still experiencing a learning curve when it comes to branching out into other areas. "In this industry, when you come in and get labeled as one thing ... people like to keep you there. Which is understandable, and I get it, but what people don’t realize is I’ve always wanted to do acting, I’ve always wanted to do music. ... I try to tell myself, 'You have to work that much harder to get people to take you seriously.'"
Seeking help from professionals has also seemed to alleviate some of the pressure, as Rae shared, "I also started therapy, and that is a tool for me to have an outlet and be able to speak my mind and get advice from someone who’s on the outside. ... I do it once a week right now. But sometimes I’ll do it twice a week if I’m having a rough time."
Luckily, Rae also has her family along for the ride.
"My mom just tells me, 'Remember who you are. You know who you are, and that’s all that matters,'" she said. "You can’t control anyone’s perception of you. That’s something I’ve had to accept. I’m not going to make everyone love me or like me. That is not possible —and then just not having that unrealistic expectation for myself and knowing that I’m human and if I make mistakes, I can learn from them and grow.”