One weird trick to being Victoria Paris on TikTok

Embody all the qualities favored by the algorithm.

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Over the weekend, the inevitable backlash to Victoria Paris hit TikTok, but I don’t think she’s the one to blame. —Kate

I’ve been waiting patiently for the tables to turn on 22-year-old TikTokker Victoria Paris. Not because she’s done anything wrong or there’s something about her I don’t like, but because she was taking over the app at an unprecedented pace and sooner or later, someone on TikTok would get tired of seeing her face.

If you’re on TikTok, you’ve probably seen one of Victoria’s videos. The recent New School graduate joined the app to promote her Depop and found instant success. Victoria, who posts 20 to 30 videos a day about her life in New York City, has pioneered vlog-type posting that’s even more off-the-cuff and uncurated than what usually shows up on your For You Page. The TikTok algorithm quickly decided it liked Victoria and began pushing her videos into everyone’s feeds. Last week, she hit one million followers and celebrated by volunteering with her followers—who call themselves “Victorians”—at the Bowery Mission. And right on queue, TikTok users began questioning her success.

Victoria Paris is thin, white, and conventionally attractive. TikTok’s algorithm seems to favor those qualities, and therefore her content. She also posts a lot, engages with her followers in the comments, and offers tips for replicating her success that are only as effective as they are when they’re layered on top of privilege like her's. 

Still, social media advice accounts began using Victoria’s account as an example of what you, too, can achieve if you follow xyz growth hacks—as if all someone from a different background far from a metropolitan area needs to do to get sent free clothes from PacSun is be “more relatable.” It’s laughable at best and cruel at worst to blame individuals for not better gaming TikTok’s purposefully secret algorithm. 

I don’t think it’s fair to blame Victoria, either. She responded to the backlash by joining in, making a joke about how she’s white, thin, and privileged but not white, thin, and privileged enough to be invited on the current Revolve influencer trip to Turks & Caicos. She then posted a series of videos addressing the conversation more directly.

“Facts. The reason why I blew up so fast is because I’m white, thin, privileged, and live in New York City,” she says, pointing out that her own content performed worse when she was living in North Carolina because there was nothing there to glamorize. She also shared how she worked to grow her account by making tons of different videos, privating the ones that didn’t perform, and replicating the ones that did until she nailed what TikTok wanted from her. 

But “what TikTok wants” is still the most influential part of that, and as long as that’s still someone who looks like Victoria, there’s not one trick that can change it.