Tyler Carpenter (TC) knew from a young age that he wanted to have a presence online. Now 19 years old, the Clark Atlanta University freshman has built an audience of over one million followers across social media platforms including Instagram and TikTok. His comedic and inspirational content connects with many in his generation.
As early as middle school, Tyler Carpenter was filming himself on his iPad. He states that social media allowed him an outlet for self-expression that he didn’t have growing up. “I feel like I didn’t really have the space to be who I wanted to be and explore different things,” Tyler comments. Though his family encouraged him to pursue traditional education and employment routes, he was drawn to influencer culture.
When he brought up the idea of being an internet creator to his father at 13, he was met with skepticism. “My dad being old school, he’s like no, you gotta get a ‘real job,'” Tyler recalls. At the time, money was not his motivation. He adds, “I just knew I wanted to be just someone that other people could look up to.”
After moving to Georgia at 16, Tyler Carpenter began embracing his comedic talents online. He gained a small following watching his daily livestreams. Then in one viral video, Tyler achieved a goal he had worked towards for years. “I remember it was my first video to ever get like a million views,” he states. “…To me, this is what I dreamed of.”
From that pivotal moment, Tyler’s platform expanded rapidly. He found purpose in being one of the few openly gay Black male creators making comedy content. Tyler explains, “I wasn’t able to…express myself in ways that I feel like I was. I wasn’t able to because back when I was 13, of course, I wanted to see people who looked like me, on the internet.” He adds that while he related to some creators, “I couldn’t see a LGBT gay black man making comedic videos.”
Now with a substantial following, Tyler fills that role – giving a voice to his lived experiences through social media. It’s a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly after years of ambition towards this goal. “[It’s] what I’ve wanted to do since I was 13 years old,” Tyler affirms.
Tyler Carpenter A Clark Atlanta Student Became A Leading Gen Z Comedian On Instagram And TikTok
First Truly Viral Moment
While Tyler Carpenter already had a small but growing social media presence on platforms like TikTok. However, one viral video took his profile to new heights almost overnight.
Tyler Carpenter recalls an end-of-year English project requiring satirical content. Having struggled in the class amidst the pandemic’s disruption, he saw an opportunity to complete the assignment while also creating content for his channel. As Tyler states, “Let’s just kill two birds with one stone.”
He filmed three videos, including one impersonating an English teacher character. Initially he thought little of the videos outside of fulfilling the class requirement and posting to his existing followers. However, within hours of posting, one TikTok took off rapidly. Stunned, Tyler watched the views climb by 100,000 every few minutes. “This is my viral moment…this is what I’ve been waiting for,” he remembers thinking.
That single video exploded to over 500,000 views in two hours and ultimately millions of views in days. Seizing the momentum, Tyler focused on making similar style content to build on this newfound audience. By the end of that first week, he had gained 900,000 new followers. After two weeks, Tyler had hit 2 million followers – a staggering 1.8 million follower increase in 14 days off of one viral sensation.
Tyler Carpenter credits the “English teacher video” as his big break, stating: “This was crazy. And so from there, it just kept going – it kept going to making mom videos, English teachers [videos].” He rode the wave of visibility from that one TikTok video to build an audience and career as an influencer.
Now with a million total followers across social platforms, that moment stands out as the seminal event in Tyler’s ascent within the creator economy. At just 19 years old, he has established a powerful personal brand and passionate Gen Z fanbase – dreams he held since age 13 finally realized in a matter of weeks with a single viral moment.
Tyler Carpenter has found his niche creating comedic, point-of-view style videos on TikTok and other platforms. He summarizes his content as focusing on “relatability, acting, and comedy.” Tyler believes having a defined niche helps creators collaborate and feel part of a community. As he explains, “You’re able to get, build friendships and just network within your community.” He aims to add positivity to his corner of influencer culture.
Partnerships as a Comedic Creator
Tyler Carpenter takes a strategic approach to balancing creativity with monetization of his channel. When asked about his main revenue streams, he names brand partnerships first. He also earns income from ad revenue and affiliate marketing. However, brand deals currently take priority in his business model.
Tyler explains why he prioritizes partnerships, stating: “I enjoy creating a relationship with different brands and companies.” His management sets weekly meetings to specifically discuss potential deals. Before accepting an offer, Tyler analyzes factors like existing brand awareness and whether the company respects him as both a person and creative. He finds himself most inclined to work long-term with brands taking an understanding, human-centered approach.
Beyond brand deals, Tyler Carpenter credits talent agency Next Step for accelerating his influencer career over the past year. He expresses clear enthusiasm about the partnership, asserting: “I’m so grateful for them.” After being approached by Next Step in May 2022, he felt an instant connection. In just months since signing, Tyler has already begun achieving some of the goals mapped out in initial conversations.
He concludes emphatically: “Everything that I have to thank about Next Step that has been promoted from them…Everyone is great and I would I would not trade off. I would not trade off for the world like they’re the best and I don’t ever plan on leaving.” The alignment between Tyler’s aspirations as a creator and Next Step’s support has proven a productive relationship amidst his rapid rise. With their backing, he aims to continue growing his audience and catalog of comedy content.
Learning Balance Through Lived Experience & Overcoming Online Negativity
As his career progresses, Tyler is still learning how to find equilibrium across his various commitments. He shares both appreciation and difficulties with his busy schedule, saying: “I love what I do. I just don’t love that I have bad procrastination skills, and I don’t love that my time management is poor sometimes.”
However, Tyler takes an understanding, student-like perspective on improving his balance over time. “I know I’m 18 years old, but, like, I still say that I’m kind of a kid,” he reflects. “I’m still juggling and figuring everything out, just like everyone else.” Seeing progress from previous years, Tyler remains gently focused on forward momentum versus perfection.
After facing bullying growing up, Tyler has developed resilience against cruel online comments he may receive today. He states: “It generally does not hurt my feelings anymore because I know my heart is good.” His experience has given perspective on prioritizing his passion versus engaging negativity.
Tyler adds: “I don’t have the time or energy to send someone I hate comment or [DM]. And so it just comes to show like my maturity.” He prefers giving attention to supportive messages from his community. By focusing inward on his intentions versus outward on others’ perceptions, Tyler stays centered on creating content he loves. He concludes simply: “I just keep it pushing.”
Keys to Success: Authenticity, Consistency & Community
For those looking to turn creative passions into an influencer career, Tyler emphasizes consistency first. He stresses the importance of daily effort, recalling: “From me being 13, every day, it’s a new video on some type of platform.” Networking with fellow creators provides community and accountability towards goals.
While overnight virality cannot be planned, Tyler urges persistence pays off. “You just have to get that perfect moment, that perfect day at that perfect time for your viral video to happen because it will,” he urges. Consistency builds skills and audience until lightning finally strikes.
Beyond consistency, Tyler encourages aspiring creators to embrace what makes their personal brand unique – starting with authenticity. As he explains: “If you’re being if you’re acting like someone else, you’re not being unique.”
Tyler reminds that originality comes from within, stating: “You are, you – yourself. If you’re just being yourself and presenting yourself…you’re already being unique.” He concludes that showing your true colors through content is key, whether via comedy, makeup, gaming, or other creative outlets.