Addison Rae on TikTok, Cancel Culture and Kourtney Kardashian


addison rae easterling headshot in pink shirt

Phylicia JL Munn

Addison Rae Easterling is really famous and always knew she would appear on screen. Growing up in a constellation of small towns in the south, the 20-year-old believed a career in broadcast journalism would be the perfect fit. But after three months at Louisiana State University, Easterling found TikTok, a social media outlet she immediately turned to, attracting a staggering number of subscribers (82 million so far) with her lip-syncing videos. It wasn’t long before she left for LA


Of course, internet fame doesn’t always match mainstream celebrity, but she also unlocked that algorithm, landing her first major role in Hollywood as Padgett, a social media influencer (naturally) on Netflix. He is all that (released on August 27), a remake of the 1999 teen romantic comedy She is all that.

Below, Easterling talks about channeling her own experiences into playing Padgett – and why she says she has to work twice as hard to be ‘taken seriously’.

Your character in He is all that is a social media influencer dealing with cancellation culture and online trolls. How well did you channel your own experiences while playing?

“[Padgett] has so much growth and development in [figuring out] who is she. And I must have understood that too. At the end of the day, it’s just about who you are to yourself and you don’t really have to prove it to anyone else. It’s something of my character [and I have learned]- that what people think of me doesn’t even matter anymore; it really matters who i know i am.

This is the part where the experience comes through. You live and you learn, and that’s how you find out exactly how you’re going to manage [trolling] since then. I did a lot. I think I live and learn and find out what are the things that are personal and private to me, and what are the things that I want to share. And then making sure I really differentiate the two, always.

addison rae hes all netflix

Annie Jacob, Isabella Crovetti and Addison Rae in He is all that.


How did you prepare for your first big movie role?

“I was probably in acting classes three times a week and doing personal coaching on Zoom as well as script analysis. [I tried to find] things that I could relate to in my life and how I felt at the time. The biggest part was being able to connect the emotions and figuring out exactly how I wanted to read a line or be in a scene. Delivery is the most important part. Even on the day of, [before doing] a scene, I’d call my acting coach Nancy, and she’d say, “Okay, what are you channeling today? What mood are you in exactly? How are you going to feel? How do you deliver this line and how does your character go through this event? Then I should get into that space. I would sit in my trailer for a few hours before going to do the scene and read my lines, then make sure I was mentally in that space.

Your good friend Kourtney Kardashian appeared in the movie. How did it happen?

“It’s perfect. I’m so excited people are seeing this. It’s definitely due to our friendship. And it just seemed like something so fun, so we talked about it and loved the idea of ​​doing it. .

Which actresses are you looking for to inspire you?

“I love Julia Roberts, she’s one of my favorites. Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, it’s a classic. Of course, these three are amazing. Joey King, she’s amazing. Zendaya is so awesome. I’ve watched a lot of her stuff – she’s really done a lot of diverse roles recently. There are so many women in this industry that I admire and inspire me so much. I also love Gwyneth Paltrow … she’s amazing. I’m definitely a fan girl so I just watch and learn and observe and just study what they’re doing.

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Have you always wanted to be on the big screen?

“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. It is not a very common thing. Or maybe it’s something people say but don’t really get a chance to do. I felt it was inaccessible at the time. So I thought my path was to study journalism, and I can still be on TV, but in a way where I could graduate and then do it in a little more traditional way. [way]. Then I was very lucky with TikTok and I was lucky enough to move to LA ”

addison rae hes all netflix

Madison Pettis, Myra Molloy and Addison Rae in He is all that.


Was leaving college to pursue a career in entertainment a difficult decision?

“No, I’ve always wanted to live in LA. I arrived when I was 16, that was my only birthday wish. I was like, ‘Mom, please, I didn’t. I couldn’t even get anything for Christmas either. My only birthday wish is for my friends and I to go to LA. ‘ So we went there, and I fell in love, and I was like, “Oh, I know I’m going to live here someday.” I hadn’t been back since, and when my videos blew up, a few people in LA contacted me and I was like, “I have to go.” I have to go. ‘ So my parents fully supported me.

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What’s been the biggest adjustment since it was put in the spotlight overnight?

“There is no right answer for how to handle it; everyone handles it very differently. Some people are super strong and can go through a lot. Others have moments of weakness. I can admit that I sometimes have moments of weakness. It’s hard to have your life under a microscope when you haven’t figured it out yourself. I’m still learning, I’m still young. I only graduated from high school in 2019 so I’m still figuring out how to handle things. For me, it was just about keeping my family around and keeping some really great friends around – friends that I know love me and know me for me.

I also started therapy, and it’s a tool for me to have an outlet and to be able to speak my mind and get some advice from someone who is outside … times a week right now. But sometimes I do it twice a week if I’m having difficulty.

How did you become an actor after breaking into TikTok for the first time?

“In this industry, when you come in and you’re labeled as a thing… people like to keep you there. What is understandable, and I understand, but what people don’t realize is that I always wanted to do theater, I always wanted to do music. I always wanted to do all of these other things that they couldn’t really see or know, because I started to be famous when I was 19. People didn’t really see the context, or the classes I was taking and things like that. So I try to say to myself, ‘You have to work a lot harder to get people to take you seriously.’ “

addison rae hes all netflix

Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan in He is all that.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“My mom just said to me, ‘Remember who you are. You know who you are, and that’s all that matters. You cannot control how anyone perceives you. This is something that I had to accept. I’m not going to make everyone like me or love me. It’s not possible, and then not having this unrealistic expectation of myself and knowing that I’m human and that if I make mistakes, I can learn from them and grow.

You already have a beauty line with ITEM BEAUTY, a podcast, a music career and now a movie under your belt. And after?

“I hope I will make more films over the next few years and continue to make music and develop my makeup line. All of these things are a big part of who I am. I’m super excited to continue to grow and find myself in this industry and doing all the things that I’m passionate about. So as long as I’m doing this I’m super happy.

A version of this story appears in the August 2021 issue of SHE.


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