Forget the SNL cast member or art-gallerist boyfriend, because there’s a new celebrity trope on the horizon: the TikTok bestie. Specifically, the hottest new accessory for B-list celebs is the TikTok boy. And if you don’t believe us, just check out the most recent paparazzi photos of Kelly Osbourne. The reality TV star—and daughter of Sharon and rocker Ozzy Osbourne—was photographed on October 14 at Los Angeles hotspot Craig’s restaurant. But people weren’t tittering about her dinner order; instead, eagle-eyed fans and paparazzi noticed Osbourne’s companion: TikTok star Griffin Johnson.
ICYMI, 21-year-old Johnson is one of several members of the Sway House—a TikTok content house. Johnson, alongside his fellow house mates, is known for his thirst trap videos, which include the social media star dancing alongside his pals; usually shirtless and *always* with a heavy sexual vibe.
Almost *more* infamous than Johnson’s videos is his relationship drama with now-ex Dixie D’Amelio, a fellow TikTok star. After publicly dating for a few months in early 2020, D’Amelio and Johnson parted ways after the latter cheated, leading to a über messy back-and-forth between the two, one super tragic diss track by Johnson and a (now deleted) A+ clap back on TikTok by D’Amelio, who shared photo and video proof of Johnson’s infidelity over the soundtrack of his own song. (Sorry, Johnson, but Snapchat receipts are forever.)
Per a source speaking to E! News, the dinner with Osbourne looked like a business meeting—although, their description sounds more like a first date, TBH: “There were times where Kelly and Griffin were both laughing at each other and looked like they were being playful with one another. Griffin had a huge smile on his face while Kelly was talking and he seemed smitten.”
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The news of Osbourne and Johnson’s hang comes just weeks after Kardashian BFF Larsa Pippen was spotted on not one, but two dinner dates with TikTok fiend (and former Too Hot to Handle star) Harry Jowsey; and amidst Bachelor Nation fan favourite Tyler Cameron hanging out and working out with TikTokkers Noah Beck and Blake Gray.
So, we have to ask, what the heck is going on? When did TikTok dudes suddenly become the newest celebrity pet? And more importantly: Are we now truly in the bad place?
Honestly, we may be. Like the ubiquitous comedian and gallerist boyfriends that have come before them, the TikTok boy serves a very specific role: to act as a conductor between certain celebs and TikTok audiences, bridging the (let’s be real, age) gap between a Millennial celeb and the Gen Z followers who frequent the social media app.
Said TikTok boys all look the same, and in that sense are immediately recognizable: They have hairlines that start in the middle of their foreheads, ripped bodies with shockingly skinny legs, and their style suggests they listen to Green Day—but only ironically and always on an iPhone that’s been put inside a cup.
Their relationship with a given celeb doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic, but the implication of romance is always welcome.
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But while we may have the trope figured out, we still have a lot of questions about these friendships—mostly are they actually friends? It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that Johnson and Osbourne could have similar interests, despite their nearly 15-year age difference. Maybe they both like working out, perhaps they want to collaborate on a TikTok takeover, or maybe Osbourne was interviewing him to be a babysitter for her niece and nephew. Any of these things could be possible! Also possible: these celebrities (who, notably all have experience as, or at least proximity to, reality stars) *could* be taking these young, burgeoning stars under their wings to manage and guide their careers—similar to Kourtney Kardashian and her “friendship” with Addison Rae; advising them on just who to be seen with and which money moves to make (i.e. no more diss tracks, Johnson).
Another, TBQH, much more likely possibility? These frankly B-list celebs and their TikTok buds are engaging in what’s commonly known as a PR stunt: being photographed together for mutual clout and to generate buzz. And it’s working. I mean, aren’t we all talking about the fact that Jowsey *might* be dating a Kardashian-adjacent person, regardless of the fact that it’s so comically transparent that they aren’t actually dating? That’s spin, baby! (Honestly, what do they even talk about?!)
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Anyway, good luck to these boys. We’ll obviously be watching to see how these relationships develop.