A 17-year-old TikToker was a ‘punching bag’ online — now she’s one step ahead of her haters

TikTok users have never really known what to make of Brooklynne Webb (@xoBrooklynne), but that hasn’t stopped them from following her.

The 17-year-old influencer first went mega-viral with a body-positive dance, but even before that, she had nearly 5 million followers. People loved the kind of content she shared, which is similar to that of other TikTok stars her age — dancing, lip-syncing and being encouraging to her followers.

As her follower count grew, Webb seemingly ended up on what some refer to as “the wrong side of TikTok.” Though she shared the same kinds of videos as TikTok’s most popular users, her posts began receiving criticism from people who thought her posts were overly done or disingenuous.

Since this apparent pivot led to an influx of comments, Webb’s videos likely stayed present on the For You pages of skeptics because the algorithm interprets interaction with a post as the desire for more posts like it.

“It was never constructive criticism, just things about my appearance or expressions for the most part,” Webb told In The Know in an interview. “A lot of the time, [I’m] just being a punching bag for people online.”

Comments turned into posts about her, and eventually, dueting her became a meme.

“I can’t explain it, but she’s definitely a millennial,” one TikToker wrote in a response to one of Webb’s typical body-positive videos. The user’s reaction received 1 million likes.

Webb, who now has more than 10 million followers, regularly participates in trends just like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae do, but the backlash she faced went viral more often.

After Webb posted a video of herself earnestly (but not professionally) singing as part of a TikTok trend, user @anslan999 predicted that Webb would one day release music and that it would sound a lot better than that.

“When she pulls an UNO 180 reverse and it sounds good, she’s just fooled you guys into a music career,” she said.

In response to her haters, Webb did exactly that. She released a song called “My Crown,” which some criticized but others enjoyed as a hyperpop masterpiece.

Either way, it got everyone talking.

Whenever someone used her song in a video, she would thank them for it in the comments — even if their video was critical of her. From there, she started planting seeds that the whole thing was a “troll.”

“It was obviously made to be over-the-top and had lots of autotune because I’m not the best singer,” Webb told In The Know. “It was the perfect guilty pleasure song.”

It’s supposed to get stuck in your head and make you want to post about it, she explained. Even the lyrics were manufactured to create outrage.

“The writers and I purposely put in lines that they know TikTok would eat up and have a lot of negative things to say about,” she said.

The “album” Webb released days later wasn’t your typical debut, either. It was just “My Crown” remixed in 12 different genres, from screamo to Latin to show tunes.

After that reveal, many critics admitted they think she’s a “genius” and that she “played [them] all.” Webb is just grateful she got to “troll the trolls for a little bit.”

What’s next for Webb after pulling such an elaborate stunt on millions of people? Well, teenager stuff.

“There is some gray area between my troll persona and myself … There wasn’t a line drawn between the two, and that’s what I’m really working on defining in the next year,” she said.

She’s already jokingly rebranded herself a few times since “My Crown,” first as a goth, and now it seems a cowgirl phase is coming.

In trying out new aesthetics, she’s not only keeping her haters on their toes. She’s dabbling in new styles and attitudes in the search to find herself, just as any teenage girl would. She just so happens to be doing so in front of 10.6 million people.

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