If you don’t know Loren Gray’s name yet, you probably recognize her face. The 16-year-old built a massive following after several years on the lip-synching app Musical.ly (now TikTok) — she now has over 50 million followers across all social media platforms. Honda Backstage followed Gray from her hometown to her billboard in Times Square, from a kid with big dreams to a star achieving them.
Gray started making videos on Musical.ly with her friends when she was just 13. “It was the thing to do,” says her friend Lydia. Gray was just a normal kid being silly, singing and dancing with her friends, but her videos quickly gained her a massive following.
“I was at a sleepover, and we were getting ready for bed, and [my friends] were, like, ‘Loren. You have 30,000 followers,'” Gray remembered. 30,000 became 50 million, and soon Gray couldn’t go anywhere without getting recognized.
But the wild success also came with some backlash at school. Kids who used to be her friends turned on her, bullying Gray to the point where she was afraid to go to school. “They would write awful things — that I have no talent, that I’m rude, that I have lip fillers, that I’ve had work done […] People were saying they were going to jump me. To the point where I was in the school bathroom calling my mom and telling her I was scared.”
But Gray persisted through it all, thanks to her loyal close friends, her family — and, of course, her millions of fans. Gray’s following and support system encouraged her to keep using her voice and ignore the haters. She landed a deal at Virgin Records (her debut album is forthcoming), and the young star’s career is full of potential. Her support system couldn’t be more excited to see everything she’ll achieve.
“She never gave up. She just keeps doing her thing. It’s amazing to watch,” Gray’s mother says. Check out her story in the video above.