Opinion

Stop Trying To Make Influencers Multi-Hyphenates

Tanner Buchanan and Addison Rae in the Netflix cringe-fest He's All That.
Tanner Buchanan and Addison Rae in the Netflix cringe-fest He's All That. Kevin Estrada/Netflix
In the most recent episode of HBO Max’s The Other Two, aspiring actor Cary Dubek (Drew Tarver) tries to persuade agents to sign him on to a talent agency, only to be told they strictly represent "multi-hyphenates" (actors who can write, singers who can act, etc.). While his brother, Chase (Case Walker) has made a name for himself as a YouTube sensation, and his sister Brooke (Heléne Yorke) is pulling in money managing her talk show host mother, Pat (Molly Shannon), Cary is dead set on acting, and struggles to write a screenplay which will get him in with an agency.

This plot is uncannily on point as social media influencers increasingly attempt to cross over into traditional entertainment mediums, begging the question of whether it's fair to creators (and more importantly, to audiences) to force them into something simply not meant for them.

Many of us millennials cringed last year when Netflix announced a Gen Z-marketed remake of the '90s high school comedy She’s All That, oh-so-cleverly titled He’s All That. We cringed even more when social media influencer and non-actress Addison Rae was announced to play the lead. To amp up the cringe factor, a COVID-19 testing site in L.A. was reportedly planning to close in order to shoot the movie.

Unsurprisingly, the movie, which was released last month, was panned by critics, yet still managed to hit number one on Netflix, and despite Rae’s abysmal, monotonous acting, the leading lady signed a multi-picture deal with the streaming giant. Really, Netflix, stop trying to make Addison Rae a movie star.


In similar news, Amazon Prime Video’s recent adaptation of Cinderella pulled in more than a million views, despite receiving mostly negative reviews. And while we’d hardly call what pop star Camila Cabello does “acting" as the lead, her resume boasts four Billboard Hot 100, in the top 10. Cabello obviously knows how to cook up a hit, but do her “skills” for the radio transfer over to the screen?

In all fairness, I watched the entirety of He’s All That while tipsy on Trader Joe’s wine, and did not give that Cinderella adaptation a second of my time (how many more versions of that story do we need?). My only taste of the movie came via clips on Twitter, which I saw against my will, most of which were making fun of the movie.

Sure, hate-watching may allow for a good laugh, but is the secondhand embarrassment and vicarious cringe worth seeing the movie hit number one, subjecting us to more multi-picture "movie" deals with influencers — which would be better spliced up into short TikTok videos?

We are all guilty of hate-watching, whether it’s because we need a good laugh, or because we want to see if we’re wrong about whether or not a movie will be a train wreck. But if anything, we should plan to hate-watch at least a week or two after the premiere, so that streamers don’t factor the first-week numbers into their decision for renewals.

Yes, it’s easy to counter this point by saying, “Well, if you don’t want to see [x actress], then don’t watch it,” but for nostalgic millennials who love She’s All That and are curious about a remake, I can assure you, we’re gonna fucking watch it sooner or later.

If millenials killed the diamond industry, then Gen Z is easily destroying the art of film acting.

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If millennials killed the diamond industry, then Gen Z is easily destroying the art of acting.

In the early aughts, if you were a teenage girl on a hit TV show or a movie, you got to dip your feet in the realm of music, and vice versa. The only difference between then and now is the fact that the material was actually good. Gen Z doesn’t seem to have Hillary Duffs, Mandy Moores or, fuck it, even Lindsay Lohans. That’s not to say Addison Rae isn’t good at TikTokking … or whatever it is she does. It simply means we should allow the Addison Raes, the Charli D’Amelios and the Bella Poarches of the world to stick with what they’re good at.

If Rae and Cabello were (God willing) to never star in another movie or show again, their careers would be fine and they'd still get invited to the VMAs or to the Met Gala or whatever else matters. We, on the other hand, will get the well-cast remakes we deserve. Rachael Leigh Cook, especially, deserved better than playing Rae's mother on He's All That. She deserves a better agent, too.

So while we’re in this era of inevitable remakes, reboots and recreations, let’s embrace the actors of our time who can act, the singers who can sing, and the influencers who can influence — because like it or not, TikTokkers and other social media influencers are gonna do what they do. But for the love of God, let’s stop trying to make everyone a multi-hyphenate.
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez