Gen-Z’s bright aesthetic may be rising in popularity, but the generation’s individualistic nature may keep it from becoming a full-blown phenomenon.

Peace Out is the latest beauty label to incorporate bright yellow into its branding for its new Acne Day Dot product.

If Millennials had pink, then Gen-Z, it seems, has yellow.

Since 2017, internet culture critics have been proclaiming “Gen-Z Yellow” — a bright, sunny, impossible-to-ignore hue — as the generation’s defining colour.

At first, Gen-Z Yellow was more of a wardrobe staple than a major marketing presence, but as time has gone on — and Gen-Z’s cultural dominance has grown — it’s also become a particular favourite for beauty and personal care brands. Most notably, acne patch label Starface is synonymous with an ultra-bright shade of yellow, but there’s also skin care company Peace Out, which selected the colour for the packaging and marketing materials for its latest product drop, the Acne Day Dot; Gen-Z favourite skin care label Topicals, that sells products like its “Like Butter” hydrating mask in a yellow tube; and makeup label Kosas, which makes its concealer and foundation in bright yellow-accented packaging. Its influence also reaches outside of beauty: PepsiCo recently launched Starry, a lemon-flavoured soda covered in bright-yellow branding.

“Taking risks and being bold with something as simple as your colour palette speaks to one behaviour of Gen-Z,” said Shaina Zafar, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Juv Consulting, a Gen-Z focused marketing agency that’s worked with clients like Unilever and recently partnered with BoF Insights on a Gen-Z fashion report.

But despite yellow’s current dominance, it’s unlikely that the colour will ever become the behemoth that was Millennial pink. That hue ultimately became synonymous with the 2010s thanks in large part to DTC beauty pioneer Glossier, and later brands like period underwear label Thinx and Scandi apparel label Acne Studios, all of which deployed a similar shade of pink across their branding.

And that’s probably a good thing. Gen-Z yellow is likely too bold and bright to be adopted by the masses, and for a generation obsessed with curating their aesthetic on social media, the idea of following something as obvious as a colour trend feels uncool. The sheer proliferation of Millennial pink on products from cookware to lip balm — not to mention the cultural consciousness of its popularity — has made marketers wary of hopping on board the next colour fad.

The Rise of Gen-Z Yellow

Gen-Z Yellow, in many ways, speaks to the environment that the generation has grown up in. Though they’re mostly under the age of 25, Gen-Z has come of age in a time of turmoil. They’re the generation that saw their high school or university experiences irrevocably tainted by Covid-19 and cast their first ballots in the contentious presidential elections of 2016 or 2020.

“We’re in a world that’s very noisy, very chaotic, and you have a lot of darkness, a pandemic and civil unrest,” said Sunny Bonnell, co-founder and CEO at branding agency Motto. “That colour is a way to break through that and to actually be able to have a sense of hope and optimism.”

But while they’re hopeful and optimistic for the future — a fit for sunny yellow — they’re also outspoken about the need to make change to ensure that future comes to pass.

“We’re not like a muted generation and a muted colour palette isn’t reflective of us,” said Laura Montilla, a senior account executive at Edelman and a member of the agency’s Gen-Z lab.

Starface is just one of the beauty brands that has embraced Gen-Z yellow packaging.
Starface is just one of the beauty brands that has embraced Gen-Z yellow packaging.

Bright yellow is also a colour that Gen-Z grew up around. As the first generation that grew up on the internet, bright-yellow emojis have always been a primary language asset and the ultra-yellow-branded Snapchat is one of its go-to forms of communication.

For the brands that incorporate Gen-Z yellow into their branding, the benefits a

“You can’t disappear with that bright yellow star on your face, and that’s exactly what we want to lean into,” said Kara Brothers-Phillips, general manager at Starface.

Yellow’s history as a gender-neutral, positive colour also has helped propel it forward, added Bonnell.

No Match for Pink

Millennial pink made people realise how far colour trends could reach. But when it reached mainstream ubiquity, the inevitable backlash followed. Over time, there was a shift, Millennial pink was no longer cutting edge, it was tired.

“If we see a lot of brands emerge and use it and create an immediate inflection point, it’ll feel like it’s a fad,” said Zafar. “And anytime that Gen-Z thinks something’s being overused, that’s when it becomes irrelevant.”

To boot, to use a bold colour like Gen-Z yellow, brands need to be okay with standing out. Bonnell said she’s had several clients that have felt uncomfortable using bright colours in their branding. Samantha Edwards, co-founder and chief creative officer at The Charles, a New York-based creative digital agency, said that because of its impossible-to-ignore nature, we may see brands incorporate Gen-Z yellow in more subtle ways, like on an individual product (like Peace Out’s Acne Day Dot) or as part of a social media campaign.

“We think … can this colour ever get boring or tired?” said Peace Out Skincare’s creative director Junior Scott Pence of selecting the bright yellow colour for the Acne Day Dot. “We want to make sure that we’re choosing the right colour that can transition with a lifetime at the brand.”

However, if Gen-Z yellow never reaches the saturation levels that Millennial pink did, that’s good news for the brands that have bet on it. If it’s not every brand’s go-to hue, then it’s easier for the ones that do use it to keep the colour cool.

“Trends are moving at such a rapid pace that it might have a moment, but that moment definitely disperses,” said Edwards.

re obvious. It’s an impossible-to-ignore colour that stands out on store shelves. And it is synonymous with happiness and positivity, two attributes any brand would love to have their product be associated with. Starface embraced yellow (the brand’s packaging, website and branding is all covered in the hue) in part as a way to take preconceived notions around acne and turn them on its head.

From left to right: Tejas Hullur, Rebecca Hesse, Zaria Parvez, and Francis Roberts. 
Tejas Hullur; Spotter; Karli Renken; Jerome A. Shaw; Rachel Mendelson/Insider

It’s been another record year for the creator economy.

The industry, often still described by insiders as the “Wild West,” has witnessed ups and downs in 2022, from record-breaking investments into startups and newly minted unicorns to mass layoffs across the space.

Influencer-marketing spend, which in part fuels many creators’ businesses, is expected to exceed $6 billion by next year, according to Insider Intelligence data.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, there is a new class of rising stars. Insider is highlighting 22 of these emerging power players.

Like many other industries, people are what truly shape the creator economy, especially those who have recently entered and have made their mark — whether that’s starting a “Glassdoor for creators” like startup Clara, or completely reinventing the social-media strategy for a company like Duolingo.

These rising stars have spent the past year making tangible change through their work on products, content, or initiatives at social-media giants like YouTube or Meta.

“I don’t know what happened in me, but I knew this is what I want to do with my life,” said Josh Glodoveza, who became vice president of talent at merch company Fanjoy at the age of 18. “I want to help people get into the spotlight.”

Insider solicited nominations, sought recommendations from our sources, and vetted these pros with their partners and peers. We also asked each nominee about how they first started in the industry, lessons learned along the way, favorite social-media moments, what’s next for them, and more.

Here are 22 rising stars in the creator economy, listed alphabetically based on their company:

Tejas Hullur, Catch’n Ice Cream

Tejas Hullur, content creator, smiling with all white background
Tejas Hullur. 

Role: Content creator and cofounder of Catch’n Ice Cream

Hullur, 22, got his start in the creator economy by making content about the creator economy itself.

Since Hullur began creating in 2020 content on TikTok (where he has 594,000 followers), his career has taken some turns. From cofounding Catch’n Ice cream, a brick-and-mortar ice cream shop in New York City, to consulting for creator startups like Stir, Hullur wears many hats.

Catch’n, cofounded with creator Dylan Lemay, is Hullur’s first major business endeavor. The company raised in 2021 $1.5 million and opened its doors this summer — weeks before MrBeast opened his first MrBeast Burger location and months before David Dobrik opened Doughbrik’s Pizza.

Opening up shop “showed what is possible” for the creator economy, Hullur said.

But while Hullur has been busy launching businesses and working with startups, he’s been itching to get back into what got him here in the first place — content.

Next year, he’ll focus on just that and is already thinking about ways to iterate on different content and revenue streams.

“2022 has been this year of euphoria for the creator economy, meaning that there was a lot of experiments, a lot of people pumping a lot of money into it and really trying to embrace this,” Hullur said. “I do have a general feeling that things may scale back in 2023.”

Recession-proofing his business — and likely educating others about how to help themselves get through the headwinds — will be top of mind.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: The sheer advancement in TikTok filters, and more generally, AI and AR filters across social media.

“The different voice things where people record and the whole thing is dubbed in this whole new voice — that created a whole new dimension of creativity,” Hullur said.

Hullur is eyeing the “micro industry of filter creators” that has emerged because of this.

Christen Nino De Guzman, Clara for Creators

Christen Nino De Guzman poses in pink blazer
Christen Nino De Guzman. 

Role: Founder

In January, 31-year-old Nino De Guzman launched Clara for Creators, which she terms a “Glassdoor or LinkedIn for creators.”

On the app, creators can post about how much they’ve gotten paid and review brands anonymously. Others can then use this information to help decide if they should work with a particular brand or leverage it to request higher compensation. The platform now has 22,000 creators and 1,000 brands.

Nino De Guzman previously told Insider that creator pay transparency — including highlighting racial pay gaps in the industry — is a core part of her vision for Clara.

“Many creators, especially those new to the industry, didn’t know how to properly price or negotiate their content,” she told Insider. “There was no brand-deal-pay-database for reference to help guide creators through their negotiations.”

Nino De Guzman launched Clara after working at TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram. In her roles, she worked with a range of creators, from those with a few thousands of followers to those with millions, and noticed that pay disparity was the one commonality they all faced when trying to land brand deals and grow their businesses. She also faced this issue herself, as a creator with 370,000 TikTok followers and 41,000 Instagram followers.

Next year, she plans to significantly expand the team so that they can manage operations as more creators join the app. 

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Nino Ge Guzman loves all the street interview-style content that’s popped up in the last year. She said the TikTok accounts American Income and Salary Transparent Street inspired her company to start a series on Clara’s TikTok account called “How much do creators make.”

Jose Manuel Perrone, Cura

Jose Manuel Perrone, Create with Cura
Jose Manuel Perrone. 

Role: Cofounder

According to Perrone, the word “Cura” stems from a Latin word meaning “to take care of,” so he and his cofounder Krishna Chatpar thought it would be the perfect name for the startup they launched in March 2020 to take care of their community.

Cura was initially founded as an “Etsy for food,” where chefs who were laid off during the pandemic could sell customizable food to their own communities through Instagram, and where people could in turn order food tailored to their needs and support their local chefs.

After realizing that Cura could help chefs build sustainable businesses and launch products, it relaunched in March 2021 as Create with Cura. Now, the platform focuses on empowering creators and influencers to launch their own consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) food product lines.

“Food can help solve several problems we face as a society and we believe the creator economy is the gateway to a better future for all of us,” Perrone told Insider. 

This past year, he has helped the company connect with and pitch some of the largest talent agencies in the world like Viral Nation and WME.

Create with Cura has more than 1,800 creators, including chefs, musicians, and comedians who are all interested in launching their own food and beverage brands in 2023. The company has a core team of five people, and over 100 people in its partner network.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Perrone said he was excited to see how many creators launched their own CPG food brands this year, like MrBeast’s Feastables.

Chloe Shih, Discord

Chloe Shih of "Colors of Chloe" and Discord.
Chloe Shih. 

Role: Product manager, communities engagement lead

Shih, 29, is a product manager focused on community engagement at Discord, a communications platform built around group chats, messaging, calls, and community building.

Since joining the company last year from TikTok, she’s focused on helping Discord’s myriad communities scale. Discord had 150 million monthly active users in December 2021. 

In 2022, Shih oversaw the launch of Discord “Forums,” a new channel feature that helps creators and community organizers centralize conversations within a server, making it easier for new members to understand what’s happening within a community.

In addition to working at a tech company focused on creators, Shih is a content creator herself. She posts videos about her own professional path and offers career advice to subscribers on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Discord under the brand “Colors of Chloe.”

“I think there’s a huge rise of professional creators who are sharing video narratives about their skill sets and work lives,” Shih told Insider. “While this content may not make it to the trending charts on YouTube, they’ll generate a sustainable enough community for their creators to offer niche, educational experiences or products and monetize directly from their audiences.”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: The emergence of AI-generated content tools like Midjourney, ChatGPT, and Lensa.

Zaria Parvez, Duolingo

Duolingo Zaria Parvez
Zaria Parvez. 

Role: Global social-media manager 

Parvez, 24, is the brains behind Duolingo’s rapid TikTok success, which she built without a budget using the resources she had around the company’s office.

She fuels the language-learning app’s social channels and social-first marketing campaigns across Duolingo’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok pages. 

In her role, Parvez, who started her career in June 2020, organically grew Duolingo’s TikTok account from 50,000 followers to 5.2 million followers in a little over a year. 

This year, Parvez helped Duolingo launch its inaugural Creator Day, in which Parvez worked with her colleagues to select six creators to travel to Duolingo’s Pittsburgh headquarters and create content around the brand. The event led to 7 million impressions across creator-led content and each creator posted two to three more posts beyond the single post requirement, the company said.

Her work has differentiated Duolingo from other brands on TikTok, and has attracted press attention from NBC and Rolling Stone.

Her success has also led to more internal growth for Duolingo’s social team. In March, she was promoted from social-media coordinator to global social-media manager. Over the summer, she managed two full-time social-media interns.

As a Pakistani American Muslim, Parvez said she aims to create more representation for a new generation of young, diverse talent from intersectional backgrounds. She said her primary reason for building a career at Duolingo was that the company was inherently diverse.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: When the Duolingo owl mascot showed up in March outside of Dua Lipa’s concert at Madison Square Garden and proposed to the artist.

Josh “Caru” Glodoveza, Fanjoy

Headshot of a man with dark hair and silver glasses smiling, wearing a beige trench coat and white shirt on an off-white background.
Josh “Caru” Glodoveza. 

Role: Vice president of talent

At just 19, Glodoveza has been working in the creator economy for six years.

He got his start at 13, making YouTube video thumbnails and editing videos, and later working primarily with anonymous gaming creators. That’s when he coined his social-media handle Carusel, sometimes shortened to Caru.

“I would go up on everyone’s Twitch channels and just be that helpful person,” he said. “I’d be that friendly face, and creators ended up trusting me.”

Through networking in the gaming industry and building relationship with players, Glodoveza got into talent representation, and eventually connected with Fanjoy CEO Chris Vaccarino, who offered Glodoveza a role at the company. He joined in November 2021.

Glodoveza has built Fanjoy’s entire gaming department, onboarded new creators to build merchandise and CPG brands, and managed multiple six-figure brand campaigns.

Recently, he’s started to shift his focus from just gaming to a variety of content verticals, working with creators in beauty, lifestyle, comedy, and music. 

“I’ve always been passionate about working with brands and creating beautiful campaigns that have impact,” he said. “In gaming, I get to work with different publishers and help creators launch their games or promote them.”

With his work, Glodoveza hopes to keep bringing physical products from creators onto shelves in retail stores, and maybe get into content creation himself. He recently started a podcast, “Finessed.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: “Corn Kid,” a seven-year-old boy who became an internet sensation because of a video where he expresses his love for corn. A remixed version of the video went viral on TikTok.

“I loved that it was such an organic wake,” Glodoveza said. “It felt like we were back in the early 2000s, when you could do something funny and you would go viral, and you just had this moment.”

Andrew Rico, Instagram

Andrew Rico of Meta creator partner manager headshot with crossed arms and black tee
Andrew Rico. 

Role: Strategic partner manager

The last two years, Instagram has made it a goal to build more robust relationships with creators. Partnership managers across Meta are tasked with that responsibility.

Rico, 32, started as a strategic partner manager in 2019 overseeing media partnerships, and has since evolved his role to focus on creators. He started his career in entertainment as an assistant at the talent agency UTA.

Rico is the current face of Instagram’s “Reels Star Search,” a weekly video series that runs on the platform’s Creators account. Rico has invited short-form video stars like Grace Amaku (known online by her handle GraceAfrica) and Axel Webber to join since he began hosting the series in 2021.

“I have really leaned in this year to not just being a public-facing creator manager at Meta, but to contribute to the shift, to make these once exclusive best practices accessible and digestible for a global audience,” Rico said.

One of the responsibilities under Rico’s purview is identifying emerging talent.

“We’re in a position to not just identify and develop digital talent but to amplify and provide a platform for underrepresented voices,” he said.

Next year, Rico anticipates more power will be put into the “hands of creators — especially when it comes to earning money,” he said.

“They are already diversifying their revenue streams across multiple apps,” Rico said. “We know they are on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube. In 2023, we anticipate many more creators will realize the untapped potential and monetization opportunities across platforms.”

Naturally, Rico pointed out Facebook, in particular.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: One of the first creators that Rico worked with was Dylan Mulvaney, a trans rights activist and content creator, who rose to fame this year with her “Days of Girlhood” series documenting her transition on TikTok and Instagram. 

“Dylan is an absolute superstar,” Rico said, highlighting her recent interview with President Joe Biden about trans rights via NowThis.

Nate Jones and Arianna Williams, JUV Consulting

Arianna Williams
Arianna Williams. 

Roles: Jones: head of influencer marketing, Williams: director of influencer marketing.

Jones, 22, and Williams, 24, are the brains behind marketing campaigns at JUV Consulting, a Gen Z-focused marketing consultancy. They’ve worked on projects for companies like Levi Strauss & Co, Unilever, JanSport, and Six Flags Entertainment. They’ve also worked with startups like Geneva to help the company build its digital presence.

Together, the pair helped Nike find its next brand ambassadors. They also recently helped build out the Gen Z section of Influence Change, an organization that leverages artists and influencer platforms to amplify grassroots organizations and voter-awareness initiatives, ahead of the midterm elections. 

Jones built what is now one of the company’s biggest verticals over the past three years: influencer marketing. Jones and Williams are involved in most client projects at JUV, because of their expertise on all things influencer.

They have also worked to grow their team, client roster, and network over the last year. Jones began building out JUV’s influencer-marketing vertical as a 19-year-old college student. 

The pair believe that a community-first model is where marketing is headed. For instance, the agency runs a creator house for influencers to come and create content in Los Angeles.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Ziwe’s late-night talk show.

“I think it’s so iconic and so many funny moments have come out of that show,” Williams said.

Julien Wettstein, LinkedIn

Man smiling, wearing a white sweatshirt on a dark green background
Julien Wettstein. 

Role: Head of editorial, EMEA

Wettstein, 33, started in November 2021 at LinkedIn as head of creator management for EMEA and LATAM, and was promoted in November 2022 to his current role.

Wettstein has built from the ground up a team of more than 20 creator managers, and played an integral role in developing the platform’s creator community in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

He spearheaded the launch of the LinkedIn Creator Program in Europe and Latin America, and brought the first iterations of the Creator Accelerator Program to the UK and Brazil.

“We had all the creators in the office and we were hosting an event for them and you could just see the excitement, they’re exchanging ideas, they’re giving each other advice,” Wettstein said, referring to the UK program. “Bringing some of the key creators in the UK together has really helped us accelerate that community feel.”

Since becoming head of editorial for EMEA, he has brought the community-management team and the news team under one umbrella, working on developing the growth of individual creators, as well as content verticals, at the same time.

In his new role, Wettstein is also hoping to bring more monetization opportunities to LinkedIn creators, and allow them to make a living on the platform.

“I’ve worked with creators for a long time, and I really see that it is a full-time job,” he said. “But on the outside, the job of a creator is still not fully acknowledged.”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Sir Richard Branson and the charity Made by Dyslexia launched a campaign called #DyslexicThinking to help change the narrative around dyslexia.

As a result, LinkedIn added dyslexic thinking as a standardized skill globally, so users can put it on their profiles.

Lindsey Gamble, Mavrck

Lindsey Gamble, Mavrck.
Lindsey Gamble. 

Role: Associate director of influencer innovation

Gamble’s professional career began outside the influencer world, working in clinical research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute while writing a hip-hop blog in his free time. As a blogger, he aspired to work in the creator industry. He used hip-hop writing as a way to build experience in content creation outside his day job.

Since joining Mavrck about four years ago, Gamble, 34, has held a few different roles at the company, largely focused on helping the company experiment with and break into new trends in the creator economy.

In his role as associate director of influencer innovation, Gamble helped the company run its first tests with brands for TikTok’s Spark Ads feature, as well as its early work in NCAA student-athlete marketing

Outside of Mavrck, Gamble also writes a weekly newsletter on the creator economy, a project that earned him the distinction of being one of LinkedIn’s “Top Voices in the Creator Economy” in 2022.

“My general stance is that creators can really be integrated into any business,” Gamble said. “Whether it’s creators becoming a social-media manager on TikTok or brands hiring them for consulting. How do you unlock the true value of creators beyond what we traditionally know as influencer marketing?”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: The “Corn Kid” from TikTok.

Becca Wathen, Meta

Becca Wathen headshot blazer smiling
Becca Wathen. 

Role: Strategic partner manager

Wathen, 27, manages partnerships with student-athletes and sports creators at Meta. But she’s been in their shoes – quite literally. Wathen was a college-basketball star herself at Duke University.

While at Meta, she has spearheaded the company’s programs to support college athletes after the NIL rules were overhauled in 2021 to allow NCAA athletes to profit from their names, images, and likenesses.

Wathen has led Meta’s NIL Empower Program, which she said “started as a passion project” and has since evolved into its latest iteration: a cohort of 30 female student-athletes. Representing nine different sports, the program helps student-athletes navigate their careers, brand partnerships, and content strategies.  

To play a small part in helping athletes find success, whether in the form of follower and engagement growth, or landing an NIL deal, is a humbling feeling and one of my favorite parts of my job,” Wathen said.

Wathen has her eyes set on building up more opportunities for female student-athletes, she added. 

“In the short amount of time NIL has existed, female athletes are proving to be social-media savvy, entrepreneurial, ambitious, and creative when it comes to building and monetizing an audience in the creator economy,” Wathen said. “Because a lot of women often don’t have the same professional sports opportunities as their male counterparts, the time to capitalize is now — during the peak of their careers — and we’re seeing females take advantage.”

Setting up college athletes for success in the creator economy hits close to home for Wathen. 

“Many athletes struggle to transition to life after sports,” Wathen said, adding that it was something she had experienced herself. “NIL allows athletes to fast-track key life skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, negotiation, networking, and more — all skills that undoubtedly translate to life after sports.”

Athletes and creators are more synonymous than ever, Wathen said.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022:  “As a former hooper, I have to say World Trick Shot Day,” Wathen said. “We work with sports creators and athletes to make this a big moment on our platforms every year.”

And Wathen herself likes to partake in the trend. “I love any excuse to get back on the court.”

Natalie Barbu, Rella

Natalie Barbu
Natalie Barbu. 

Role: CEO and cofounder 

In 2021, Barbu founded the creator-business startup Rella, which offers tools to help creators organize their content and save time. 

Toward the end of 2022, Rella closed its first round of VC-backed funding, raising $1 million.

Barbu, 26, has been a content creator since 2011. On YouTube, Barbu has over 300,000 subscribers and a podcast called “The Real Reel.”

Since founding the company, Barbu’s content has shifted away from fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content to center around entrepreneurship and business, highlighting the highs and lows of a startup founder.

“Fundraising this year was definitely challenging,” Barbu said. “Managing being a creator, with being a CEO, with closing a fundraising round in the climate that we were in was really difficult.” 

In her role, Barbu has worked to hire a team of five to grow and scale Rella, which now has more than 12,000 users on the platform. 

She spends most of her time building the company, creating content, and connecting with creators.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: When one of Rella’s first users, Sarah Baus, went viral on TikTok this year.

“She had a TikTok that went viral about laundry detergent, and I loved it because it felt like if you watched her TikToks you were FaceTiming her, and yet something that simple and random was able to blow up her career,” Barbu said.

Sue Lee, RTS

RTS vice president Sue Lee
Sue Lee. 

Role: Vice president of talent management 

Lee, 32, is a power player in the gaming, esports, and streaming industry, spearheading businesses for social stars like Imane “Pokimane” Anys, who has over 9 million Twitch followers.

Recently, Lee, who is based in Orange County, California, worked on the execution of Pokimane’s partnership with Spotify, as well as helped facilitate Jeremy Wang’s (aka Disguised Toast) partnership with esports organization Team Liquid.

Lee, known as “Smix” online, began her career live-translating pro esports matches  — as she is fluent in both English and Korean — and hosting live tournaments, including BlizzCon and DreamHack. In 2015, she landed a role at Twitch where she worked for six years on the strategic partnerships team working with the largest streamers on the platform.

In 2021, Lee began her current role at the new esports and gaming management company, RTS, which Anys cofounded.

Throughout this year, Lee has worked to build the company’s talent-management department, which includes growing her team of talent managers and building the roster of talent that they work with. 

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: When Twitch streamers Abe and Natsumiii livestreamed their wedding.

“It was nice to see all of these creators rally for a wedding recently,” Lee said. “It wasn’t a huge viral moment or anything like that, but it was a nice departure from the seemingly endless grind of content, and it was nice to see this beautiful interruption about something that is important in life.” 

Francis Roberts, Snapchat

Francis Roberts, Snapchat
Francis Roberts. 

Role: Head of creator partnerships

Keeping creators happy is a critical task for the big social platforms — particularly as audiences and features overlap across apps. As Snap’s head of creator partnerships, Roberts, 34, heads up the team that supports Snapchat’s highest-impact creators as they seek to use the app as a growth and monetization tool. Roberts has helped lead creators into programs that allow them to make money, including making syndicated shows in Discover and posting Stories. 

“We want to be able to allow creators to build their audience and to build their business,” Roberts said. “One of the projects that we rolled out over the last year is the monetization program for creators within their Stories, which allows them to basically participate in rev share for ads that appear in the middle of their Story.”

Max Levine, COO at Amp Studios, a digital content studio that represents internet stars like Brent Rivera and Ben Azelart, told Insider last year that Roberts was “phenomenal to communicate with.”

Prior to joining Snap in May 2020, Roberts worked at YouTube where he managed partnerships with some of that platform’s most popular creators.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: All of the creative, visual content released by creators around Beyoncé’s new album, “Renaissance.”

Rebecca Hesse, Spotter

Rebecca Hesse director of operations spotter headshot in blue shirt
Rebecca Hesse. 

Role: Director of operations

There’s a reason former Fullscreen employees are still scattered around the creator economy: the media company was in the YouTube business early on. Hesse, 31, is one of them.

Hesse now works at Spotter, a buzzy creator-economy startup, spearheading events after working in operations at Paramount and Spotify. 

“When I joined Spotter, I got to join a company with a bunch of like-minded people,” Hesse told Insider. What made Hesse and her peers like-minded? Their obsession with creators.

Spotter, a financing solution for video-content creators, made a name for itself by inking deals in 2021 with mega creators like Dude Perfect and MrBeast. Spotter buys the rights to creators’ YouTube catalogs for a flat sum in exchange for 100% of the advertising revenue earned on those videos for the duration of a contract.

By early 2022, the startup had received a unicorn valuation. Hesse came on board shortly after. Her colleagues describe her as empathetic and efficient — someone who gets things done.

During her time at Spotter, she’s spearheaded several creator-facing events on behalf of the company at conferences like VidCon and Playlist Live. Spotter also had a heavy presence at VidSummit, a professional conference for the industry, as a sponsor. Currently, she’s busy planning an event for creators that will happen in early 2023.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Hesse is a fan of MrBeast, who is one of Spotter’s creator partners, and was impressed by his Willy Wonka stunt this year.

“The chocolate factory he produced was amazing with such attention to detail,” Hesse said. “Plus, I’ve always been a fan of his dairy-free Feastable chocolate bars as I’m dairy free.”

Divyanshu Damani, TagMango

Divyanshu Damani, TagMango
Divyanshu Damani. 

Role: Cofounder

Damani, 26, is the cofounder of TagMango, India’s first creator-economy platform and “one-stop shop” to help creators monetize.

He started his company in 2019 after graduating from high school the year before. He had been a content creator himself with a combined 200,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, but hadn’t found a way to make money from it.

Now, creators can use TagMango to build digital products, like an online store or a course, to sell to their followers. Currently, more than 1,000 creators use it to monetize, of which 90% are based in India.

“I built a platform for creators to connect with each other and their audience, which this country didn’t have when I was in school,” he said.

This past year, Damani has focused his energy on building a narrative for the company so it can attract more investors and grow. He eventually hopes to take the company international.

“Initially, we had a brand-to-influencer model, where we connected brands directly with creators, but the road to scale that was really difficult,” he said. “Now, we’re a lot more product facing.”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Damani said that since TikTok is banned in India, nothing really comes to mind. “I’m at a loss for words, and that usually doesn’t happen to me,” he said.

Melissa Tecson, TikTok

Melissa Tecson, TikTok
Melissa Tecson. 

Role: Lifestyle and education creator lead, North America

Tecson, 30, leads a team that works with lifestyle and education creators in the US and Canada, a category that includes users who make videos about food, fashion, beauty, art, and science, among other topics.

Tecson’s team is focused on helping creators grow and improve their content strategy on TikTok, often arranging one-on-one discussions or webinars with influencers within the lifestyle and education content verticals. Tecson worked with Bella Poarch, a creator and music artist who leveraged her popularity on the app into a singing career.

“I think it’s really important and it’s a really big challenge for us constantly to always pivot and try to meet our creators exactly where they are,” Tecson said. “If there are explicit questions that they have that we haven’t answered before, we work really hard to provide those resources for them.”

Before joining TikTok, Tecson worked in creator management at YouTube. 

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: The “Corn Kid,” and a more recent trend in which creators use voice filters to share their partners’ “icks.”

Ogo, Thirteenth

Ogo stands in a floral hat and cow pattern sweater outside
Ogo. 

Role: Founder and head of partnerships

When Ogo Akamelu (known professionally by his first name) was in high school, he and a friend were running a t-shirt company and paying Twitter influencers to amplify their products.

“It didn’t go anywhere,” said Ogo, now 25, but it wouldn’t be his last influencer-marketing exchange.

Ogo went on to found in 2019 an influencer-marketing company called Thirteenth, during the apex of TikTok’s explosive rise.

In 2020, Ogo became the non-exclusive manager handling brand deals for the creator-content house The House Nobody Asked For, which was based in Las Vegas and disbanded at the end of 2020. Ogo began managing the collective after meeting one of the members through a Netflix project, the house members previously told Insider.

From there, Ogo has continued to manage talent and work with brands like Netflix, Hinge, Cash App, Nike, Converse, and Chipotle. He also helped co-launch, with Whalar, The Crib Around the Corner, an Los Angeles content house designed to shine a spotlight on Black creators.

“TikTok was a bit more of an even playing field because there wasn’t a long-standing relationship in place to gate keep who can do what or who can work with who,” Ogo said. “No one really had a TikTok team or TikTok expert.”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Lil Uzi Vert’s song “Just Wanna Rock” and the viral dance that came with it (the song itself has more than 610,000 videos on TikTok).

“It’s just really high energy and really fun,” Ogo said.

Christen Moore, Twitch

Christen Moore, Twitch
Christen Moore. 

Role: Director, strategic partnerships (creator)

Moore, 31, leads a team within Twitch focused on strategic partnerships with its top streamers, across categories like gaming, “Just Chatting,” pop culture, music, and sports.

Since joining the company in 2018, Moore has worked closely with streamers like Imane “Pokimane” Anys, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Jeremy “Jerma985” Elbertson, and Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker.

Moore’s team helped support several of Twitch’s banner streaming events of the last few years, including Piker’s 2020 election coverage, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s “Among Us” Twitch stream, Elbertson’s “DollHouse” stream, and Julien Solomita’s Aries Kitchen League.

Moore told Insider that her focus in the past couple years has been helping streamers become more data-oriented in how they run their businesses.

“My hope is that creators make a regular habit of putting aside time to celebrate their successes, learn from past challenges, and dig into their data to improve their channels,” she said. “By empowering them to review their brand through the lens of a business owner, streamers are able to engage their communities more strategically, monetize more effectively, think about what they want their futures to look like, and then get right back to doing what they know and love best: creating incredible content.”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Streamers like Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker and Imane “Pokimane” Anys covered big news events on stream with compassion, building a sense of community for their chats during challenging moments in the year.

Andrew Leonard, YouTube

Man smiling wearing a white shirt and black suit jacket on a bright red background
Andrew Leonard. 

Role: Strategic partner manager

Leonard, 31, started his career at Google, where he worked for nine years in departments like ad sales and hardware.

He’d always been a YouTube fan and had two YouTube channels throughout his life.

“I had this moment where I thought, ‘I like making YouTube videos. Maybe I should just work at YouTube,'” Leonard said.

In 2020, he joined YouTube, and became a key figure in supporting the growth of top Shorts creators on the platform and in creating a playbook for YouTube’s approach to short-form video.

Leonard provides creators with one-on-one, in-depth support, helping them grow and stabilize their YouTube revenue across both Shorts and long-form video.

He helps creators build businesses, introducing them to potential investors to support efforts to expand into brick-and-mortar sales or product launches. He also introduces talent to other creators to foster relationships.

Leonard works within YouTube to secure resources for creators inside the company, and to keep execs informed about the top Shorts personalities they should know about.

“Our team really prides itself on going deep with creators,” he said.

One example of this was Leonard’s work with Dylan Lemay. 

Lemay gained millions of subscribers on TikTok and YouTube while documenting his work at an ice-cream shop. In the summer of 2022, Lemay was able to open his own brick-and-mortar ice-cream store in New York.

Leonard was there every step of the way, helping to secure investors, marketing the launch, soliciting press coverage, and even just sweeping the floors and installing the air-conditioning on opening day.

As more physical businesses like Lemay’s emerge, Leonard is hoping to create a support system that allows them to access the services Google offers for small businesses, like search ads or map listings, with ease.

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: The “Penny Series” videos published by creator Ryan Trahan. 

In this series of videos, Trahan attempted to survive for 30 days after starting with just one penny. He filmed daily vlogs to document his experience while raising money for charity.

Tiffany Matloob, YouTube

Tiffany Matloob attends the YouTube Spring Creator Dinner at Yamashiro Hollywood on May 03, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Tiffany Matloob. 

Role: Global head of creator community, YouTube Shorts

Matloob, 33, has been working in the short-form video space for six years.

She led creator partnerships and content operations at Musical.ly — which later became TikTok — and supported the launch of Reels on Instagram. In 2021, she joined YouTube to be at the forefront of the platform’s push into short-form video.

“YouTube is this well-oiled machine, and they totally know creators and how to give them all that love,” she said, adding that her role is about “figuring out a way to do it at scale” with Shorts.

In her role, Matloob looks after the community partner managers who help identify and nurture emerging creators on Shorts, through the Shorts Creator Community.

The community now includes tens of thousands of creators globally across 19 languages, YouTube said, and Matloob is at its helm, organizing virtual and in-person events for creators, and coming up with ideas to support creativity on Shorts.

Her team launched a virtual “Shorts Creator House” to allow YouTubers to meet online, and recently introduced “Shortsmas,” a short-form take on the longstanding YouTube tradition of “Vlogmas” — when creators film vlogs throughout December all the way to Christmas. 

Internally, Matloob has taken the role of an “educator on all things short-form content,” she said, organizing immersive experiences with teams like product, research, and marketing.

“We have all of these systems set up to help support these creators,” she said. “It’s just like, let’s amplify even more. Let’s 10x it.”

Favorite social-media moment of 2022: Matloob enjoyed dancing to Taylor Swift’s new music, but her favorite trend is that of “content with soul,” she said.

She describes it as, “something that is great to watch, but you also learn something or feel empowered from it.”

She mentioned creator Morgan Lynzi, who makes cooking videos while telling stories about empowerment or social issues, as an example.

As this generation’s spending power and appetite for fashion grows, BoF’s research and analysis think tank looks at the most-revered brands among young fashion shoppers.

Millennial & Gen Z
Millennial & Gen Z (Getty)

If evidence were needed of how impactful collaborations can be in expanding customer bases, Gucci’s tie-up with Roblox in 2021 provides it. Under the oversight of then-creative director Alessandro Michele, the Kering-owned Italian house’s collaboration with the online gaming platform has been part of a bigger strategy to connect with different demographics, and thus helped cement Gucci as a favourite brand for Gen-Z, the generation aged between 12 and 25 years who account for approximately 25 percent of the global population.

A recent survey of nearly 1,000 US Gen-Z consumers by BoF Insights, in partnership with Juv Consulting, asked respondents to name their favourite brand. Though Nike was by far the top brand, Gucci followed in second place, ahead of Adidas and the only luxury brand to make the top 10. The survey forms part of a larger analysis conducted for BoF Insights’ latest report. “Gen-Z and Fashion in the Age of Realism,” which explores this generation’s relationship with fashion, their sources of style inspiration and the brands they most admire, and why.

BoF Insights Chart Watch
BoF Insights Chart Watch

Nike has gained favour with Gen-Z through a combination of its casual yet stylish apparel and footwear designs, creative collaborations, accessible price and high-profile marketing campaigns addressing social causes.

But Gucci, too, has found favour among Gen-Z, despite its pricey products being out of reach for most young consumers. The house’s efforts to engage younger consumers with experiments such as NFT drops and virtual spaces in Roblox, as well as streetwear and sportswear-oriented products and collaboration.

But Gen-Z is also gravitating towards fast and mid-tier brands, like H&M, Zara and Levi’s, as the latest BoF Insights report reveals. Shein, at number 10, is the only ultra-fast fashion brand to appear in the top 20, with our Gen-Z panelists noting that they primarily engage with the segment due to affordability and the frequency of new trend-driven products, but have the aspiration to trade up as their spending power continues to grow.

At the same time, focus groups conducted for the report said they also want to support sustainable and underrepresented brands. Yet affordability is important for this generation, with 66 percent of survey respondents indicating that price is one of the top three most important factors when buying from a fashion brand, followed by brand style and sustainability.

For more research and analysis on the topic, download BoF Insights report on “Gen-Z and the Age of Realism.

Along with Gen-Z, BoF Insights’ archive also includes research and analysis on designer bagsresaledigital fashionfashion’s supply chain and sustainability.

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Gen-Z and Fashion in the Age of Realism | BoF Insights Banner