Gen Z’s Favorite Influencers
1. Devin Halbal (@halbaddie) has taken the internet by storm in 2022! The selfie-stick-wielding influencer is a constant ray of sunshine on our TikTok pages, which has made Halbal one of Gen Z’s favorites this year. If you aren’t one of her “dolls” yet, get on it, stat.
2. Eric Sedeño (@ricotaquito) is TikTok’s “queer Latinx excellence.” His content centers around comedy and art. Outside of social media, Sedeño is a graphic designer and creative at social impact-focused candle company Groove Gives. Follow him for a great laugh!
3. Dylan Mulvaney (@dylanmulvaney) has had a YEAR in 2022. The end of the year will mark 295 days of “being a girl,” a landmark the transgender creator often highlights in her videos. They light up TikTok with playful videos, from showing off her “She/they Outfit of the Day”s to singing songs from musicals. Whenever you need a pick-me-up, check out Mulvaney’s page.
4. Cleo (@korectiion) is asking us the important questions: [insert random object] or Black History Month? Even funnier, her videos are (mostly) filmed in her local Walmart. Though Cleo began 2022 by posting random content and GRWM (Get Ready With Me) videos, her content turned towards Walmart interviews after her first video received 1.8 million views. She will forever be an enigma to Gen Z.
5. Antoni Bumba (@antonibumba) is social media’s favorite lifestyle and fashion influencer, New York City resident, and “girl with a beard.” Bumba posts hilarious BBL editions of off-duty models and laundromat trips, ensures that her followers know the product numbers of her outfits, and shares life tips. Follow her to become *that girl!*
1. The Gentleminion trend was the defining moment of our summer. The challenge began with teen Bill Hirst (watch his TikTok here) and Yeat’s “Rich Minion” song and quickly spread around Gen Z. With hordes of teenagers swarming theatres in formal wear, this trend was surprisingly wholesome. If this is what we need to get men in suits, I will be there on day one of the next Minions movie…
2. We need an American Girl Doll who curates Gen Z marketing content for older generations! The American Girl Doll trend was legendary for platforming the most niche of actions (an American Girl Doll who just ate an entire bag of Snacky Snack Mixy Mix during a walk? An American Girl Doll who brings buffalo chicken dip to every party?). With a perfect combination of nostalgia and existentialism, this trend perfectly embodied Gen Z. And, it *did* make me want to regrow my AGD collection, à la 2010.
3. The “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” trend was really multiple different takes on the most popular song from “Encanto.” While some messed around with a red/blue filter, others walked like Mariano. We also cosplayed characters, danced, and spilled tea. Something about the song united every side of social media — and those out of it. At the box office, “Encanto” brought in $256.8 million, as well as being rewatched over 180 million times on Disney+. Shout out to Lin-Manuel Miranda for succeeding “Hamilton” with another inter-generational hit!
4. It’s corn! Probably the most wholesome sound in 2022, the Corn trend captured toddler Tariq’s joy at his favorite food. Tariq told an interviewer that he didn’t know corn existed until he tried it with butter, but now he believes everyone should try it. The lines that stuck, however, were “I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing” and “A big lump with knobs. It has the juice.” The latter was made into a song with over 2.8 billion views on TikTok by @schmoyoho. Since the trend, Tariq has helped donate vegetables to New York City families and become South Dakota’s official corn-bassador. Tariq >>> everyone.
5. The “Jiggle Jiggle” trend originated from the “Chicken Shop Date” series on YouTube, in which Amelia Dimoldenberg interviewed documentarian Louis Theroux. Dimoldenberg asked Theroux if he remembered any of a rap he performed on “Weird Weekend.” His rap was remixed into a song by Duke & Jones that users danced with a deadpan expression to. The likes of Shakira, the Riverdale cast, and BLACKPINK performed this dance on TikTok. Somehow, the most impactful rap trend of 2022 wasn’t even a rap song.
This year, we’ve sent out 44 editions of the Screenshot! The Screenshot has also grown from 3,392 to 4,696 subscribers. And, we love every one of them! If you have any friends who need some Gen Z ~spice~ in their life, send them our way 😉
1. The Downtown Girl aesthetic is who we all want to be! This lifestyle includes a routine of walking around your city with headphones, wearing thrifted clothes to rock concerts, and reading on public transit. Essentially, we’re all trying to look like “10 Things I Hate About You”’s Kat Stratford. Downtown Girl attracted so many Gen Zers in 2022 because of the search for a more relatable version of the “Uptown Girl” and the rise in appreciation of the 70s-00s. These decades combined to create a cohesive image that has received 1.1 billion views on TikTok.
2. The Soft Aesthetic feels like waking up first at the sleepover! Typically referred to as “Soft Boy” or “Soft Girl,” this emphasizes nature, blue/white/pink/brown, the “do not disturb” mindset, and “mov[ing] in love always.” According to Tie Rosey, participants are vulnerable as a form of self-love, surrounding themselves with others who appreciate the “softer” aspects of life. 2022 introduced “Soft Girl Spring,” full of picnics and self-care routines. With the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the self was a long-standing (and crucial) shift throughout the year.
3. The Coquette aesthetic is the epitome of Pinterest vibes. With inspirations of lace, vintage items, and pink and white, it is truly a love letter to ages past. Though the term “coquette” originally meant a woman who flirts with men without any interest in them, it has shifted to represent a hyper-feminine, dainty ideal. Coquette began to trend in November of 2021, with Pinterest searches for the term increasing three times from the October number. However, it gained intense popularity in the spring of 2022. Creators like @indychloee, @fairynadia, and @dollclubxo document their lives with rose-colored glasses.
Most Popular Screenshot Editions
1. April 12, 2022: “✨You’re part of our Screenshot community!” signaled a turn to making the Screenshot a more community-based newsletter. We began this by polling subscribers about the topics they wanted to hear more about. As the Screenshot engages with our squad, we aim to create the most relevant content for professional leaders around the world. If you have a comment or question, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
2. April 19, 2022: “🌱 Wanna hear the truth on sustainable marketing?” celebrated World Earth Day, coinciding with JUV’s release of “An open letter from Gen Z on sustainability & climate action.” Environmentalism is one of young people’s largest issues and, with 2025 and 2030 goals quickly approaching, it is crucial to reverse climate damage.
3. August 16, 2022: “👋🥺 Goodbye & thank you…” was Jawwad Mustafa’s last edition as Director of the Screenshot. After two years of sending out Gen Z’s latest obsessions (621 trends!), he moved on to pursue his career with the Guardian full-time. You can check out his exit interview here!
4. November 15, 2022: “Missing the Renegade RN 😔💔” covered a broad range of topics — from Daylight Savings Time to quarantine nostalgia — but mainly focused on mental health. I’m not exactly sure why this issue resonated so hard, but I do feel the same about the Renegade era: simpler times.
5. November 22, 2022: “Q&Z – November ‘22 Edition” was the Screenshot’s second Q&Z newsletter. In these special editions, subscribers can pose questions to our team. If you have a burning question for Gen Z, ask it here. And, no, there is no such thing as a silly question.
1. Highlighted in our November 15 issue, Hot Girl Walks were the ultimate self-care hack of the year. The trend originated with TikToker Mia Lind, challenging participants to focus on three things while walking: gratitude, goals, and “how HOT” they are. In the intense stress of our current socioeconomic situation, walking and thinking positively can do wonders for physical and mental health. If Dua Lipa does it, why aren’t you?
2. In 2022, we shopped locally and sustainably! With the number of people ranting about lactose intolerance and the amount of Gen Z passionate about climate change, alternative milk options have become all the rage (and, you’ve got to appreciate Oatly’s marketing tactics). We also value shopping from small businesses — though we do appreciate a Starbs PSL in the fall. This makes an oat milk latte the ultimate Gen Z coffee order before rushing off to class. Plus, the caffeine doesn’t hurt.
3. The first step of every morning for Gen Z is running through a skincare routine — whether as simple as a cleanser or as complicated as a Vogue Beauty Secrets video. This ensures your skin stays flawless and helps you start the morning off right. As @steph0sims Tweeted, Gen Z “came out the womb with 10 step korean skincare routines.”
1. One thing Gen Z obsesses over: fast-casual salads. A Chopt Santa Fe salad or a Panera Baja bowl is the key to our hearts. This healthy, convenient, and cheap menu item is perfect for a generation that values caring for their body. “Y’all better come up here and get one of these!”
2. How very ‘80s of us! Bulky headphones are all the rage again, after the hype around AirPods has begun to subside. Partially inspired by the Downtown Girl aesthetic mentioned above and partially by popular shows like Stranger Things, it is not uncommon to see campuses swarmed with young people wearing Sony and SkullCandy. Now, for what we listen to: “Un Verano Sin Ti” by Bad Bunny was one of the top albums of the year. Heard at beaches and parties around the world, the album was the first Latin album to top the Billboard 200. The two combined embody every “What song are you listening to?” interview on TikTok.
3. No matter what team you associate with, sports fans worldwide are going crazy for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. From edits of South Korea’s Son Heung-min to incessant story reposts of 433’s graphics, Gen Z is embracing the sporting event of the year. Though the USA squad did not make it past the round of 16, the majority of fans have shifted to support another team. Now, we just need to see if France will face the winner’s curse this year.
1. “It’s sha-coo-tree, not char-coo-tuh-ree!” The infamous TikTok of a French girl blowing off steam marked the ascent of charcuterie boards for young people. A dish perfect for wine nights or dinners out, the assortments are Gen Z’s classy food of choice. Charcuterie has branched out into “board nights” where attendees bring plates themed by color or cuisine. When in doubt, bring a charcuterie board!
2. Film photography regained popularity with Gen Z. With the success of nostalgia branding, young people began to flock to film to capture a “slower” form of photography. While one can take hundreds of phone photos in a night, most film rolls are 8 (for print film like Polaroid and FUJIFILM) or 32 (for 35mm film cameras like Canon). This makes each shot more valuable to the photographer. Polaroid has partnered with brands like Stranger Things, Puma, and Nike. Film has become a love all generations can share!
3. Another thing Gen Z is making cool again: books. Reading was seen as “dorky” in the 2000s and early 2010s (though we were all lowkey reading the “Hunger Games” and “Percy Jackson”), but quarantine introduced an era of fearlessly pursuing our hobbies. The hashtag #BookTok on TikTok has over 93.5 billion views, with novels like “It Ends With Us” and “Red, White, and Royal Blue” finding a niche with young people online. We’ve also seen adaptations of popular books, like “The Summer I Turned Pretty” and “Call Me By Your Name,” trend across social media in 2022. The Literacy Trust found that 51.5% of UK 8-18-year-olds enjoyed reading (as of October 2021), compared to 47.8% in January 2020. Enter your book era for improved happiness (and access to swoon-worthy scenes)!
Biggest Images of 2022
1. From “karma is a cat” to “I’m the problem, it’s me,” Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” album lyrics put the entirety of Gen Z into a chokehold. Following her re-releases of the Red and Fearless albums, Swift looked to complete her “Lover house” by highlighting 13 midnights across her life. As many Gen Z look at Swift as their celebrity cool aunt, her nostalgic songs struck a chord (literally). Her 2023 tour quickly sold out, leading to calls for Ticketmaster to be disbanded. Swift is the “Mastermind” of creating a Gen Z fan base!
2. Worlds collided when Harry Styles took a fan’s BeReal at a concert. BeReal was its own cultural phenomenon, with the number of users joining the app jumping from 921,000 in July 2021 to 53 million in October 2022. Many viewed it as a definite signal of the anti-social-media-social-media movement, which has spread across digital applications. As for Styles, he has had a great year — from performing 15 nights at Madison Square Garden to sitting at #7 on the Billboard 200 for “Harry’s House” and acting in two movies. His engaging audience-based commentary and masculinity-subverting looks have motivated music fans to compare him to David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Styles’ decisively-Millennial use of BeReal broke the internet.
3. “Comedy is now legal on Twitter.” Elon Musk’s first Tweet as the owner of Twitter marked a turning point in Twitter’s systems. Musk reinstated contentious figures like Donald Trump and Ye, and introduced the Twitter Blue feature. The latter was a $7.99/month verification service, allowing any Twitter account to get the coveted blue check. Of course, Gen Z went to town with this. Nestlé Tweeted, “We steal your water and sell it back to you lol,” while Pepsi Tweeted, “Coke is better.” Infamously, an Eli Lilly impersonation posted, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” This caused shares to fall by over 3.3% and affordable/free healthcare supporters to call out the company for its exorbitant insulin prices. Quickly, Musk required accounts to identify as parodies in their names and bios, shutting down hundreds of Twitter users who did not comply. He also fired over ⅓ of Twitter’s staff. 2022 was decidedly not Musk’s year.
4. The question to end all questions: Ronaldo or Messi? The two football players participated in a photo shoot with Louis Vuitton, picturing them playing a game of chess on the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy case. Ronaldo captioned the photo, “Victory is a State of Mind.” Over 41.1 million liked the post, with over 511,000 comments. With the heightened football obsession during the 2022 World Cup season, this picture was posted the day before the competition began. This tournament is likely to be the stars’ last, and there is a possibility that the Argentinian and Portuguese players will face off in the finals. I have my bias, but I won’t share it here…
5. Love it or hate it, the Pink Sauce was a defining cultural moment of 2022. Chef Pii, who creates inventive culinary dishes, went viral on TikTok in June for her dragonfruit-tinted savory sauce. Reactions were extremely mixed, from some saying “so creative and … a whole vibe” and others saying “it’s watered down ranch with pink food coloring.” She launched the sauce at $20 a bottle on July 1 at 11:11 AM, but the drama quickly rolled in. Consumers found issues with the leaky packaging, ingredients list, non-refrigerated shipping, and serving size. However, Chef Pii ended up with a deal with Dave’s Gourmet, who aimed to advance the sauce to large-scale production and its quality standards. As of December 5, they have sold out of the sauce. We’ll need to wait until 2023 to see if Pink Sauce keeps its hype!