He lays in bed, staring up at the ceiling, wondering how he will pass the slowly moving time. The year is 2020, and he has been at home in quarantine for nearly a month. He opens up TikTok and begins scrolling; he chooses a random sound and records a TikTok, laughing as he taps post. Before he knows it, junior Jaxon Gauntt has gained a following on TikTok and a new joy for life.
“I started making TikToks during COVID and I just kept making them after,” Gauntt said. “I got really bored over quarantine and I decided that it would be really fun to start making videos. Once I started making them I really enjoyed it and I just kept it up.”
Gauntt did not begin his rise to fame through TikTok. He used apps, such as Zoomerang, Instagram, and Youtube when he was younger to build a platform and name for himself.
“I posted on an app called Zoomerang before I started posting on Tiktok,” said Gauntt. “I actually had more followers on there and a lot of them ended up following me on TikTok, but it's not an app I use anymore.”
Gauntt posts a multitude of different videos on his page, usually showcasing his friends and family. Through doing this, he has built up a major following online.
“I post a variety of content; sometimes it’s vlogs or just what I'm doing throughout the day or dances and trends,” Gauntt said. “I had around 158 thousand followers and most of my videos received a lot of attention but it varies.”
Gauntt has received brand deals and features on different media thanks to the ASL video and many others. Due to the amount he has received, he has to pick the ones of the best quality that he’s interested in.
“I’ve gotten probably around like 100 people asking for me to do stuff for them,” Gauntt said. “I have done a couple of tee shirt brand deals, like the Seek Jesus company and the Southern and Faithful company. One of my favorites has been the Pluto Case, which is a phone case that sticks to walls and makes filming videos so much easier."
After all of this gain and many other popular videos, Gauntt was hacked a few months later. A fake verification email tricked him and gained all his information easily.
“I logged into TikTok on my phone and right after I received an email asking to verify my account,” Gauntt said. “I started putting everything in and it looked really normal, but when I tried to log back in it wouldn’t let me. That’s when I received another email saying I had to pay to get my account back and I knew I had been hacked.”
Gauntt lost complete access to the account and refused to pay the hackers. He chose to start from scratch and make a new account.
“It’s just really frustrating because it took a long time to build up what I had,” Gauntt said. “But it’s not a huge deal to build it all backup, it will just take more time. I already have a new account, @JaxsonGauntt2.0, so I can start posting again.”
Jaxson plans to pursue social media after he graduates high school. His support system has helped him to where he is today and he plans to continue growing with them.
“I definitely do want to pursue a career in social media even though I don’t really know what I’m doing after high school yet,” Gauntt said. “I would say my biggest support comes from my family and my friends. But also I have gained a bunch of random people through social media who have been huge supporters.
Jaxson's love and commitment to being an influencer will continue over the following years. He shares some words of encouragement for those looking to do the same.
“If you want to start content, I just think go for it,” Gauntt said. “There’s obviously going to be people that are going to make fun of you but if It’s something you enjoy I think you should pursue it and just work hard at it.”