Unfiltered, Sisterly Secrets From the Most Famous Teens on the Internet
November 18, 2020
by Kristin Harris
It's virtually impossible to scroll TikTok — or almost any major social platform — without spotting Charli or Dixie D'Amelio. After skyrocketing to fame over the past 16 months, the duo have gone from typical teen sisters navigating the halls of high school to amassing a TikTok empire and more than 200 million social followers combined. When they're not racking up billions of views on their digital content, Charli, 16, and Dixie, 19, are hard at work on countless other projects: a winter collection with Hollister; their new sister podcast, 2 Chix; a soon-to-premiere family reality TV show; a burgeoning music career for Dixie; and dance projects with the iconic Jennifer Lopez for Charli — just to name a few.
If your head is spinning just reading that short list of astonishing accomplishments, you're not alone. Yet through it all — including the overnight fame and unimaginable pressure of having 400 million eyeballs watching their every move — the D'Amelios are still just two teens who ask their parents for permission to see their friends and get excited to bake those cult-loved premade sugar cookies during the holidays like everyone else.
There are obviously some major perks to being among the most-watched faces on the internet — getting to collaborate with Liam Payne on a new holiday song and creating your own Hollister collection of winter must haves, for starters. And while the D'Amelios are equal parts amazed and grateful for the opportunities that have come their way, the most important thing in their world remains: doing it all as a family. For POPSUGAR's November cover story, the sisters sat down at Dixie's new LA apartment over Zoom for an unfiltered chat with each other about family, the importance of giving back, their wild past year, and much more . . .
Dixie D'Amelio: I like being able to stock my own pantry and not have healthy food all the time. Cereals and chips. I mean, we kind of have that stuff at home, but —
CD: Well, our parents just recently started stocking our pantry with the fun types of food.
DD: Yeah. We used to be very healthy, and now it's just like, "Whatever, we need quick stuff to move fast!” And I also like just being able to talk to myself, out loud. And I don't know, I still ask permission to see my friends and stuff with my parents, so —
CD: But you don’t have to do that.
DD: I know I don't have to, but I'm like, "Hey, is it OK if I go here?" And they're like, "You don't live here . . . "
CD: Our parents raised us to be fairly independent people, but there's things that some people just don't talk about.
DD: Like that you aren't supposed to use liquid dish soap in a dishwasher. So then I had suds all over my floor. I haven't used a washing machine. I wash my clothes, but I just haven't used it myself. I put towels in, forgot I put them in, and then they got all moldy. So it's like, "Yeah, Mom, I need help." You just got your driving permit. Where are you most looking forward to driving, and what music is going to be playing in the car?
CD: I'm scared of driving. I'm definitely not comfortable with it yet, so I don't think any music anytime soon. But I'm just excited. Right now, I have to ask my parents if they could drive me, or get an Uber or something.
DD: That's why you're late everywhere.
CD: It's just going to be so much easier when I just depend on myself and no one else. I'm just excited to have a little bit of freedom with that, you know?
DD: I think so. When we do hang out together, we have a lot more to talk about, because we're going through a lot of the same things.
CD: I feel like there's not as many sibling duos as there are people that do this by themselves. So I feel like this is something that not as many people get to understand. So it's really cool, the fact that we are able to do this together.
DD: When we were in school together, we would always go to each other. We would get in fights [with each other] during school. But there's been times where I would take you into a classroom where no one was in. We would have a full conversation. We were helping each other. We just always had each other's backs, and I just think that's kind of how we are, always have been. Do you look up to me, and what is your favorite thing about me?
CD: I'd say I definitely do look up to you in some ways, because, I mean, you're obviously older, and you know more things than I do. You've been able to teach me so much because of that. But I really look up to you about the fact that you're just very yourself and you don't really care as much about what people say. I think that that's something really, really cool that I wish I was better at. What's your favorite thing about me?
DD: Probably just how strong you are in dealing with everything. I just feel like you always know how to handle a situation. Even if you don't, you show like you do.
CD: So 2020 has obviously been tough for everyone. With Thanksgiving coming up, what do you think you're most thankful for?
DD: I'm most thankful for just family and having everyone so close, because I feel like a lot of people who move out to LA don't do it with their whole family. I know sometimes people look at us like, "Oh, that's a bad idea when the whole family gets involved." But honestly, it's kept us together and very strong, and our parents are very smart. So I'm happy with it.
CD: Lots of us spent more time at home this year. Do you feel like family matters more to you now than ever?
DD: Yes. Definitely. It's been nice spending so much time with you guys. We honestly haven't gotten in that many arguments. Sometimes when you're so nonstop, it's easier to butt heads with people. But I think we've been really good. What is one new thing you learned about our family this year?
CD: There's a lot that I learned. But I would have to say, it's not as much I learned, it's just I've been able to better understand everyone in our family's personalities and how they deal with things.
DD: What would you say is your favorite family holiday tradition?
CD: Well, we really only have one that we do every single year, and that would just be waiting at the top of the stairs.
DD: Yeah. Our mom makes us wait at the top of the stairs every Christmas morning until she's done taking pictures of everything, and then she'll let us come down and open gifts.
CD: We get together as a family and watch Christmas movies, make popcorn, and really just hang out together. We love spending the holidays together. What’s your favorite thing to cook or bake during the holidays?
DD: I think maybe those premade Christmas sugar cookies. With our Hollister collection being all about gift giving, what would you say is the best gift you've ever received?
CD: Oh, my goodness. It's probably something to do with dance. I got a lot of dance clothes, which was super exciting, and a lot of makeup for dance competitions. Over the years, that's just been something that I've been able to use a lot and have been able to just really get to enjoy as a gift. What's something you're looking forward to gifting to family or friends this year?
DD: I'm going to have such good gifts for everyone this year. Oh my gosh. Not everything has to be super nice, but I just want to put a lot of time and effort into it. I try to do thoughtful [gifts]. I feel like blankets are a really good gift. I found out this really good blanket gift, and I'm super excited to get that for myself, and then if I like it, I'll get it for everyone.
DD: I just always have done whatever I can to give back, even if it was in small ways. So it's just important to me, not even for me to feel good — just because [if] I have the opportunity to do something right, I will. No matter what it is.
CD: There are definitely a lot of organizations that we would love to work with or have loved working with. One that really sticks out is UNICEF and their cyberbullying awareness campaign. Just because of the fact that I feel like we were really able to help a lot of people by sharing our stories on bullying.
DD: I've seen you deal with it, and it's been going on before we even started social media — just online stuff at home. I just think it's important because even though it's talked about a lot, no one really says things besides, “Don't look at the comments.”
CD: Yeah. It's really awesome to be able to play a part in that, and I'm super excited to just do more of what I'm doing and hopefully just reaching more people and being able to help them. The most frustrating part is that you want something that'll fix it right now, but there isn't something, and it takes a lot of thinking, and really finding yourself, and making sure that you're happy with yourself to be able to look at someone saying something bad about you and it not affecting you. It's also very different for everyone. So there's no one thing that you can say that will make someone not feel upset, you know?
DD: Yeah. So just trying to be as helpful as we can talking about it is important. We have been given this platform now, and other than raising mental health awareness and combating cyberbullying, is there anything else you would hope to use your voice for?
CD: I think that's the awesome thing about having a platform is whatever is going on or whatever I see as a problem, I have an outlet to really share how I'm feeling and support the people that get affected, whether it's cyberbullying or mental health or anything. I do that for anyone I see that gets into this social media world and maybe doesn't have people that will tell them like, "Hey, I'm here for you." So I'm always ready to be that person. I've done that with a lot of people I've seen, because it's what I wish people had really done for me and made me feel like I had a place here. What has it been like to experience some of that hate yourself?
DD: When it happens to me, I kind of just think it's funny. And sometimes when it happens to you, I think it's funny because people make these accounts and their Instagram bio is literally, ”Oh, I bet you're mad,” or something. So they're doing it on purpose to get attention, to get people to look at it. But when it's someone serious or someone you know or even someone who has a following that's saying negative things about you, it hurts me as an older sister and I want to do something about it, but I also want to be mature and a good influence. So I usually try not to say anything. What is your reaction now when you see any negative comments, and how do you tune all that out?
CD: It took me a while to really find it in myself to not get genuinely upset about the things that people have to say about me. And I feel like it's just really growing a thick skin, which is hard because I am a very sensitive person. But at a certain point I was like, is this going to keep affecting me? Am I going to quit social media because of this? Or I'm like, am I just going to deal with it and let people say what they want, but understand that they don't know me and I'm my own person with or without social media? If there's one thing you would say to people who spread hate online, what would it be?
DD: I think, just, “What's the point?” Most of the time when someone writes hate, and the person you're writing hate about responds back, they always apologize, "It's a joke. I didn't know you'd see it." And then you're kind of like, "Well, I did see it, and now do you regret saying that?" And most of the time they do.
CD: So, we just worked with Hollister to create a new winter collection, The Feel Lab!
DD: I was super excited to work with Hollister. We did two shoots with them, and the second shoot kind of brought us in the holiday mood, which I was very excited about. And we got to pick out all of our favorite must haves, so that was super exciting. What is your favorite piece from the collection, and how do you like to wear it?
CD: I think the cozy jackets are really, really cute, and it's a great way to keep warm. Although we don't have to deal with that as much in California, we definitely got it every single year in Connecticut with snow and everything.
DD: I love fall and winter clothes with big jackets and jeans and boots so much, but you can't really wear that in California, sadly. So I've kind of been wearing jeans and tank tops, but hopefully it gets a little colder. We recently started our podcast, 2 Chix. Who would be your dream podcast guest?
CD: There are a lot of people that I do want to bring onto the podcast just to really get to sit down and have a conversation with them. Billie Eilish would be dope. There's so many people. Even if it wasn't for a podcast, I just want to hear them speak about their experiences with —
DD: Being young and going through kind of overnight success.
CD: Yeah. There's definitely people that I look up to that I've been able to reach out to online, and I think that's another great thing about social media, and people that understand, is they're so willing to help because they just want you to be happy, and they don't want you to have to feel how they were feeling. So that's really awesome. How do you decide what you want to post on TikTok?
DD: So there's not really one thing. I think if we started overthinking it, then it wouldn’t be fun. Who would be your dream person to collab on a TikTok or to dance with?
CD: Jennifer Lopez. Getting to meet her and talk to her was really awesome. She obviously just sticks out because she's a huge performance idol for me, so that's why with her, it's very different. That's something that's very exciting about all of this is that most of the people that I've wanted to collab with, or just to meet, or dance with, I've been able to, which has been really, really awesome. You were just featured on a song with Liam Payne, and I wanted to know what it was like working with Liam.
DD: He was very sweet. I was so excited when I was brought the song and they're like, "He wants you to be on it." It's like, "No, he doesn't, you're lying. You're lying. That's not true." But once it all came together, it sounded really good and, again, got me in the holiday spirit, so I'm very happy with it.
CD: I saw he didn't get to show you his pumpkin [on the Instagram Live you did together].
DD: I know! After I got off of the Live with him, he was like, "I didn't get to show Dixie my pumpkin." It was cute.
CD: Yeah, it was so cute.
DD: What would be your dream next job outside of TikTok? Would you ever want to host a dance show, be a backup dancer on tour?
CD: I want to be a baker.
CD: I want to be on Sugar Rush. I love baking. I'm just not very good.
DD: No, you're awful at it.
CD: But I love it. I try to bake cakes and fail sometimes, but I personally think most of them are good . . . my family . . . not so much. We also have a new family reality show coming out; how do you feel when people ask if it's going to be like the Kardashians?
DD: It’s so flattering that anyone would compare us to the Kardashians. They are icons. Our show will definitely be very different, though . . . I think people will see we are just a normal family. We love each other and love to have fun with each other, but also work really hard. I think sometimes people think they know this one version of us, but really soon you’ll be able to see everything else behind the cameras of our phones.
CD: What other first are you excited for or looking forward to?
DD: First live performance. I feel like that's a huge deal. So I'm excited for that. Or if we go on tour, like a meet-and-greet tour, that'd be fun. Where do you hope to be one year from now?
CD: If you would ask me that a year ago, I would have said, "In school." So it's like, who really knows, you know?
Charli & Dixie
Photographer: Jasper Soloff Creative Direction: Jae Payne Site Design: Patricia O’Connor Style Direction: Dana Avidan Cohn Style Assistant: Naomi Zinns Hair: Florido Basallo Makeup: Kelsey Deenihan Production: Cassie Doyle, Rikki Rapp, Margot Fodor Video Production: Joe Otanez, Ross Richardson
Editors: Lisa Sugar, Lindsay Miller Copy Editors: Mary White, Sonia Khaleel Talent Booker: Kristin Harris Consumer Marketing: Victoria Pedlar, Maya Berry
Clothing: Hollister Boots: Giuseppe Zanotti Necklaces: Jenny Bird Ring: Jennifer Fisher
Clothing: Hollister Shoes: Jimmy Choo Necklaces: Jenny Bird Ring: Jennifer Fisher
Clothing, Sneakers: Christian Dior Socks: Wolford
Clothing, Boots: Christian Dior
Clothing, Necklace, Bag: Chanel Boots: Jimmy Choo
Clothing, Necklace, Bag: Chanel Sandals: Giuseppe Zanotti
Sweater: Hellessy Earrings: Chanel Necklace: Jenny Bird
Sweater: Hellessy Necklace: Jenny Bird