Get to Know the Talented Twins Taking Over TikTok With Their Wildly In-Sync Dance Videos
You know those people who just radiate positivity? The ones who seemingly descended from the sun itself because they exude a light so bright, you forget that darkness even exists? Shayné and Zhané Stanley are practically the co-presidents of that group. The identical twin sisters, known by their one million followers as the Nae Nae Twins, have carved out their own niche within the saturated world of TikTok dancers, delivering synchronized routines that'll have you continuously scrolling down their page for hours on end. (Yep, speaking from personal experience here, people!)
The 26-year-old Sacramento natives joined the ranks of viral TikTok all-stars last year when their dance challenge for Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage Remix," seen below, reached the masses. Mere hours after Meg dropped the track in late April, Shayné and Zhané worked their magic and whipped up a synchronized routine set to Beyoncé's verse, and it quickly became ubiquitous on the app. In fact, even Megan herself noticed the dance and wound up taking on the challenge — twice.
Of course, life didn't go back to normal for the Nae Nae Twins after their moment in the spotlight — new followers poured in, and along with them, an ongoing flurry of brand partnership opportunities. I had the chance to catch up with Zhané and Shayné about what led them to viral stardom and can confirm it was the single most enjoyable phone conversation I've had in my 26 years of life. They contagiously laughed in tandem, frequently finished each other's sentences, and ultimately secured my status as a life-long member of their so-called Naetion.
Ahead, read through our enlightening conversation about the pressure of having more than one million dedicated followers, their process for creating dance routines, what it's like to work with family, and so much more. And while you're at it, be sure to hit them with a follow on TikTok (@ naenaetwinsofficial), Instagram (@naenaetwins), and YouTube (NaeNaeTwins).
POPSUGAR: To kick things off, can you share a bit about your backgrounds in dance?
Shayné Stanley: We started dancing at the age of 5. Our auntie would bring us to her parties or anything she was invited to, and we would be invited as just for entertainment. But professionally, we started dancing at a dance studio at the age of 11, and we trained in various styles: hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, musical theater. Everything but tap because we just couldn't get into it. We moved to LA about seven years ago, and we just really wanted to pursue our career in dance and just take it to the next level.
PS: I know you've toured with some awesome musical artists in the past — would you mind listing out a few?
Zhané Stanley: Yes, we've toured with P. Diddy, we did Iggy Azalea, Keyshia Cole, we worked with Future and Tyga.
PS: OK cool, just casually dropping some huge names here. Who's your dream artist that you'd love to go on tour with?
SS: Ooo, I'd say Megan Thee Stallion.
ZS: I feel like Meg would definitely be fun. She's the same age as us.
PS: Have you always danced together, or have either of you ever broken off to do your own project?
SS: We always like to stay together as much as possible, but there have been times when we both got different opportunities that we couldn't pass up. So we would just be there to support each other.
PS: Wait, back up — one of you was in Lizzo's Grammys performance?
SS: It was actually right after my pregnancy, right after I gave birth. That's the first job I got into after.
PS: On the TikTok note, you both blew up last year with your "Savage Remix" dance challenge. How have your lives changed since going viral?
SS: Oh my gosh, they absolutely changed, did a whole 360, 180 . . . one of those.
ZS: Actually we got a lot opportunities from that, and a lot of doors opened for us, which we're completely grateful for and blessed to have. We've worked with many, many major brands that were actually on our dream board. We booked Fenty, we did BET, we've worked with HP and Genius, MTV. Beats by Dre was actually our first campaign that we booked. And Disney Channel — we've wanted to work with Disney Channel ever since we were little.
ZS: For them to come to us, it was life-changing.
PS: What exactly was the collab with Disney?
SS: We did this Halloween campaign with them. It was really cool. We actually were in a commercial on Disney Channel as well.
"We want to be relatable to our supporters."
PS: Wow, yeah those are some big brands, and that actually brings me to a question I had in mind: how do you decide which brands are a good fit for sticking to your personal brand?
SS: We just stick to companies that can relate to our brand and our audience. Our brand is basically all about sisterhood, just having that partnership. We want to be relatable to our supporters. Any brand that comes to us with a campaign that's relatable and that can reach our supporters as well, that's the ones that we like to stick to. But also the ones that we love as well.
PS: Totally makes sense. Going back to the "Savage Remix" dance challenge, Megan Thee Stallion herself did the dance, which is amazing. What was going through your minds when you saw that clip of her?
ZS: We were literally mind blown, and the fact that she did it twice . . . we actually knew one of her dancers, so I kind of feel like her dancers put it in her ear like, "Do the twins' challenge." I don't know if she did that for sure, but the fact that she even tried it, that was literally mind blowing. We were like, "She did not!" That was the first time a celebrity actually did [one of our challenges].
SS: We also were looking for Beyoncé to do it as well, but what was very touching of her was that she actually did see our video. We know because she sent us Ivy Park clothing. I think that's better than her doing the challenge.
PS: With that dance in particular, you guys dropped it on Tik Tok and Instagram a few hours after the remix came out. How on earth did you come up with the routine so quickly? It's flawless.
SS: It was something that we knew we had to hop on because Beyoncé has always been an inspiration of ours. "Savage" was already a big song, so we were like, you know this remake is going to blow, so we might as well just hop on it.
ZS: We kind of predicted that the song was going to blow, so we just added a visual and a challenge. We didn't expect our dance to blow, but we knew the song would blow.
SS: It was weird. We were like, let's create to it because it was such an inspiration, just hearing her lyrics and being able to create to it was something that was amazing to do.
PS: What's your usual process for coming up with new dance choreography?
SS: We first predict that [the song] is going to be huge, that everybody's going to create to it just like "Up," for example. We knew that people were going to hop on it and we were like, "OK, this is what we have to do right away."
ZS: So firstly, look to see if we predict that it's trending, and then we listen to the beat and the lyrics and we'll go, "OK, which part should we choreograph to?" That's when we just start moving. We literally just start throwing moves out there and then we either both agree on that move or we'll be like, "No, let's change that."
SS: If we both don't agree on something, then you take it out. That's a rule of ours. If one person feels so strongly about the move, then we have to sell it. Then if it passes, if she buys it, it goes into the dance.
ZS: The lyrics help a lot. If it's talking about hips, we'll do something with the hips. If it's talking about your head, we'll do something with the head. It really just moves us, the lyrics.
"If we just stay inspired, we'll be able to create content all day, every day."
PS: You obviously have a huge following on TikTok and Instagram — do you ever feel any sort of pressure to be constantly creating new content?
ZS: Oh my gosh, all the time. We got tagged to do one of Megan Thee Stallion's songs and they were like, "Nae Nae twins, where are you?" Whenever Megan puts out, it's like, "Where are the challenge twins?"
SS: We literally do what the followers suggest. Whatever they like, we try to stick to that because we just want to give what people enjoy watching. We want to give what they ask for.
PS: How do you deal with that pressure of always having to be in a creative mode?
SS: At times it can be overwhelming, but I feel like this is something that we love to do and we've been doing for a long time. So it doesn't really feel like work. It doesn't really feel like pressure because it's what we're going to do anyway. We get inspired by the songs that are released from these artists. So honestly, if we just stay inspired, we'll be able to create content all day, every day.
PS: I can tell through the phone that you two are super close and laughing all the time, which I love. What's it like to always be collaborating with your sister? I could personally never work with my brothers all day — we'd just butt heads too much.
ZS: We've always been close since we were little, and we're both really goofy. We're easy to get along with. It's basically a best friend kind of vibe. You always want to be around your best friend. That just makes it easy because we're always around each other all the time.
SS: But don't get me wrong! We have our stressful times. She can be moody.
ZS: But I still work with it because I know that we're still going to produce great content out of it, regardless of how we feel. Sometimes I have to push her, sometimes she has to push me, and we just work together. We're a team. We kind of want people to see us as a working family. We're two partners, we're two sisters, and we just want to motivate other sisters to be able to see that it's doable, you can be successful and you can work with your family member. There's always a misconception of being able to work with family.
PS: Your close bond definitely translates to your dance moves because you are both always so in-sync! What's your secret for dancing like that?
ZS: Honestly, we don't have a secret. We've been dancing with each other for so long. It just comes naturally. We know what looks good on each other and how to move, and honestly, God gave us that. I'm going to give Him all the credit. When we're actually in the moment, we feel like we are different.
SS: We have different styles. Zhané is the more aggressive, hard-hitting one. I'm more soft, but I still get the moves. Other people can't tell that, but since we've been doing it so long, we know our different styles.
PS: I was creeping through your TikTok comments, and quite a few of your followers frequently ask if you teach dance classes. Is that something you've ever considered doing?
SS: Yeah, a lot of people always ask us to teach. We've dibbled and dabbled.
ZS: Our mom actually forced — OK, I wouldn't say forced — our mom actually encouraged us to teach when we were little, but we just never really enjoyed it.
SS: It's not something for us. We are in the works of wanting to set up a studio or a space where we can go and teach our challenges.
ZS: We don't mind teaching our tutorials and stuff, but actually teaching dance routines full out there, that's just something we're not interested in.
PS: Last year, TikTok got some heat for suppressing content shared by Black creators. Is that something that you've personally experienced?
SS: When we created the Saweetie "Best Friend" challenge, all the big — well, we're also big, too — but all the bigger influencers did it as well, but didn't give us credit, and I was like, "Umm, do y'all know where that came from?" But that really made me feel a way.
ZS: Yeah, it has affected us in a way. Sometimes we don't get credit and sometimes people blame us for not giving credit. We did get a blamed for using the original creator of the "Savage" dance challenge, Keke, we used her choreo, probably two or three moves at the end of our challenge, and a lot of people were kind of upset that we didn't give her credit for those two moves. It is a big issue . . . and I think it's going to continue to happen because sometimes people can't research where the dance comes from. Sometimes they just see it and they want to do it because it's fun. I don't get upset that somebody didn't give me credit for that one specific reason — 'cause I know that you don't want to research who did it, you just want to do it for fun. I get that, but if you know who the originator is and you're not tagging them, then that's where the problem lies.
"You have to keep going. You have to be committed and consistent."
PS: Do you have any beginner-friendly tips for people who are looking to get into dancing at your kind of level?
ZS: I would just say be consistent with learning and training. I think that's really important because we were always in the studio, and you just have to have an open mind and never give up. Even if you fail . . .
SS: . . . Even if you get rejected, like some amateurs that go to auditions, they'll get rejected and they'll just quit.
ZS: Even us, we got rejected so many times, but we never let that stop us.
SS: You have to keep going. You have to be committed and consistent.
PS: What's next for you two? Any fun projects coming up that you can tease?
SS: It's not about dance, but about our lives: we are both engaged now.
ZS: A lot of people are asking us in our comments, "Are you guys going to have a double wedding?" We're like, "Absolutely not." Although we're the same, we dance the same, we're two different people. We have different personalities, different interests. Shayné, she wants to have a small intimate courthouse wedding. I want to have the big, over-the-top, elegant, glamorous wedding. That's what we're working on now.
PS: And what about dance-wise, what's on the horizon?
ZS: We just want to create more honestly, because we feel like we've been doing so many campaigns, and we just want to be able to create now more than ever.
SS: We have been slacking on just being able to post our own content for our page. If you scroll down to the bottom of our page, we were just having fun and enjoying ourselves. We want to get back to that. We are still grateful and blessed to be able to have these campaigns and opportunities come our away, but we have to learn how to manage it.
"Your journey is always going to be your success, not your destination."
PS: Is there anything else you'd like POPSUGAR's readers to know about you?
SS: We just always like to have our supporters keep in mind that we want them to continue to be committed to their passions and never give up because that's one of the things that we always stick to is just consistency. And we feel like our journey is our success. We want them to know that your journey is always going to be your success, not your destination.