It’s October 6, 2021 and a cluster of college girls gather just outside of the Inked headquarters on 22nd Street in Manhattan. After being tipped off by a social media post—the modern-day siren’s call—each had made the decision to skip that day’s classes to set up camp outside. They brace against the crisp New York air, each craning to get a glimpse of the man who’s stopped by for a photoshoot and a new tattoo. Could it be the next charted rapper or Hollywood’s latest silver screen sensation? Nope, it’s TikTok heartthrob Vinnie Hacker.
TikTok has lifted its elite content creators to celebrity status as the diverse platform offers limitless ways in which someone can accumulate a fandom. Hacker found his success by turning up the charm and leaning into the burgeoning thirst trap market. This earned him a legion of fangirls almost overnight but it has also led the 19-year-old to feel like his character is a bit misunderstood.
“I feel like people like to believe that I’m kind of a dick,” Hacker says. “I totally understand why they think that before they meet me because of the content I post. I can understand why guys might hate me because I seem super cocky. But in reality, I don’t even look at my TikToks after I post them. I don’t really look at them because I feel like it would be weird to make something like that, look at it, and be like, ‘Oh yeahhh!’”
Although Hacker currently lives an extraordinary life and often has a horde of fangirls following him everywhere he goes, he’s still a normal guy deep down. He has his humble beginnings to thank for that. “Growing up, I was obviously blinded by a lot as a kid,” Hacker says. “My mom was working two jobs and my dad was working a ton of overtime as an electrician. I went to an all-boys Catholic school and it was a lot different there. There wasn’t much competition because the guys wouldn’t have anything to compete for, so it was super chill and I had a pretty good childhood.”
Obtaining social media stardom while you’re still in high school is pretty strange on its own. But throw in a same-sex Catholic school and thirst traps—that’s an entirely different league of weird. “I think I pivoted toward this type of content because I went to an all-guys school and I was so deprived of any female attention at all,” Hacker says. “But the guys at school didn’t care, everybody in the school could make a thirst trap and nobody would say anything. I honestly think our sister school made fun of me more.
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