What Addison Rae Really Wants to Do Is Act
If TikTok hadn’t been invented, Addison Rae might have one day found herself reporting from the sidelines of the Super Bowl. The 20-year-old Louisiana native was in her freshman year of college, her sights set on becoming a sports broadcaster, when she downloaded the teen-driven social media app, which was just beginning to blow up. What happened next reads like a fairy tale written for, and by, Gen Z. Capitalizing on her background as a competitive dancer, and deploying her god-given star power, Rae, whose real name is Addison Easterling, started uploading videos—goofy lip syncs, choreographed routines—and quickly gained followers. As of this writing, she has 73.8 million of them, to go along with her 33.8 million on Instagram. Popularity on that scale cannot be contained by a smartphone screen, so next year, Rae, who has been a part of the TikTok collaborative group The Hype House since its formation in 2019 and who recently launched her own line of cosmetics called Item Beauty, will make her movie debut as the star of He’s All That, a remix of the classic ’90s teen comedy She’s All That. Ahead of her very big year, Interview’s creative director Mel Ottenberg called to check-in. —BEN BARNA
MEL OTTENBERG: Addison, you killed it in 2020, and you’re going to kill it in 2021. How are you feeling?
ADDISON RAE: I feel great. I’ve done so many amazing things this past year, and it’s so crazy. I’ve just been so busy.
OTTENBERG: You kind of became famous overnight. Could you tell it was going to happen before it did?
RAE: I’ve always been interested in entertainment, and I love speaking and movies and posting and things like that. I always knew that I was going to do something in the realm of entertainment or acting, but I didn’t necessarily know that it would come at this speed. I was in college last year studying journalism, and then this all started happening last December.
OTTENBERG: Amazing. Are you having fun?
RAE: So much fun. I just finished shooting my first movie. I co-founded my own makeup line, I have my podcast [Mama Knows Best, which she co-hosts with her mom, Sheri Nicole], and I did the campaign for Disney’s collab with American Eagle, which is crazy. It’s been an adventure, but I’m having the best time.
OTTENBERG: Is there anything you can tell us about He’s All That? I’m really excited to see it, because She’s All That is my era.
RAE: Honestly, it’s very similar to the original, but also very different. I play an influencer, and something happens, and I have to get back at my ex, so I take on this challenge to take the biggest loser and turn him into the prom king. The roles are reversed between Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, who actually plays my mom.
OTTENBERG: Amazing. What’s the funnest thing about fame?
RAE: It’s really weird even hearing that word, because I can’t really grasp what it means to have it. But for me, it’s about having amazing opportunities to meet so many different people and have relationships with people who have inspired me forever, and to get the opportunity to showcase passions that I’ve had my entire life.
OTTENBERG: You are so pretty. Do you have any beauty secrets to share?
RAE: I love self-care—taking time for myself and not being too stressed out. I think that’s a really big part of feeling good and looking good.
OTTENBERG: Tell me about your new beauty line.
RAE: It’s called Item Beauty, and we’ve done lots of really amazing products that I’ve loved and constructed, in a way. I have an amazing team and we go through a process of deciding what we’re going to do next, in terms of the colors, the packaging, and the ingredients. It’s all clean, so it’s really good for you.
OTTENBERG: Let’s talk about fashion, because I feel like you’re going to have a big fashion year next year. What’s your favorite brand?
RAE: That’s a tough question, because I love so many different products from different brands. It just depends on how I feel and what kind of vibe I’m going for. Hopefully, with the world getting better and there being more events and red carpets to go to, I’ll be able to try lots of new and exciting things.
OTTENBERG: Alright, let’s picture it: It’s next summer. Everything’s cool. There’s a major red carpet glam moment. What are we seeing?
RAE: Maybe a fun new hair color. In terms of style, I’ve been so into pretty neutral colors and just keeping it timeless.
OTTENBERG: What’s your favorite color?
RAE: Deep purple.
OTTENBERG: What’s your favorite song?
RAE: At this very moment, it’s “Wildfire” by SBTRKT. I love “Rushing Back” by Flume and[featuring] Vera Blue. I’m super into house music.
OTTENBERG: What are the vibes for 2021?
RAE: Hopefully safety and the world coming together. Hopefully peace is the vibe.
OTTENBERG: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
RAE: I got a chai tea latte from Starbucks, and I ate a bagel with avocado.
OTTENBERG: Major. Do you have a favorite dessert?
RAE: Anything matcha.
OTTENBERG: You just moved to L.A. Is there anything in particular that you’re most excited to be doing once things go back to normal?
RAE: I love the beach, so definitely going to all the beaches, and just exploring California in general. I want to go to San Francisco and see California as a whole. Hopefully in the next few years I’ll be able to go to Coachella and experience a bunch of things, but I know for now, it is a really hard time. I’m not really worried about anything I’ve missed out on because I do know that there are’s much more important things to worry about.
Hair: Amber Duarte, using Oribe at Atelier Management
Makeup: Holly Silius at Frank Reps
Production: Collins Salovaara
Fashion Assistant: Ansley Burnette
Manicure: Thuy Nguyen at A-Frame Agency