How Melissa Ong rose to fame and started a TikTok ‘cult’ of fans

Melissa Ong spent her first few months on TikTok slowly dipping her toe into creating original content.

Ong was an avid viewer on the platform, which she loved because it reminded her of Vine — and because she grew up wanting to be a YouTuber. So, she slowly and inconsistently started posting her own videos until she realized she was getting 10,000 to 100,000 new followers every week.

Ong quit her job at Google and started really churning out her comedic TikToks at the beginning of 2020.

“I would say my brand is dark and raunchy and satirical comedy,” Ong explained to In The Know. “[I’m] encouraging people to just do whatever they want.”

After hitting 1 million followers, Ong thought it would be funny to start a “cult.”

“I had made a joke on TikTok like, ‘Hey guys let’s make a cult,'” Ong said. “I’ll be the cult leader AKA the mother hen and whoever is in the cult will be the step-chickens and if you want to be a step-chicken, you just change your profile picture to my profile picture so we can easily identify each other on the TikTok app.”

Ong’s “cult” of step-chickens was so impressionable, the New York Times wrote an explainer on it in May 2020.

This is indicative of Ong’s sense of humor, which she describes as “raw, real and out there.”

Since then, Ong has accumulated 3 million followers, who she hopes enjoy her content for its authenticity.

“Creating comedy is really the only way I feel like I can truly live,” she said. “I hope that people, when they’re seeing my content, know that I’m genuinely being myself.”

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