Rickey Thompson’s rise to the top of the social media world has been meteoric, to say the least, and he can count celebrities as some of his most devoted fans.
The North Carolina native amassed millions of fans with his one-of-a-kind humor on Vine before it shut down in 2016, and has no trouble converting those followers onto Instagram and Twitter, where he continues to receive accolades and go viral seemingly multiple times a week.
“I still can’t believe this is my life, to be honest,” Thompson told In The Know’s Gibson Johns during a recent interview. “Like, I think I’m living a dream, but I am not living a dream. This is my reality.”
Thompson has reached a level of fame that extends well beyond the confines of life online, to be sure. The 24-year-old has been more than accepted into the world of fashion, where he has modeled for the likes of Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein, in addition to rubbing shoulders with some of the most famous people in the world.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ I’ve tried to not get too fan-y, like if somebody huge recognizes me, because I want to be friends with y’all. I’m like, ‘I want to be friends with you. I don’t want you to think, like, I’m crazy or whatever,'” he laughed when recalling run-ins with celebs. “But, literally, it makes me feel so good.”
“I remember one day I was in my room, and I took a picture, and I have this big poster on my wall, with all big ’90s superstars I love,” Thompson went on. “And Christina Aguilera said something about it, like, ‘Oh, my god! I’m on Rickey’s wall. Yes!’ And I freaked out. I said, ‘Oh, my god, girl. Literally, come on. Like, what? Miss X-tina? What?’ I was like, ‘Girl, I was so young in my room, [and] I tied my shirt into a belly knot or whatever over here dancing to ‘Genie In A Bottle.'”
“I’m like, ‘Girl, I loved you. I loved you. Like, I was so obsessed!’ And when she posted that on her story, I freaked out,” he added.
Aguilera isn’t the only childhood idol of his who has vocalized her own fandom of him, either: The likes of Janet Jackson and Alicia Keys have also gone on record to express their love for the social star.
“I freaked out when Janet Jackson mentioned something about me. I said, ‘Oh, my god. I was dancing to ‘All For You!'” he said. “I love Janet Jackson. I’m a big fan. ‘The Velvet Rope’ is one of my favorite albums by her, and the fact that she acknowledged me… oh, my god, yes!”
“So people like that who I’ve looked up to all my life, noticing my talent and stuff,” Thompson went on. “But also with Alicia Keys, I love her, and she was like, ‘I’m just so proud of you. You’re just out here being yourself and just showing all this positivity.’ People like that, it really does make me feel good. It really does fuel me to keep on going. But it’s like, I know right now I’m at a high, but I know I can get higher.”
The country being in lockdown for the past several months during quarantine has also proven to bring forth even more fans — both famous and not — for the star, whose videos are often relentlessly and necessarily positive, regardless of anything negative happening in the world.
“People like Jared Leto are posting my videos,” he told ITK. “We need somebody who can make us laugh in this global pandemic. Who is it? They’re picking your boy, Rickey T., so it just feels so good. I’ve definitely seen an increase of people viewing my videos.”
Listen to our full interview with Rickey Thompson below:
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