Rickey Thompson is a social media sensation. The star boats 5.6 million followers on Instagram alone (including big name followers such as Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson, and Alicia Keys, per In The Know) with another 2.6 million followers enjoying his confidence boosting videos on TikTok. Thompson’s videos are all about knowing one’s worth (with the occasional fabulously sassy dance clip thrown in), but while he seems to be one of the most confident and self-assured influencers on the internet, it wasn’t always that way.
Thompson has had a bit of a bumpy road to becoming the beloved outspoken social media sensation fans know today. He revealed during a 2019 The New York Times interview that he experienced bullying while growing up in his home state of North Carolina. He recalled, “I was bullied for being gay and being an extra-loud person. People would say, ‘You’re so annoying,’ and pick on me for how I looked.”
Thompson added that looking back on his experience, he would “tell [himself] not to change.” Sharing advice for his younger self and others, he added, “You will be loved for being yourself. Always keep your head up. I know that sometimes it’s going to be hard and you’ll beat yourself up, but your hard work will pay off. I went through it. I went through so many no’s.” And now, Thompson is most certainly living his dream as his authentic self.
Read on to find out what you may not know about Rickey Thompson.
Rickey Thompson has a musical background
Rickey Thompson clearly has rhythm, which he shows off in his sassy social media dance videos, but it turns out he also has a background in music and musical theatre. During a 2019 interview with Forbes, her revealed that his family has always been close to the music as he shared he had multiple family members “who play in the church choir and things like that.” He added, “They were really into music and a lot of my cousins would sing and I was in choir as well.”
Growing up, Thompson got the musical bug too and expressed himself through musical theatre. “When I was younger I was really big into musical theater. I thought musical theater was so much fun,” he shared, adding that “it was a way for [him] to express myself through a musical.” Thompson said that he found being up on stage “really cool,” noting, “I would say musicals are my favorite, regular plays aren’t my thing.”
As for his favorite role, that would be when he played the lead role of Captain Shang in “Mulan” during his first ever appearance on stage as part of a show. “I had never sung before, but I took voice lessons and I nailed it,” he recalled.
Rickey Thompson has Kylie Jenner to thank for his fame
Rickey Thompson’s huge social media following really started snowballing after a little help from Kylie Jenner. Fans may not know he actually got his start posting short videos on the defunct social media platform Vine, where he caught the attention of the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star.
He recalled to The New York Times in April 2019 that he joined Vine in 2013 after being encouraged by a friend. It’s hard to believe now, but, back then, Thompson admitted he was actually a “quiet and nerdy” teen. Although it’s no doubt his hard work that really got him to where he is today, it was around a year after he joined the site when Jenner shared one of his videos and brought plenty of new followers to his account.
Jenner’s re-post gave the then 17-year-old student more notoriety than ever before and became the stepping stone for the huge following he has today. “I was in class looking at my phone secretly, and I freaked out because I was getting many notifications,” Thompson recalled, sharing that he quickly became “the most popular kid in school.”
Thompson also touched on the moment with Teen Vogue in November 2019. “I was bullied from elementary school until my junior year in high school. That’s when Kylie posted me… I was nervous at first because all those people were so mean to me, but then everyone wanted to be my friend,” he shared.
Rickey Thompson and Adele are good friends… after meeting through Meghan Trainor
Talk about A-List friends! Rickey Thompson is actually good friends with Adele and the two got to know each other after being introduced by none other that “All About That Bass” singer, Meghan Trainor. He recalled working with Trainor when her manager asked if he could call a friend who was a big fan of him and his videos.
“[Trainor’s manager] called her and in literally one ring Adele answered the phone. I was completely in awe. I could not believe that she knew who I was,” Thompson told Forbes. “She was like, ‘Oh my god, Rickey, I’m such a big fan of you. Your videos make me smile. When I’m going through a rough day I can just turn to you. And I just love, love, love you so much.'” Adding the cherry on top, the interaction all went down on his birthday, and the social media star revealed they went out to dinner together after and have “been friends ever since.”
With such a close relationship, it’s probably no surprise that Thompson chose Adele as the artist he’d most like to collaborate with. “I think it’d be really cool to do something with her since nobody would ever expect it,” he told Forbes. “With Adele her stuff is ballads and beautiful and stuff like that. So it’d be really cool to add like my comedic touch to one of her projects.”
Rickey Thompson has big acting dreams
It seems like we could be seeing a lot of more of Rickey Thompson off our phone screens and in more traditional mediums, if he gets his way that is. The star has revealed he has big aspirations to get into more serious acting roles and also has a dream of joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live.”
Speaking to Teen Vogue in November 2019, Thompson admitted that he “definitely” wanted to work with the “SNL” gang as he shared his love for one cast member in particular. “I literally love Maya Rudolph so much and I really want her to write something that I’m in. She’s one of my favorite comedians,” he said. “The writers of ‘Big Mouth,’ I love stuff like that. I want her to be my hormone monster so bad.”
But despite his uplifting and positive videos on social media, it’s not just comedy roles that Thompson has his eye on. He added, “I want to make my big break in the comedy world and then eventually get into drama. I want to play a very dark character.” Watch this space!
Rickey Thompson was once seriously shy
Though he’s become famous for his outspoken and opinionated personality, Rickey Thompson hasn’t always been that way. In fact, the social media sensation revealed he didn’t really become the person we know today until his senior year in high school. “I was very upset about how quiet I was. I kept to myself, people there are very narrow-minded,” he admitted of his younger self while speaking to Ssense.
Things started to change when he first started posting videos to Vine, though he admitted he was still so “shy” at the start of his social media journey that he did initially it in secret. “I started to talk about different things and it gave me these new feelings of confidence. People were watching all over the world. I used to stay up all night just posting, posting, posting. I had so much to say and in only six seconds,” Thompson said.
He added that it was when he started to get more notoriety for his videos that he started to become more confident and outspoken. “When I started becoming popular from Vine and people started recognizing that at school, I decided to be more outgoing, my true self. It was very positive in the end, I graduated prom king!”
Well, if this isn’t a lesson in always being yourself, we don’t know what is!
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