Vinnie Hacker interview: TikTok, Twitch, and “growing up too soon”
TikTok star Vinnie Hacker spoke about Twitch streaming, fashion, and the challenges of being a 19-year-old internet celebrity in an interview with Dexerto at the JBL x 100 Thieves launch party.
19-year-old Vinnie Hacker boasts over 13 million followers on TikTok. It’s his biggest social media platform, and one he credits to his meteoric rise to online stardom.
In fact, his status as a celebrity TikToker even earned him a spot on Netflix’s Hype House reality show, where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Lil Huddy and Nikita Dragun on one of the world’s biggest streaming platforms.
As such, it’s no surprise he was invited to mingle with other major influencers at the 100 Thieves x JBL launch party, which was decked out in oodles of retro gaming memorabilia to celebrate the two companies’ collaborative headset.
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“I’m super excited,” Vinnie said of the event. “There’s so many friends that I see here … I don’t go out a lot. But especially when I go out with these guys, for example, they’re an exception. They’re all super nice, and I love everybody that’s in this space.”
How to navigate internet fame without “growing up too soon”
However, being in such a focused spotlight as a massive online personality isn’t easy, Vinnie says. Becoming a celebrity meant he had to grow up fast, while other young people his age are partying at their college campuses or taking gap years.
“I’m 19,” Vinnie reminded us. “It’s definitely like growing up too soon, maturing too soon. A lot of people my age are going to college, going to college parties and stuff like that. I feel like, you know, since I have to portray myself to all these millions of people that either look up to me or just watch me in any way, that I have to be mature and be a role model at a young age.”
Getting pinned as a role model isn’t the only pressure of being a major social media star, either; Vinnie says that watching what he says is also par for the course in his field.
“It seems as if, nowadays, you can’t make any mistakes,” he added. “You have to be super careful about, even if you’re wording something wrong, just stuff like that. It’s definitely worth it because you realize a lot of stuff when you’re younger, so you’re able to capitalize off of that.”
For Vinnie, the “cons” of accruing fame aren’t all inherently bad. The TikTok star claims that being famous helps you find out who your real friends are.
“I’d say that a lot of people do mix up the cons of being an influencer, as far as a lot of people like to get close to you because of who you are. But there are benefits in that, which is being able to find out who actually wants to be friends with you for who you are. You’re able to see after a while, who actually cares and who actually just wants to be there because you are who you are.”
From TikTok clips to Netflix
Most recently, Hacker found himself starring in a Netflix’s Hype House show — another big step in his career, and one that he wasn’t expecting, although he did claim that he had thoughts about competing on ‘Survivor’ at one point.
“No, I never really thought about that,” he said when asked if being on a reality show was something he ever saw himself doing. “My mom did want me to go on Survivor, though. I went back home to Seattle not too long ago, and my mom said, ‘Hey, I signed you up for Survivor, by the way.’ And I was just like, ‘Why would you do that?'”
“I was actually pondering Survivor when I was little for a while, but I never thought I’d actually do a reality show of any sort. It was weird. It’s something you have to get used to, because you have cameras set up in your house, you have people following you around all the time. It’s definitely something that takes time to get used to.”
Balancing TikTok & 12-year-old Vinnie’s Twitch dreams
Although he might be best known for his TikTok presence, it would be amiss to dismiss his equally huge presence on Twitch, where he boasts a whopping four million followers who regularly tune into his gaming broadcasts.
For Vinnie, gaming is a huge part of his life, and finding a balance between his status as a TikToker and a Twitch streamer can be a difficult feat — but he’s not giving up on his passion for streaming, whatsoever.
“I know that like ever since I was twelve, I’ve been more passionate about Twitch,” he admitted. “But you can never leave those people that helped you grow. That’s why I can’t decide on which one is of more importance to me, and it’s hard to balance it. These people from TikTok basically made me who I am today, whereas Twitch, I’ve been doing since I was twelve.”
Unfortunately, Vinnie’s PC recently experienced some technical difficulties, leading to a rough patch for his current streaming pursuits… but he’s adamant on getting back to broadcasting as soon as possible.
“Recently, my whole PC basically like, blew up, so I’ve been waiting to get a different one. I’ve been waiting to get parts because so many people are ordering parts. I’ll most definitely be streaming a lot more than I am now.”
Purgatory: An ode to XXXTentacion
On top of being a Twitch streamer and TikTok icon, Vinnie is also big into the fashion world. In fact, he’s got his very own clothing line, ‘Purgatory,’ which he claims was inspired by none other than rapper XXXTENTACION.
“I actually got into a lot more high fashion stuff because of my friend Wisdom,” he said of his personal style choices. “Streetwear and stuff that I usually wear when I go out, just to go shopping, I got kind of that inspiration, it kind of just grew up with me and it kind of just phased in.”
“As for the clothing brand, XXXTENTACION had a clothing brand called ‘Revenge.’ He pretty much inspired a lot of it, as far as design, but also just the name ‘Purgatory.’ It’s between heaven and hell. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of that. I kind of just want to learn more about it.”
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Although Hacker can’t speak in-depth on upcoming news for his brand, he did say that there will be a relaunch this summer that “will be pretty big.”
For now, Vinnie is set on trying to “be more adamant on Twitch” as he tries to get his PC back in order. “I’m hoping to be able to do more for [my fans], not only on Twitch, but on these other platforms and showing support for them.”