In the year 2020, Ben Tate and his then-seven-year-old daughter Zara started uploading TikTok videos in which they lip sync to popular songs.
Their viral pastime catapulted them to fame.
Of course, it’s not easy to adjust to life with a daughter who suddenly has a lot of followers.
Many homes from the ’90s would recognize the scene of a father and daughter singing an Aladdin duet while cuddled up on a colorful rug. This video of Zara, age 7, and her father, Ben Tate, lip syncing to “A Whole New World,” however, is just one of many that have made the Tate family Internet sensations on the video-sharing app TikTok.
Thanks to their father-daughter performances on the app, Tate, 42, and Zara, 10, from Sydney, Australia, have amassed close to three million followers. What was initially meant as a fun activity for the family during a lockdown has become a viral sensation. @benandzara.
They have over 300,000 Instagram followers now thanks to the popularity of their TikToks, which they frequently repost. They’ve been on several TV shows and are now using Cameo to sell fan-made videos for $35.
In the background, however, Ben and Lisa are figuring out how to handle the business side of viral fame without sacrificing their family’s privacy or exposing Zara to the dangers of becoming a child star.
They started making TikToks for their close circle of friends and family.
Tate, like Zara, grew up in front of the camera, having filmed his first commercial at the tender age of nine. Zara was infected with the Hollywood baby bug, too.
Tate told Insider that his daughter had been doing “all the stuff as I did as a kid,” including lip-syncing to music and dancing around, ever since she could walk.
Tate created a secret TikTok account and uploaded videos of the two of them during the first lockdown in 2020, while everyone else was busy perfecting their sourdough. Out of curiosity, he and his wife took theirs public one Friday night.
Tate and Zara’s first video, in which they lip sync to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way,” went viral almost immediately, with nearly 100,000 views in the first 24 hours. We’re getting close to 250,000 likes on this video. “I could see why it was well received, but the sheer volume of views surprised me. And initially, it was somewhat frightening “To quote Tate:
Ben and Lisa debated whether or not to make Zara public. “However, we concluded that it is enjoyable and something she enjoys doing with me. Let’s just roll with it and see where the good times take us.”
Tate thinks Zara’s success can be attributed to the company’s natural talent and honesty.
The first videos they posted were casual, showing the couple lying in bed while lip-syncing to songs from the 1990s (too old for Zara to have heard the first time around, but belovedly vintage enough to charm a millennial or Gen-Z audience, such as TLC’s “Waterfalls” or the Spice Girls).
The videos then become more professionally produced, complete with choreographed dances, costumes, and branded content. “Now I look at the lighting, the colors, and Zara’s really picky about that — she can tell you if she’s in the shadow and she knows how to find the light, fill up the frame so that it’s more entertaining,” he said.
Tate comes up with the concepts, and then Zara shoots them down or improves upon them. But if Tate is the director, then Zara is the star: all wide eyes and exaggerated facial expressions and expert footwork. Tate says she owes the group’s success to her early talent for lip syncing and her portrayal of a Disney character.
However, when asked about their astronomical popularity, Tate claimed that he could only think of one explanation: “We share a deep appreciation for the art of stage performance. Because it’s a father and daughter sharing an activity they both enjoy, the audience knows the experience is genuine and full of warmth and laughter.”
Zara’s parents are trying to protect her from the negative effects of fame despite the fact that she is the channel’s breakout star.
It’s unusual for a viral star like Zara to be oblivious to fan feedback. In fact, her parents have no intention of getting her a phone anytime soon. Tate said that while she can watch their videos, she is not old enough to participate in the discussion threads or read the comments.
“In the event of any problems, we will immediately withdraw, and if Zara changes her mind about participating in the project tomorrow, there will be no need to proceed. It’s as easy as that”
“It’s very fun, I get to spend time with dad, and my favorite part is lip-syncing to my favorite songs, doing dances, and I love acting,” Zara recently told Insider.
Tate said that Zara “gets a real buzz out of that” when she communicates with celebrities like when Elton John reposted one of their videos or when Callum Scott and Bon Jovi responded to her.
Tate has said that Lisa is now responsible for developing many of the ideas and negotiating many of the brand deals, with the proceeds going into a savings account for Zara when she grows up. “It’s turned into something completely new in our marriage, where we both contribute to the creative process and run our ideas by Zara. What a pleasure it has been! “His words.
However, the account is remarkably cold: it’s based entirely on results. Having children has made Tate and Lisa “intensely private” and protective.
We aren’t living in a dream world, as Tate put it. “Despite our popularity, we take great care in what we share about ourselves and our personal lives on social media. You don’t get to see us “in real life,” the things we do when the cameras aren’t rolling, because we don’t add any personal touches.”
Moreover, the videos are “super clean” and appropriate for children, as Tate pointed out. He explained, “In these strange and often dark times, we are now aware of really trying to make a page that you can come to and it will bring a smile to your face.”
Click here to read more related articles written by the Digital Culture staff at Insider.
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