Welcome to TikTok Millionaires, where—in partnership with influencer marketing business Fanbytes—we profile creators who have crossed the one million subscriber mark on TikTok. Each week, we’ll chat with a newly minted Millionaire about their life, their content, and their creative goals for the days to come.
If you happened on one of Shanae and Renae Nel’s TikTok videos, you might think it was one creator with the platform’s most advanced filter. The already identical twin sisters have made a name for themselves–as the Gloss Twins, to be exact–by dressing, dyeing their hair, and doing their makeup (including lip gloss) exactly the same. Their TikTok videos watch like mirror images in motion, with the two of them performing perfectly-in-tandem versions of the shortform lip-syncing app’s popular dances.
@shanaeandrenae🤩🤩 Best dress to wear in this type of weather go follow @prettylittlething ##foryou♬ original sound – asl_amanda
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The Nels have cultivated this image since their first accidentally viral video back in 2018. At the time, they were creators on Musical.ly (a competitor app bought and later folded into TikTok by parent company Bytedance) and had a shared, not-often-updated account. Thanks to their mom–who’d dressed them in matching outfits since they were young–they’d long had a habit of dressing the same, and they captured that with a quick clip about matching bikinis. They shared it and stepped away from their phones for just a couple of hours.
When they checked back in, the video had racked up more than 4,000 likes. The reception was a total surprise–and also an opportunity.
Since then, Shanae and Renae have amassed 1.2 million followers and 21.1 million likes by posting near daily videos on their still-shared account @shanaeandrenae. Much of their content puts their performing arts and dance experience to work in choreographed routines set to trendy songs and lip-synched acting to audio from TV shows and movies.
But they didn’t stop at creating partnerships with other brands. Recently, in conjunction with their manager Fanbytes, they put together their first product line: Nel Gel by Gloss Twins, a Bible-themed line of lip glosses. It’s a big step toward their entrepreneurial goal of having their own Fenty-level makeup or clothing brand. They’ve made strides toward other goals, too–goals that could have fans seeing even more of them in the coming months–but we won’t spoil.
Check out our chat with these newly crowned TikTok Millionaires below.
@shanaeandrenaewearing @prettylittlething go and follow them!🌺💓 ##foryoupage ##foryou ##neltwins♬ original sound – thisisthecircus
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million followers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Shanae and Renae Nel: When we hit one million followers, it was very surreal and unexpected. A DREAM COME TRUE! We were speechless, overwhelmed, and super excited to continue our amazing TikTok journey with our fans. When we first started TikTok, fan pages and fans would say, “I can’t wait for them to hit one million,” and we thought, Pffft, that is never going to be us. It was so crazy how much they believed in us!
One thing we’d like to say to our fans is that we appreciate them and we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for them. We are also Christian, and we believe this is a part of God’s plan, and it’s a great blessing upon our lives.
Tubefilter: Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What did you do in the days before TikTok?
SN & RN: We are identical twins known as the Nel twinnys/Shanae and Renae. We are 19 years old and are from a city called Southampton in the U.K. In the days before TikTok, we were college students studying English and literature, dance A Level, drama theatre studies, and performing arts. We were very focused on our A Levels; however, we would also take part in ballet classes, as we’ve had a passion for dance from a young age! There was something we loved about being in front of a camera. When we were younger, we would always film ourselves creating short videos and dances using the app called Video Star and the odd Musical.ly video. Our dad has always said it’s the norm to watch us do our TikTok videos, as it’s what we have been doing since we were children, and he loves to watch us do what we love.
Tubefilter: How did you first find out about TikTok? What made you decide to join and start posting videos?
SN & RN: First it was called Musical.ly. We both had our own individual accounts, but we never used to post. We’d film some videos, but they would stay in our drafts. One day there was a heatwave in Southampton, and we were on our way to the beach. We were wearing matching bikinis in different colours and Shanae suggested we film a video. We uploaded the video and went to the beach. We were only out for two hours, and when we came home, Shanae’s phone had loads of notifications. We checked the video and it had about 4,569 likes and a load of comments! We were so intrigued and excited that we decided to post more. Since that day, we’ve continued to upload videos. A couple of days after, Musical.ly changed to TikTok, we were concerned that we were going to lose our likes and followers, but everything was okay!
Tubefilter: When did you start collecting followers? Was there one specific video that went viral or hit the For You page and brought people in, or has your audience been growing steadily over time?
SN & RN: We started to gain followers straightaway, and the following kept increasing every day. One of the most repetitive comments on every video was “You could be Cardi B’s sisters,” “I thought this was Cardi B,” “Cardi B’s long-lost sisters.” We found this so bizarre, because we did not see the similarities. One video went viral when we jumped on a trend–the punch challenge by Micheal Hoanui. With that video, we hit 7.2 million views and received 760k likes.
Tubefilter: What do you think draws creators and viewers to TikTok? What makes it a unique and engaging platform?
SN & RN: The platform is very different from anything that has ever been made before. It’s a mixture of different entertaining videos such as dancing, acting, comedic videos, and many more. We believe it is unique because the videos are either 15 seconds or 60 seconds. As the maximum video length is so short, it instantly catches your attention and makes you want to rewatch and rewatch and then eventually remake. It’s a great platform because it never gets boring. There is always something new or something trending, and everybody can’t help but get on board and start creating!
Tubefilter: Where does TikTok fit into your average day? How much time do you spend brainstorming/creating content? What else do you get up to?
SN & RN: TikTok is an everyday must for us, because we want to create as much content as possible for our fans to enjoy. We spend about 10 minutes brainstorming before filming, but if we are learning a dance, it can take up to 30-35 minutes, as we need to rehearse and make sure we are in unison. We love to occupy our time by growing our other social media accounts, such as Instagram and YouTube. We didn’t begin our shared Instagram until after we started TikTok–which is why our followings don’t correlate–so Instagram is something we are continuously trying to grow. We also like to spend time with our friends and family as well as attending church. We also model in our spare time.
Tubefilter: Are there any TikTok creators who inspire you with their content?
SN & RN: Yes, the Siangie Twins have been our main inspiration from the start. They have such great style and are very career-driven. They are also twins, so we feel that we can relate to them, and this is what has inspired us the most! Other TikTok creators such as Loren Gray and Baby Ariel have always inspired us to keep creating. We have received hate from the very beginning, and we still receive it on a daily basis, but it will never stop us. TikTok is a huge passion of ours, and no one will get in the way.
@shanaeandrenae🤫🤫Hot boyfriend check… ##foryou ##foryoupage ##fyp ##couplegoals♬ Originalton – dalia
Tubefilter: You two just debuted Fanbytes’ first product line. We heard you went to the labs to formulate a couple shades yourselves. What was the process of developing your own lip glosses like?
SN & RN: Fanbytes is amazing!! We are so happy to be signed with them. Not only are they great at understanding our needs, but they have always directed us in the right way. We really feel they believe in us more than we do, at times, and we feel like that’s the best thing management can do.
Recently, Bytesized Talent came to us with a very exciting opportunity: creating our own lip gloss brand! We can’t wait to reveal it to our fans. To make it even more unique, we wanted to relate it to our Christian background, as this plays a massive role in our life. All of our lip glosses are going to be named with Biblical references. We can’t wait to have this journey with the amazing team and the two people who made this all come true, Timo and Flo! Creating the shades was so much fun, but we were a little nervous because we had very specific measurements of the liquids, and when something means a lot to us, we put our all into it! This is an incredible opportunity, and we cannot wait to include our fans in it!
Tubefilter: We also heard you’re both very entrepreneurial. Where do you see yourselves going with TikTok, potential future products, and businesses?
SN & RN: We are both very career-driven individuals. TikTok has changed our life and given us everything we could have ever imagined. We are achieving so much at such a young age that sometimes it can be overwhelming, but we have so much courage and determination, and we won’t let anyone take that away from us! We have achieved all of our success through Christ.
Tubefilter: What’s next for you? Any plans looking to the future?
SN & RN: We will always have love for creating videos, and we believe this will last forever. However, going forward, we intend to fulfill our other interests, which include modelling. We have been modelling since the age of 15, but we had a break because of GCSEs. When we began TikTok, it encouraged us to take up modelling again! Someday, we hope to be a part of a reality TV show, as this is something we have always been intrigued by. In the past, we have done some TV, and we intend to do more, and eventually have our own reality TV show.