Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
For Kory Little, it was love at first sight.
With cheerleading, that is.
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Little, like many athletic kiddos, had picked baseball as his game. But it only took one visit to his sister’s cheer team practice for him to become smitten with the sport.
These days, Little’s turned his passion into a profession: He’s a member of Navarro Cheer, the 40-person champion college cheer team based out of Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. If that team name sounds familiar, it’s because Navarro Cheer’s road to last year’s National Cheerleading Championship was chronicled in the hit Netflix docuseries Cheer.
Little wasn’t featured in the series–at least, not its first season. We can’t say much about any possible future appearances Little might make, but what we can talk about is his rapidly growing presence on social media.
Little didn’t intend for YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to become a major part of his life. Kept busy by classes and cheer practice, he started posting TikTok videos of himself and his friends goofing off in the gym, challenging one another to accomplish ever more complicated feats of athleticism. His videos are fairly lo-fi, made with the equipment Little’s team has at hand and edited on the fly to post ASAP.
This quick-hit style meant Little was posting multiple times per week, and then once per day as his audience grew. Now, Little has 6.5 million followers on TikTok, and according to data from his management company The Network Effect, his videos all average at least one million views.
At the same time as he’s heading back to school for another fall semester, Little is expanding the reach of his content. He began uploading his TikTok content to YouTube Shorts this summer, and in the past month has grown his account from around 100,000 subscribers to nearly 400,000.
As for views? His channel jumped from 7 million in July to 171 million in August, all thanks to folks tuning in to see him (and his fellow cheerleaders) vault panels, barrels, boxes, and anything else he can get his hands on.
Little hopes that in the future, he can parlay his pro cheer skills into leading roles in action movies–and take his followers to Hollywood right along with him.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: Tell us a little (er, no pun intended) about you! Where are you from? How did you get into cheer and the kind of athletic stunts we see in your content?
Kory Little: Hi ya’ll! I’m Kory! As a young kid, I grew up playing all kinds of sports, eager to excel in anything I put my mind to. I was born on the outskirts of Houston, eventually moving to San Angelo, Tx., when my parents got a divorce. Surprisingly, my sister is the one that got me into cheer. Before cheerleading, I was on a travel baseball team. One day I went to one of my sister’s cheer practices, and knew that I would love to try it out. And now this is my seventh year cheering, and hopefully not my last….
Tubefilter: Tell us about your experiences with Navarro Cheer! How did you get onto the team? Did you have any involvement in the Netflix docuseries?
KL: I made the Navarro College Cheer team in 2020, and it was one of the best years of my life! If you are familiar with cheerleading, then you know that Navarro is the team to be on! What made me want to be on the team were my friends. I’ve had many friends that competed on Navarro, and all they talked about was how much they loved it. So I gave it a shot, tried out, now this is my second year (aka Veteran Year). I don’t want to spoil anything about the show, but you may (wink) see my face in the upcoming season!
Tubefilter: When and why did you start making digital content? What was your first platform? Did you join kind of knowing the sort of content you wanted to make, or did you discover your niche along the way?
KL: I started making digital content when I first launched my Instagram account. However, I “blew up” on TikTok. When I first started creating content, I had no clue what I was doing or what I wanted to create. However, last year I (with a group of my friends) started to create shortform cheer-related challenges, which thankfully have done very well.
Now, on TikTok, I am so appreciative to have 6.5M followers, and each of my videos averaging over 1M views. I now love extending my reach and diversifying my content across YouTube Shorts (where I have gained over over 275,000 subscribers this month), Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Stories.
@korylittle_The ending was crazy😳 ##challenge ##cheer ##foryou ##viral @thejaykendrick_ @grantlockaby♬ original sound – Kory Little
Tubefilter: Your following across platforms has seen some significant growth lately. Is there any one video that really popped off and drew in a big audience? Or has your growth built up across numerous videos?
KL: My growth as of late has not been based on one video, but a series of tumbling/stunting challenges. The “clear the wall challenges” series did extremely well. This is where we stack up big cheer mats and have our friends see who could clear the highest wall. From there, we got creative and started making different challenges, and it is awesome to see them trend across numerous platforms.
Tubefilter: How do you come up with ideas for filming? Are the things you show in your videos just already parts of routines you’re working on, or do you come up with tricks/routines specifically for videos?
KL: When it comes to new ideas, I tend to use immediate inspiration and see how it looks. It is also awesome to push boundaries via these challenges. I also show bits of my life outside of the challenges, reminding people that I am not just this kid that can jump and run over mats, and that I train hard year-round for my team.
Tubefilter: What does the average day look like for you?
KL: An average day for me is waking up early, logging onto my computer, and making sure all my schoolwork is done. After my schoolwork is done, I log onto my socials to check on my channel(s) and analytics. From there, it is all about Navarro cheer, practice, and gearing up for competitions.
When I go into filming mode, I then immediately go into editing. When I film a challenge or content, I edit in real-time as I want to post it almost immediately. There is no time like the present!
Tubefilter: Do you work with an editor, manager, or any one else behind the scenes? Have you had any sponsorship opportunities or chances to partner with companies?
KL: My management team, The Network Effect (Brian Mandler and Brian Nelson), play a critical role in all aspects of my career. Specific to brand partners/sponsorships, it has been amazing to partner with many brands including HitFit, Raising Cane’s and Groove Life. Most recently, I have partnered with the CHEER OFFICIAL app (just wait for what we have in store!).
Tubefilter: Due to your recent spike in engagement, do you have any new plans or goals for your content career? Do you think content will be a full-time pursuit for you long-term?
KL: My plan is to keep making videos and to make people smile. My ultimate goal is to become an actor (and be in action movies!). I will keep pushing the boundaries on everything I do until my old age says so.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content as a whole?
KL: My favorite part when it comes to making content is the overall environment. Having my friends help and film crazy challenge videos is amazing. It is also a pretty intense adrenaline rush!
Tubefilter: What’s next in the immediate future for you and your channel? Where do you see yourself in five years?
KL: There are some amazing athletic/apparel clothing line concepts we have been working through. It will be EPIC!
I also plan to start collaborating with other creators, introducing them and watching them compete in tumbling/stunting challenges. I am also focused on long-form YouTube videos, the “behind the scnenes” of the making of these challenges and having the audience get to know my friends a lot better.
Lastly, in five years…I see myself continuing to create content for all ages (both via social and in the movies, of course) and giving people around the world their daily doses of adrenaline!
Jellysmack is the global creator company that detects and develops the world’s most talented video creators. The company’s proprietary video optimization technology and data drive social audience growth, unlocking new revenue streams and amplifying monetization.
Currently home to over 150 influential Creators including PewDiePie, MrBeast, Brad Mondo, and Bailey Sarian, Jellysmack optimizes, operates, and distributes creator-made video content to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. Jellysmack-managed content boasts 10 billion global monthly video views and a cross-platform reach of 125 million unique U.S. users, making it the largest U.S. digital-first company in monthly social media viewers.
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