Caroline Ricke is the Disney Channel-obsessed designer behind “Rich Caroline” on TikTok
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While some YouTubers create massive followings to be extremely understandable, Caroline Ricke sees success by doing just the opposite. As an online character “Rich Caroline”, Ricke has developed a fan base on TikTok and YouTube for his fun parody videos that showcase his “lavish” lifestyle and “Harvard” upbringing in the form of nostalgic celebrity monologues. from disney and early movies loving Distraught and The revenge of a blonde.
The 21-year-old launched her YouTube channel in 2018 during her freshman year of college in Ohio. “I just needed a point of sale and something to do, but I also wanted to entertain people,” Ricke tells NYLON about Zoom from his new apartment in Los Angeles. Her first viral hit, a fake Harvard acceptance reaction video, came about six months after joining YouTube, when she had fewer than 500 subscribers. (Today, she has 330,000 subscribers on YouTube and 2.8 million on TikTok.) She dubbed her popular content and created “A Day in the Life of a Harvard Biomedical Engineering Student,” and from from there, his older videos also started to get more views.
“Somehow, a video I posted three months ago started to go viral,” Ricke says, referring to her “nobody came to meet me subscribers” clip, which is his most popular video with almost 3 million views. “I posted it back when I had 400 subscribers, and as it started to go viral, I started getting more subscribers, and everyone thought it was real. And I’m like, ‘No, that’s obviously wrong.’ “
Watching a live campus show from YouTubers Cody Ko and Noel Miller (reaching just 100,000 subscribers), she was recognized for the very first time. “It really inspired me,” she recalls. “[Cody and Noel] builds that audience by themselves, and people love them because they’re entertaining. I want to do this someday just because I like to make people laugh. “
That’s the call behind Ricke. You both laugh with her and at her while she’s in the joke. Maybe that’s why, when she joined TikTok a year ago, her satire instantly took off. A few months later, she joined eight other TikTokers to form comedy content collective The House Nobody Asked For, which was first based in suburban California and then moved to Las Vegas. “I lied to my parents that I knew a few of them, but I didn’t know anyone and I just took a leap of faith,” Ricke says. (The band finally released their final video together after six months.) “I wouldn’t have anything that I do now with my career if I didn’t join this house, that’s for sure. I love everyone there. They are amazing.
Now Ricke is finishing his final (virtual) college year while creating content on TikTok and YouTube. She perfects her craft – a mix of scripted comedy, puns and improvisation – and taps into new styles to parody, like reality TV. After graduating in the spring, she hopes to get back to podcasting and design her jewelry line, both of which have been put on hold so she can focus on school.
“After I graduate, I feel like I can do whatever I want,” Ricke says. “I want to become an actor. I think that would be the next step in five years. But sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking, “OK, where am I going to be in five or ten years?” So I started taking it day in and day out and seeing if I could edit a video, post a photo, or do something. “
Below, Ricke shares some of her favorite designs and outfits on social media, along with details about the process, inspiration, and meaning behind them.
On his “Rich Caroline” Persona (and sometimes mix)
“I grew up watching mostly lifestyle vloggers, beauty, stuff. So when I started YouTube, that’s what I thought I wanted to do, but then I realized everyone was doing this. I needed to stand out in some way, but I was a college student in the middle of Ohio. I don’t live in Los Angeles, I literally just go to class and come home every day. Nothing is really interesting. So I created this fake narrative to make it look like I had a really cool life, even though I didn’t, and it was very mundane.
“But I feel like people have resonated with it, because obviously I would be lying. It was so obvious, like, “Oh, I’m in my mansion” and I’m literally in my dorm. So I created this character because I’m a very sarcastic person and wanted it rather than my everyday life. Even to this day, it’s weird for me to post something that could show people my real life. I’m like, “I don’t know if people really want to see this. I feel like they just want to see this character. My personality is definitely the rich girl, and I’m not like that in real life. But sometimes my friends will say to me, “Are you talking serious right now? Or is it your character? I do not know.'”
About finding fashion inspiration on the Disney Channel and Real housewives
“I didn’t grow up with cable. A lot of people think I was a Disney kid because of my humor and the way I dress, but I only saw a few Disney shows growing up. In my early forties, I started watching Disney + and the shows Lizzie McGuire and It’s so crow. I thought, ‘Oh my God. Their style is amazing. “ I’ve always been in fashion, but I really envy this era of style. So I started wearing more Disney Channel inspired outfits. I’m definitely saying my style is a Disney Channel star mixed with a local suburban mom. Recently I started to watch Real Housewives of Orange County, and I’ve never been the type of girl to watch reality TV. But the moms style is so amazing.
“I started saving money when I was in high school, so I’m just going to go to a thrift store, find some stuff that looks cool, and then try to put it together. I always say, “I don’t own any ugly clothes. Therefore, it is impossible to wear an ugly outfit. ”
On always wearing jewelry and relaunching Spicy Girl
“I wear a lot of jewelry with every outfit because I feel like even though it’s a simple outfit, if you wear colorful, crazy jewelry it brings it all together. I find funny jewelry at the thrift store. I love big, sticky jewelry. But I also make a lot of my jewelry, like mini dice and dominoes. I started my own jewelry business, called Spicy Girl, in college. I would do it all by hand with drills and stuff and just put it together. I designed everything, and I was doing all of this for a while, but put it on hold because I moved here. In the next six months, I want to restart Spicy Girl, and the dream is to partner with a jewelry brand as well. “
On Dress Up Like the 2000s – Ashley Tisdale and Sleep Shopping
“The Riding Shirt is a children’s shirt that I took off from Poshmark. I love little girls t shirts because I think the phrases on them are so cute. You won’t find an adult shirt that says this. The coat I bought four years ago at a thrift store. I had seen it on Depop, and wanted it so badly. And then literally a week later I went to the thrift store and found the exact same one. I had seen a few photos on Pinterest of Ashley Tisdale, vibe from the early 2000s, and she had worn one of these coats. His style is crazy. I love it.
“Nike sneakers are from 2004. It’s so silly, but I love pink and red together, and I literally dreamed of having these amazing pink and red shoes. So I woke up in the middle of the night, looked at Poshmark or Depop, found a pair and just ordered them. Then I forgot I ordered them because I fell asleep again. And a week later, they come to my door, and I’m like, ‘Oh, so that wasn’t a dream. It just happened. ‘”
Follow Caroline Ricke on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.