What happened: A young woman in Chengdu, identified only as 小甜甜 (Little Tiantian), skyrocketed to the top of search rankings on Chinese social media after being featured in a Douyin video posted on August 28. In the 14-second clip, an interviewer asks Tiantian how high a salary a potential partner would need in order to “support” her. A simple response – “Support me? I think just being able to take me out to meals is enough” – and a smile have spawned a record-breaking spurt of Douyin followers, numbering 940,000 within 10 hours. Avid fans say a girl like Tiantian is rare, and some claim they’ve already set off to Chengdu in order to buy her a meal.
Why it’s important: Tiantian’s rapid rise is unprecedented, even among Chinese internet celebrities. Her popularity may reflect widespread discontent with more materialistic values of the country’s younger generations, as well as traditional pressure for males to act as providers. Expect plenty more thinkpieces speculating on the reasons behind Tiantian’s sudden stardom.