When trying to pinpoint the specific, colossal appeal of TikToker Christina Najjar, it’s difficult to do so without falling into the trap of typical influencer clichés. She’s relatable; she’s charismatic. She approaches posting with religious dedication. But none of these quite hit on what makes Najjar ‘Tinx’: a one-stop shop for every single type of content that a Millennial woman might want.
‘I think about my content like a variety show – I’m consistent in my inconsistency,’ Tinx tells me over Zoom from her couch in LA. ‘You can come to my page to find advice about boys, product recommendations, city recommendations, me just musing on what it’s like to be a woman in the modern world, Rich Mom Starter Packs [of which more in a moment], social commentary – it’s a little bit of everything.’
It’s hard to overstate how big the last 18 months have been for Tinx, who grew up in London with two American parents. At the start of the pandemic she was out of work (having previously had ‘19 jobs’ since leaving Stanford University almost a decade before, including as a freelance writer for Teen Vogue), living on her own through lockdowns and ‘desperately bored and lonely’. ‘I was really new to LA, my family was in England, I was in this tiny studio flat and I kind of regressed to teenagehood to survive,’ she says.
‘I threw all the rules out the window. I let myself stay up until three, ordered the TikTok lights, developed crushes on celebrities. I was like: I’m going to have to create a game in my head so I don’t go nuts sitting by myself.’ This is when Tinx started posting on TikTok – in May 2020, aged 29 – as a creative outlet, thinking it would be her only chance to do so, presuming she would be forced to move back in with her parents in the UK as her employment prospects dwindled.
But, through jumping on memes, making snarky videos about celebrities and, most of all, creating Rich Mom Starter Packs (a content type she spearheaded, mocking various archetypes of wealthy American women), Tinx’s popularity exploded. In less than a year she’d gained more than a million followers and was getting recognised in the street. ‘The way I visualise it is, like, I went into quarantine as one person, and then there was this massive secret machine and I came out a completely different person,’ she says. Now she has 1.4 million followers on TikTok, including A-listers such as Paris Hilton and Iggy Azalea, receives press packages from the Kardashians and collaborates with brands including Goop, Ouai and Clinique. Her wish lists regularly sell out on Amazon. She describes the surreality of doing Goop sponcon with Gwyneth Paltrow, who enthusiastically read out the script Tinx wrote for her.
‘I mean, I’m the same,’ she says, ‘but my life couldn’t be more different now.’ This is clear on Grazia’s shoot with Tinx during her recent trip to London, where she was like a kid in a candy store looking through the rails of Versace, Louis Vuitton and Victoria Beckham.
What makes Tinx so different is that she is not just a unique, popular influencer. Her entire content style – deadpan delivery, quick-cut edits, holding a ‘mini mic’ – is now its own content vertical on the app. (And you don’t have to be on TikTok to see this influence: her style has permeated other forms of media, where her cadence and rhythm have been repeated ad nauseum.) She is unique in how wide-reaching her content is: unlike most influencers who find one style of content and stick to it, trying to be the best, she takes pride in her breadth. Online, she has no boundaries, showing herself in bed first thing in the morning, as well as in full glam. A few hours after our early morning call, where she’s make-up-free and in sweats, she’s dressed in Dior on the red carpet at the People’s Choice Awards.
At 31, Tinx is on the older end of TikTokers – over 32% of whom are aged between 10 and 19. Thanks to her love of giving advice, she has earned the label of ‘TikTok’s big sister’. And while giving advice is not unheard of from influencers, hers is particularly effective. ‘If you’re a straight guy aged 25 to 35,’ read a viral tweet in October, ‘do you realise that you’re being judged by romantic partners almost entirely based on a set of standards created by a person named Tinx.’
For these reasons, Tinx sees ‘the sharing of information’ as her calling. ‘Not to get too woo-woo, but I wake up every day and I feel clear,’ she says. ‘I feel this almost divine purpose that I’m doing what I was always supposed to be doing.’ This is clear through the amount she posts – it’s rare to see her go more than a few hours between uploads.
‘I feel a responsibility to deliver premium content to my followers every single day,’ she says. ‘If I can save a girl three weeks of her time not worrying about a fuckboy she’s dating, then that’s a win to me.’
Personal growth – and growing with her followers – is a huge part of the Tinx appeal. She is open and honest about things most influencers would try to keep quiet, making her profiles feel like a safe space for her followers to admit their worst habits and be vulnerable about their insecurities (for example, she recently spoke about deleting some of her old videos for being too mean).
‘I want my followers, or anyone who even looks at my content, to see that you can make a mistake, learn from your mistake, change and move on,’ she says. ‘I always say, if you don’t cringe at yourself a year ago, you’re not growing. You’re not doing the work.’
Despite her objective popularity and rubbing up against some of the world’s most well-known celebrities, Tinx doesn’t consider herself famous. ‘I think I’m in the public eye,’ she says. She admits, though, that she has reached a level of notability that has drawn more attention than she is used to. ‘I guess the flip would be that the type of videos that I used to make about celebrities, now people make about me.’
She tells me that this has been one of the biggest changes in the last year: the pressure that comes with being so known. ‘It’s unbelievable,’ she says. ‘You think that you’ve gotten over your body image issues or that you’re pretty confident, but then you start going to events and looking at pictures of yourself from every angle and people start taking pictures of you when you’re not looking and it’s just, like, there are all these layers of pressure that you didn’t know about before.’
She says it’s ‘unnatural’ how much feedback creators and celebrities get. ‘I don’t think that’s good for the human brain. People are like, “Oh, well, it comes with the territory.” And I’m like, it’s kind of scary that we’ve just accepted that as fact. Now I wake up and I have 5,000 new DMs, all telling me: “You’re doing a good job.” “You’re doing a bad job.” “You mean so much to me.” “What did you mean by this?” “Where did you get your Botox done?” “Did you get filler?” “Did you gain weight?” “Did you lose weight?” “Where’s that top from?” “You’re my best friend.” And that’s all before I’ve had my coffee.’ She says that she knows she opens herself up to these comments but that doing so doesn’t make it ‘normal’.
But, even with the added pressure, Tinx’s drive to keep providing for her followers hasn’t waned. She has no plans to slow down. ‘I’m treading lightly because I hate hustle culture,’ she says, ‘And I don’t believe in that, like, “Work till you die! Never stop!”
I think that’s toxic and very unproductive, especially for women.
‘That being said, I have finally found my true calling. So right now I am working pretty hard and kind of going nonstop.’ She tells me that if she even fantasises about taking a beach holiday, her fantasy is not about relaxing: it’s about having more time to make content for her fans.
‘It will balance out – there will come a point where I can take a break and say, “OK, I’m going to reset the boundaries. But right now is not that time for me. I don’t feel that I have to be online: I feel that I want to at the moment.