Recently I spent an hour staring at an unruly mop of teenage hair on my computer. The owner was an 18-year-old Canadian called Josh Richards. That name probably means nothing to you if, like me, you are a staid member of Generation X. But if you belong to Gen Z, born between the mid-1990s and about 2010, you might squeal in delight — as one of my daughters did.

The reason is that over the past two years Richards has become one of the most successful “influencers” on TikTok, the platform where people post short videos of themselves, often dancing or lip-syncing. He has garnered 1.3-billion likes for his videos and 21-million followers. Richards is often shirtless in his TikToks and frequently accompanied by a posse of fellow influencers, known as the “Sway House”, who have been living together in Los Angeles.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now