If you’ve spent time scrolling through TikTok, Abby Roberts has definitely popped up on your “For You Page,” offering dramatic makeup tips and posting mind-boggling transformation videos.

Roberts, now 21, rose to fame at only 11 by lip-syncing music and making beauty tutorials while living in Leeds, a northern city in England. These days, she’s releasing catchy indie-pop songs with millions of streams (think breathy Suki Waterhouse vibes), opening for Halsey and sharing behind-the-scenes sneak peeks at her tour bus with her more than 17 million TikTok followers. 

“I was already doing makeup when I joined TikTok, so I pretty much started out with that straight away,” Roberts tells AP. “I didn’t really understand the app at first and definitely posted some questionable Musical.ly-style videos at the start. It was around my third video that it completely blew up,” she says, referencing a Soulja Boy audio mixed with a Bratz makeup tutorial. 

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And while she’s a TikTok superstar with millions of adoring fans now, it didn’t quite start out that way. “I remember my friends at school were super embarrassed about me doing TikTok at first,” Roberts admits. Said pals even “joked about not being friends” with her if she kept posting, but they quickly “changed their tune” once the likes started pouring in. 

Roberts posted her first viral video when she was home from school, and says she “kept refreshing it, and each time it would get millions of more views.” She still posts makeup videos and does her own beauty on tour (joking “nobody touches my face ever”), but now, she’s all about her new career as a rising pop star. 

On TikTok, she’s collaborated with everyone from Liam Payne to YUNGBLUD. Her dream collaborator is Billie Eilish, who she “absolutely loves and thinks we would get on so well.” She also adores fellow indie-pop TikTok creator Nessa Barrett.

The “Paramaniac” singer (defined as “a person who is obsessed with complaining”) started exploring the music world when she was 18 at the beginning of lockdown when, like many of us, she found herself “really bored” in her house. She’d always wanted to learn to play guitar, so she started online lessons and found she loved it, although she quips she’s “a terrible guitarist.” Her parents encouraged her to embrace singing, despite her longtime stagefright. 

“I was always so anxious singing in front of people, so it took me a long time to build up the courage to even go into the studio,” Roberts divulges. “I never grew up around people who knew too much about music production, but on my 19th birthday a producer reached out to me online and asked if I wanted to come into his studio and experiment.” Roberts ended up taking the offer and learned so much.

The “Pink Champagne” singer credits TikTok with helping her “find out who I am as a person in terms of style, fashion and makeup, which definitely helped me figure out the image I wanted to portray as an artist.” 

Coming up on social media helped her relate to her audience, but performing live is something she had to pick up along the way. “I was used to having so much control over how I’m perceived on the internet, being able to edit and refilm as many times as I wanted. I had to learn to let go, embrace fuck-ups and just have fun with the live shows,” she discloses. 

In fact, because Roberts started her music career during lockdown, she went from playing “10 shows to a crowd of 200 max” to opening for Halsey. She calls the first night of the tour “insane” because she was “literally throwing up from anxiety and didn’t sleep.” 

Once she hit the stage, she realized it felt “super natural” and couldn’t figure out why she was “so stressed” to begin with. “Don’t get me wrong, the crowd was a massive shock at first but a lot easier than I expected.” Now, she gets “a little nervous before every show now” but is “slowly settling into performing for 20,000 people.” 

Halsey and Roberts ended up growing close on tour, with Roberts saying she’s “literally so grateful for them being in my life.” 

“The first time we met, I spent the whole day at her house, and we just talked about so much life stuff and a lot of music. They taught me that I'd never feel ready for a tour like this so soon and the best way to learn was just throwing myself into it.” Halsey also taught Roberts that “you can’t obsess over trying to make everything perfect with live shows because the imperfections make them special.” Now, Roberts is all about embracing the imperfections, and her loyal followers love her vulnerability, whether it’s onstage or on TikTok. 

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[Photo by Tati Bruening]

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[Photo by Tati Bruening]

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[Photo by Tati Bruening]

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[Photo by Tati Bruening]

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[Photo by Tati Bruening]