The Hulu reality show reveals the burden TikTok fame is on Charli and Dixie D'Amelio. "But these painful, sensitive moments naturally lead to the following question: What’s keeping the teen stars and their parents captive to this career choice? If it’s all this bad, why keep doing it?" asks Tanya Chen. Both sisters, says Chen, are showing "concerning hallmarks of burnout, depression, and the deteriorating effects of being way too online. The answer feels obvious even though The D’Amelio Show carefully dances around it. They’re doing it for the money. We see their lavish lifestyle (an enormous modern home, where most of the show is set, which has its own dance studio for Charli), and the army of assistants and agents they’ve been able to quickly amass. They also did not miss a beat to pour gasoline on Charli’s so-called spontaneous rise to fame, accepting and negotiating plenty of deals on and off TikTok. The D’Amelios were financially comfortable even before TikTok. Patriarch Marc D’Amelio was an executive for a sportswear company and funded his own run for a state senate seat in Connecticut a year before Charli began posting her videos. And yet throughout the show, and in many interviews the family has done before it, the D’Amelios rarely discuss the actual business of what they do. Granted, money is something the industry at large struggles to openly discuss, but we don’t hear exactly how much Charli or Dixie charges in branded social media posts. We don’t know how much their makeup line brought in. We don’t know the family’s combined revenue stream. I don’t think this avoidance is necessarily calculated or deceitful. Last year, Heidi prevented her daughter from participating in the 'WAP' dance trend on TikTok, which is indicative of the family’s general public image as somewhat traditional and socially conservative. And given the rigidity of backlash culture online, divulging how much money Charli and the rest of the family rakes in could likely prompt vitriol. But if the D’Amelios are serious about using their newfound fame for positive impact, they’d consider addressing the $8 million elephant in the room (projected celebrity net worths are never accurate, but trust that Charli has made, and is worth, a lot of money). Being transparent about money could help make their self-induced stress more understandable. There is a lot that people can talk themselves into putting up with if there is a fat enough paycheck at the end of it. It would also make clear to Charli and Dixie’s young fans the kind of tradeoff they make in this line of work: Acquiring more wealth and access to opportunities externally might mean continuously compromising your mental health. Against our better principles, we are all vulnerable to burnout in constant pursuit of more. More exposure, more comfort, more larger-than-life experiences. More money, because who’s going to say no to charging a rumored $100,000 per sponsored post? In American hustle culture, we also imbue in young people the idea that their work gives them intrinsic value. How much we can produce, and keep producing, determines how secure we should feel about ourselves. That can all be fine and manageable if the scales weren’t tipped so astronomically for influencers. There is a set price, a very shiny, high price, that might make giving up the emotional and physical security of being a normal, nobody teen with freedoms worthwhile."