What Is PoshTok? Meet TikTok's Wealthy Elite Teens Who Are Going Viral For Being Rich

Photo: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
Private School TikTok

Welcome to PoshTok where flexing your trust fund and strutting around your private school will rake in more views than a “Renegade” dance or food hack

If the TikTok algorithm puts you on PoshTok it’s likely you’ll be swallowed down a rabbit hole filled with Range Rovers, countryside estates, and glasses of Moët.

What is PoshTok?

PoshTok — that’s posh people TikTok for the unfamiliar — is where affluent teens are making a name for themselves, for better or worse. And even though we know we’ll never transcend the class structure and own even half of the wealth these teenagers were born into, we can’t look away.  

PoshTok is class privilege dressed as a viral trend. 

As the pandemic made millions around the globe increasingly financially insecure, many opulent millionaires and billionaires had a very different 2020. While this group was busy increasing their wealth by up to 50%, their children were flashing exactly what the widening wealth gap looks like.  

It’s not enough that these teens have more belongings in their boarding school dorms than most working-class families could seek to provide to their children in a lifetime; they also must attain the most prized possession in all of Gen Z: internet clout.

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TikTok user @m.iles has amassed almost 700,000 likes and millions of views for videos showing off expensive signet rings and bragging about his trust fund. His video are shot anywhere between a London mansion and a French villa. 

The teens of PoshTok are always white and usually British. It’s the kind of wealth one could only inherit rather than accumulate, probably thanks to distant ties to a royal title or ancient aristocracy.   

Often it’s hard to tell if the people behind the videos are self-aware or just completely out of touch. The line between comedy and disturbing elitism is blurry on PoshTok.

In October 2020, a British boarding school was forced to apologize on behalf of students who posted a now-deleted viral TikTok rapping about “living off daddy’s money”. The school —which costs around $19,000 per year — admitted the video was “in bad taste”.

Another comedic video shows a teen complaining about “working-class odors” and while it’s clear the tone of the video is farcical, it’s unclear who, exactly, is the butt of the joke. 

Part of the humor of these videos is that even though the teens in the video are playing exaggerated characters, people who look down on the less privileged do exist. Some of the kids in these TikToks were probably raised by them. And that reality isn’t really funny at all.

So why do we love watching PoshTok videos so much? 

For most of us, there is no relatability on this side of TikTok. Most of us will never be in the kinds of rooms these teens hang out in, let alone be friends with them. 

We watch these TikTok in cramped apartments or on the commute to public school. Yet these videos attract millions of views and likes.

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The appeal is probably partially owed to curiosity. This wing of TikTok is the epitome of “how the other half lives” and we all want to catch a glimpse. We might never attend a school that looks like the set of a Harry Potter movie — but that doesn’t mean we don’t secretly want to see one. 

@friesandamcnugget

My phone was literally on 1% at the end of this #O2BublDance #WalkYourWonderful #foryoupage #fyp #foryou #boardingschool #hogwarts #harrypotter

♬ Harry Potter Theme Song - Ost

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Then there is the escapism of it all. TikTok is a distraction and we don’t want to see anything that reminds us of our own problems. (Though in reality when we scroll to another video of someone in a private school uniform riding in a Range Rover, our own economic worries become glaringly obvious.)

But the real reason these PoshTok videos do so well is part of a much larger universal obsession with the rich. It’s the same reason we keep up with reality TV shows about the rich and famous and buy self-help books by CEOs and executives. 

We have a flawed correlation between wealth and happiness that gives us a complex about those who are more financially successful than us. 

We watch these videos of teens in mansions or attending black tie events and imagine that no problems or worries exist in their world. Part of us wants to hate them, but another part of us can’t look away.

And while these videos are in no way uplifting, nor do they give us much hope for the next generation of millionaires, they are a satisfying glimpse into the lives of the 1%. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.