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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

‘Have you seen THE Jacob Elordi edit?’: The rise of TikTok’s fan edit community

Rachel Choi
Illustration Rachel Choi

mOpinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice.

In a midnight haze, I exhaustedly open TikTok to find a video sent from one of my friends. It’s an edit of Jacob Elordi’s character in the 2023 film “Saltburn.” The edit to date has 8.6 million likes, more than the population of New York City. 

Suddenly, I’m no longer tired. 

Frequent TikTok users know exactly the edit I’m referring to. The 10 seconds of Jacob Elordi clips strung together with Flumes’ “Never Be Like You” has become a viral phenomenon. All across the app, Gen Z has shared their worshipful reactions, posting videos of them watching the edit in nefarious locations, like math class or a hockey game. 

A fan edit is a montage of photos or videos of a celebrity, often painting them in an effervescent and attractive light. There’s a thrill in seeing your favorite actor or singer being praised by a fellow fan. 

Fan edits have been around for a while. According to The New York Times, the earliest known edit was by Kandy Fong in 1975. Fong curated a slideshow montage of stills from the “Star Trek” series. The edit itself is extremely uncomplicated compared to the edits around today: there are no smooth transitions, and the images awkwardly occupy the frame. Fong recorded the slideshow while singing her original “What Do You Do With A Drunken Vulcan?” in the background. 

We’re no longer in Fong’s 1975 world of humble “Star Trek” edits. As technology progressed and editing software became accessible on computers and smartphones, making fan edits was no longer a grueling task. Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro are two household names in the editing community, as well as Videostar and CapCut for smartphone users. These platforms provide editors with a variety of transitions and fonts, as well as the ability to use audio files—features Kong was deprived of in the ‘70s. 

Additionally, the rise of social media has allowed editors to share their work, leading to the birth of the fan edit community. Back in the early 2010s, platforms such as Tumblr and Vine were a hotspot for these fan edits. 

Instagram took over as the major hub for edits at the end of the 2010s after Vine died and a new social media generation skipped Tumblr usage. I formerly ran an editing account on Instagram for the ABC show “Once Upon A Time.” As an Instagram editor veteran, I can shamelessly say my Sundays were spent doing algebra homework and making Emma Swan and Hook edits on Videostar. 

In less than a decade, though, I notice the drastic differences between what the editing community once was and what it is now. 

The popularity of TikTok has increased the overall viewership of edits. I remember in 2018, the editors I deemed as celebrities, such as user @nolstagic, typically didn’t exceed 50,000 views—a number considered viral at the time. Due to the efficiency of TikTok’s For You Page, many fan edits are now garnering millions of views. 

Editing accounts are no longer a niche pastime, but rather a vital part of TikTok culture. I remember when an edit of mine reached 17,000 views, and I genuinely thought I had gone viral. That number seems insignificant compared to the sheer amount of likes editors now earn on TikTok. 

In April of 2020, the famous Timothée Chalamet edit was posted and, to date, has 52.2 million views. The edit contains a slo-mo clip of Chalamet’s character from the 2017 film “Call Me By Your Name” with Melanie Martinez’s song “Playdate” accompanying it. Like the recently viral Jacob Elordi edit, the “Playdate edit” became an online powerhouse. The internet has never been more united than when everyone bonded over the editor’s alluring depiction of Chalamet dancing in slo-mo. 

The “Playdate” audio, which has 2.5 million posts, has been used to share reactions to the edit. Other editors have also recreated the original edit by @stcrvds with other characters or celebrities—such as Rodrick from the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” franchise, or a ‘90s Leonardo DiCaprio in “Titanic.” Many of these “playdate edits” have earned millions of views, which would have made middle school Instagram editor–me pass out from excitement. That amount of attention to an edit would have been unfathomable at the peak of Instagram’s editing community in the late 2010s. 

TikTok’s unique home page algorithm introduces the average person to subjects they otherwise would have never encountered. Before 2020, my friends never really thought about fan edits, but now they consume their FYPs, flooding my texts with the ones they find most interesting. While once we had to scope out certain edits using hashtags on Instagram, now we’re continuously shown those favored videos on TikTok. 

However, while it may seem all fun and games, a genuine concern with the intensity of TikTok’s editing community is its contribution to parasocial relationships and the violation of celebrities. Fans are producing these edits, meaning they are more than likely going to create videos that make their favorite celebrities look attractive. 

These thirst trap edits reduce famous people down to their sex appeal. While actors such as Chalamet and Elordi might never see all the fan edits and thirsty comments about them, their status of fame doesn’t take away from the fact that they are still people. They might not want to only be shown and perceived through a sexual lens, especially by strangers on the internet. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with finding your favorite celebrity attractive—we’re all guilty of it. However, thirst trap edits may take fans’ attraction a step too far, with excessive amounts of videos hypersexualizing a person.   

Thirst traps, though, are only one aspect of the editing community. Editors make videos surrounding a wide variety of celebrities and characters without sexualizing them. 

On lesbian visibility day in 2022, user @aquafilm_ posted an edit of Robin Buckley from “Stranger Things,” praising the character for being a beacon of positive lesbian representation. 

Another notable example is after the appalling and misogynistic remarks made by Jo Koy at the 2024 Golden Globes, where user @chantostarx made an edit of the Barbie movie to Billie Ellish’s “What Was I Made For.” The edit, which has received 4.4 million likes, shows clips from “Barbie” that emphasize the hypocrisy of Koy stating the film is about “a plastic doll with big boobies.” 

The editing community has also opened up doors for young people to explore their interests in video editing. Alexa Graham, or @namelessalexa on TikTok, was scouted by Marvel for a job after she posted MCU fan edits. The accessibility to editing software plus the efficiency to go viral on TikTok is a recipe for video editing to become an interest (or even career path) for Gen Z. 

While fandom culture isn’t new, the rise in popularity of edits has strengthened its prominence. Watching the drastic evolution of fan edits over the last couple of years on TikTok has been surreal—there’s something beautiful in a collective generational awareness of THE Jacob Elordi edit. 

Never underestimate a fan with a vision and a TikTok editing account. They might just be what unites the internet next. 

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