Rome: Khaby Lame, whose wordless ironic videos are wildly popular on the social media platform TikTok, has become the most followed TikToker in the world.
With more than 143 million followers, Lame overtook the American social media personality Charli D’Amelio (142 million) this week.
Born in Senegal, Lame moved to northern Italy as a baby and grew up in the industrial town of Chivasso near Turin.
After losing his job in a factory at the start of the covid pandemic, Lame turned to TikTok and his natural gift of making people laugh.
He relies on comedic facial expressions and heavy use of irony in his videos most of which are delivered without speaking, meaning the humour is understood universally.
However despite living almost his entire life in Italy, Lame is not an Italian citizen, a situation that has caused him problems since his meteoric rise to fame.
As the holder of a Senegalese passport, it is more difficult for him to visit the US where he missed several events recently over delays in getting a visa.
Despite his TikTok success Lame says his dream is to become an actor, telling Italian newspaper La Repubblica: “I am studying English and acting every day”.