“People were saying that I was bragging, showing off,” Katylee Bailey told Fox News. “The hate just got worse and worse and worse to the point where I felt guilty for doing such a big accomplishment within my life.”
“I wanted to feel secure in my life, to have that security,” the U.K.-based content creator continued. “I did such a big thing and people still decided that they wanted to bring me down.”
Bailey posted a TikTok video on April 7 declaring she had bought her first home. It showed her clapping and jumping with a fake champagne bottle that blasted confetti. It included a caption that read “Biggest achievement of my life. Here’s to the next chapter.”
The video has garnered over 4 million views and thousands of comments. Some celebrated Bailey’s success, but others said the young TikToker was bragging as some struggle to make ends meet.
“It’s so upsetting seeing this,” one TikTok user commented. “Like paramedics who save lives 12 hours a day five to seven days a week and they still can’t afford heating.”
Another wrote: “I can’t even afford to buy myself a dairy milk bar from co-op.”
Others accused the TikTok influencer of not having a real job, Bailey said.
“I think people forget that even though social media isn’t a 9 to 5 … there’s still so many things that come with social media,” Bailey said. “I still have to pay the tax. I still have to do everything. I have to do my accounts just like a business would.”
Bailey left college when classes went remote when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and started trying to profit off social media. She focuses her content on her everyday life, posting about family and sharing relationship advice.
“I wanted people to grow with me,” she said. “I just wanted to show people that people can have a big following but still be normal.”
She started making money going live on TikTok, but later got paid for the number of views, shares and comments. As her followers grew, the brand deals started coming in.
“It took a lot of brand deals and the money coming in to prove to my family, ‘look, you don’t have to worry about me, I’m going to be able to do the best for myself,’” Bailey said.
Bailey told Fox News she used to borrow money from friends to get food before making big bucks on TikTok. She’s brought in 2.9 million TikTok followers and nearly 400,000 on Instagram.
“Social media has opened so many doors for me, opportunities I never thought that I’d be able to have,” she said. “I’ve been able to help my family, help my friends. I’ve been able to let them experience it with me.”
Bailey frequently posts how grateful she is to her followers and loved ones for trusting her and helping her succeed. But the TikTok star said the negative commentary about buying her first home initially stopped her from moving in.
“I struggled, and for a long time I didn’t actually move into the house just because I felt such a heavy weight on my shoulder,” Bailey said. “I was scared with all the hate.”
Bailey posted a video addressing the negative comments in April, but has since removed the post.
“I just wanted to come on here to say that I’m sorry to anyone who feels like I’m bragging about the house thing,” Bailey said in the TikTok video while sobbing. “Yes, the system is absolutely f–ked. I will never get my head around the fact that I’ve become so lucky, but believe it or not … I do actually work.”
But the TikTok influencer eventually decided not to let social media “haters” bring her down.
“I think what I’ve learned from doing social media is you’re never going to make everyone happy,” Bailey said. “There’s always going to be people who don’t like you.”
“I may have haters who comment, who watch my videos, but the one thing I always laugh about … at the end of the day, they might be hating, but they’re also contributing to get me to where I am,” Bailey continued. “They’re giving me a view. They’re giving me a like. They’re giving me a comment. So if they want to hate, they can hate.”