When Axel Webber Was Rejected From Juilliard, the Internet Stepped In


Mr. Petrou confirmed that Mr. Webber is not part of the Hype House and has never been affiliated with the group. He is, however, already represented by Diomi Cordero, a talent manager in Los Angeles who brought Mr. Webber to the NFT party and also represents Angus Cloud, an actor on “Euphoria.” Mr. Harris is a co-producer on the show.

Mr. Webber has laughed off the attention. “I had zero connections when I got here. I just started making TikToks,” he said.

With his acting school dreams dashed, he plans to continue to grow his online footprint in the hopes that it will help land him roles. Casting agents regularly scour TikTok for new talent, and the app has already launched the acting careers of other creators, including Addison Easterling and Jack Martin. Mr. Webber has already gained more than 115,000 followers on his YouTube channel in the past week. “Although I’ve never been on the stage, I get to have my own stage right here in this 95-square-foot apartment,” he said. “I can only imagine how great the real stage will feel.”

But getting turned away from Juilliard may not hold him back.

“The Juilliard School’s rejection of a social media star is a micro example of the macro cultural shifts we’re seeing today,” said Brendan Gahan, a partner and the chief social officer at Mekanism, a creative agency. “The reality is Axel does not need traditional credentials. In today’s media landscape, Axel already has the upper hand.”

Mr. Webber says he has his lease until October and won’t be leaving New York City anytime soon. On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Webber signed a contract with The Society, a modeling agency. He’s now putting his savings toward upgrading his equipment from the iPhone 7, which he currently films content on, and hopes to collaborate with other creators in the future.

“I felt super alone when I came to the city,” he said. “Now, I get to walk down the street, and sometimes people bump into me and say, ‘Hey! You’re that guy from TikTok,’ or ‘You’re the guy with the tiny apartment!’ It feels like, in a massive city with millions of people, I have some friends.”


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