Dance Like Nobody’s Watching With Charli D’Amelio & Landon Barker

It takes two, to tango, yes, but also to thrive as teens in the public eye

April 6, 2023
8 min read

Adolescence is a roller coaster for most of us—and that’s without having millions of fans following our every public outing, milestone moment, and social media post. Spending your teen years in the public eye can be even more of a wild ride, as Gen Z It couple Charli D’Amelio and Landon Barker know firsthand. 

D’Amelio, a dancer and actress, has amassed over 150 million followers on TikTok since joining the app in 2019. Barker’s no stranger to the spotlight, either—his father is Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, and he’s an aspiring musician and model who has landed his own share of high-profile gigs. Together, the two are one of Gen Z’s most-watched couples, with followers feeling like they know them from their social media presence. But 10-second videos and curated posts only offer a glimpse of who they are. Getting the bigger picture means going off-stage, off-camera, and off-script. 

Enter the Proust Questionnaire, a parlor game popularized by French thinker and writer Marcel Proust. Though the questionnaire dates back to the 19th century, its ability to provoke insightful answers has made it a timeless classic. D’Amelio and Barker’s responses to Proust’s questions are silly, sweet, and surprising, giving fans a window into their unfiltered, IRL selves.

Like most teens, they don’t have all the answers—but whatever the future holds, it’s clear they’ll be ready to take it on.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

CD: Perfect happiness to me is being surrounded by the people I love every single day.

LB: I don’t know if perfect happiness truly exists but if it did it would be me creating art, surrounded by friends and family.

What is your greatest fear?

CD: My greatest fear is telling someone what I’m scared of and then them scaring me with it.

LB: I would say my greatest fear is not being able to see my potential through. Time is a luxury, and I feel like it’s fair to say that a lot of us fear not having enough of it.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

CD: I have this strange ability to sleep through anything…literally anything. Getting up on time is tough.

LB: I could definitely be more patient and I’m working every day to get better at that! I’ve been working on my sleep schedule and being more communicative as well which I think will help with the patience aspect since I won’t be so stressed or tired.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

CD: I don’t like it when people are judgmental of others.

LB: I have a tough time being around people that can’t feel for others. Empathy is important and I think we need more of it these days than ever.

What is your current state of mind?

CD: I’m kind of all over the place right now, lol. Just trying to do my best.

LB: My current state of mind is happiness. I’m really locked in on the present and enjoying where I am. I have new music coming and it is just right around the corner… I have been so focused on this debut & could not be any more thrilled to show the world. Stay tuned for announcements as they come.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

CD: I think it’s very important for women to support each other.

LB: Humor for sure. I’m constantly cracking jokes and I love being around people that do the same! A quality I especially admire about Charli.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

CD: Saying lol out loud, or babe.

LB: Like most people my age, I properly say “like” a little too often, haha.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

CD: My dog.

LB: I would say music and my family. I have completely rooted and surrounded my life with these people and my career.

When and where were you happiest?

CD: On the Dancing with the Stars stage the night of the finale. I was surrounded by my closest family and friends and had just completed the most challenging and exciting weeks of my life.

LB: I had the opportunity to go to Milan Fashion Week recently. It was not my first time in the city, but every time I visit…I am truly happy. I definitely hate the travel itself, but once I arrive…different story.

Which talent would you most like to have?

CD: I wish I could play an instrument or have a photographic memory.

LB: A bunch of things honestly, though I’m happy I can sing! I’m really trying to hone my vocal abilities. Between all my studio sessions and rehearsals, I’m starting to find parts of my voice I never knew I had. I’ve also been taking vocal lessons so I can consistently improve.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

CD: I want longer legs, lol.

LB: I don’t know if I would change anything drastic but I do love changing up my hair color and styling it in creative ways.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

CD: Launching Born Dreamer in ULTA stores worldwide as well as competing on and winning DWTS.

LB: I have been fortunate enough to have a handful of accomplishments that I am proud of. Aside from being apart of MGK’s #1 album, I have sold out my own headline show in Los Angeles, collaborated with some of my favorite brands, had my first festival performance at When We Were Young 2022, special guested at Madison Square Garden, and of course the honor of doing a handful of magazine covers that I’ve always wanted to be on the cover for; such as this opportunity today.

Where would you most like to live?

CD: I would like to live on the beach somewhere. Maybe the Bahamas, or Hawaii!

LB: Here in California. It’s home and where my family is. So wherever my family is at is where I want to be. Though, throughout my life so far I have been able to travel to so many cool places, and hope to keep discovering more – who knows… maybe even where I live next.

What is your favorite occupation?

CD: I never had a favorite occupation but I used to love watching Botched. Maybe in a past life, I was a plastic surgeon.

LB: Hmm, I do so many things that I would say just being creative is my favorite occupation! I love creating music, digging into my own mind, and trying to reconcile my emotions. I love modeling, pushing myself to take on whatever persona or form the look requires. I also really like acting, and would love to do more of that this year!

What do you value most in your friends?

CD: I love my friends for their own individual reasons. All of my friends are so unique and I am so lucky to have such incredibly amazing, talented friends.

LB: When it comes to my friends I really value honesty and loyalty. I have a lot of the same people around me that have been in my life for over a decade and the reason for that is because no matter how much we fight like siblings or annoy each other, we always tell each other the truth and we never stab each other in the back.

Who are your heroes in real life?

CD: My heroes are the people I surround myself with. I love to look at my friends and become so impressed with who they are and what they pride themselves with.

LB: My dad, collaborators, and friends. If it came down to one person though I’d have to give it to my dad. There is no one who supports me more than he does.

What is it that you most dislike?

CD: I dislike the panic after you sleep through your alarm.

LB: Being stagnant! I don’t like to waste time or feel like I’m running in place. I thrive in being active! If I am not on set, rehearsing for shows, or shooting content—I am either in the studio or spending quality time with Charli.

What is your motto?

CD: I’ve never really had one but I find myself always going back to “everything happens for a reason.”

LB: I have a few different mottos I like to live by but I think the one that has been the most prevalent recently would be, “Do what you love with the people you love.” At least in my life, this line of thinking keeps me motivated to pursue my dreams and passions since I’m pursuing them with the people who mean the most to me and want the best for me.

This cover story appears in the pages of MINI V (Issue Two): now available for purchase!

Photography Matthew Brookes

Fashion Nicola Formichetti

Editor-in-Chief Mathias Rosenzweig

Creative Direction Stephen Gan

Editors Kevin Ponce / Dania Curvy

Makeup Olivia Madorma (The PRTNRS)

Hair Patricia Morales (The Visionaries)

Set designer Jason Jensen

Digital technician Daniel Kim

Photo assistants William Mathieu, Colin Treidler

Stylist assistant Genesis Webb

Director of Photography Lucas Chemotti

Location Studios 60, Los Angeles

Production Photobomb


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