What’s Hype Home? Controversy Behind the TikTok Mansions in LA

Hype House has 20 million followers on TikTok and, at first glance, not a piece of furniture in one of its spacious accommodations. The same applies to Sway House (5.3 million followers), where a post was filmed in front of a wall of barren bookshelves. Meanwhile, in the clubhouse (1.4 million), the angular mansion in Beverly Hills that serves as a content hub, a harem of young men and women dances in spacious but empty rooms – canaries chirping in the most mundane gilded cages.

Welcome to the world of “Collab Houses”, sprawling properties where groups of nubile influencers settle down and make short videos for social media, mainly TikTok and YouTube. Residents are expanding their aspiring profile by broadcasting the details of their lives on the apps. Many have found that working with others under one roof to create their chamber dramas makes the internet even more engaging. It’s a trick as old as Hollywood. MGM once promised “more stars than there are in the sky” except that the stars now appear live in the palm of your hand, at a time when everyone is inside.

All good parties come to an end: most of the founding members of Hype House have left (except for Chase Hudson, top left).


“Most people don’t have groups of more than 20 friends who wear designer clothes and hang out by the pool,” says Fletcher Greene, TikTok A-list’s Ron Galella who follows residents’ lives off-screen on his YouTube channel , The Hollywood Fix. “You are selling a fantasy.”

During Hollywood’s Golden Age, movie stars worked on sumptuous sets from art director Cedric Gibbons and lived in exquisite homes designed by Billy Haines. Today’s celebrities are genetically gifted, stylish, and tech-savvy (ask your kids about Daisy Keech, a founding member of the Hype House collective, or Noah Beck and Bryce Hall, the ringleaders of Sway House until it recently broke up) The boring McMansions they inhabit in the seductive hills above Los Angeles tell a different story.

With their vaguely Mediterranean facades, open floor plans, granite countertops, and white-painted walls reminiscent of the primer, these homes that popped up across Los Angeles with the explosion of video-sharing apps last year are not engines of desire or imagination , but empty backdrops. It turns out that some emperors are unclothed, and some internet royals live in hollow castles whose lives are carefully cataloged on the House’s Official Account ™ as well as on their own ™ to ensure a never-ending stream of content Followers like this can put together Dead Sea Scrolls.

Celebrity Sightings in Los Angeles August 20, 2020

Blake Gray and Noah Beck can be seen in Los Angeles, California on August 20, 2020. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently ordered the Sway House to turn off electricity to host parties that contravene COVID-19 public health regulations.

fupp / farmer griffinGetty Images

“This is about the lightning bolt and the service. These are sets, ”says design critic Carolina A. Miranda. “It’s the banality of prosperity.” The deals these collectives engage in are mysterious, but in a city that values ​​the art of the deal, it goes without saying that everyone gets theirs. According to Bloomberg, real estate agents rent homes in high profile neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Burbank for up to $ 50,000 a month. While such rentals are mostly short-term, the listings receive a wealth of publicity – or “clout” in the parlance of the moment – as these fresh Princes of Bel Air pay for their residences with content sent to the millions in the form of #goals.

It has literally become a lucrative home industry. In November, New Jersey real estate firm West of Hudson Properties, which manages a $ 300 million real estate portfolio, including Clubhouse, went public. Its shares, which traded for less than $ 5, exploded in February amid the frenzied GameStop stock rally after day traders misunderstood a tweet from Elon Musk saying he would become Clubhouse, an unrelated audio popular in Silicon Valley -Social app, bring to justice. (The price has since dropped to the ground; even TikTokers can afford it again.)

Of course, wherever there are party animals, there are also party poops, and no one was as enthusiastic about the invasion of the TikTok squatters as the long-term residents of the tonest enclaves of LA. From Encino to the Hollywood Hills, neighbors report traffic jams on their winding streets, noise at any time of day, public indecency and piles of rubbish – from the kegger from the previous night or simply from fan mail that is ignored.

Tik Tok Sway House as seen from Google Earth

Sway House as seen from Google Earth.

Google Earth

“Something will come every few minutes, like chocolate-covered strawberries. Fans send them food, toys, works of art. You can’t even open everything, ”says Greene.

“It’s like, ‘Our parents are gone and we’re going to bring flamethrowers and wrecked cars every day and celebrate.’ It’s like Animal House is hitting Cribs, 2020 edition. ”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti got involved and cracked down on hype houses for openly violating health ordinances when Covid cases surfaced in Southern California. Last August, the city unplugged the utilities of the multi-million dollar Hollywood Hills excavation of Sway House “to stop these parties who are endangering our community.”

Not everyone is a critic, however. In New York, Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang transparently wooed the youth poll by pledging to make space and subsidize rent for these new content communities because these “aspiring creators deserve a place to cultivate their craft”. Park Avenue, you’ve been warned: the TikTok armory might just join the block.

This story appears in the April 2021 issue of Town & Country.
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