TikTok fame: From Elephant Boy's circus tricks to a Chinese teacher
Zhang Nini


An elephant trainer from Hungary and an English teacher from China are two of the surprise success stories in the sudden surge in popularity for social media platform TikTok.

The COVID-19 lockdown has sparked a massive increase in the numbers of people using TikTok, with many trying out different social media to keep in touch with their friends and family.

TikTok has now surpassed two billion downloads to become the fastest growing social media in history.


Rene Casselly has become known as "elephant boy" with his TikTok stunts. /CGTN

Rene Casselly has become known as "elephant boy" with his TikTok stunts. /CGTN


Rene Casselly, a seventh generation animal trainer in Hungary, has risen to fame for his amazing stunts that have earned him the nickname Elephant Boy. He now has more than 1.5million followers.

"Without TikTok, without social media, I wouldn't have been able to do all those new creative tricks, stunts, and show it to the world – giving those happy faces to the crowds," Casselly told CGTN.

Despite TikTok becoming a political target of U.S. president Donald Trump, it is going from strength to strength – especially among youngsters, but people are using it from all walks of life.

Jacob Lin, 26, from Shanghai, built up a big following with English tutorials. 

"I was teaching people on some very simple English words, that was actually my first ever video on TikTok," he said.

Now, Jacob has moved on to comedy sketches and posts on food and travel. It has progressed from a hobby to source of income.

"Now at least one third of my income is based on TikTok," he added.

Video: Natalia Luz