Inside Digital Creator Tinx's 'Wild Ride' from Kardashian Salad Critic to Celeb-Loved Advice Guru

Tinx opens up in this week's issue of PEOPLE about her journey to social media fame and lifelong struggles with anxiety

TikTok star Tinx knows firsthand just how quickly life can change.

Within two years the social media star went from posting her first video in her studio apartment in Los Angeles to becoming an advice guru for the millennial set with 1.5 million fans.

"It's been a wild ride," Tinx, 31, who first took to TikTok in May 2020 as a way to quell her boredom during the pandemic, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

Addressing everything from her love of Botox and her lifelong battle with anxiety to dating red flags, Tinx is perhaps best known for her "Rich Mom Starter Pack" series, which pokes fun at wealthy lifestyles and earned her A-list fans like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian.

"Talk about a pinch-me moment! Not only did I do a 'Rich Mom' with Gwyneth, but she held a mini mic, which is just a dream," Tinx says of the ever-present black lavalier mic that became a signature of her videos.

Now she's launching a new Sirius XM podcast, It's Me, Tinx, and a live radio show which both serve up her advice to fans.

"I'm so excited to take this step with my followers," the digital creator says. "I feel like we all have this commonality of kindness and just wanting to have fun."

Watch the full episode of People Features: Tinx on or on the PeopleTV app

Tinx shot in LA, CA on February 15, 2022.
Tinx. Art Streiber

Though much of her content is designed to just get a good laugh, Tinx also isn't afraid to get deep.

"Life is hard, and we all go through ups and downs," she says of being open about her own struggles. "It can't all be boys and Botox."

Born Christina Najjar in Washington, D.C., Tinx — whose nickname was inspired by the troublemaking character Tinka Parker in the 1998 comedy All I Wanna Do — moved with her parents to London when she was a baby.

At 19, she headed back to the States to attend Stanford University, where she studied English literature and creative writing.

After graduation, she worked several corporate jobs at retail companies before relocating to New York City for grad school at Parsons School of Design. The dream was to be a fashion journalist. But, while there, she hit a low.

"From the first day, I hated it. I was 26, and I felt like a lot of my friends were super successful already, and a lot of them were getting married," says Tinx, who was diagnosed with anxiety at 13 and has been in therapy for the past 18 years. "I was like, 'I have no idea what I'm doing with my life.' I was so lost."

Tinx shot in LA, CA on February 15, 2022.
Tinx with her cat Ceviche. Art Streiber

In late 2019 she moved to Los Angeles and was settling into her rented studio apartment when the pandemic hit. Sequestered in her new home, she downloaded TikTok.

"As soon as I made my first video, I was like, 'This is what I'm supposed to do with my life,' " she says.

She videoed a pilgrimage to Calabasas to buy the Health Nut salad, made famous by the Kardashians on Keeping Up With the Kardashians — and the post went viral, with 2.2 million views.

"I care a lot about salad, and I care a lot about the Kardashians, so I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to drive my butt to the Valley and see about this salad they're always eating,' " she says. "I had no idea people would care about it that much!"

After that success, she decided to take to TikTok full-time. The jump at age 30 was intimidating, but she's finally feeling creatively fulfilled.

"I always tell my followers to just keep rowing the boat," she says. "It's okay if you don't figure it out when you're 21 or 28. It's as important to find out that you don't like something as it is to find out that you do."

Plenty of perks have come with her new platform — freebies from Kim Kardashian's KKW Fragrance included — but Tinx says it's hard not to let her anxiety creep in.

"There's a lot of whiplash. You're reading these comments, and they're all like, 'You're amazing!' But then you read one that's like, 'You're awful. You're not funny,' and that's hard for an anxious person."

RELATED GALLERY: TikTok Star Tinx Brings Rich Mom Energy to New York Fashion Week: See Her Exclusive Photo Diary

Along with therapy, Tinx leans into her sense of humor to cope.

"I call my anxiety Mr. Anxiety. He's a little character," she says. "It's gotten to the point where people get confused like, 'Is that your boyfriend?' I'm like, 'No, no. He's a made-up manifestation of my anxiety.'"

By being open about her struggles, Tinx hopes to inspire others to seek help.

"We talk so much about our physical bodies, but what about our mental health? That's why I started posting a therapy selfie every Wednesday. I'm as proud, if not more proud, of the work that I do on my mental health as I am about the work I do at the gym."

One of her most vulnerable moments came last June when she tearfully told her fans she had discovered her then-boyfriend was cheating on her.

"That was such a painful experience," she says. "But at the end of the day, I saw a silver lining. With cheating, the narrative is always 'That's so embarrassing for you.' But I wanted to send a message that it's not embarrassing to fall in love. I got thousands of messages being like, 'Oh my God, I'm going through this too. Thank you for making me feel less ashamed.'"

TikTok may have made her beloved among millennials, but Tinx says she's just getting started.

"I want to evolve," she says. "Ten years ago we didn't have TikTok, so imagine what we're going to have in 10 years."

One thing that won't change, she says, is how much she loves her fans.

"They are my North Star," she says. "I want to grow up with them and continue to pass on any lessons I've learned."

For all the details on Tinx's rise to social media stardom, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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