Class of 2021

How Christina Najjar Created ‘Tinx,’ the Influencer to End Them All

To share or overshare, that is the question.

Bliss Braoudakis
Graphics:
Ashley Combs

Crying in her car, Christina Najjar realized she had hit a crossroads. After falling in love with her best male friend, she'd invited hundreds of thousands of strangers to follow along on a journey destined for an unsatisfying, and unrequited, conclusion. Cheeks still wet, Najjar faced a familiar dilemma for anyone identifying among the digital gen; to share or not to share.

Since the dawn of modern art, creatives have adopted mononymous to cultivate mystique. There's Sting, Prince, Madonna, all of which reached superstardom by retaining an air of superhumanity. Christina Najjar is better known as 'Tinx' and an influencer in the truest sense of the word, advising an expanse of impressionable teens and 20-somethings on topics ranging from restaurants to romance. While most pseudonyms are deployed to keep fans at arm's length, 'Tinx' has become a four-letter synonym for inexorable—often inadvisable—candor. Now, it also serves as shorthand: Tinx, 'TikTok's big sister.'

"It feels really natural to share my life with my followers—I don't feel pressure to share with them," she tells Coveteur. "There were moments in my early days of creation where I was like, 'Can I do this?' But I can actually help other people by being honest. The era of filtering yourself both physically and metaphorically is over."

When Najjar hit 'upload' on her heartbreak, her self-investment began to compound. D.C. born and London raised, Najjar's journalistic ambitions steered her from Stanford to Parsons and towards experiential features for digital outlets that "wouldn't hold up" a near-decade later. By the time she reached her late '20s, the steam had begun to subside. Propelled, as many of us are, to source sustainable income, Najjar relocated from New York to Los Angeles and found herself accepting a consulting job at a weed company. A 10-second scroll of her Instagram feed revealed former college classmates' wedding plans or property purchases, and here was Najjar, BT (before Tinx), pushing 30, and deciphering the difference between indica and sativa.

tinx
tinx

When work dried up in the early weeks of lockdown, Najjar embraced the opportunity to regress. Her teenagehood had been spent writing poetry and other creative pursuits that had been deprioritized when time began to mean money. Najjar was restless. On a walk with a friend, Najjar pondered her purpose. "If money were no object," he asked, "What would you do?"

In May of 2020, @itsmetinx and her plug-in microphone arrived. She brought the 'starter-pack' meme to life in a series of acerbic analyses, and categorized each of us by our most-frequented coffee shops. She unraveled her personal life afore her front camera, each revelation more personal than the last. The numbers crept up. Gwyneyth Paltrow materialized in the comment section. By January, Najjar was content creating full-time. Her personalized Chipotle order, Erewhon smoothie and vegan ice-cream sundae at Craig's prompted attempts from Vogue and The New York Times to "unpack her appeal." Key adjectives emerged. The "'G' word" (genuine) and "'R' word" (relatable), considered "dirty" by Najjar herself, were readily recycled. For Najjar, the welcome reception was testament to the fact that our appetite for the "the perfect body in the perfect bikini on a perfect vacation with the perfect boyfriend" had waned.

"I think there was already a movement in that direction and the pandemic lit the match—we're always going to want to see beautiful things and aspiration, but it was also killing us. Now, sometimes if I take a photo of a cocktail I like, does anyone care about this? I've earned [my followers] attention, so I always have to gut check like, is this even interesting?"

Of course, the road to success is not without potholes, or in Najjar's case, a very vocal peanut gallery. She credits her ability to disregard hurtful comments to life experience, and feels fiercely protective over younger creators for whom time hasn't yet thickened their skin. Still, she welcomes critique. Her reputation as the sage, seen-it-all elder is underscored by a willingness to admit when she, too, has got it wrong.

tinx
tinx
tinx

"I can't project this image of perfection, it's not realistic anymore," Najjar explains. "I got my heart shattered this year and it was after I had been on Instagram and Tiktok telling everyone I was going to marry this guy I'm obsessed with, then I got T-boned and it sucked. I realized I had to be so raw with them because it was going to help people. I have to offer the full picture."

Early this month, Najjar shared a tweet to her Instagram. "If you're a straight guy aged 25 to 35," it read, "Do you realize you're being judged by your romantic partners almost entirely based on a set of standards created by a person named Tinx." One follower responded: "The tweet is 100% true and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Najjar elicits a kind of loyalty that is difficult to come by in the high-saturated social space, and it's easy to see why. Perhaps conditioning from her writer-for-hire days, she delivers unto each follower as if they're each a paying client. By acknowledging attention as a currency, Najjar approaches content creation with the same commitment one might have for high-reward nine-to-five. This daily consistency makes for a smorgasbord of content—a "variety show" wherein information and entertainment are in complete alignment (even when she's spreading vaccine-awareness with Fauci). Primarily, Najjar is creating what she wants to consume.

"The most important thing in the world to me is this group of people," she reveals. "I love my followers to the point it gets in the way of my romantic relationships. I want to grow with them and help them. If I can save a girl three weeks obsessing over a fuckboy, or $50 bucks by buying the right eye cream or make them laugh and break up their workday, that's my divine purpose. I know that they trust me and I don't take that responsibility for granted."

tinx
tinx

It's perhaps for that reason Najjar so highly prioritizes "growth." She remembers cringing over an old article ('I Finally Wore Light Wash Jeans and They Totally Changed the Way I Felt About My Body'), when a recent post of her in, yes, light wash jeans received an outpouring of love. Now, Najjar laughs, she willingly walks around naked, and is baffled to receive messages about her diet or workout routine. She could "weep" over the hours she spent hating her body in her 20s—even in her 'best' shape—and only now understands that it's her self-acceptance, not her figure, that is so attractive to her devotees.

"I'm a meat-covered skeleton on a rock, hurtling through space," she says. "I wish I could bottle the acceptance I have and send it to every girl because we are so mean to ourselves. I enjoy my life, I take care of myself, I have balance. I wear what I want and I'm confident, and it's the confidence that's drawing them in."

Of course, Najjar's self-assurance isn't entirely responsible for her allure. With unmatched observations and impeccable comedic timing, Najjar presents a portal into a life of newfound access; socratically assessing her ascension — from bowls of carbonara at Carbone to houses in the Hamptons—for fans to digest the fruit salad of her labor. For as long as Christina Najjar hits 'share,' Tinx will remain the outsider's ultimate insider.

"I hope that I never feel fully comfortable, anywhere. I love social commentary, and I hope I'm always pushing myself to be in new rooms to make new observations. More than anything, my North star is always to meaningfully connect with my audience."


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