With more than 100 million followers across all social media platforms, it’s safe to say that the sibling duo, Ranz and Niana, are the biggest internet stars borne from this digital-savvy generation.
15-year-old Niana Guerrero is one of the most followed Filipinos on TikTok right now, and at one point we even called her a social media dance superstar for the influx of support she gets every day. To which on Facebook, she responded with: “i’m not a superstar tho”
Still, even with a simple one-sentence reply, the young content creator got more than 187,000 of her followers reacting to that post. How’s that for a non-superstar, huh?
The siblings arrived for their first-ever magazine cover shoot with an entourage of videographers surrounding them. Quiet, Niana went straight to the holding area and scrolled through her phone, while her 23-year-old brother, Ranz Kyle, came out to survey the area while thinking of an entertaining vlog on-the-spot.
Several heads in the office turned to see what the fuss was about, but for Ranz and Niana, this seemed like a normal day at work. Making content for their loyal fanbase was always a top priority.
How the hype for these siblings came to be is still a mystery for Ranz and Niana. While there’s no special formula for their fame, their content was all rooted in relatability and authenticity.
“When we did our first-ever content, we were just having fun dancing and filming ourselves. We were surprised when we noticed that people were asking for more videos of us,” says Ranz. Even a casual Facebook user would simply be drawn by the siblings’ entertaining connection. If anyone happened to stumble into a random video of Ranz and Niana, they would be sure to keep watching for more.
Way back in 2017, when everyone was blasting Despacito by Luis Fonsi featuring Justin Bieber, Ranz and Niana made a little comedy skit about the song that reached over 57 million views on YouTube and 74 million views on Facebook. Their Hit That Despacito dancing video with their youngest sibling, Natalia, reached 91 million views on Facebook as well.
There is no doubt now that the skill of dancing clearly runs in this tight-knit family. And with a platform that lets them be themselves and show the people that their connection is more than just a 1-minute dance video, they were able to build their own social media empire that unconditionally supports their whole family.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
The first time Niana realized that she was into dancing was when she watched her brother filming himself. “He saw me copying him so he taught me how to do some basic moves and it led me to love dancing,” she says.
Now, the roles are reversed. At the photoshoot, Niana’s shell came out when she started doing TikTok dances. It was up to her to teach her older brother what the “cool” dance moves in the app are now.
“Growing up, me and my siblings were always close. Niana, however, is my partner in crime,” describes Ranz. “She’s one of the very few people who know me really well and we just get each other so well even outside of dancing and vlogging.”
What you see is what you get if you watch Ranz and Niana’s videos together. Having done this for nearly 10 years, Ranz and Niana pretty much grew up right in front of our eyes and their dynamic hasn’t changed since.
“When she was little, she would always ride my back, but now we can’t do those things anymore,” Ranz reminisces. “So instead, we bond through video games, movie nights, food trip nights, and spending time with the family.”
Niana jokingly adds, “I used to think my brother was a very tall guy since I was too small before and I used to look up every time I talked to him. But now I think I’ll be taller than him soon, just kidding!”
Like any normal brother and sister though, the two naturally get into minor fights sometimes. Niana details, “since I’m younger, I usually say sorry to kuya and annoy him until he starts noticing me again and we would end up laughing and forgetting that we even had a fight.”
HOW RANZ AND NIANA CREATED A GENERATION OF HOPEFUL CONTENT CREATORS
Decades ago, if you asked any kid what they would like to be when they grow up, they would say doctor, pilot, or astronaut. Now, if you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up, a lot would want to become a YouTuber like Niana or Ryan’s Toy Review aka Ryan’s World.
In May and June of last year, TikTok was the most-downloaded app in the world, snowballing Niana into fame on the app. She now has 21.6 million followers on TikTok–the most followed in the Philippines–with a generation of kids wanting to follow in her footsteps.
“I don’t really see myself as a star, but I just want to use this opportunity to continue motivating others,” Niana says about how she feels being in a spotlight. “I feel like I am on a mission to give hope and to inspire others that, at a young age, there is so much you can do if you love what you are doing.”
As for Ranz, he’s been in the spotlight for quite some time. When he was Niana’s age, he was already starting content on YouTube while being part of a boy group. His group, Chicser, would go on mall tours, performing for screaming fans while dancing and singing to their original songs. “The experience of being a part of Chicser paved the way for me to really get to know the life of being in the spotlight,” recalls Ranz. He adds, “It helped me hone my talent even more…and it helped me gain some loyal fans.”
This pandemic challenged the dancing duo to put their content into perspective. With the lockdown in order, they were forced to step back and think of content that would benefit their followers while staying at home.
Ranz says, “Given that we are facing a pandemic, what we do is we connect with our followers through our social media accounts. There’s the occasional live stream on Instagram, through Facebook groups so we can talk to them, interact a little bit, things like that.”
The older sibling of the duo said that it all boils down to the intent of their videos. He says, “We started this in order to create content to entertain people. But as time passed by, we realized that people can relate to us on a personal level that can impact them in a unique way. So, knowing this, we aim to keep content positive and encouraging so that people are inspired to pursue whatever goals they have aside from Youtube [and be] able to achieve it.”
When asked about what they want to achieve in the future, the siblings are starry-eyed at the endless possibilities.
Ranz says, “If there’s something I want to do in the future, it’s directing a superhero movie. So career-wise, I see myself as a director.” Meanwhile, Niana shares, “I actually want to learn how to sing, I wanted to learn that for a while now. I also want to learn some new dance moves because learning never stops.”
There’s something astral attached to this sibling duo now. Niana is a teenage girl today and she’ll be a teenage girl tomorrow, but they have also created a longstanding blueprint for self-made success for a generation, rooted in their close connection as a Guerrero family, plus realizations taught by the pandemic.
She says, “I learned that material things are not important, it’s more about your character as a person and how you want to be remembered.” While Ranz continues, “Everything can disappear in an instant. I learned how to be grateful and to keep the simple things in life because it’s something that not even money can buy.”
Creative Direction ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Art Direction KENNETH DIMAANO
Fashion and Beauty Direction LYN ALUMNO
Photography FLOYD JHOCSON
Fashion Film Videographer IAN FRANCISCO
Makeup Artist JORENCE DELIMOS
Shoot Coordination LOUIS ESGUERRA