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Headlinesn > Lifestyle > Influencer Halley Kate, 23, sends Gen Z into a spiral after buying a Hamptons house
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Influencer Halley Kate, 23, sends Gen Z into a spiral after buying a Hamptons house

People on the internet are scrambling to cash an influencer check after TikTok star Halley McGookin bought her very first house – and a car – on the same day.

On Monday, May 20, the 23-year-old social media influencer revealed to her 1.2m TikTok followers that she had purchased a home in The Hamptons, New York. “It’s been months but the secret’s out,” McGookin – who goes by “Halley Kate” on the platform – captioned her now-viral video. “I BOUGHT A HOUSE IN THE HAMPTONS.”

McGookin – who was one of several women punched in the face in New York City in March – took her followers along as she shared footage of herself closing on her property in the popular vacation destination. “I cannot believe I just bought a house,” the influencer said in one clip, interspersed among videos of herself popping champagne and frollicking on the beach in celebration of her new home.

The New York City-based influencer, who also has an apartment in Manhattan, revealed just hours later that she also bought herself a brand new car – because how else will she travel more than two hours outside the city to her new house in the Hamptons?

“Closed on the house this morning, now it’s time to buy a car because I’ve got to get between the city and the Hamptons somehow,” McGookin said in a subsequent video, showing off her brand new Land Rover Defender. “I cannot believe I just bought a car and a house in the same day.”

As it turned out, neither could people on the internet. News quickly spread throughout TikTok (and snarky Reddit pages) that McGookin was able to make such monumental purchases at just 23, simply from her career as a social media influencer. It didn’t take long for McGookin’s videos to send millennials and Gen Zers in a spiral, as they immediately began to question their own career paths.

“I need to start taking TikTok seriously,” one person commented under McGookin’s video.

“I need to try harder on social media,” another user echoed.

“What am I doing wrong?” a third person asked.

For the majority of young Americans, who aren’t making six figures or more from posting content on social media, the prospect of buying a home seems nearly impossible. Between high mortgage rates, higher housing costs, and lack of student loan forgiveness, many Gen Zers and millennials have accepted defeat that they’ll never own a home.

Despite the negative prospects, several people on TikTok decided to poke fun at their financial situation by posting videos of themselves getting on their influencer grind. One woman named Emily filmed herself making a “get ready with me” video – McGookin’s signature content – with the caption, “POV: You saw Halley Kate bought a house in the Hamptons”.

“Walking to my 9-5 this morning knowing TikTokers are making enough to buy a Hamptons house,” another corporate worker said in her TikTok video, while someone else shared: “Seeing Halley Kate buy a house in the Hamptons from posting TikToks and I won’t ever be able to afford that even as a lawyer for years.”

Some people wondered how sustainable a career in influencing can actually be, considering a looming TikTok ban could threaten the livelihoods of many internet stars. Others applauded McGookin for investing the money she’s earned from social media influencing into the real estate market, especially in a location as lucrative as the Hamptons.

It seems that McGookin eventually caught wind of the divided response to her Hamptons house, as she later shared on TikTok exactly how she paid for her home and car in the same day.

“The biggest question I think I’ve gotten is why did I decide to buy a house out here,” the influencer said, as she explained that her home-owning process began in February. McGookin, who purchased the property with her own money, said she decided to buy a house in the Hamptons after spending “so much” just on a week-long summer rental.

“It is so expensive out here. I was like: ‘Why am I paying a mortgage in hotels, renting a car, paying for my dog sitter just for one weekend?’” she shared. “I’ve always loved the Hamptons and wanted to have a place out here eventually. It felt like a good way to invest my money and become, like, a real adult.”

McGookin also shared her tips for those who are scrambling to become influencers themselves. She noted that it took her more than four years to grow her TikTok platform to where it is today, and she began by posting nearly eight videos a day. “The first and most important tip is consistency,” she said. “I know this sounds like: ‘Yeah, no s***,’ but it is so, so easy to give up after a couple of days of posting.”

The influencer also instructed her followers to center their content around topics they’re actually interested in, such as beauty, fashion, or cooking. McGookin suggested tagging brands in each video, as well as earning money through third-party commissionable links. She made sure to remind viewers that “it is not embarrassing to post on social media,” despite what critics may say.

“I do just have to give the biggest thank you to you guys,” McGookin added. “Literally none of this would be possible without you. I’m so f***ing grateful, you do not understand. A couple years ago, I was swallowed in college debt, literally didn’t even know how I was going to pay my rent… and now I’m a homeowner.”

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