Dwayne Johnson is no longer the highest-paid Instagram celebrity.

A report by the BBC once listed “The Rock” as Instagram’s most valuable star. With 187 million followers on the app at the time, the wrestler-turned-mogul commanded more than $1 million per post from potential sponsors. At the time, too, the BBC reported that Cristiano Ronaldo commanded about $889,000 per post, while Kim Kardashian commanded around $858,000 per post.

Interestingly, however, the outlet said that all these numbers were approximations. As such, there was no way to really know who was the highest-paid Instagram celebrity.

“The rankings and cost per post were arrived at after speaking with so-called social media “influencers” themselves, along with brands and marketing companies, and using publicly available pricing information to estimate how much each account could charge,” they said. “However, marketers tend to be secretive about how much they pay, or the posts may be part of a wider deal – as is often the case with A-list celebrities or sports stars – so the exact amounts are not known.”

Despite the secretiveness behind the actual cost of Instagram posts by celebrities, Johnson still was ranked one of the top earners in Hollywood. According to Forbes’ list of top-paid actors, Johnson comes in at No. 1, commanding a salary of $87.5 million in 2020 alone. Will Smith, the only other Black actor on the list, came in at No. 9 with a 2020 salary of $44.5 million. This clearly proves that “The Rock” doesn’t have to get paid to post things on Instagram if he doesn’t want to — but he also knows his worth, and charges accordingly (And we’re here for it. Get your money, Dwayne).

But in 2021, things are very different, and Dwayne Johnson is no longer the highest-paid Instagram celebrity. Someone clearly didn’t smell what The Rock was cooking. But who is the highest-paid Instagram celebrity? The answer will surprise you.



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1. Who Is The Highest-Paid Instagram Celebrity?

According to The Guardian, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid Instagram celebrity in the world. He dethroned Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who was the previously-named highest-paid Instagram celebrity in the world.

The outlet reports that Ronaldo commanded $1.6 million per sponsored post in 2021. He was able to knock Johnson out of the top spot due to the increased profile of the so-called “Euros” soccer tournament.

“With the Euros starting earlier this month and a few controversial marketing moves over the last couple of weeks,” Ronaldo’s presence has skyrocketed,” said Mike Bandar, a co-founder of HopperHQ.com, to the outlet. “Just a week ago he confirmed his king of Instagram status as he became the most-followed person on the platform.”

2. How Many Black Celebrities Are Top Instagram Earners?

Of the 10 celebrities listed in the highest-paid Instagram celebrity list, only two of them — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Beyoncé Knowles — are Black. DwayneJohnson is the second and Beyoncé is the tenth highest-paid celebrity on Instagram.


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3. Who are the Top 5 Instagram Influencers?

According to SmallBizTrends, the top five non-celebrity influencers who make the highest-paid Instagram celebrity list are:

  1. Eleonora Pons – 44 million followers – $180,000 per post
  2. Charli D’Amelio – 42.3 million followers – $172,700 per post
  3. Addison Rae – 38.2 million followers – $155,800 per post
  4. Sommer Ray – 26.5 million followers – $108,300 per post
  5. Dixie D’Amelio – 24.4 million followers – $99,800 per post

And it goes without saying that of the top five non-celebrity influencers who are the highest earners, not one of them is Black.

4. Why Are Black Instagram Celebrities So Underpaid?

The Verge did an in-depth report on the pay disparity between Black influencers and white influencers on the app. With the help of an account called Influencer Pay Gap, they realized that Black influencers weren’t just slightly underpaid — they were significantly underpaid, especially when compared to their white counterparts.


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The outlet cited the example of Black influencer Mikai McDermott, who was paid 100 GBP (about $138.50 on today’s exchange) for a campaign — only to find out that her white counterpart was making 1,000 GBP (about $1,385.00 on today’s exchange) for that same campaign.

In a nutshell, the pay disparity all boils down to systemic racism.

“It was a whole day of microaggressions, so by the end when I had asked [the model how much she made], I was just over it, and I wanted to leave,” she said to the outlet. “Now I look back at it as a learning experience.”

And while, on the surface, it seems a little bit better on the mainstream celebrity side — the reality is, it isn’t. When only two of the top 10 highest-paid Instagram celebrities are Black, that’s far from an even distribution of wealth.