'Backpack Kid,' Now 18, Reveals How Much Money He Makes
Russell Horning skyrocketed to fame following his viral performance with Katy Perry.
The teenager who went viral for dancing next to Katy Perry while she performed on "Saturday Night Live" in 2017 says he now makes "at least six figures" per year from advertisers on YouTube and Instagram.
Russell Horning, also known as "backpack kid," appeared during Perry's song "Swish Swish" while doing the floss, a dance which involves rapidly swinging your arms to the front and back of your body. Horning didn't invent the move, although after the performance, its popularity exploded, as did the teenager's rise to fame.
Inside Edition caught up with Horning, 18, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. His room doubles as a studio, where he continues to make YouTube videos for his hundreds of thousands of subscribers. He also does modeling gigs and has a new music video out.
Along with collecting advertising revenue from social media, he soon plans to generate more money through "backpack kid" merchandise, including backpacks, shirts and hoodies.
Horning lives with his mom, Antia Redd, who has been supportive of her son along the way.
"Being the mom of the backpack kid is the most stressful and fun thing I've done in my life," she told Inside Edition.
In 2018, Redd sued Epic Games on her son's behalf, alleging that the floss was his and that the developer's video game Fortnite featured it unlawfully. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," along with three others, also sued the game developer over their use of various dance moves in Fortnite.
Ribeiro and Redd voluntarily dismissed their respective lawsuits after the Supreme Court ruled in early 2019 such a suit has no legal merit if copyright registration has not yet been finalized, according to Digital Music News.
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