Keith Lee, known as @Keith_Lee125 on TikTok, is a 26-year-old professional MMA fighter who lost his contract in 2021. After dedicating his life to fighting, he took matters into his own hands to create a sustainable living for himself and his growing family. Lee promised himself that he would build something no one else could take away from him. Even though he didn’t know where these thoughts would lead him, he began posting on TikTok. Lee initially shared family-style content focusing on his wife and daughter. It wasn’t until his wife became pregnant with their second child that his content took off.
Rise to TikTok Fame
Lee was steadily posting family vlogs, but when his pregnant wife started craving different foods, he started posting cooking videos and videos of himself trying new foods. His audience really engaged with his new style of content, and he started gaining a ton of followers.
He was then asked to appear on a popular YouTube channel, ‘People VS Food,’ which he had been a fan of for years. After that moment, Lee decided to make food reviews the main focus of his channel. After being featured on the popular channel with over 12 million subscribers, Lee gained many followers.
Since taking food reviews seriously in late 2022, Lee has become TikTok’s favorite food reviewer, known for giving honest feedback on food while making it clear he isn’t bashing restaurants. The former MMA fighter says he goes into every review without bias.
Lee told NBC that while he remained consistent with his content, it was “just God’s timing” when he saw a surge of engagement and influence. Since November 2022, Lee has seen a significant increase in growth, from 1.5 million followers to 10.5 million in just three months.
The husband and father says that he’s built a community of fellow foodies like him who love the experience of waiting in long lines to try popular, hyped-up restaurants. His audience keeps coming back because of his authenticity and transparency.
The greater good
In November 2022, one of his reviews of a local food truck, 303 in the Cut, blew up. It gained over 35.5 million TikTok views — and served as one of the first moments that Lee’s influence drove tremendous business to a family-owned restaurant.
After that, Lee began using his platform to highlight small restaurants in the Las Vegas area that had been struggling to attract customers. A viewer contacted the creator and asked if he would review their parents’ restaurant. Lee’s positive review of the restaurant received over 20 million views and thousands of comments.
In January 2023, he received another request to help a struggling restaurant, Frankensons Pizzeria. After the video went viral with over 35 million views, it gained the attention of local news stations. The restaurant owner told a Las Vegas news outlet that he went from only making $400 a day to selling out daily after Lee posted his review of the restaurant.
Since Lee has become one of TikTok’s most trusted food reviewers with over 10.7 million followers, he’s collaborated with Mr. Beast and partnered with Good Morning America. He’s also been honored as an “industry disruptor” on TikTok’s inaugural Visionary Voices list.
Lee told NBC he doesn’t feel like he’s even halfway there.
“I know a lot of people have seen my journey and they like, ‘Oh, you’re at your peak. You need to get it while the getting’s good,’ but honestly, I think I’m at the very beginning. I think things are just starting for me. And I’m just enjoying the journey.”Keith Lee, NBC interview
How inspiring is this story? It’s proof that you don’t have to know how you’re going to get to your destination, just keep believing that you’ll get there!