Home Feature JerseyJoe: A Montclair State Student’s Rise To The Top Of Your “For You” Page

JerseyJoe: A Montclair State Student’s Rise To The Top Of Your “For You” Page

by Jennifer Sanchez

A young superstar in the making, camouflaged as a student, is making it big through his social media platform on TikTok.

Throughout Lepinski’s childhood, he has been dancing since he could move his feet. He did not start making videos until he was a sophomore dorming at Machuga Heights at Montclair State University in 2021.

“I was really bored and I wanted to get my name out there. I picked up the camera and that’s what happened,” Lepinski said.

From Woodbridge in Central Jersey and a senior physical education major, Lepinski made a name for himself with his viral Jersey Club dance videos.

Jersey Club, which used to be called “Brick City Club,” is a style of electronic club music that originated in Newark, New Jersey. It consists of remixes of R&B and rap tracks and is danced in a fast and aggressive way.

In 2023, this TikTok dancer managed to go from one million followers to gaining a huge fan base of three million followers.

“It’s amazing,” Lepinski said. “It just feels so crazy to grow so [quickly] in such a short amount of time.”

But he could not have started his page without a catchy name representing who he is.

“I was on live one day and asked, ‘Chat, I need a name,’” Lepinski said. “I wanted to combine Jersey and Jersey club dancing to my name, and someone said ‘JerseyJoe’ and I thought it combined perfectly.”

Joe Lepinski, senior physical education major. Allen Macaraeg | The Montclarion

Joe Lepinski, senior physical education major. Allen Macaraeg | The Montclarion

With his last semester at Montclair State approaching, Lepinski balances his academics with his schedule of dances for the week.

“I’ve completed my physical education required courses, so I’m just taking electives. It’s been pretty easy. I’m more focused on TikTok now,” Lepinski said.

Although he has gained popularity through social media, as a student, some stop him for a picture.

“I would just walk to Blanton to get a sandwich and people walk up and ask for a picture,” Lepinski said.

TikTok viewer and student Shamar Alston has been a fan of JerseyJoe since he had 11,000 followers.

“Seeing someone like that is sort of inspiring. It gives people an idea that it’s not hard to make it out there,” Alston said.

Lepinski starts his day by looking at TikTok, finding trendy songs, and making a dance based on the beat. He posts two days a week at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Some dances take me a couple hours and other times it takes me 15 or 30 minutes to make up,” Lepinski said.

With this TikTok star rising, he has made dance trends that have gained a lot of popularity. The “Slipper Slapper” is one of them, where he is doing a Jersey dance, lifts his leg to catch his slipper and throws it out of the frame aggressively.

When Lepinski danced to the song “Cha Cha” by artist Zeddy Will, it immediately went viral. Zeddy then reached out to Lepinski to meet and collaborate, then was featured in the music video.

“I’ve never acted before like that,” Lepinski said. “It was like my little debut.”

With Lepinski’s overgrowth of following, a Knicks social media personnel invited him to a game and made a TikTok, as well as a collaboration with the “Dancing Weatherman” Nick Kosir, who is a meteorologist for Fox 46. Kosir is also known for his dancing videos on TikTok, with five million followers.

After graduation, Lepinski wants to continue with his TikTok content and start a YouTube channel and Twitch account. When Lepinski is not dancing and slipper slapping, he cools down, chills with friends, sits back to watch comedy or action movies or gets active and plays some basketball or soccer.

Childhood friend, Brian Salazar, a Kean University student, has known Lepinski since the first grade. Being with him since the beginning, Salazar films Lepinski for his videos.

“It’s insane. I never thought he was going to get this big just being himself,” Salazar said. “I’ve been to the events, and it’s incredible; he has a good following; people relate to him and look up to him.”

Another true supporter of Lepinski is his dad. Darren Lepinski enjoys seeing his son doing what he likes and shares that excitement by joining him in Jersey dances.

“I try to get my family in it,” Lepinski said. “My parents like that I love what I’m doing.”

“He’s a happy kid,” Darren Lepinsk said. “I said go after your dreams if that’s what you wanna do. I can’t say one negative thing. Completely proud of every accomplishment he has done.”

With Lepinski’s career high, it has not changed him one bit.

“I know it sounds cliché, but he’s humble,” Salazar said. “There’s nothing that has changed about him. He’s doing what he loves, he’s just more popular.”

Lepinski is also launching a new project: a line of merchandise called The Jersey Effect.

“It’s about inspiring others in how Jersey club and Jersey affects other people and how it’s inspiring their world to start making music,” Lepinski said.

This merch will issue a line of slippers so everyone can join in on the slipper-slapper trend.

Lepinski’s successful career has allowed his personality to shine beyond just a phone screen.

“I feel like I’ve grown much more because I’m meeting new people,” Lepinski said. “I feel more confident and socially better.”

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