"I just wanted to have fun, to create content, to do what I liked - and be myself," explained Jessica before she became the center of an online controversy. She never anticipated the chaos her 'Ariana Grande' persona would cause...
Jessica vs. Ariana
The story begins with Jessica Teekasingh, a 22-year old with a relatively small online presence. She eventually became more famous than she could have ever predicted. But how did she live before all of the high ponytails, hoodies, and threats from online strangers?
How could a young woman cause so much anger and controversy, simply for looking relatively similar to Ariana Grande? Buckle up, because things aren't always as they appear, and for Jessica, this couldn't be more true...
Born A Miracle
Jessica was born on May 31, 1998, in the town of Newark, New Jersey. Her mother Karen gave birth to her under particularly difficult circumstances, and against great odds. "It was insane, the doctors didn't think I was going to make it," Jessica revealed in a Youtube video.
Not only was the pregnancy a surprise, but the birth also happened 4 months early. Jessica was a premature baby, who had to spend 2 months living on a ventilator, a little underweight for her size. The strain of such a birth would affect Jessica for a long time after.
Not Like The Other Girls
Jessica had already survived so much at such an early age. But how would that go on to affect her life outside of the maternity ward? Could she settle into life the same way that a healthy child would? The miracle baby simply wasn’t like most children, and not just because of her challenging birth.
Understandably, her mother was terrified of how her daughter was going to grow up. She was fiercely protective, and the young girl spent most of her early life with many restrictions. "My mom never let me go out," Jessica said. "I couldn't go to sleepovers... to movies - I couldn't go to anyone's house, no one could come here."
A Victim of Bullying
But that wasn’t the worst that was in store for young Jessica. By the time she had adjusted to life, she started elementary school where she came to face further struggles. She soon found herself prey to school bullies and found it difficult to make friends.
Jessica was subjected to everything from name-calling to being forced to sit on the floor while taking the school bus. She took to Youtube to explain her difficult childhood, telling viewers, “I used to get bullied because I was so small. I was a little quiet child. I wouldn't really do much or say anything… just very shy."
Keeping Up With Other Kids
As if that wasn’t enough, once she reached high school things only got more difficult. She soon had a whole new list of issues to worry about. As an “advanced” student in her own words, she did well academically. But what happened when it came to gym class?
Sadly, after all those years had passed Jessica was still too frail to participate in normal physical activities, and gym was a constant struggle for her. When it came to extracurricular sports she had to step back. "I never really did them because I felt like I wasn't gonna be able to keep up with the other kids,” she said.
She Just Wanted To Fit In
Despite all these large setbacks, Jessica still found herself a victim of normal teenage insecurities. She opened up about her thoughts, saying, “You have that thing in the back of your head. It's just like, 'Well, if [only] my nose was just a little smaller,' or, 'If my eyes were just a little bigger…'"
Jessica was also “racially ambiguous”, as she described herself, and found herself frequently stereotyped by people around her. She described the experience as difficult to stomach, saying “ It just makes me feel like someone like me will never win… will always kind of be in the background."
Her Looks Attract Attention
Considering all of these difficulties in high school, particularly her insecurities, Jessica could never have expected how integral her looks would become in the next stage of her life. Because one day, while still in high school, she looked in the mirror and saw a famous face staring back.
She told Hooked on the Look about the revelation she had. “When I first realized I looked like Ariana Grande, it was I think around my junior year of high school. I had just dyed my hair back to brown, and my mom had started a hair company, so she gave me some extensions.”
Her Youtube Journey Began
Young Jessica quickly realized the potential of her epiphany. She decided to take to YouTube, eager to see if online communities agreed with her realization. In July 2015 she launched her YouTube channel “JessChic,” which went on to gather 200k subscribers.
But she also had another, more profound, agenda for her channel. She wanted her videos to "bring out the best in everyone that watches them," according to her channel bio. She was known mainly in the beauty niche, from DIY makeup looks to fashion hacks and more. But all that changed when she posted a different kind of video...
Spotted At Disneyland
In July 2016, Jessica took a trip to Orlando, Florida, with her mother in tow. They were heading to Disneyland, on a vacation they were taking to celebrate Jessica getting into college. But as it turned out, the trip was anything but a normal holiday away.
"That was my first time ever going to Disney World… something I've always wanted to do my whole life… and then I put it up online, and it went crazy," Jessica said publically when later asked about the video that garnered over 16 million views and put her right in the public eye. But why did it cause such a stir?
Mistaken For Ariana Grande
What was meant to be a relaxing mother-daughter trip soon turned into something else entirely. Jessica found herself in the center of a frenzy, as dozens of strangers lined up to talk to her and take her picture. But she was just a normal girl, so how did it happen?
Well, the outfit she wore might give you a good idea. Jessica chose to don a very singular kind of outfit - stiletto heels, large sunglasses, and a high-ponytail to boot. In short, she was the spitting image of Ariana Grande! And Jessica felt quite proud of this, cheerfully posing for pictures with the pop star's fans.
What had initially been a bit of fun for Jessica, soon turned into something else. When the video went viral it became apparent that the woman posing for pictures was not the petite popstar, and Ari fans began to react. They were furious and demanded that Jessica be held accountable. And they weren’t alone.
Grande herself soon took to social media after learning about the infamous “meet-and-greet.” She took to Twitter to voice her opinion. "Yeah, that's just not cool. feel very badly for [those fans] and wish I could meet them now somehow." But that was only the beginning of the story...
Becoming Ariana Grande
It took a little while for Jessica to fully grasp what was happening, especially after being called out by someone with so much fame and influence. Most people would probably apologize and move on. But Jessica wasn’t ‘most people,’ and instead, she dug her heels in as she gained even more attention.
So the look-alike show continued. According to Jessica, all she wanted to do was “see how much I can actually resemble this woman," as reported in Hooked on the Look. Despite the initial outrage by so many people, Jessica insisted that "It was [just] for fun.”
Friend From Youtube
"We're literally really... similar. The first day we met, we had so much in common, y'all don't understand.” No, Jessica wasn’t talking about Ariana Grande when she said this. Instead, she was talking about the famous YouTuber Gabi Demartino. The two vloggers had become fast friends, and Jessica’s online presence only grew larger.
Although her growing fame might've struck jealousy in the hearts of some, it wasn’t without its downsides. Jessica and Gabi even took to YouTube to talk about it in a video titled “Answering hate questions.” Jessica soon discovered that scandal was even more probable than she thought.
"I Lived Like Ariana"
Earlier that year Gabi had uploaded a video of her own that was inspired by Ariana Grande, called "I Lived Like Ariana Grande For A Day Parody." It was met with almost instantaneous criticism from viewers, causing her to post an emotional tweet saying, “I'm sorry if it upset you, wish I didn't put it up.”
And just as she had responded to Jessica’s video, Grande also took aim at Gabi’s video, tweeting "Yea, this ain’t it." The pop star's unimpressed reaction naturally caused further controversy, though Gabi insisted that the only intent of the video was to get some laughs.
Back to Disney World
Just as it seemed like the two friends had finally let their personal dramas with Grande die, Jessica found herself in the midst of a scandal all over again - and in the same place as the first time. That’s right, she went back to Orlando, Florida, for another holiday.
In 2018, two years after the first incident, Jessica took another trip to the same Disneyland park she had visited, but this time she took a friend. This trip put Jessica in hot water all over again, though the YouTube star swore that it was unintentional and claimed she had lost all her footage of the day.
Followers Labelled Her a Liar
In the eyes of Ariana Grande’s fans, it was a very convenient lie, and Jessica soon found her Youtube channel bombarded with accusations. Many claimed that the deleted footage of her second Disneyland appearance still existed, but Jessica felt that the footage didn’t receive enough attention.
Jessica was apparently shocked, and couldn’t understand the backlash she was receiving. She took to YouTube, telling fans, "I don't know how this happened.” Sadly, no one seemed to believe her claims and the accusations kept flooding in. "I was so upset, and I still am."
Tricked Fans At an Ariana Grande Concert
After this repeated incident, you might think that Jessica was finally out of dangerous waters, but you would be wrong. There was still plenty of trouble ahead. By July 2019 she was about to come face-to-face with her greatest controversy when she decided to attend an Ariana Grande concert.
But she didn't go there to enjoy the show - or to sing-along to Thank U, Next with her girlfriends, but rather, something else entirely. So what was the plan? Well, it was "Meeting fans dressed as Ariana Grande at an Ariana Grande concert!" according to her own words.
But once again, Jessica’s idea of light-hearted fun was met with a rather...unexpected response. This time, the reaction to her escapades was even worse than before. "The response was really bad" the YouTuber later admitted. "The comments that I got… were not nice comments."
The hate that boiled over after her concert ‘prank’ was far worse than what she expected. Responses ranged from “banning” her from any other Ariana concerts to threatening to send her “scary things” in the mail. By this point, many vloggers would've stood down, But Jessica pushed on.
How to Fake Being Rich
Something was becoming very clear. No matter how much controversy her actions were generating, Jessica was not going to back out of her new-found calling. Despite all the trouble she had found herself in, she kept posting exactly what she wanted with no apologies.
By October 2019 Jessica had come up with another “interesting” video idea. It was titled “'How to FAKE being Rich.” And from the title, you can probably tell how that turned out. One fan posted the question, "I don't see why I'd want to appear to be something I'm not?" and it made sense. Why did Jessica feel the need to pretend?
Drama with Paige Niemann
While fans and followers were blasting Jessica day-by-day, soon another follower stepped in. But this person was unlike the rest. In fact, they had more in common with Jessica than almost anyone else. And they had millions of followers to boot themselves.
In November 2019, Jessica revealed what had happened. "The other day, I got some DMs on good ol' Instagram… I was sent a video," she posted. It was of TikTok star Page Niemann criticizing her. "It's basically the pot calling the kettle black," Jessica replied. Niemann had also gained fame and attention as an Ariana impersonator.
No Longer an Imitator
So, over the course of her social media career, Jessica Teekasingh had fought it out with countless followers and called out other influencers. But again she found herself stirring up controversy. She had made another video, and it was not well received by the 150,000 people who watched it.
In the video, Jessica revealed that she was finally taking a step back from her ‘Arianator’ image. "I refuse to be a part of such a toxic group of people," she confided, sending shockwaves through her fanbase. "This fandom has built my so-called career off of just fabrication… I don't get it."
Giving Up Her 'Ariana Grande' Image
But of course, that wasn’t all. Despite how tired she seemed of the social media drama, in December 2019 she made another announcement to her followers - one that might bring her entire career so far crashing down around her. But what was the announcement?
All she wanted to do was clarify her position. She explained that she wanted to "get away from the whole Ariana persona" in hopes that her disgruntled followers could see her perspective. "I think maybe we started on the wrong foot. I think we can start over if you're willing to?" she told her viewers.
After everything she’d been through, from the Disneyland ‘meet-and-greets’ to friendships with high-flying YouTubers, to causing controversy on an almost yearly basis, Jessica was finally putting that stage of her life behind her. But as she soon found out, it was easier said than done.
In an interview with Hooked on the Look, Jessica’s assistant Eileen spoke up. "We've talked about trying to get you away from that [Ariana Grande] image, but it's gonna be hard. You're gonna lose some people because some people are just here for the drama.”
The "Heart-Wrenching" Hatred
Sadly, separating herself from her image as an Ariana impersonator took a bigger toll than she anticipated. Because after years of building a career online, it only took a single moment to destroy it all, and she found herself having to pick up the pieces.
In Eileen’s interview, she went further into her employer's experience with the online hate she received. "For a while, there were videos where Jessica was like, 'Oh, it's fine,' or, 'It doesn't bother me that much." But Jessica made it pretty clear that wasn’t true when she later described the blowback as “heart-wrenching.”
She Took a Break From Social Media
Considering everything that had been snowballing over those months, the exhausted and emotionally-shattered vlogger had to think carefully about her next step. So she made what may have been the best decision of her career so far - she took a lengthy break from social media.
Jessica addressed this break later, telling her followers “I have completely neglected social media… honestly for a while.” She went further, explaining that "Ever since I even started social media, I've never really been able to put my all into it." She attributed this indifference to her “mental state” at the time.
After months of a personal social media black-out, the young woman finally returned to multiple platforms. On November 13, 2020, she made a YouTube video announcing her return to the internet. "I have a lot of updates for you," she promised. Her announcement was hard to resist paying attention to.
Jessica went on in her first video update. "I'm alive... I'm coming back to social media so soon, y'all have no idea.” She acknowledged all of the difficulties she had experienced over the years, and how much the hiatus had helped her. It had shown her something invaluable: “I can be a lot more than I let myself believe.”
Where is Jessica Now?
From throwing shade at other influencers to being called out by Ariana Grande herself, Jessica had weathered a lot of storms in her professional life. But after taking time to work on herself, where did that leave her? Where have Jessica’s online ambitions led her today?
Today, Jessica is living a much more normal, and hopefully peaceful existence. She seems to have put much of the past behind her and is now working as a server for the Hooters chain. "I'm gonna continue to push further and keep progressing," Jessica proclaimed. "Because the progress I've made so far? It's honestly remarkable."
Yes, Jessica Teekasingh looks different these days, but she hopes no one is mourning her past as a controversial popstar impersonator. The aspiring influencer finally seems to be coming into her own, and according to her there is much, much more to come.
The bubbly vlogger even took to YouTube again to tease her upcoming projects. "I'm just really excited," she said. "There are a lot of things I also can't share with you guys, that I really do wanna share… but I can't, just due to them not happening yet."
Advice to Her Fans
Throughout her journey, we’ve seen Jessica weather all of the ups-and-downs of becoming famous online and dealing with staggering amounts of internet backlash. But after all the drama and lessons learned, she has some words of advice for the rest of us.
Jessica wanted people to know that no matter what life sends your way, you always have the strength and ability to handle it. "Imagine how much you could do if… instead of letting life control you, you control your life?” She proposed. “I think that's just amazing."
Well that’s her story, at least so far. It seems like Jessica’s been through it all, despite her young age and the relatively short time she spent in the spotlight. But regardless, she’s no longer letting others control how people see her. "I'm tired of other people writing my narrative, it's my life," Jessica proclaimed.
And we couldn’t agree more. But there are still some underlying questions we can’t help but think about. Has Jessica really moved on to bigger and better things? Or will she slide back into her old habits? Either way, we’re going to take her word for it when she says, "I've lived far too long behind another person's shadow."