"I just have this constant need for attention. Maybe that's a bad thing, maybe not," as Trisha Paytas once revealed; but even she couldn't have predicted the madness that'd soon call for. Here's her story.
"I equate being normal as being boring," Trisha explained to YouTube. You see, as you may already know, the journey we're about to take you on is far from ordinary or boring; But where did it even begin?
How did one girl from the Midwest go from small-town dreamer to online superstar, entangled in one explosive scandal after another? Hang on while we take you right back to the very beginning.
Her Rocky Childhood
"I really do block so much of it out," the YouTube star revealed of her younger years to The Sip. Born in Riverside, California, to Frank and Lenna Paytas, young Trisha's life was rocky from the very start. In fact, at just three years old, she'd be faced with her very first hardship.
What happened? Her family was splitting up, with her parent's divorce bringing her all the way from sunny California to Rockford, Illinois, along with her brother, Nick, and half-sister, Kalli. Unfortunately for Trisha, her transition would be far from easy.
She Struggled to Fit-In
As Trisha explained, "I was definitely more of the outcast:" She was the "eccentric" new-girl, with a love for Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond; a straight-A student in the classroom, but failing elsewhere when that school bell came to a ring, as Trisha put it.
But while her failure to fit in eventually subjected her to lots of bullying and name-calling, there was one thing that got her through those seemingly endless days: Her dream of making it big; And in only a matter of time, it'd lead her to say goodbye to her family, as she welcomed a new and exciting chapter in return.
Moving Out West
"This is where I need to be," Trisha recalled of the moment she hugged her mother for one final time, as she set out towards California, eager to make her dreams a reality; From the moment she finally received that high-school diploma, there was no stopping her - she was already in the car headed straight towards the airport.
Sure enough, though, from the minute she touched down in LAX that fateful day in 2006, Trisha Paytas' life would never be the same. After reuniting with her father, and her brother Nick, who'd already moved out West, she'd soon come to learn the hard way that not everything was as easy as it seemed.
Her Struggle to Adjust to California
For the next few years, from about 18-23 years old, the misplaced California girl's reality had her working whatever jobs would put food on the table, from exotic dancing to modeling - and it wasn't easy. Trisha was sure that moving out West would bring her closer to her dreams, only they seemed to be slipping away by the day.
"It was such a culture shock for me," Trisha explained. In the blink of an eye, she'd gone from small-town girl to a fish out of water; another girl in California with a dream of making it big. Little did she know, her big break was actually right around the corner.
The Moment She Joined YouTube
On January 3, 2007, the aspiring star took her dreams to the keyboard, as Trisha Paytas joined the world of YouTube. But, believe it or not, the motives behind her latest move were actually devoted to something - or someone - entirely different: Quentin Tarantino.
That's right, what started "Out of boredom, putting out random videos that didn't have much substance," as she told Business Insider, would soon put her name on the map; From "The Quentin Tarantino Book Club" to an "Ode to Quentin Tarantino," the blogger's devotion to the director was unmatched - and people were noticing.
Growing As a Blogger
Sure enough, though, by the time 2009 came rolling around - and with that, the release of Inglorious Basterds - the Quentin Tarantino superfan decided to put her fangirl moments on hold. Instead? Trisha decided to dive into more relatable content, comedic videos that she was sure would win viewers over.
And, well, she was right. From dating advice to dieting diaries, the newfound blogger's fans continued to grow by the day; But it was her attempt to break a Guinness Record - the world's fastest talker - that'd soon land her a spot on Ellen DeGeneres' couch; Only her time on our screens was just getting started.
"My Strange Addiction"
"My name is Trisha, and I can't stop tanning," a heavily bronzed Trisha revealed to the camera, as the self-titled tanning addict soon landed a role on TLC's reality series, My Strange Addiction, come 2010; A proud member of at least 6 tanning salons, the California girl seemed to be adjusting just fine to her new surroundings.
In fact, if you asked her? She was finally thriving - it was "The majority of people in California," instead, that weren't. "It's such a disappointment because they're not tan… we're in California, it's such a bad reflection," as Trisha put it. How did viewers react?
Making a Name for Herself
Whether they were happy about it or not, people simply couldn't seem to look away from the quirky star and her questionable actions; In fact, for the rest of the year, Trisha would continue to get her name out there, in just about any way she possibly could.
From guest-roles on Modern Family to debuting in music-videos for big-names like Eminem, Amy Winehouse, and The All-American Rejects, Trisha Paytas was becoming more than just another Tarantino superfan - she was slowly breeding fans of her very own.
Taking the Risky Route: Trolling
Perhaps that's why Trisha decided to do what she did next; Something that'd soon propel her front and center - even if it wasn't for good reason, as she herself will tell you: "Dumbing [her]self down," as the YouTube star revealed to Business Insider.
You see, as she put it, "I thought 'trolling' videos were what my channel was all about," Trisha explained of the moment she realized controversy equaled more clicks - and as a result, a better chance at that fame she so desperately wanted. So, what'd she do next?
Becoming a Controversial Figure
From mocking different cultures, dressing as a Japanese pop star, to asking her followers if "dogs even have a brain," to the naked eye: The blonde Barbie might have seemed clueless, but she knew exactly what she was doing. In fact, her brush with controversy was just getting started.
In the weeks, months, and years that followed, Trisha Paytas continued to grow her questionable content - and in doing so, her follower count. But soon enough, come 2013, she'd come face to face with one skeptic who wasn't afraid to ask the hard questions.
Meeting Dr. Phil
Dressed in a black pencil skirt, and lacy blouse, the blonde diva swapped the comfort of her computer's webcam for cue cards and cameramen, as her latest endeavor on our screen brought her straight to Hollywood, for Dr. Phil's latest episode. The topic?
'Girls who bash girls who dress sexy,' as the segment read. As one of many women featured in the segment, Trisha Paytas explained the struggles she'd faced for dressing the provocative way that she did; But while her time on stage may have left audience members divided, her next endeavor was actually met with critical acclaim.
Fighting Back With Music
"I figured why not do a video taking the negative connotation... away," Trisha revealed to Business Insider of the moment she decided to take a stand against the haters with her 2015 debut EP, Fat Chicks. "It's this taboo word that people do take offense to, including me at one point, but why?"
Sure enough, the YouTube star's move from blogging to the music world might have been a risky one, but that's exactly why people couldn't get enough of it. As Trisha put it, instead of letting the negative words haunting her feed get to her, she decided to reclaim them - and it was working.
The Feud With Her Fans
Unfortunately for Trisha, though, while she may have been basking in her new title as an artist - and the acclaim that came with it - she'd soon become the face of a shocking scandal. What happened exactly? Daniel E. Carroll, otherwise known as one of Trisha's most infamous superfans.
If you ask him, he and his idol's story goes back decades - as they met on Facebook, long before she was even famous. But in only a matter of time, their online friendship came crumbling down, as, come 2016, she hit back at his claims with her latest upload: "My Online Stalker." How did she put it? "I am TERRIFIED!"
The Breakup Tell-All
But by the time December 2016 came rolling around, Trisha's drama with overzealous fans was the least of her worries; In fact, thanks to her latest upload, the YouTube star, along with a newly broken heart, would soon be slapped with a public lawsuit. What went wrong?
For most of us, the thought of a breakup might call for a good crying session. As for Trisha? She did just that - only in front of millions of viewers, as she told the YouTube world that her now-ex, Sean Van Der Wilt, had cheated on her - with a man, no less, outing him to the entire world and bringing her to court.
The 'Celebrity Big Brother' Controversy
Unfortunately for Trisha, though, as she'd soon find out, the price of her newfound fame - or infamy - would lead to a lonely realization; One that'd propel her to say goodbye to the notorious Celebrity Big Brother mansion after a mere 11 days inside. What happened?
"I can't get along with anyone," the emotional star revealed in the Big Brother confessional, as she cried to millions of watchful eyes around the world. "Maybe it's just me - it's probably me;" And so, on a breezy August day in 2017, the reality star shocked viewers as she took her final steps inside the gated compound.
Falling in Love Again
Trisha found herself in a difficult position, stuck between living out her dream, in front of the spotlight, and battling the inner-demons that came with it? For Trisha, it was clear she needed some time away; time to heal and move forward. Only little did she know, a special somebody was waiting right around the corner.
Jason Nash: The then 44-year-old member of YouTube blogger, David Dobrik's 'Vlog Squad,' who soon struck up a fiery romance with a healing Trisha. Little did either of them know, the chaotic path their public relationship would soon lead them down.
Blamed Their Breakup on Somebody Else
As the story goes, fast forward almost 2 years, and after endless dreamy getaways, loved-up videos, and collaborations together, the duo's love story reached a new chapter; one that would hijack headlines everywhere - as fellow YouTube star David Dobrik would learn the hard way. What happened?
As news of their sudden breakup began swirling around online, people everywhere began scrambling for answers. Things seemed so perfect, what possibly could've gone wrong? Well, in only a matter of time, Trisha took to YouTube to fill in the missing pieces; only as she put it, David Dobrik was the one to blame.
Her Allegations Against David Dobrik
"David's on a whole other level of being an actual, horrible person," the heartbroken star revealed to her YouTube followers. In the span of 19 heated minutes, Trisha went on to air all of the skeletons of her failed relationship - and it was nothing fans could've ever imagined.
What followed next in the now-deleted video were further bombshells about YouTube's golden boy, as Trisha labeled Dobrik "creepy." But that wasn't all; As she put it, he actually forced her former boyfriend to end their yearlong fling, claiming David's control over Jason's finances as the driving force.
The 'Instagram vs. Reality' Scandal
Unfortunately for Trisha, though, her troubles were just getting started. You see, shortly after her healing heart put David on full blast, the YouTube star was met with another crushing discovery: YouTube channel, H3H3's Ethan Klein had just exposed her for the world to see - at least that's how he saw it.
"Have you guys ever browsed Instagram and wondered, 'Why does everybody look so beautiful?'" Ethan began. The answer? Not everything - or everyone - is as it seems, as he put it; And in Trisha's case? She was "The spokesman of Instagram vs. Reality," allowing her edited pictures to speak for themselves.
Trisha vs. Nikocado Avocado
But while the can of worms Ethan had just opened also called for an army of angry fans, there was one, in particular, Trisha simply couldn't ignore. "I won't be able to move on until I let people know what happened," an emotional Nik promised the online world. Who was he, and why was he so devastated?
On May 19, 2019, YouTube blogger Nikocado Avocado left the online world scrambling, as he revealed the secret behind his trek to L.A.; Or as he put it, the false promise his idol made him, that brought him all the way from Colombia: The business meeting he was supposed to have with Trisha, that, instead, resulted in her ghosting him.
Coming Out as Transgender
As the story goes, though, Trisha's brush with controversy was far from over. In fact, little did she know, come October, her latest action, destined to help her "Feel really free and liberated," actually left her tangled up in yet another scandal; One she couldn't run from.
"This sounds so crazy to say out loud," the YouTube star revealed to the camera, as she explained that she was a transgender man, "If that makes sense;" Sure enough, to most users, it didn't. "Being trans is not a costume," makeup artist Patrick Starr hit back, as her reveal was labeled an exploit, extremely hurtful to those watching.
Calling Out Gabbie Hanna
Come November, while Trisha's controversial "truth," as she put it, left her apologizing to the online world, there was a different star who'd soon share that same fate: YouTube blogger, Gabbie Hanna, whose secret-telling ways erupted in an explosive scandal that hijacked the online world.
What happened? According to Trisha, Hanna had previously messaged her then-boyfriend Jason Nash with a 'useful' tip: Warning him that his girlfriend had an incurable disease - something Trisha swears to this very day was not true. How did Hanna see it? "It WAS my business to warn a friend that he might be at risk."
Her Controversial Mental Health Reveal
From explosive fan feuds to texting tell-alls, there's no doubt about it, Trisha Paynes has had one whirlwind of a ride. Perhaps that's why it wasn't long before she took to YouTube with some scandalous news; an update about her failing mental health, only she could've never predicted the backlash it'd soon call for.
"I'm not sure that Trish realizes how damaging this is," blogger Chloe Wilkinson fired back, shortly after Trish's shocking reveal. What had she done? "Meet my alters," the YouTube star wrote in her March video, claiming she suffered from multiple personalities. But her exploitive deeds, as viewers put it, were far from over.
Feuding With the D'Amelio Sisters
You see, fast forward to November 16, and there'd soon be a different face - or faces - embroiled in online controversy: Dixie & Charli D'Amelio, two of TikTok's biggest names; And it wasn't long before Trisha decided to speak out on the brewing scandal, tangling herself up in all of the drama. What happened?
It all started when the sisters took to their dining room for a documented family dinner, only they never could've predicted the controversy it'd soon call for: They had disapproved of their chef's latest menu, and were quickly labeled as 'disrespectful' and 'entitled' by angry viewers around the globe - including Trisha Paytas.
When James Charles Got Involved in Their Feud
"You have very entitled behavior, both you and your sister. It's unbecoming," Paytas fired at the D'Amelios on her own TikTok account; Little did she know, she'd soon be fighting a battle against three, as the D'Amelios' close friend, YouTube star, James Charles - who happened to be a dinner guest that fateful night - quickly took note.
"30+-year-olds dragging someone half their age? ... I didn't want to respond to this because I didn't want to give Trisha the attention that she's clearly craving," Charles quickly fired back, furious over the blogger's public comments. Soon enough, though, Trisha would change the course of their story.
Well, the one involving her and the D'Amelio sisters, that is. You see, shortly after her feud with the sisters took off, Trisha issued an apology video, apologizing if she'd hurt Charli's feelings. Safe to say, though, those feelings of remorse didn't last long.
"So I had apologized to Charli... but apology retracted!" she hit back, shortly after Dixie D'Amelio reignited the flames by posting a shady TikTok video, as Trisha put it. "The sense of entitlement is through the roof... The D'Amelios are great at deflecting and are master manipulators," Trisha warned.
Her Famous Friends
But while Trisha's life in the public eye has clearly called for some famous enemies, it's also called for a famous ally - one that she actually credits to her very fame: Shane Dawson, whom she met while starring in one of his first videos; And he, too, was no stranger to controversy.
How did Trisha see it? "He is just the... greatest human in the world, and the hate campaign against him earlier this year was so unwarranted and so disgusting and so vile," she explained to the YouTube world. Sure, he might have been the face of shocking scandals, but she knew exactly what that felt like, as she put it.
On Moving Forward
Safe to say, from Quentin Tarantino superfan to breeding an entire army of fans, Trisha Paytas's rise to the top has been one for the books. In fact, it's still being written; So, where exactly does she go from here? "I don't know, sometimes I could cry," the emotional star revealed to YouTube.
"To have this life is a dream life for me, it really is… and I owe it all to you guys," she explained. Fast forward to today, and the blogger's reality has her happier than ever, eager for that which lay ahead. But above all else? Finally, after years of tanning beds and trolling, "I know who I am, I know what I am about."
As Trisha once said, "Being confident means being you," but is that really the case here? We've just walked you through the star's rise to the top, and all of the explosive scandals her unapologetic self has called for; Which leads us to our final - and perhaps most important - question.
Has Trisha Paytas' fame truly blossomed from her apparent freedom; her remarkable confidence to do and say whatever she pleases, despite the backlash it may call for? Or perhaps, behind her controversial words, are we looking at the same small-town girl, eager to put her name on the map? We'll let you decide.