Tana Mongeau's authenticity is the secret to her skyrocketing career, but she'll probably never date anyone in the spotlight again (2024)

Tana Mongeau never believed she'd be writing a book, starring in an MTV show, and would win Creator of the Year at the Streamy Awards when she started her YouTube channel five years ago.

Beginning her online journey as a 16-year-old girl without any idea of what to do with her life, she soon became known on YouTube for her candid, over-the-top storytime videos, including one featuring the now infamous line, "He f---ed me with a toothbrush."

"I never really had a purpose or anything that I thoroughly enjoyed," Mongeau told Insider. "So watching YouTube, I think that I was inspired by the idea of making other people laugh through things that I've been through."

She grew up watching Shane Dawson — now her good friend who she believes she owes much of her success to — and wanted to be another person people could turn to for some humor in their daily lives.


"I think that I was always really enamored by the idea of being able to distract someone else from their own day, their own pain, their own darkness, even if it's just for like 10 minutes on my YouTube channel," she said.

"So I just started talking to the camera like a f---ing weirdo, and here I am."

Tana lets her fans into the good, the bad, and the crazy

Part of the reason Mongeau's 5.2 million fans have stuck with her for so long is her outspoken attitude to life. She's unapologetic, loud, and has little to no filter.

She has pretty much grown up online since she was 16, showing every twist and turn to her audience, for better or worse. Although she said that it "isn't always pretty."


She would rather let her fans in on the tougher times to show she's human, rather than living "some highlight reel, cookie-cutter" perfect life, she said.

"I've just kind of been authentically living my life, doing me, which obviously means making a lot of mistakes, some big, some small, some crazy," she said. "So I think that people are really just seeing that trajectory of my entire life, whether that's good or bad."

Tana Mongeau's authenticity is the secret to her skyrocketing career, but she'll probably never date anyone in the spotlight again (1)

Mongeau, now 21, has been invited to YouTube's VidCon London this year as a featured creator, which feels like the peak of a career that has completely skyrocketed recently.

She's been a major part of the growing movement of merging digital and mainstream entertainment, where YouTubers have changed what it means to be a modern celebrity.

"It's very weird to be blasted to such a big audience across both platforms," she said.

"But it's really cool to be a part of that millennial movement of showing people that digital media can be just like traditional media and being a part of that transition and history in a way."

It's definitely been a "roller coaster" for Mongeau to get to where she is today, though. She's had her fair share of controversies over the years, most notably with TanaCon in 2018, an event she put on to rival VidCon where fans ended up in danger because of the intense California sun and overcrowding.

More recently, the focus has been on her turbulent relationship with fellow YouTube superstar Jake Paul.


'I don't know if it's something I'll ever do again'

The pair got together in April 2019 and held a whirlwind wedding ceremony just a few weeks later in July. After about eight months of everyone guessing about whether it was all "for clout," they broke up in January.

While the world was watching and waiting for clues about Paul and Mongeau being a real, authentic couple, Mongeau was doing the same thing. She said starting a relationship like that and working things out in front of everyone in real-time was "really weird."

"I don't know if it's something I'll ever do again," she said. "I think having the whole world watch your relationship and spectate on every ounce of it is insane."

On the one hand, the partnership definitely boosted Mongeau's profile. She increased her following by 33%, recently released a perfume that sold out in 76 minutes, and increased her worth to online brands by as much as 25%, according to online marketing experts.


But despite all the success and the benefit of navigating the online world with someone else who understands exactly what you're experiencing, a relationship in the public eye can quickly turn toxic and draining, Mongeau said.

"When you start off it's fun and innocent and making the videos are really fun," she said. "But as a relationship gets more serious, and things escalate, if there are any trials and tribulations and stuff, airing all that out publicly can be very difficult."

Tana Mongeau's authenticity is the secret to her skyrocketing career, but she'll probably never date anyone in the spotlight again (2)

The pressure from both fan bases also starts taking its toll, especially when they have two different agendas. Paul's following generally wanted the relationship to work out, while many of Mongeau's fans suspected she was unhappy and urged her to break up with him.

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"When the whole world is obsessed with you two together, all you want to do is be able to deliver that," Mongeau said. "All this commentary I think was clouding my head and there was a point where [I thought] I can't maintain this image of what I'm not, you know?"


'I definitely learned like five years worth of relationship-ing in one year'

At the end of December, Mongeau posted a raw, emotional video which she called "the truth about everything."

She hinted that her and Paul's relationship had gone downhill since their wedding nightand talked for 40 minutes about how severely her mental health was being affected by faking her happiness.

Mongeau said that video was probably her favourite one she made in the whole of 2019, even though she and Paul called time on their relationship a few days later.

"It was very much the rawest honesty I felt like I'd provided to my fans in a really long time," she said. "And I think the biggest learning lesson throughout all of that is that I'm not the type of person who can be anything other than authentically me."


Pushing aside her true feelings for the sake of videos, felt like a good way for Mongeau to start completely burning out, so she decided to stop hiding behind a happy face.

"Making a video like that was amazing for me," she said. "It was therapy for me. That's why I made my YouTube channel, and that's really all I want my YouTube channel to be in 2020.

"If I can't say by the end of this year that every single video I post is as honest as that one, then I've failed myself."

Tana Mongeau's authenticity is the secret to her skyrocketing career, but she'll probably never date anyone in the spotlight again (3)

Mongeau said she's going to reveal more of what she was going through around this time in the second season of her MTV "No Filter" series, including some of her darker moments. But overall, even after losing herself for a while, she said she also wouldn't change anything about her time with Paul.


"I definitely learned like five years worth of relationship-ing in one year," she said. "But doing it all publicly is definitely an adventure to say the least."

'No matter what I do, people are going to pick it apart'

Mongeau said her "brutally honest" fans are her favourite part of being an online star, and how sometimes they know her better than she knows herself.

"I could come online and be like, 'I'm so happy,' and they would be like, 'bitch, no the f--- you aren't, shut up,'" she said.

"I think it's awesome because, in a way, I built that. I built this family of people who keep it so real with me and that's so beautiful."


But getting more famous every day also comes with downsides, as she is scrutinized whenever she leaves her house, and receives heavy criticism for misleading young fans when she posts edited photos on Instagram.

"No matter what I do, people are going to pick it apart," she said. "I can't even set foot outside without people picking apart the socks I chose to wear to the drug store."

i had a feeling i’d get papped so i wore @fashionnova and brought my perfume so i could turn my inescapable fame into two bags. #ad

A post shared by tanamongeau (@tanamongeau) on Jan 29, 2020 at 2:51pm PST

Like many online celebrities, Mongeau is hyper-aware of what she shares online, and whether it is portraying the image she wants. But she said she said sometimes she just has to step back and tell herself: "That's one-tenth of who you are."

"I think that's a constant battle with yourself to show all of it, and show all of who you are," she said. "Because you can't get this 10% of amazing without the 90% of chaos Tana."


Despite feeling the pressure sometimes, Mongeau never forgets how lucky she feels to have her career going so well right now. Taking over VidCon London this month, for instance, is a dream come true, even though she's "freaking out" a bit over it.

"At the end of the day all of it is what makes my career and is what allows me to do all the beautiful things I get to do," she said. "So I think that it's just one of the things that you deal with in order to have so much of the greatness."

Read more:

The life and controversies of YouTuber Trisha Paytas, from public feuds and breakups to identifying as 'a chicken nugget'


Meet Kurtis Conner, one of YouTube's most popular commentators with big dreams of one day having a Netflix comedy special

YouTube's resident exotic animal expert explains why he feels most alive when working with reptiles that 'could potentially kill' him

A former 'SNL' assistant turned YouTuber with millions of followers tells all about vlog-life — from eating toenails to burnout

YouTube stars rarely break into mainstream entertainment despite being worshipped by millions of fans. Here's why they might be better off online.

Tana Mongeau's authenticity is the secret to her skyrocketing career, but she'll probably never date anyone in the spotlight again (2024)


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