The first time I met Lele Pons I remember wondering: “how do you go from being a ‘viner’ (a creator on the now-dead video sharing platform Vine), to being one of the most influential people in the show business?”. 25-year-old Venezuelan actress, influencer and singer Lele Pons, knows the answer to this question. Ever since I started following her work a few years ago, I’ve witnessed her steady persistence, intelligence, hard work and bravery. Not only does she not take herself too seriously, shamelessly showing her goofiness in her videos, while her music career rises as she drops her consistently catchy hits and teases an album coming out next year, but Lele is also very aware that fame comes with responsibility and it’s not always easy to handle.
In the middle of this pandemic, she released a YouTube Original Series called The Secret Life of Lele Pons. The five episodes series deal with her personal battles with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, among other issues with mental health, online hate and day-to-day struggles in her personal life, far from the spotlight. According to the South American star, this is a very brave yet important step that Lele Pons couldn’t have taken without her support system: her amazing family, friends and boyfriend, Puerto Rican rapper Guaynaa, with whom she got together during lockdown.
We catch up with the unique star to talk making music, finding love and gaining strength through trial and tribulation…
It started in high school, I was doing short videos on Vine when it wasn’t even a thing. I wasn’t that good in school, but I’ve always been very creative, so it was a way for me to express myself as I didn’t have many friends. Slowly the videos started to take off, but it took a while, it wasn’t sudden. I could see the whole process, from the first 50k going up gradually. Kids these days get famous overnight, I remember when I started, it wasn’t like that at all, I had to post something every day to keep the engagement.
I wasn’t expecting to go viral at all, because then again, Vine wasn’t really a thing back then and the road to the goals I’ve reached was very slow. In that sense it was not pressuring. I was pressured by myself, really. I’ve always been very hardworking, extremely competitive, I wanted everything to be perfect. I could feel this was important so I wanted to give my very best.
I have a very supporting family lucky, but there have been times where I would skip school to work on my videos making my dad furious. I’ve heard the sentence ‘focus on school’ a lot during my teenage years.
It was very hard on my mental health, I’m not going to lie, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and for that I’m so glad. Then it brought me love, so it wasn’t all bad.
We released a song together in 2020, Se Te Nota, that’s how we got closer, but I had met him couple of years before that. At the time I was completely focused on work, I didn’t have any headspace. Back then I wouldn’t have even noticed him. He came at the perfect time.
I’m not the girl who exclusively focuses on work anymore. After doing it for 8 years, where I would barely go out to give my all to work, I’ve evolved. I want to focus on my music now. I achieved all I wanted on social media and I honestly think music goes to a slower pace, it fits me better. I would like to continue evolving.
Absolutely, I was terrified, it was very intense.
Mainly my friends and the patients I was with in the institution I got help from. They were all very supportive. But one of the game changers was meeting this little girl who wanted to leave the institution right when she was brought in. She met me and decided to stay and get the help she needed. So I thought that maybe with the documentary I could help more people, more parents to recognise some behaviours their kids have and make the kids understand you can be successful, you can achieve anything you want even with a disorder. Even if I could help just one person, I’d be happy.
It was honestly incredible to be part of the marches and to witness such unity. It’s amazing for me and I’m grateful to be part of this historical era.
Music, music and more music, it’s definitely what I want to focus on right now. I can’t really say much, but new music is coming soon and it’s going to be in English. I’m also working on an album coming out next year.
Follow Lele Pons on Instagram here.