If you’re a TikTok fanatic, you definitely know Bella Poarch. The 20-something American-Filipino influencer skyrocketed to fame over the last year, racking up millions of followers and creating a good deal of controversy along the way. People either love her or hate her — but either way, nothing seems to curtail her growing fame. Here’s the low-down on this social media sensation.
Who Is Bella Poarch?
There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Bella Poarch, including her age. While some sources report her to be 22 years old, others say she was born in February of 2001, which would mean she’s only 20. At first, we’re inclined to think the latter is true, as Poarch herself Tweeted a screenshot of a Famous Birthdays posting listing her birth date as February 8th, 2001. However, take a look at Famous Birthdays today, and you’ll see it says she was born on February 9, 1997. So who really knows?
We do know that Poarch was born in the Philippines and later moved with her family to the United States. She claims to have spent time in the Navy and currently lives in Hawaii. Her rise to fame on TikTok started when she joined the platform in April of last year and racked up 40 million followers in less than eight months. One of her most famous posts — a video of herself lip-syncing “M to the B” by Millie B. — became TikTok’s most-liked video of 2020.
Her popularity on TikTok has led to collaborations with big-name celebs, like James Charles and Tyga. Currently, Bella Poarch has a staggering 66.5 million followers on TikTok, as well as a whopping 1.5 billion likes. Reportedly, the lip-syncing superstar earned more than $1.9 million from her posts in 2020.
The Internet Doesn’t Think She’s Real
Bella Poarch’s age isn’t the only thing that’s been called into question by suspicious internet sleuths. Eagle-eye fans accused her of lying about her name after spotting the name “Taylor” — not Bella — on the Navy fatigues she’s wearing in a 2018 Instagram post.
There’s also a crazy theory that the TikTok queen sold her soul to the Illuminati for fame. TikToker @larissadenisee posted a two-part video laying out her argument, using a picture of Poarch in devil makeup as evidence (in our opinion, the argument is pretty weak).
Perhaps more convincing is YouTuber Def Noodles’ theory that Bella Poarch is actually the creation of a content marketing company called bas.media. He cites as evidence the email address on her TikTok profile, firstname.lastname@example.org, which she had before she blew up. A look on the bas.media website reveals the company is “a group of viral-content marketers that has an exclusive partnership with Columbia Records to promote artists and tracks on TikTok and other social media platforms.”
In addition to its affiliation with Poarch, the company runs a number of TikTok accounts used to promote music, including rapidsongs and goalsounds. Was Poarch employed by this media company to promote music for its partner Columbia Records? That’s the million-dollar question Def Noodles poses in his video.
Bella Poarch Has Been Involved In A Number Of Controversies
Regardless of whether Poarch is a young 20-something influencer or a music industry plant, she’s managed to upset quite a few people. Last fall, she faced major backlash for having a tattoo of the Japanese rising sun flag, which is a symbol offensive to many South Koreans due to its association with Japanese imperialism. In fact, it’s often likened to the swastika symbol used by the Nazis.
Poarch did offer a public apology, claiming she had no knowledge of the symbol’s problematic meaning. “I apologize to Koreans because 6 months ago I got a tattoo of the red sun with 16 rays,” she Tweeted. “At that time, I didn’t know the history. But when I found out, I immediately had it covered and scheduled for removal. I am ashamed of myself for not doing my research. I sincerely apologize.”
She continued: “I live in Hawaii and I see a lot of people using the red rising sun symbol in clothing, cars and jewelry. Please educate yourselves and learn more about it because it came from a terrible history. It is very offensive to a lot of people. Please learn from my mistake.”
While some fans happily accepted Poarch’s apology, others found it to be shallow and insincere.
And that wasn’t her only controversy. Poarch was also called out for allegedly referring to one of her Black friends as “Harambe” in a Facebook post, which was the name of a gorilla. People were shocked by this seemingly blatant racist statement, but Poarch offered up the following explanation:
“I’m sorry that you believed rumors about me and my best friend Albert. He’s Samoan and not Black, and that’s his military nickname because he’s big and always very protective. That was his name before I even met him.”
She Just Launched Her Music Career
Despite all the controversy, Poarch’s career is still going strong. She’s even been able to use her TikTok success to score a music deal. Her first single, “Build a Bitch,” dropped on May 14th. The music video received nearly five million views within hours of its upload. With numbers like that, it’s clear that this TikToker is coming for more than just 15 minutes of fame.