The Untold Truth Of Bella Poarch - Nicki Swift (2024)


ByTreva Bowdoin/

The following article contains references to child abuse, mental health issues, and hate crimes.

Bella Poarch has a social media success story like no other. In a matter of months, she conquered multiple social media realms, going from bobbing her head to the song "M to the B" on TikTok to singing as a disembodied doll head on YouTube. After proving to her critics that she has a lot more to offer than smirks and rhythmic head jerks, the "Build a B***"singer continued making big moves to build her empire.

Poarch became one of the internet's most discussed curiosities after one of her short videos became the most popular TikTok of 2020. Her ascendance to the top echelon of the platform's content creators was so rapid that it sparked a bizarre viral theory that she had joined the Illuminati and sold her soul to the devil in exchange for social media stardom, as noted byThe Daily Dot. Adding to Poarch's mystique are questions about her moniker. Fans who scrolled back to one of her pre-fame Instagram posts noticed that the surname "Taylor" was stitched on the military fatigues she was wearing. As reported by In the Know, the URL for her Facebook page also used to include the name "TaylorNariee."

That's not to say Bella Poarch's life story is entirely unknown. The TikTok star has shared that she's adopted,grew up in the Philippines, andmoved to Texaswhen she was 13. She's also opened up about altercations with strangers, her pre-fame career path, various controversies, and so much more.

Bella Poarch experienced racism growing up

In April 2021, Bella Poarch was one of the famous members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities that Vogue UK profiled in a piece about the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. She spoke about her own experience with racism at school, where she was bullied as a teenager. "My mother used to pack me Filipino food for lunch, and I would get made fun of because of the way it smelled," she said. "Kids would make fun of me because of the way I looked and call me 'Ling Ling.'"

Poarch revealed that she was a victim of a random assault motivated by racism, and she said that she's not ready to open up about the experience. "To this day, I suffer from clinically diagnosed depression, anxiety and PTSD as a result of my attack," she stated. Poarch said that it's been difficult for her to watch others in the AAPI community suffer, and she filmed an Instagram PSA to raise awareness of the rise in racist attacks. She gave her audience of over 12 million followers advice on what they can do to help, including to "check in on your Asian friends" and to donate to organizations that offer support to the AAPI community. While speaking to Vogue, she had another message for anyone she sees attacking someone simply because of their Asian ethnicity. "I will use everything I ever learned in the military to dismantle them," she said.

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Joining the Navy changed Bella Poarch's life for the better

Bella Poarch got a fresh start when she left Texas to pursue a career that she found both challenging and rewarding. During a May 2021 appearance on "The CouRage and Nadeshot Show,"she said that her brother was in the U.S. Navy, and she decided to follow in his footsteps straight out of high school. She stated that she loves to travel, and she also "wanted to be independent." In a December 2020 Instagram post, she further explained her motives by revealing that she was at her "absolute lowest" on her graduation day. "I decided to force myself to make changes and do big things with my life," she wrote.

In addition to helping her gain independence, the Navy provided Poarch with a much-needed support system. "The navy was the first time i ever felt like i really had a family. it was the first time i ever felt love and support," Poarch wrote. However, it was also a test of her strength and resolve. She recalled crying as she struggled "to carry machine guns up the ship steps that weighed as much as me," but in the aforementioned "The CouRage and Nadeshot Show" episode, she said she actually loved boot camp.

During a May 2021 interview with Inkedmagazine, Poarch revealed that she worked in aviation and was stationed in Japan for two-and-a-half years. She told Vogue that she "fell in love with a lot of that culture" while she was there.

Why Bella Poarch punched a guy in the face

Bella Poarch has lasting scars from her four years in the military, but she didn't get them in combat. Instead, they're the result of the TikToker literally getting picked up at a bar. On "The CouRage and Nadeshot Show," she revealed that her military training took place in Pensacola, Florida. She was at a bar on base when a "random Marine guy" who had been drinking heavily grabbed her and picked her up in the air. "He was like, 'Oh my gosh. You're so tiny. Ha, ha, ha,'" she recalled. "He was like, showing me off to his friends."

Poarch was understandably uncomfortable and angry, and she said that she asked the Marine to put her down. He ignored her, so she decided to take action. "The first thing I did was just punch him in the face," she stated. Poarch has tweeted that she's just under five feet tall, but she was able to take down a guy who was presumably much larger. While he was on the ground, she continued punching him. Someone eventually stopped her and removed her from the bar. "I still have scars on my hands from it," she told Inked. "The next morning, I heard he'd permanently lost his front teeth but thankfully, I didn't get in trouble because he was drunk and I was acting in self-defense."

The sad reason Bella Poarch has so many tattoos

In response to a question from one of her TikTok followers, Bella Poarch explained why she has so much body art. "I had a rough childhood. My scars from abuse made me insecure. And so I had to cover up my scars with tattoos," she wrote. She has also explained that many of her pieces have a special meaning to her, like the massive ship with wings on her back. She told Inked that it's her "favorite," and it's a tribute to the time she spent in the Navy working in aviation.

Poarch has a tattoo underneath her collarbones that reads, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." In a July 2019 Instagram post, she revealed that it's a Bible verse, and it "means a lot" to her. Her first piece was a small heart key on her left upper arm. She got it at age 17, even though her strict parents had forbidden her from getting tattoos. "Honestly, there's no story behind it other than I just wanted to try to get a tattoo," she said in Inked. "But, I was scared of what my family would think."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Bella Poarch had a controversial tattoo covered up

The fear of how her family would react to her body art didn't stop Bella Poarch from getting more ink, but she lived to regret one piece. In September 2020, she took to Twitter to apologize for getting Japan's rising sun flag tattooed on her right arm. As CNN put it in a report regarding the issues surrounding the use of the image at the Olympics, it is "a controversial flag that South Koreans say stirs memories of the violent, brutal life endured under Japanese rule during the early to mid-1900s" and represents "imperialism and militarism."Per the outlet,chair of the parliamentary committee for sportsAn Min-sukcompared the sun symbol to the Nazi swastika.

Poarch explained that she was unaware of the flag's connection to something so horrible, and she pretty much admitted that she had just liked the way it looked. "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," her Twitter apology read. In October 2020, she had tattoo artist Sung Song partially cover up the rising sun with a two-headed snake (via PopBuzz).

Why Bella Poarch deleted her first TikTok video

Bella Poarch told CouRage and Nadeshot that she had no idea TikTok existed until January 2020. Her friends were creating their own videos, and they convinced her to give it a shot. "It was quarantine and I was bored," she told Inked. She revealed that she decided to sing the Ariana Grande song "Raindrops" for her first video, and she confessed that she "wanted it to go viral." Aspiring TikTok stars might be relieved to know that Poarch didn't immediately master the short video format, and her first creation was not a hit. It only got around 100 views, so she decided to delete it. She further explained that the lighting in the video was bad, and she "got anxious" after she shared it.

Poarch pivoted away from singing and began creating videos that were mostly comedic, including some inspired by her fondness forgaming and a few that co-starred Paca the stuffed alpaca. Just four months after creating her account, she'd strike social media gold by filming herself lip-synching the repetitive "M to the B" lyrics from Millie B's "Soph Aspin Send" while bobbing her head, crossing her eyes, and quirking up the corners of her mouth. By the end of the year, her August 2020 upload was the most-liked video on the internet (via Forbes).

Bella Poarch has a unique way of dealing with anxiety

In a December 2020 TikTok, Bella Poarch described her struggle with PTSD, anxiety, and depression as "a war." She came up with a few methods to help her cope. "When I get anxiety attacks, I focus on my breathing and count yellow things or objects around me," she tweeted in April 2021. She explained that she singles out yellow items because it is her favorite color. She also writes about what makes her anxious in her journal and tries to understand why it makes her feel that way.

However, Poarch said that the "two biggest weapons" in her mental health arsenal are gaming and strumming her ukulele while she sings. Sadly, she hasn't always been able to do the latter in peace. "Ever since I was young, I was always singing around the house. But once my stepdad would catch me, he'd tell me to shut the f*** up," she told Inked. This didn't stop her from entering singing competitions after school, even though she got punished for it. In a 2020 Instagram post, she revealed that she later quit singing for a long period of time "because of something that happened to me a few years ago." She credited her fans for helping her feel confident enough to share her voice with them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Bella Poarch increased her net worth exponentially after leaving the military

While interacting with her TikTok followers, Bella Poarch revealed that she was an AO, or Aviation Ordnanceman, in the Navy. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay of an AO is $45,866. Not long after she joined TikTok, Poarch was almost making this much off of a single sponsored video. Fresh Student Living determined that each of her paid posts was worth a little over $34,000. As of March 2021, Celebs Reel Life estimated Bella Poarch's net worth to be between $200,000 to $300,000.

Thanks to the variety of content that Poarch has dabbled in, from gaming to beauty to music, she's been able to score paid partnerships with companies across a wide spectrum. On her TikTok page, she's promoted beauty products from YSL Beauty, Eos, and La Roche-Posay. She's also created TikTok ads for the video game "Torchlight 3" and the dating app Tinder. "What I personally love about her style is just how fresh and unique it is. What she's doing is pretty mesmerizing," Eos CMO Soyoung Kang told Glossy of the brand's decision to work with her.

Poarch no longer has to rely on sponsored posts to make money. Her first single, "Build a B***h" had the biggest-ever debut on YouTube for a new artist. It opened up even more financial opportunities for her, including a partnership with SiriusXM, and her recording contract with Warner Records means that she's not done making music.

Bella Poarch has had to defend acting cute

Bella Poarch told Interview that there are two different versions of her: "Baddie Bella" and "Kawaii Bella." It's the latter her critics seem to have an issue with. "Kawaii Bella is really colorful with her style, has the rosy red cheeks, and is really playful with clothes, hair, and everything," she said of the alter-ego. Some people have accused Poarch of pandering to pedophiles by adopting the cutesy, childlike persona in her TikTok videos.

In June 2020, one of Poarch's hair tutorial videos sparked a Twitter discussion about her behavior. She clapped back at netizens who complained about it, including one who accused her of "Combining sexuality with infantilizing traits." "Ok not my fault that I have a baby face," Poarch responded. "Do I say 'omg I'm a child' while I do ahegao faces???"

As reported by Metro, "ahegao" refers to the org*smic facial expressions characters make in hentai (erotic anime and manga). While some of Poarch's faces are seemingly meant to be somewhat sexual, she made it clear that her aim is not to attract an unsavory audience. "The fact that they think I do this to entertain pedos is what makes me confused and mad," Poarch wroteof her anime-inspired behavior. In another tweet, she suggested that acting cute is "a natural thing to most Asians."

Bella Poarch was accused of being racist

In September 2020, Bella Poarch faced another social media backlash. As reported by Dexerto, some of her social media followers accused her of being racist when she referred to a Navy friend who is a person of color as "Harambe," the name of a gorilla who was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016 after a child fell into his enclosure. The animal's death was used as fodder for racist memes (via Splinter News), and racists have compared Black people to apes in an attempt to dehumanize them since the days of slavery.

Poarch launched a multi-platform response to the accusations of racism. "Y'all really trying to cancel me for calling my friend by his nickname??? Check my Facebook," she wrote on Twitter. Her post included a 2018 screenshot of a photo of her friend with a caption that read in part, "Nothing changed. Harambe is still ugly." She revealed that she did not come up with the nickname, saying that he already had it when she was stationed with him in Japan. On TikTok, she wrote that her friend was "Samoan and not Black, and that's his military nickname because he's big and always very protective." She added that he was "heartbroken and sad" about the reaction to his nickname (via Def Noodles).

Bella Poarch was a burlesque dancer in a music video

Before Bella Poarch became a vengeful doll, she appeared in another music artist's video. She usually keeps her look pretty casual on TikTok, where she's often seen rocking baggy hoodies. But for Sub Urban's "Cirque" music video, she experimented with a glamorous retro style to portray a burlesque dancer. She traded her oversized pigtails for pinup waves, and she wore a red bedazzled costume with an ostrich feather fan attached to the back. She looked so different that some fans initially thought she was a Poarch look-alike (via Dexerto).

Urban dropped the "Cirque" video in March 2021, and he went on to produce "Build a B***h." He was also the creative director of the song's music video. Poarch loved working with Urban so much that she named him as one of her dream collaborators. "Sub Urban's just been so nice, and he produced 'Build a B***h,' and he's very talented," she said on "The CouRage and Nadeshot Show." In June 2012, Poarch announced that she would be joining Urban for his Virgil's Mania Tour, giving her fans an opportunity to see her perform live in cities all across the United States.

Bella Poarch had to deny that she made a sex tape with Kylie Jenner's ex

Sex tapes can generate a lot of publicity for minor league celebs — just ask socialite-turned-media mogul Kim Kardashian. However, when rumors circulated that Bella Poarch had made a such a tape with Kylie Jenner's ex Tyga, there was no evidence that it existed (via Heavy).

Poarch and Tygadid create some videos together, but their TikToks wouldn't get worse than a PG-13 rating due to language. A NSFW photo of Tyga allegedly leaked on the internet a few days after Poarch shared one of their collabs on her TikTok account in September 2020 (via The Sun). The rapper had also just launched his OnlyFans, so this could explain why some netizens were convinced that he had created a p*rnographic video with Poarch.

Poarch addressed the rumors in a January 2021 TikTok. While participating in the 2 Truths and a Lie Challenge, she revealed that her lie was that she made a sex tape with Tyga. Her two truths were that she was adopted and that fellow TikToker Griffin Johnson tried to slide into her DMs. As reported by Seventeen, Johnson responded to this allegation on Twitter. He fessed up to direct messaging Poarch, but a screenshot showed that all he wrote was "I like your style." He also took a dig at Poarch on TikTok, where he shared a reaction video with a caption reading "good work @tyga."

Bella Poarch's first attempt at makeup art was bee-utiful

Bella Poarch has a real talent for face painting, which is something that she didn't discover until 2020. That September, she took to Instagram to show off the results of her first attempt at "doing makeup art." Her bee-inspired look included two of the insects painted on her left cheek. Her lips were striped like a bee, and a few honeycomb cells and dripping honey were painted beside and underneath her right eye.

Poarch told Vogue that she used to be "jealous" of her friends because they were allowed to wear makeup to school while she was not. However, she's more than made up for those missed years of makeup experimentation. She even has a signature beauty look: To create her famous faux sunburn, she applies blush on the bridge of her nose and across both cheeks underneath her eyes. Poarch occasionally dabbles in cosplay, so her makeup skills come in handy when she transforms into characters like Hinata Hyuga from "Naruto" or "an evil ice queen from the North Pole."

Bella Poarch was a gaming champ during her deployment

A few of Bella Poarch's earliest TikToks proved that she was an avid gamer, including one funny video that was created before she was famous. The April 2020 clip showed her getting all dolled up for a concert and concluded with the revelation that she was attending Travis Scott's "Fortnite" event. By June 2021, she had her own "Fortnite" emote. Its name, "Build Up," was clearly inspired by her first single.

Poarch told CouRage and Nadeshot that her favorite game is "Tekken," and she played it often while she was in the Navy. She revealed that she and her fellow Sailors competed in video game tournaments on their ship during their deployment to Japan. "We would be in the middle of the ocean, so we would all be depressed and stuff," she said, adding that their captain staged the tournaments "to boost morale." She boasted that she entered the "Tekken" tournaments and "beat everybody's a**" by playing as the character Panda. There was also a "Call of Duty" tournament, but her military training didn't come in handy when she tried playing that popular war game. "I suck at that game, so I just gave up," she said.

According to Sportskeeda, some netizens complained when Poarch participated in FaZe Clan's $25,000 "Among Us" tournament in October 2020 because she wasn't a gamer. Little did they know that she was actually a gaming champ.

Bella Poarch used to be ashamed of her body

Bella Poarch exudes confidence in the "Build a B***h" music video, butshe used to feel insecure about the way she looked. In December 2020, she posted a photo on Instagram that was taken on her graduation day, writing that she was "50 pounds heavier and at my absolute lowest." When a Twitter user accused her of body-shaming someone in September 2020, she clapped back by explaining why she would do no such thing. "I was literally overweight 4 years ago and you're going to tell me I body shamed people when I myself was ashamed of my own body?" she tweeted. Days earlier, she had written that "the only person I body shamed in my entire life is myself."

Poarch has spoken about the unrealistic beauty standards that women are expected to live up to, which is a theme that "Build a B***h" explores. She sings about how some guys are looking for a woman built like a Barbie when they themselves are far from perfect, and she embraces being "filled with flaws and attitude" instead of striving to reach an impossible standard of perfection. "My whole message is that I want people to realise that you don't have to be perfect. And that it's OK not to be, too," she told Vogue.

Was an influencer cut from the "Build a B***h" video?

Bella Poarch's "Build a B***h" video features cameos from a number of modern-day internet icons. Two of her fellow rioting dolls are portrayed by Valkyrae and Mia Khalifa. Dina is a disembodied head. ZHC, Rakhim, Larray, and Bretman Rock play potential clients of the "Match Made" workshop. Poarch described the group of content creators as "friends" while speaking to Vogue. "You can never judge a book by its cover and I really believe the people in the video embody the message of the song and being imperfect, being different, being themselves," she said.

According to the Def Noodles Twitter account, it appears that beauty vlogger James Charles was also supposed to have a role in the video. He had previously collaborated with Poarch on a December 2020 video with a spooky theme. TikTok star Zilber Steve shared behind-the-scenes footage of Charles in costume with Poarch and a number of the other "Build a B***h" stars. While Charles is never clearly seen in the completed music video, someone who looks like him makes a brief appearance fleeing with Larray after the Match Made factory explodes. It's possible that he wasn't featured more prominently in the final cut because of his sexting scandal (via Paper). After a number of underage social media users accused Charles of sending them inappropriate messages and photos, he apologized in a YouTube video. However, he maintained that he believed his accusers were 18.

One of Bella Poarch's dream collaborators isn't human

Bella Poarch's first music video had over 168 million views and 7.8 million likes as of June 2021, so she's definitely someone other artists should take note of when they're looking for potential collaborators. On "The CouRage and Nadeshot Show," she said that Ariana Grande is someone she would love to collaborate with. When Justin Bieber was mentioned as a possibility, she didn't express any interest in making music with him, but she has already filmed a TikTok with the singer.

One dream collaborator on Poarch's list isn't human at all — she's the Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku (via Vogue). "I've been listening to her songs since I was a kid and I just love everything about her," she told Interview.

Such a unique collaboration would be fitting for someone who has had a one-of-a-kind rise to fame. But while Poarch is looking to the future, it's unlikely that she'll forget where she came from. In a December 2020 TikTok post, she revealed she was in "a really dark place" before she joined the social media platform. "Then overnight my life changed bc of an app someone told me to download," she shared before crediting TikTok with saving her life. "I want other people who are in a similar place as me to know that things can change," she added. "Life can happen and it can be beautiful."

The Untold Truth Of Bella Poarch - Nicki Swift (2024)


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