Back in her prime, it felt like Jenna Mourey was the queen of YouTube comedy. But with the fame came consequences, and Jenna soon found herself haunted by a video that threatened the empire that she built from the ground-up.
Her Humble Childhood
From the outside, Jenna Mourey was an average child from Rochester, New York. She was born on September 15th, 1986 in the modest city, but quickly realized that she craved a life beyond what her hometown could ever provide.
She spent her teenage years attending the local high school in her town. And while many fans of her comedic YouTube page would expect her to bring the party wherever she went, that wasn't the case. "I was relatively quiet," Jenna recalled. She knew she wanted a fresh start so opted to move to Boston on her own. But her journey was far from smooth sailing.
Jenna and the Big City
With her old town and reputation behind her, Jenna embraced her new life in the State capital of Massachusetts. She enrolled at a local university and went on to complete a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. "I came out of my shell in college," Jenna remembered. She finally felt she was getting the hang of life on her own.
By the time Jenna wrapped up her Bachelor's, she understood that she had a real knack for academics. She went on to enroll at a Boston University and continue down her path with a Master's in Sports Psychology and Counseling. But, as much as Jenna loved studying, the bills started piling up. She started part-time work to get by.
There Were Growing Pains
After years of craving a different scene, Jenna was rewriting her story in Boston. And despite the long hours at school and her numerous side gigs, Jenna was loving the new life she was carving out for herself. She loved being on her own and in control, even if it came with ups and downs along the way.
But for the time being, Jenna was getting by with her humble living situation. She shared an apartment in Cambridge with three other roomies. The rent wasn't cheap, and Mourey found herself bouncing between school and work to foot the $800 bill each month. Her independence came with a hefty cost.
Jenna Started Feeling Burnt Out
However, Jenna managed to get by, thanks to the many jobs she packed into her days. She split her time between working at a local bar and tanning salon. She also danced at a club and even managed to start blogging. But as time went on, Jenna's hectic schedule started wearing her down and she knew adjustments needed to be made.
Jenna was only in her mid-20s, but she was feeling worn down. The many jobs on the go were taking a toll and she desperately wanted to simplify her life while she was wrapping up her Master's. Luckily, the perfect opportunity arose that allowed Jenna to focus all her energy into one spot. And it was the start of something big...
She Started Making Moves
In 2010, Mourey began writing for StoolLaLa, Barstool Sport's site for its female audience. And for the next year, Jenna found her voice and gained quite the following. From a quiet teen in Rochester to a busy writer, Jenna was embracing the publicity and her confidence continued to grow.
Before long, Jenna had really blossomed and opened up. She liked the idea of sharing her thoughts with an internet audience and wanted to keep up the momentum and take it to the next level. She loved working at Barstool, but was it really the perfect fit for the long term?
She Took Her Passion to the Next Level
As much as Jenna enjoyed writing for Barstool, her real passion was her hobby for blogging. She couldn't get enough of writing in a way that truly showed who she was. Plus, the more Jenna connected with her audience, the more she loved doing it. She quickly realized that YouTube was the perfect platform for her.
Jenna kept a promise to her mom by remaining her true, authentic self. Except for one specific change. She would carry on with her regular style of blogging but not under her surname. Instead, she would connect with her fans as the one and only: Jenna Marbles.
Jenna Marbles Was Born
Jenna used Marbles as her online name: A fun way to brand herself and avoid using her family name. Her mother had some concerns about the blogging career and the possibility of it jeopardizing employment options down the road. But Jenna was certain of her chosen path and the name.
But what was the meaning behind the name, anyway? Well, Jenna had picked the pseudonym in honor of her beloved pet dog, Mr. Marbles. So, armed with a nickname, a passion for blogging, and her mother's blessing, Jenna dove into YouTube head-first. There was no going back.
She Blew Up Overnight
Jenna made her YouTube debut with some short videos. But on February 16, 2010, she went from just another YouTuber to an overnight sensation thanks to one specific video: "How To Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking." Her comedic makeup DIY seemed to strike a chord with viewers in a big way...
In just seven days, Jenna's third YouTube video had been seen by over 5.3 million people worldwide. Marbles couldn't believe just how far she'd come from running between jobs. And she just hoped that the momentum would continue. Within the year and a half, she had 1 million subscribers, putting those worries to bed.
She Got National Attention
Jenna promised her mom to stay true to herself and fans loved her down-to-earth approach to her content. Her next big hit came with her iconic video titled "How To Avoid Talking to People You Don't Want To Talk To." Millions of people were raving about Marbles - and national news companies started to take notice.
Both The New York Times and ABC News picked up on the Marbles mayhem and referenced the iconic quote from the clip: "I'm sick and tired of guys thinking that just because I showed up at a club or a dance or a bar, that I want to have their genitalia touching my backside," Jenna stated. Her bluntness was a breath of fresh air.
As 2011 came to a close, Jenna had 2 million loyal subscribers on her channel, but the budding vlogger was just getting started! Her brain was bursting with new topics for her videos, and her fans were loving being along for the ride. Jenna's videos were almost diary entries, and she kept viewers informed of her personal life.
She got into the routine of uploading new vlogs every Wednesday and covered everything from puppy updates to relatable advice. And while Jenna's fame was skyrocketing, she maintained that she was nothing more than a "Maker of the YouTube videos on the internet machine." And by 2012, this "Maker" had reached 5 mil!
Then Came Julien
In the following year, fans of Jenna Marbles met a new person in the YouTuber's life. And he immediately sparked intrigue in the comments section. Julien Solomita first popped up in a comical video where he and Jenna used camera filters to try and crack each other up. Their spark was undeniable.
It didn't take long at all for viewers to share their theories on the nature of Jenna and Julien's relationship. But according to Jenna, he was nothing more than a "friend" who popped on the video. But the possibility of romance gained attention, and Jenna's channel had soon climbed to nearly 10 million views.
He Stuck Around
As time went on, Julien became a regular on the channel. And they weren't just hanging around town, they were going on vacations together! Before long, fans caught on to what they were seeing: Solomita and Marbles were an item, there was no denying it. People adored the couple and loved keeping up with their life.
Julien was becoming a staple in Jenna's videos and viewers were loving it. The comments section was filled with adoration for the lovebirds, who seemed really happy with each other. Whether they were pulling pranks on each other or traveling the world, fans couldn't get enough of the pair - and their popularity kept growing.
Reaching 1 Billion
It seemed like every month came with a new milestone for Marbles. Come December of 2013, Jenna had climbed all the way to 12 million subscribers on her channel. She was practically a household name, and The New York Times wanted to tap into the buzz. The newspaper coined her The Woman With 1 Billion Clicks: Jenna Marbles.
Her channel got to nearly 1.7 billion views and a jaw-dropping 20.1 million subscribers. But like the case with most celebs, not every single person out of the 1,699,106,395 was a fan. In fact, on the path to fame, Jenna had ruffled some feathers, and those affected weren't afraid of sharing their thoughts on the YouTuber.
Her Old Boss Wasn't Impressed
Jenna's time at Barstool Sports resurfaced. "She told People magazine she fell into making YouTubes. Actually, no, you were working at a tanning salon, and I hired you. That's how you started," Jenna's old boss, Dave Portnoy said on NBC News. "I hired her and taught her everything about what she's doing now."
Whether she was avoiding old wounds, or she didn't want to break from her usual comedy persona, Jenna never commented on her former boss's criticisms. But Dave Portnoy was just one negative voice in a sea of millions of loyal fans. And rather than stew in it, Marbles kept grinding and reached a new personal high.
YouTube's Top Ten
By mid-year of 2013, Jenna had jumped to 1.2 billion channel views and a loyal crew of nearly 10 million subscribers. She started a new segment titled "Jenna's Ratched Salon," plastering her entire face in tiny mirrors to transform her head into a disco ball. Other videos included makeovers, fun trends, and regular chats.
As NBC News reported, Jenna ranked number five in channels with the most subscriptions in all of YouTube. It was a huge achievement for Marbles, and the viral sensation felt an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction. And based on Julien's frequent appearances in videos, Jenna's personal life was also looking good.
The Couple Started a Podcast
But Julien and Jenna's infectious love wasn't just confined to the four corners of the computer screen, the budding entertainers took their comedic relationship to the world of podcasts as well. They started the Jenna & Julien podcast, which at its peak boasted nearly 100,000 listeners. Their chats were entertaining as ever...
And they covered nearly every topic under the sun. From sports, pop culture, adulthood, and even wild gossip - Jenna and Julien used their weekly podcast to speak their mind. And like Jenna's YouTube channel, the podcast also had surprise appearances like Shane Dawson. Listeners loved hearing more from this fun couple.
However, YouTube and podcasting weren't the end of the road for Jenna Marbles. With her fanbase bigger than ever, she decided to test her luck in Hollywood. She landed the role of Eve in the Epic Rap Battles of History television special, "Adam and Eve." She also appeared on Ridiculousness back in 2014.
When 2015 rolled around, Jenna dove further into Hollywood with her collaboration with YouTube account SMOSH, headed by Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. The trio put together SMOSH: The Movie, which catapulted Marbles to new levels of popularity. It seemed like there was no limit to her success.
"Beyond Honored and Excited"
2015 came to be a huge year for Jenna. Right before SMOSH: The Movie premiered, Marbles, with SMOSH's Padilla and Hecox, reached a new level of fame and status. She was the first YouTube celebrity to be honored with a statue at the famous Madame Tussauds Museum. Jenna shared the special news with fans online, along with a sweet message.
"I'm so beyond honored and excited," the YouTuber wrote. "This is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened I'm just so completely floored by this and thank you so much @nycwax." From YouTube to the big screen, Jenna was getting more famous with every passing day, and she was loving every second of it.
Big Life Changes
It seemed as though Jenna had achieved the life that she'd spent her teenage years dreaming of in Rochester, New York. After making some bold changes in her life, she'd found fame, love, success, and tremendous happiness in her career and personal life. So in honor of her 30th birthday, she wanted to spread some wisdom.
Her biggest nuggets of advice were the following: splurge on a mat for your shower, avoid carrot-only cleanses, and always let your heart guide your choices. For the cherry on top, Jenna took the next step in her relationship and career by buying a mansion in LA with her long-time boyfriend.
A Multi-Million Dollar Pad
Jenna and Julien were ready to enter the next chapter in their love story. And what better place to continue than in LA? This real estate purchase wasn't some run-down apartment - rather a gorgeous $2.85 million mansion in Sherman Oaks, California. And the viral duo treated fans to a peak at the 5,093-square-foot pad.
Gone were the days of shared apartments in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now, Jenna was living the dream with her BF in her LA mansion. The house was stacked with six bedrooms and bathrooms, sprawling common areas, and offered a quiet escape from the busy California city.
Living the Dream
The multi-million dollar price tag matched the numbers Jenna was racking in on YouTube. Closely after her home was purchased, Marbles amassed 10 million views on a video of giving her dogs a swimming lesson. Then, a video of her playing around with CGI backdrops raked in 14 million. She felt like she was at the top of her craft.
By the autumn of 2019, Marbles had climbed up to 30 million subscribers and roughly 3.3 billion views across her entire channel. With numbers like that, Jenna had secured herself a spot as number eight on YouTube's top channels run by a female content creator. Career, love, and puppies: What more could Jenna want?
"More Money than I Need, Ever"
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jenna's value comes from a few different areas. First, she had her YouTube channel, Twitch streams, and merch, in addition to Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles, her dog toy brand. Top that with her LA pad, and Mourey felt blessed. "[I have] more money than I need, ever," she told The New York Times.
Her total net worth is summed up at approximately $8 million. She'd come a long way from scraping to get her $800 rent together, but the fame had come with some costs. She was soon made aware of a blindspot from earlier in her career, and Jenna felt it was time to set the record straight.
No amount of praise could drown out this mistake. And even though Jenna had been given awards such as the YouTube Ensemble Shorty and the Viral Superstar Young Hollywood in the past, the famous video creator had seriously offended some people with her actions. And as criticism grew, Jenna decided to put out a video in response.
Marbles uploaded her remorseful statement back in June of 2020. She was speaking on a video that dated back years prior, where she donned a heavy tan and impersonated Nicki Minaj. The video was getting ripped apart by critics claiming that Jenna was ignorant to racial sensitivities.
"I Wish It Wasn't Part Of My Past"
In the long apology, Marbles wanted to make it clear that she never aimed to upset anyone. But nevertheless, she decided that it was best if she were to take an "indefinite" break from her channel. She also hid the majority of her uploads, "I don't want someone to watch something and feel hurt or offended now," she said.
"I'm unbelievably sorry...I wish it wasn't part of my past," Jenna admitted mid-cry. "I think I'm just going to move on from this channel, for now. I don't know if that's forever...I want to make sure that the things that I've put into the world aren't hurting anyone," she explained. Her news came as a tough blow for her fans.
Jenna Felt Guilty
"I've definitely done things in the past that weren't great. I'm not completely unproblematic. I've tried my best to grow up," Marbles explained. When speaking of the controversial video, she said, "It was not my intention to do blackface... but all that matters is that people were offended, and it hurt them."
The video in question involved Jenna dressed up in fake hair and a spandex outfit as she impersonated Minaj and her supposed multiple characters. She was filmed with a noticeably darker tone on her face. Looking back, Jenna admitted, "It's not cool. It's not cute. It's not okay."
“For Now I Just Can’t Exist on This Channel"
Marbles couldn't hide from her old choices, and new that honesty was the only way forward. "For now, I just can't exist on this channel. I want to hold myself accountable, and it's painful to do it. I'm ashamed of things I've done and said in my past. But, it's important," she shared. Jenna felt a great deal of shame.
In a later interview with The New York Times, Jenna revealed that she felt "crucified" by critics. "I don't always know what's right and what's wrong, but the truth is I'm just trying my best," she admitted. In the wake of her apology video, she also announced that her Twitch account would also be going off the air.
Jenna Versus Cancel Culture
It was clear that Jenna needed her supporters - and critics - to know that she realized the consequences of her actions. And after uploading the 11-minute-long video, Marbles removed herself from the equation before "Cancel Culture" had a chance to do it. The term refers to public figures losing their status over past controversies.
Some commenters supported the cancel culture, writing, "Hold social influencers accountable...Do not let people get away with problematic things just because they're famous or rich." While some commended Jenna for saying sorry and addressing it head-on. One user commended her for "purging" her "toxic" past.
Come July, Julien shocked fans by coming back to his and Jenna's shared Twitch account. But, speaking for both him and Jenna, he wanted to make it clear that the account would only run under his name from now on, as Jenna was still hiding from the limelight. The name was switched from "JennaJulien" to "Julien."
The duo's crew of supporters shared their love, and Julien wrote back: "I feel so lucky to have had the experiences over the past nearly 6 years on twitch.tv/jennajulien. It's incredibly bittersweet knowing I'll never go live under that name again. I will forever cherish these memories. Thank u so much for being a part of them."
Jenna and Julien Were Splitting Professionally
By now, Jenna had wiped her face from all her platforms including social media, Twitch, and of course, YouTube. The next bridge to cross was the Jenna & Julien podcast. In her final episode, Jenna shared a message with the listeners: "Maybe someday in the future Julien and I can do something else." But for now, it was "goodbye."
The last segment of the famous podcast ended with Jenna's final thoughts. "The longer we sit here, the more messy it's gonna get. But, just the biggest, most heartfelt thank you to anyone who has ever listened to our podcast," she said. Jenna went on to promise fans she was working on growing from the whole experience.
Her Exit From YouTube
At the time of this article's publication, Jenna's final YouTube upload from June 2020 stands at 4.6 million views. And despite no recent activity from the Mourey, fans continue to write in the comments section. "We miss you, Jenna. You will always remain one of the most iconic people who graced this platform," wrote WINTER.
Candace Orenge, a fellow YouTuber shared her own words: "Even though I didn't want you to leave, I'm glad you did because your own well-being is more important than entertaining a bunch of strangers. Love you, Jenna, just know that you're well-loved." Even with all the love, Jenna has yet to respond to any of the messages.
Some Big News
Ever since saying goodbye to her huge following, it felt as though no one had heard of Jenna up until February of 2021. Her longtime boyfriend revealed on his Twitch stream that he had promised to Jenna after eight years of being together. Julien's excitement reminded fans of the old days of the duo on YouTube.
"A little while ago - this is so weird - I asked Jenna to marry me, and she said yes. So, we are engaged," Julien shared. One Twitch user asked what inspired him to pop the question, Solomita answered, "I just woke up and wanted to be married to her." And these two were certainly ready to vow "for better or for worse…"
Through Thick and Thin
In the months following Julien's special announcement, he and his fiancé had been leading a low-key life. Solomita still keeps up his active social media platforms, but Jenna has still maintained her radio silence. But to loyal fans, even seeing Julien's day-to-day life brings some peace of mind.
But many are still holding out for the date that Jenna can overcome the controversy and return to the internet kingdom she once ruled. But whether she chooses to return or not, most loyal fans just wish nothing but the best for the adorable couple, that will most likely have a wedding as kooky as them.
Her Supporters Haven't Given Up
Even after a year of total silence, loyal Jenna Marbles lovers still hit up Jenna's feeds to share their kind words, in addition to begging her to return. "Miss you so much! You're probably in such a healthier place right now! Hope you're doing well and taking care of yourself," one comment read.
In fact, on Instagram, followers are still commenting on Jenna's last post she made for Julien's birthday back in the Spring of 2020. "You don't owe us the gift of your humor, nor do you have to share your life…but let it be known that you are a light on the internet, and we all miss your shine," one supporter wrote.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
There are Jenna supporters all over who are hoping for the day that their fave YouTuber will return to their screens. However, in the meantime, they have the next best thing: Looking back at her previous content timeline of successes that happened over her 10 years in the biz - Everything leading up to the controversial clip.
After the video in question came under fire, some looked at Jenna's whole channel and only saw the bad. But there were many fans who chose to focus on the many positives of Jenna's career. And even after a year of silence, there was still a lot to celebrate from the Marbles dynasty.
From Content Creation to Directing
Diving back to 2016, Jenna's video-making skills were making her a household name in America and beyond. Her talents were undeniable, and she was approached with the chance of a lifetime: Jenna got to become an Executive Director! Mourey enthusiastically signed on to the project.
Correct! Jenna was part of the production team for the 2016 film Maximum Ride - a sci-fi film inspired by the James Patterson books. And as luck had it, Jenna had a real knack for working behind the scenes. And no doubt this title under her belt aided in achieving that $8 million in the bank.
From bartending to producing Hollywood films, it was clear that whatever Jenna touched turned to gold. By the following year, it felt like she had all of YouTube wrapped around her finger. And the Shorty Awards agreed! That year, Jenna took home a title at the 9th Annual ceremony.
Jenna took home the Shorty Award for YouTuber of the Year. But that wasn't the only prize coming home that night. Julien also scored big, and he was awarded the Vlogger of the Year at the same ceremony. These two were at the top of their craft, but Jenna's successes weren't over yet...
Over the years that fans grew to know and love Jenna Marbles, viewers became acquainted with the vlogger's four pups, who often popped in the videos. The first two were Mr. Marbles and Kermit, the two pooches behind the name of Jenna's venture. There were also Peach and Bunny who joined the family later.
Jenna's love for dogs was the ultimate inspiration behind her brand of dog toys. And following the launch, Mourey saw enormous success from sales all across the United States! Despite the cash flow, sales came to a halt after Jenna departed from YouTube and her other platforms.
Owning Up to Her Past
The connection between her dog toy line and the Nicki Minaj video was arguably minimal, but Jenna called it quits regardless. In her eyes, in order to be fully accountable for her past mistakes, she had to prioritize her personal growth and well-being. Luckily, she has her future hubby to help her get through it all.
No matter how many fans tried to remind Jenna of the positive impact she made in her career, it seemed as though Mourey couldn't stop beating herself up over the haunting video. But many commended Jenna for sticking to her word and taking the time to learn from her mistakes.
She's Trying to Grow
And one quote from Jenna summed the whole thing up. "I don't want to hurt anyone, I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to have a good time, and I'm not having a good time," she said in her video. At the very least, many fans are hoping that her time away from the spotlight has helped her in some way.
And while Jenna's been on her journey of self-betterment, loyal Marbles fans are left with a portion of her old content to rewatch and enjoy the memories of what once was. Many hope that she will one day return to YouTube, but until then, they're sitting by waiting for an update from the former vlogger...
What Lies Ahead?
What's on the horizon for this funny girl from Rochester, New York? As it stands right now, Jenna is still enjoying a quiet life away from the public eye - she hasn't even made an exception to share the news about the proposal! However, we can only guess that the bride-to-be is thrilled to be marrying her partner of eight years.
There are some supporters of Marbles who share concerns about her amid the radio silence, but to those few, Jenna offered words of comfort on the final segment of the Jenna & Julien podcast: "I'm doing okay, I'm getting help, and I'm just being a person right now." Whatever the future may bring, we're sending nothing but love!