Hubert Burda Media

EXCLUSIVE: Lele Pons on Influencing Millenials

With 18 million watching her funny videos, Lele Pons talks social media. PLUS, web-exclusive photos!

Outfit: DKNY

Eleonora Pon, better known as Lele Pons (@lelepons), is an internet personality with over 14 million followers on Instagram, while her YouTube channel already boasts over 3 million subscribers. Born in Caracas, Venuzela in 1996, she moved with her family to Miami, Florida at the age of five. She was originally a star on the nowdefunct video sharing application Vine, which she started at age 15.

Prior to the shutdown of Vine, she was the most watched person and also the most followed female star on the platform. She described herself as a fun, creative, energetic
spirit with a bohemian style and it truly shows from her video content. With her comedic skill and likability, she has garnered notice from the media. She was named one of the most influential teens by Time in 2015 and was included in Forbes “30
under 30” in 2017.

Besides being an online sensation, Lele is a model, an author and a trained opera singer. Highlights of an exclusive interview:

You’re very popular in social media. Can you tell us about the story behind it?
I joined Vine in 2013. Then my friends pushed me to start a social media page. Originally, it was intended as a fun outlet to showcase my creativity, but eventually evolved into comedic sketches and pulling practical jokes on family and friends.

Several of my videos went viral and I grew interested in creating longer form content. I joined Instagram and my audience continued to grow, and eventually capturing the attention of the press. Today my fans tune-in each week for a new video on my YouTube channel where I have over 3 million subscribers.

We can see that you have a lot of projects going on the moment, tell us about one or two most exciting ones?
In February 2017, I was announced exclusively via social media that I’m the new brand ambassador for CoverGirl. This is a very exciting time and I’m very grateful to be working alongside such an iconic brand. Stay tuned to my channels for exclusive content and videos.

When did you first become interested in making comedy videos?
When I started creating videos in 2013, it seemed natural to develop ideas that genuinely reflected my personality. In my circle of friends, I was the girl making everyone laugh.

How is the process behind every video?
What most fans don’t know is that there’s an entire production process with every video. All of my videos have a beginning, middle and end. I brainstorm and develop each storyline and then I have production crew who shoots it and then I edit. We hire extras, sometimes there are costumes involved. There are long hours of hard work that goes into each one.

We laugh so hard when watching your ‘Om Telolet Om’ video. It went viral here in Indonesia. Care to share the story behind it?
Thank you, it makes me happy to know that others enjoy my work. It was a collaborative process with my friends and co-creators. In the end, we couldn’t have been happier with the final cut.

How did you get ideas for your videos?
My ideas come from everyday life experiences. I get inspiration from everywhere – people that I meet, places I’ve traveled, awkward/embarrassing moments I’ve had.

What is your biggest obstacle in pursuing your career as a social media star and how will you overcome it?
Being female in the comedy space has its challenges. Whichever industry you are in, there’s definitely work that we as women need to continue to do to fight for equality.

What was the experience when walking for Dolce & Gabbana FW17 show in Milan?
Incredible! I am so grateful to everyone on their team, but especially to Mr. Dolce & Mr. Gabbana.

You released your first book, Surviving High School last April. How did you get the idea for it and tell us the story behind it?
The story concept came from a very difficult time that I went through while in high school. I was in an in-between phase that so many teens go through and was bullied for several years and never spoke out about it. As my fan base grew on social media I started to receive hundreds of messages from other teens who were being bullied and struggling with family, friends, their emotions, etc. Hearing their stories gave me the courage to finally speak out about the tough times that I went through in high school. I wanted to show them
that it gets better and they could lean on me for support.

You are also a classically trained opera singer. When did you become interested in music?
Music has always been a big part of my life growing up. It makes me peaceful. Opera legend, Maria Callas, is one of my biggest inspirations.

Which figures that you admire and why?
I admire Shakira for her spontaneity and positivity. She was a role model for every Latina. I also admire Beyoncé for her voice and her message of girl power.

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Photography: Mitchell McCormack

Stylist: Lauren Larocca

Hair: Sascha Breuer at Starworks Artists

Makeup: Tracey Levy at Forward Artists

Fashion Assistant: Darush Badgett