Chris Crocker: A Viral Video Star, Almost Seven Years Later

Age: 26
YouTube subscribers: 393,978

You were uploading videos to the internet long before it became a thing to do.
Yeah, I started posting videos before YouTube was even around. I posted my first video on MySpaceTV, and it got 8 million hits, and I just kept uploading from there. Then a fan started to take my videos and upload them to YouTube, and at first I didn’t even realize that people were watching them there. The fan gave me the password to the page.

What led you to upload your most famous video, “Leave Britney Alone”?
I was a Britney fan prior to her struggles, but the year she went through all that my mom that was in the eighth year of her meth addiction, and she had become homeless and lost her car. My entire family kind of lost hope in her. And so there was a parallel to that. I was still rooting for my mom to get herself together, and I could relate to the fact that Britney is a mom, too. To me it was much more about like seeing her as a person and not as a performer.

So you were reacting to people seeing her breakdown as entertainment?
Well, completely. You know, bloggers, everyone’s making money off of her downfall, and I just felt like it was a big joke for everyone. On all the websites, it was like, “When is she gonna die?”

Tell me about the next couple hours after the video.
Well it was very odd. I posted the video, and then the next morning I went to the grocery store here in my small town, and the woman at the cash register was like, “Are you that girl?” Because at the time I was very androgynous, and she was like, “Are you that girl that was just on Fox News?” I was like, “What are they talking about?” Immediately after I was getting reality show offers, and within a week from that video I was in L.A. filming press.

You skyrocketed to fame talking about treating people like celebrities. What was it like to then get a dose of that treatment?
Because I’m in such a “15 minutes of fame” box, people feel they have even more of a right to attack me because I’m more vulnerable than an average person in the public eye. I mean I would be totally lying if I didn’t say there’s not a certain amount of adrenaline. For me, it was almost like performance art, doing these crazy things for paparazzi and putting my hair in a ponytail and walking around with a little dog like Britney did. It was this really weird way of channeling what people thought about me and just giving it right back to them. But it was so hard to know how to run with it. It was like, “Okay, they seem me as a joke, so do I play up to the joke? What do I do?” So I tried to have a sense of humor about it, but people just thought I was even crazier. That’s why I’m really grateful that HBO gave me the opportunity to explain some of that in the documentary I did with them.

Do people still recognize you from the Britney video?
Oh, completely. I do porn now, too. So a lot of the people that you know, know what I look like, they either follow my Tumblr or my Instagram or whatever.

How did you get into doing porn?
Well the first time that I did it was in 2012. It was with my boyfriend, and we were building a website together, and we did a fourway with Maverick Men, an independent, large website. But my boyfriend and I broke up the week that the porn came out. Then we got back together, and made another one for Lucas Entertainment, which just came out last month, and then we broke up again. So, you know, never do porn with your boyfriend.

How do you pay the bills?
I still get checks from YouTube, but right now I think I’ve sold around 120,000 songs? My main income is my music. And then I do club appearances. So this month I’m going to Providence, and then I’m going to Little Rock—random little gigs.

Do you still feel like you are famous?
I think “famous” is up for interpretation. Compared to the average person, yes, I’m famous. I’m not Angelina Jolie, but there is something. I think having a video that was supposedly this 15 minutes of fame thing—and for it to be 2014 and I’m still working …

If you were to just start out now, making videos and uploading them onto YouTube, do you think you would stand out as much as you did eight years ago?
It’s impossible for anyone to stand out now. If you have talent, if you’re a natural comedian—it doesn’t matter what you’re good at, because Google bought YouTube and everything is so monetized. It’s so controlled now.

Have you ever met Britney Spears?
I’ve never met Britney Spears. I hope one day we can sit down and have a little Starbucks Frappuccino.

Chris Crocker: A Viral Video Star, Almost Seven Y […]