GOOD JEANS: Q&A with Jenna Rose
The YouTube sensation talks about her haters, who inspires her and what it's like to be an Internet personality at the ripe age of 13.
GOOD JEANS: Q&A with Jenna Rose
Sticks and stones may break her bones, but her jeans look newer than yours.
The YouTube celebrity is no new phenomenon — Karmin, Sam Tsui, and even J-Biebs himself started their careers online. So when Lunchbox Records released My Jeans, a music video featuring a 10-year-old girl driving a car while singing about Hannah Montana “jacking her swag,” negative comments spread like mono. And the pop song became viral within weeks.
Jenna Rose, the star of My Jeans, knows as well as anyone else the power (and pitfalls) of Internet fame. Rose is often invited to sing at benefits and concerts around New York, but she’s also constantly compared to Rebecca Black, who isn’t exactly the golden child when it comes to being favored in the media.
This week I chatted with the Long Island resident, who filled me in on what it’s like being an Internet personality at the ripe age of 13.
City Paper: How did things change at school after My Jeans became viral?
Jenna Rose: Now everybody at my school knows me. If I’m walking in a hallway, people will say my name and say 'My Jeans!'. [And] some people are just mean to me … but I try to ignore it.
CP: Do they say things to your face?
JR: Obviously on the computer — the comments on YouTube — and at school. They say things like, 'You stink, my jeans!'.
CP: What was the most horrible comment you received, whether online or in person?
JR: “Why is she still alive?”
CP: So obviously you’ve been a victim of cyber-bullying. Do you have any advice for other kids who are going through the same thing?
JR: Well I think it’s easy to ignore if you really want to ignore it. How I think about it is they hide behind the computer screen and probably don’t even know who you are. They probably can’t even say it to your face.
CP: What’s been your coping mechanism?
JR: I don’t really know. I try not to read it.
CP: How do you feel about Rebecca Black’s Friday?
JR: I think it’s a fun song. I don’t get why people need to be so harsh about it. It’s just a fun song.
CP: Why do you think there was such uproar over your video?
JR: Yeah, I think it’s because I’m younger. But a lot [of people] started young — Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus. [But] a lot of people just like to criticize.
CP: Do you have any regrets?
JR: Well, if you didn’t make mistakes in life then you wouldn’t get anywhere. That’s one of the sayings I live by.
CP: Your O.M.G. music video definitely takes a different approach than My Jeans. Were you trying to reach a different demographic this time, or is this what you’ve been wanting to do all along?
JR: I told the writer that I wanted it to be different from My Jeans — more mature. I told him that I wanted it to [make] people who dislike me to start liking me — but it went the other way. I’m trying to get a different crowd, I guess.
CP: How are you dealing with the newfound fame?
JR: It’s different. I’m walking in the street and people are just looking at me (laughs).
CP: What’s been the most surreal moment so far?
JR: The most surprising moment was before the video became viral, the video had 5,000 hits, but when I woke up the next day, it had 16,000, and I was so surprised. I was jumping up and down.
CP: What’s been your proudest moment in your music career?
JR: When I was 10, I performed in Madison Square Garden. That was one of my best moments. I performed The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston in front of a huge crowd.
CP: How did this whirlwind first start?
JR: My parents are my biggest supporters. It all started when I was in the shower singing when I was 7. My mom said, 'You have a really good voice, you should sing. You’re gonna make it big someday!' And I was like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah … in your dreams.' So she put me in a community theater production and I loved it, and I started doing more and she let me. When I was 8 I went to a showcase and this manager was there (the manager of Baby Triggy — the rapper in My Jeans), and he wanted to write a song for me. So I did that music video when I was 10, and it became viral.
CP: Any plans for high school?
JR: I actually don’t know if I’m going to high school, because I might be going on tour. But I might be home-schooled because I get bullied a lot. I haven’t taken any tests yet, but I might go. But I’m trying to make singing a goal in life. I’m trying to sign onto a label.
CP: Will you write your own music?
JR: I have to try to find the time to write my own songs. [Being in school makes it hard]. But I’m definitely going to in the future.
CP: What can we expect from you in the future?
JR: People are recommending me to do a Christmas album, so I might look into that. Also, I might come out with new singles and music videos. So something this holiday season.
CP: Artists you look up to?
JR: Adele and Christina Aguilera. Adele has an amazing voice and Christina has come so far in the music business — and she also has an amazing voice.
CP: With all of this bullying and stress, what is it about singing that makes you stick with it?
JR: It’s a way of expressing myself without actually saying it.
CP: Aside from singing, what are some of your hobbies?
JR: I like to play the piano. I started taking lessons when I was 7, then I recently quit because I wanted to be more of a singer than a piano player. But this year I started teaching myself how to play again, and I like it. I played classical but now I play Adele so I can sing with it.
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