By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
It would be hyperbole to say that Poppy is the weirdest content creator on YouTube…but it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that she is the queen of them.
Moriah Rose Pereira, the human behind Poppy, has gained a large following making short, strange, creepy, funny videos on YouTube that usually get at least a million views, with her largest having 14 million.
If you don’t know what I mean by that, then pull out your phone and click any one of Poppy’s hundreds of similarly spooky videos to find out what she’s like.
If you’re reading this newspaper on a remote island without Internet access, I’ll describe her for you. Imagine Melanie Martinez meets David Lynch’s Eraserhead, a surrealist girly dream. Poppy’s videos are mostly her standing in front of an off-white background, delivering strange non-sequiturs with deep, slow music in the background.
Her collaborator, Titanic Sinclair, has described her persona as similar to that of an android, and that the motive behind her character’s voice and mannerisms is to strike a chord in the uncanny valley, the idea that if something is nearly human, but not quite, it’s terrifying.
She never wavers from her soothing, girly voice, even staying in her weird character outside her videos. Some people call her creepy, some call her hot, others say she’s cute; she’s ambiguous, but widely loved.
No one really knows how large of a following she has, as she made her subscriber count private. However, we can safely assume it’s at least a couple million, given her views and how quickly she gains them.
There’s more to this automaton than her YouTube channel. She’s actually a Boston native, but moved to Nashville as a middle schooler to pursue music. She began her career as a singer, contributing to the band HeyHiHello and signed to Island Records in 2015. Outside of random YouTube singles and an experimental ambient music album, she didn’t release her first real studio album until 2017, with Poppy.computer.
The album did relatively well, combining chiptunes and robotic sounds with upbeat pop. She’s gotten right back to work, currently recording her second album in Japan with Sinclair.
Her most recent project is a YouTube Red show called I’m Poppy, whose pilot aired in January. Instead of half an hour of Poppy rambling in front of her white background, which might have melted brains, the show’s a lot more meta. It’s a scripted show about Poppy’s character outside the internet, with corporate producers trying to wring money out of her and her fans.
In the show, she’s the Christ figure of a cult trying to save her from imprisonment. She’s also signed a literal deal with the devil to increase her fame, along with the producers who are helping her make content.
Outside of some of the more outlandish bits, like a living mannequin jealous of Poppy’s fame, the show’s really a commentary on Poppy’s actual life and the showbusiness that comes with it. It’s weird, it’s dark, and it’s worth checking out. However, only the pilot has been released, and there have been no details on future episodes.
You can have as many YouTube Red free trials as you want, though, as long as you make extra YouTube accounts, so you might as well check it out. Quick tip.
So, that’s Poppy the alien girl. If you’re interested in her videos, she’s right on YouTube and she uploads often. If you’re interested in her music, she’s on tour performing her album in character. If her weirdness scares you, then the internet probably isn’t the best place for you.