YouTube star Miranda Sings gets 'bizarre' new Netflix series

A scene from the new Netflix TV show, Miranda Sings: Haters Back Off!
A scene from the new Netflix TV show, Miranda Sings: Haters Back Off!

Get this haters: Miranda Sings has her own TV show on Netflix and it's appropriately titled, Haters Back Off!

Miranda is the quirky, overly confident wannabe celebrity who wears red lipstick drawn outside her lips. She started uploading videos of herself on YouTube in 2008, and she unabashedly believes that she's extremely talented and destined for stardom.

The character of Miranda is played by 29-year-old actress and comedian Colleen Ballinger.

Ballinger believes the original interest in Miranda came from viewers trying to figure out if she is a real person.

Actress and YouTube star Colleen Ballinger. Photo / AP
Actress and YouTube star Colleen Ballinger. Photo / AP

"The videos were getting passed around because people were trying to figure out if I was a real person, if I was an actress," Ballinger said in a recent interview. "They loved to hate me. ... I got a lot of hate mail and that's where the term 'haters back off' came from because I got all this hate. And ... then it slowly shifted into the fans liking the videos and I started to pick up on what was trending online and trying to ... go with that and make this career snowball into something more than just a couple viral videos."

The Miranda Sings YouTube channel has more than 7 million subscribers. Ballinger said that while she initially resisted revealing her identity, she now believes fans have embraced Miranda as a character. She also has her own personal YouTube channel where she vlogs and posts her own videos not in character.

"We're letting (viewers) into our home multiple times a week. They know everything about me. It's so important to having success online to make people feel like they really connect to you," Ballinger said.

On Haters Back Off! viewers see Miranda beyond the internet.

"We've seen Miranda's YouTube videos online for many years but this is kind of the story of what happens behind the camera and before she films a video and after she films a video and how does someone become internet famous and how does that change their life once they do become famous and the inner workings of this girl who is a little bizarre and different," Ballinger said.

Viewers are also introduced to the other people in Miranda's world.

"It's also about this family who's a little quirky and a little weird and they're OK with that. They're confident in who they are and they don't have to stick to what is popular or what is beautiful or, you know, trendy. They're themselves and they're happy with that and I think that's an important message to share, too."

Ballinger says she always wanted to be a performer.

"I went to school for singing and, you know, I was a vocal performance major," said Ballinger. (That means those videos of Miranda singing off-key are jokes.)

"I wanted to do opera and musical theater so, you know, I had big plans to go to New York and do Broadway and all this kind of stuff, but I never would have thought it would come from Miranda. Miranda was something I was doing for fun on the side. It was a fun hobby for me so I never thought it would become like a real job and I'm so glad that it did because now I can't imagine doing anything else."

Since becoming "internet famous," Ballinger has had to deal with people knowing her real identity. And she says she's mindful of her safety when sharing online.

"I travel a lot for work and have people waiting outside my hotel or call my room constantly or show up at whatever restaurant I'm eating at because I snapchatted. It is a little terrifying," she said. "But, this is the life that I chose and I love my job and it's part of it. It's just important to make sure you're safe and you have people with you at all times."

She recently announced in an emotional video on her personal YouTube channel that she's divorcing fellow internet personality Josh Evans after one year of marriage.

"I don't regret anything I've put out there," she said. "I'm very open with my life and I don't regret it because it's what got me here."

- AP

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