The first video Victoria Paris uploaded to TikTok in 2018 — a compilation of low-fi outfits and NYC clips — hit 50,000 views in one day. Instead of celebrating, she ran off the grid. The social cleanse was part of an effort to lean into a friendlier version of herself: Following in the footsteps of her North Carolina-based financial coder parents, she worked as a marketing manager for a fintech company. “I was camera shy unless I was drunk, so I posted a blackout and captioned things on Instagram like, ‘If I don’t end up a MILF, God ain’t not real” – I didn’t think employers would find it funny,” Paris tells Bustle. But when she lost her job in March 2020, she “needed to find some kind of belonging,” she says, and returned to social media.
Since then, the 22-year-old has grown her TikTok and Instagram to 1.5 million followers and billions of views. “I understood very quickly that relying on my authenticity would benefit me,” says Paris. From her sexual outspokenness to her funky taste in interior design, fans are drawn to her unfiltered style: In a recent video, she shows off the custom wall built around her bed in her huge loft, explaining that she wanted to have, ahem, a more private space. “I basically built a wall because I wanted to be channeled,” she says with a thumbs up and a smile. It has nearly half a million likes.
But the notoriety of Paris on social networks has a cost. “My parents and I didn’t speak to each other for seven months at one point,” she says. While shedding light on childhood trauma on TikTok might be healing for her, it was a lot to swallow for them. “It was hard for them to connect with my life, 24/7, and decipher what’s real and what’s not.” Although they have reconnected, she says they don’t quite understand what is going on in her world.
Honestly, she can’t either. “It’s crazy that this is my life,” Paris says of how she’s been feeling lately. “I can wake up next to an extremely attractive person and live this extremely attractive life, when literally the first three years of my life [in New York], I was not living. I could barely afford to shop at Trader Joe’s.
Below, Paris shares how annoying her open tabs are, her most embarrassing early TikTok memories, and why she’ll never slip into your DMs.
What was the last Wikipedia hole you went through?
Anna Delvey. My friends I’m going on vacation with just watched Invent Anna and warned me that they would talk about it, so I had to be prepared for those conversations.
Who is your favorite person that you follow right now?
Doja cat. She is so funny. You know how music producers should promote your music? Well, she went live on Instagram just floating in her pool on a float pretending to be dead. I love it.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read online this week?
there was something I retweeted on Twitter. It was like, “Congratulations on surviving a pandemic, so your reward is World War III.” It’s really scary to think about.
How do you feel when you watch your first videos?
I was really wondering where my eyebrows were going. I had no eyebrows in 2020. It’s so embarrassing that at the conception of my career, I had no eyebrows. I had them permed when I was off the grid, then they fell out, and then for the first six months of my videos, I grew my eyebrows back, and it’s so embarrassing.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever bought on the internet?
I got my first vibrator. His name is Lady. I’m convinced I don’t have a clitoris, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll look.
What tabs do you currently have open?
I tracked the order status for a new rug. My Drybar appointment today. A flight record for my trip to Hawaii. Clair, and this Bi-Rite sample sale.
What’s the strangest DM you’ve ever received?
My ex took his little sister to a Harry Styles concert, and my fans were taking pictures of her saying, “He’s cheating on you. He’s here with another girl.
Have you ever been hit by someone following you?
The first famous person who followed me (when I had 200,000 followers) was Emma Chamberlain. It was super crazy. And then recently, Dixie D’Amelio followed me on Instagram. I was like, “Let’s go.”
Have you spoken to any of them?
No, I’m not one to slip into anyone’s DMs before they meet. But we have a lot of mutual friends. If we meet and become friends, we become friends. It’s no use forcing.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.