Usually, turning 21 is a milestone all on its own, but YouTuber Tana Mongeau just checked a number of unexpected firsts off her bucket list: In the wee hours of her 21st year, she 1) got engaged to fellow YouTube pariah Jake Paul, her romantic journey with whom will be documented on 2) her MTV reality show, Tana Turns 21, which premiered just a week before Mongeau flew to Anaheim, CA for 3) her first VidCon as a featured creator. This last one is maybe the most remarkable, since it was her lack of featured creator status last year that prompted the Fyre Fest-level disaster that was TanaCon.
The whole thing got the Shane Dawson documentary treatment (fittingly, Jake Paul was the subject of Dawson's following YouTube deep dive) and rocketed Mongeau from enigmatic Storytime YouTuber to Public Internet Enemy #1. While the emotions surrounding the event have died down, her audience has only grown. In the year following TanaCon, Mongeau gained over one million subscribers, according to Social Blade, putting her at a solid 4.6 million subscribers and counting. The second episode of Tana Turns 21 airs on Monday, July 15 at 4 p.m. ET on MTV YouTube, and comes after its premiere racked up over four million views. Basically, there was a lot to celebrate when Refinery29 sat down with her at the Viacom Villas during VidCon. While creators busied themselves taking photos in the Instagrammable space filled with neon lights and quirky backdrops, Mongeau's bellowing laugh ensured she was still the center of attention despite being tucked away on the couches. Then there was also her outfit: a bright lime green blazer worn over a black bralette and chunky, knee-high black Doc Marten-esque boots.
In honor of Mongeau's birthday and reality star title, we decided to play a game of 21 Questions, starting with main question anyone who follows Mongeau on Twitter was dying to know the answer to.
1. Why did you get banned from Wynn Properties?
"I [previously] went to an event there underage. I didn't know it was a 21-plus event, but they did. So I showed up there this past weekend for my best friend's birthday to go to a 21-plus event — I'm 21 now — and they were not happy with past me. So I had to tweet about it. We're fixing it now, though, which is amazing. They've been so awesome to me."
2. What was the first thing you did as a 21-year-old?
3. Do you have any lingering regrets about TanaCon?
"Absolutely. I think for the rest of my life it'll be something that's hard for me to deal with, because letting down anyone that supports me and loves me is my biggest form of heartbreak. But at the same time I think that regrets don't do anything for you in this life, you know what I mean? All I can do is grow and learn from that as a person. And that's what I'm trying to work on."
4. You burned some TanaCon merch on Tana Turns 21. Did you do that will all of the leftover merch?
"No, we had a few TanaCon things laying around and it was just definitely a cleansing moment on the show. I don't even think it was my idea. I think someone just brought it out and I was like, You know what, it feels it feels right to try to let go of a lot of this weight and pain."
5. Has being at VidCon brought back any TanaCon PTSD?
"It also has been bringing back a lot of memories of previous VidCons and how things went so badly. Seeing them go so much better this time and standing in the same places where security was treating me really poorly and not helping me in situations, to having them escort me and having things go so beautifully, and actually getting to meet my fans in a safe and comfortable way, is a very peaceful reminder that not only I have grown, but so has VidCon."
6. Are you watching Tana Turns 21 along with your fans?
"Oh my God, absolutely. The episode premiered on MTV, and I went in the chat [on YouTube] and was just talking to people live as they were watching it and it was so fun. My heart and soul is so into it."
7. Is there anything you’re nervous for people to see on the show?
"I'm nervous for every single thing on the show. I think it's a very different side of me and a lot of really hectic, crazy stuff. Emotions are high and I'm nervous for sure."
8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t do on camera?
"Probably nothing, honestly."
9. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve filmed and never posted?
"Storytimes. I sit down and I film them and I'm like, Ooh, this would wreck somebody's home. This would wreck somebody's life. It's got to go to the vault.”
10. Do you think there will be a day that you open that vault?
"Absolutely. I swear to God I will go out like an open book."
11. Is Jake Paul on the show?
"At the end of episode 1 we see that my best friend Ashley is having some nervous thoughts about him, but then he's in the kitchen kissing me. So we're going to see how that plays out in episode two. He makes a lot of cameos on the show."
12. Do you have a wedding date yet?
"We do have a date for a wedding planned, but I don't know how we want to announce that yet. So people are just going to have to stay tuned." [Editor's note: Mongeau and Paul have since announced their wedding date: July 28.]
13. Do you have your wedding outfit planned?
"Oh man, I'm not gonna lie to you, I've been really debating a Fashion Nova wedding dress in true Tana fashion."
14. If you woke up in another person’s body, who would you be happiest to wake up as?
"Kylie Jenner. Her ass is so nice."
15. What about most terrified to wake up as?
"Donald Trump. I would hate myself."
16. Fuck, Marry, Kill: YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram
"Marry Youtube. Fuck Instagram. Kill Snapchat."
17. Word association: Team 10
“The first one that came to my mind was ‘bitch’ because in the song. ‘It's Every Day, Bro,’ how they say ‘Team 10, bitch.’ But ‘fiancé.’”
18. ... Shane Dawson
19. ... Las Vegas
20. ... TanaCon
21. How will you one-up this when you turn 22?
"I don't think I can. I think 21 was the peak for me. Twenty-two needs a spa day and some reading and a bubble bath and some meditation because I have been turning 21 for two months now. It has taken a toll on me."