Marina Joyce and the fame: what’s next?

YouTube star Marina Joyce has caused international concern for her seemingly odd behaviour. What happens now? Nadene Budden talks it out.

If you’ve been on the Internet over the past two weeks, you’ve probably heard of Marina Joyce.

She’s the YouTube star who, within four days, went from known only to her subscribers to the subject of Twitter’s number one worldwide trending hashtag, after fans started noticing in her latest videos signs of bruising on her arms, a vacant stare swapped from her usual, bubbly self and some disturbing little things like what appears to be a gun in the background of her videos. Concerned fans feared for her life, believing she may be held hostage or trapped in an abusive relationship. In one day, her subscriber count nearly doubled, leaping from 660 thousand to 1.2 million.

Between the seemingly eerie messages she supposedly left for fans and the subscriber meet & greet she organised to be held at 6:30am, people were so concerned that even the police became involved just to check on her safety.

Both her and the police have publicly stated that she is indeed fine and is safe at home with her mother, yet fans still appear to be concerned. As this article is being written, Marina’s YouTube subscriber count sits at 2.1 million. People are still obviously interested in what the hell is actually going on, but why?

When asked by fellow YouTuber, Phillip DeFranco, in an interview about her changing behaviour in her most recent videos, Marina said, “I don’t know what you mean.”

It is clear that the only ones who truly know exactly what is happening in the whole case are Marina and those closest to her, but that does not stop the growing millions that watch from the sidelines through her many social media sites.

As the saying goes, it might just be like watching a car crash. People can’t seem to take their eyes off of what might be the mental breakdown of a young starlet. Like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes before her, the audience not only can’t stop watching, but almost salivates at the wreckage left behind.

Some may blame social media as we intrude more and more into each other’s lives with every app update, but it is also arguable that the pressure has always been there. It is this technology that allows us to see the inside workings of the celebrity and face their fears and struggles with them.

In turn, we use these struggles as a coping mechanism to avoid those within our own lives. Do I want to know just how much weight Kim Kardashian’s second cousin has gained since having a baby? How about those unapproved, unconsented-to pictures of Zayn Malik spilling out of a nightclub (and the “close source” that reckons he snorted cocaine in the bathroom)? Really, the answer is no, but seeing these rich, famous and successful people do such normal things gives us ‘normal’ people the chance to relate to them. ‘They’re just like me!’ only with more money in the bank than I’ll see in a lifetime and the best face and body money can buy.

A 2009 study for the Journal of Phenomenological Study correspondingly found that, “…while attempting to hold back the more authentic ‘I,’ the famous person creates a ‘celebrity self,’ an ‘other self,’ to emotionally survive the experience of being famous.”

The study, detailed through interviews with several people who had achieved fame in their lives, further found the barrier caused by fame stopped them from leading everyday lives and always having to take their public image and fans into account.

Furthermore, as much as an audience will feed off the growth and triumph of an individual, we also like to watch them crash and burn. Bad news is apparently better than no news, so when you see people like Britney Spears have a public meltdown and shave her head (an action that makes more sense and seems less random to me with every day of my life) or Marina Joyce express her desire to be seen as a goddess and build a temple in Peru for her worshippers, we seem to suddenly sense the humanity behind the pretty face. With their downfall, these people who we put on the highest of pedestals are knocked back down just in time for the next flavour of the month to get caught with drugs at a music festival.

There will be people who continue to follow Marina’s story to try and uncover some juicy secrets to what lies behind the fame. Although with varying levels of believability, several sources close to Marina have claimed that she is fine. It is obvious that whatever personal struggles she is going through she wants to be kept separate to her public life, and from human to human, it is our duty to respect her boundaries.

Feature Image: Marina Joyce via Facebook.