Eleonora "Lele" Pons Maronese (born June 25, 1996) is a Venezuelan-American internet personality, actress, singer, dancer and host of La Voz... México. She came to prominence on Vine, where she was the most-followed and most-looped individual before the platform shut down in 2016. She has since branched out, creating comedy sketches for YouTube, where she now has over 11 million subscribers, and Instagram. She has acted in film, television, and in music videos, has released her own music, and co-authored a novel in 2016.
Pons was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She moved to the United States at the age of five, and was raised in Miami, Florida. She graduated from Miami Country Day School in 2015 and moved to Los Angeles, California. She has said that she had trouble making friends in high school, so she "would get hurt to make them laugh." She has also said that she was bullied at high school. She said "I'm not like the cool girls—I'm the other girl. The one that's basically a nerd, but proud of that."
Pons began her career on the six-second video platform Vine. She has said she used Vine as a showcase for the creative things she already did. Speaking to Teen Vogue, Pons said "I started with my friends, and I started becoming bad. At first it was just being really creative - it wasn't even funny stuff." Her follower base continued to grow, and Pons has said that it "got to the point where a lot of people depended on me to make them... just so they could get a laugh." She became the first "Viner" to reach one billion loops. Before the platform shut down in 2016, Pons had become the most-looped and most-followed Viner of all time. In 2015, Pons was invited to the White House where she met First Lady Michelle Obama.
Pons expanded beyond Vine and now makes comedy videos for Instagram and YouTube. She is noted for her "command of the coveted Gen Z audience", and often makes videos on themes relatable to teenagers. She has said that she aims to branch out into TV and movie acting as she gets older. Writing in The Cut, Allie Jones described Pons' comedy as "universal, physical, and complete with a twist ending." Her comedic style has also been criticised, for instance by former Viner Cody Ko, who in February 2018 critically viewed one her sketches, saying "This was written by a four-year-old." Pons cites, among her inspirations, several Latina stars. These include actresses Sofía Vergara and Gaby Espino, as well as singer Shakira. Pons has said that she is one of the few female YouTubers who oversees the entire production process for her videos. In 2016, she was signed with entertainment company Shots Studios, and is managed by John Shahidi.
Pons has used her success in internet comedy to launch a number of enterprises. In 2015, she launched a jewelry collection called UNO Magnetic. In 2016, Pons co-authored a novel based on her own high school experiences, Surviving High School. Published by Simon & Schuster, the novel was co-authored with author Melissa de la Cruz. Pons has also had a number of acting roles. She starred as Callie in the 2016 romantic comedy We Love You, released on YouTube Red. In the movie, characters played by Yousef Erakat and Justin Dobies both fall for Pons, who is "cool enough" to date both of them at the same time. The movie was produced by YouTube and AwesomenessTV.
Pons appeared in the first episode of MTV's horror TV series, Scream, in which she was the season's first victim. She has starred in a number of music videos, including for Havana by Camila Cabello, and Downtown by Anitta and J Balvin. In May 2018, Pons released her debut single - a Spanish-language duet with Matt Hunter titled "Dicen". The YouTube music video amassed 10 million views in just four days. Pons has also had success in modelling. In February 2017, she became a brand ambassador for CoverGirl. The same month, Pons walked in a Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan. Babe criticised the move as seeming "a bit hackneyed and past-it." In August, Pons released her first single and music video for her song "Celoso", which was directed by fellow YouTuber Rudy Mancuso.
In May 2018, it was announced that Pons would take over hosting of La Voz... México, the Mexican singing competition show that is created by Televisa. The new season will begin on October 14, 2018.
In September 2016, Pons had a public disagreement with fellow Vine star and "best friend" Amanda Cerny. Cerny accused Pons of covertly accessing her YouTube and Instagram accounts and deleting the most popular posts. Pons refused to address the accusation. Pons then told her fanbase that Cerny had been deleting her material, and that was the reason for their fall-out. When Cerny attempted to clarify the situation with a post to Instagram, Cerny said that Pons called the police to her house to ask her to take down the post. A number of other YouTubers and Viners have criticised Pons. In June 2017, Jessi Smiles accused her of being rude to her in person and obsessive over her follower count. December 2017 saw Tom Harlock criticise her for several instances of lying to her friends over previous controversies, "manipulating" her audience of 9 to 17 year olds, and also accuse her of not writing her own book.
In 2016, she took a short break from making videos to get a nose job from plastic surgeon Ramtin Kassir. Sections of her fans believe she is dating Juanpa Zurita, while others believe she is dating Ray Diaz. However, Pons told The Cut that she does not like to say "To protect the innocent fans who are so invested in her imagined personal life".
"Dicen" (with Matt Hunter) - 2018
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Lele Pons in the news
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