Early life, family, educational background
American comedian, actress and YouTuber, Jenna Nicole Mourey – better known as Kenna Marbles online – was born on 15 September 1986, in Rochester, New York State USA. She has an older brother, Devin, with whom she was raised by their mother Deborah, and their (unnamed) father who is a chemist, holding several patents. In 2004, Jenna matriculated from Brighton High School in Rochester, after which she moved to Boston and attended Suffolk University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and then Boston University to earn a Master of Education in Sport Psychology and Counseling.
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In 2010, Jenna was living in a three-bedroom apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with roommates. She had to work at a tanning salon, as a bartender, a go-go dancer at nightclubs, and a blogger to pay her $800 rent. She also started writing for StoolLaLa, Barstool Sports’ female-oriented site, but left the publication the following year.
LMU lost its Marbles for Mane Entertainment's latest guest… Jenna Marbles: http://ow.ly/E0oJz
Dave Portnoy, the President of Barstool, is publicly considered to be a very problematic person, which is reflected in his business. Barstool is famous for their offensive comments, which they insist are jokes and not their actual values or beliefs as individuals or the company as a whole. However, the overwhelmingly racist, sexist and homophobic content they publish, along with their employees being mostly cis, white, straight people, lead many to believe that what they publish is what they believe. Barstool Sports has responded to these claims by saying that they like to pretend we live in a utopia where ‘PC Police’ do not exist. Dave also added to the conversation, ‘This is exactly, and I mean exactly, why Barstool Sports has to exist… Because we’re one of the few places… where we don’t let agendas dictate what we do.’
Jenna was their most famous female personality, and Dave has publicly fought with her, saying that she doesn’t give him credit for launching her career.
He told Entrepreneur in a 2013 interview, ‘She told People magazine she fell into making YouTubes. Actually, no, you were working at a tanning salon, and I hired you, that’s how you started… I’ve hired one girl in 10 years, and it was her… We never could see eye-to-eye.’
In 2010, “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking” was Jenna’s first viral video, and within its first week it attracted over 5.3 million views; it currently has more than 60 million views, and is still garnering more. Her next video, “How to Avoid Talking to People You Don’t Want to Talk to,” was talked about in August 2011 by both The New York Times and on ABC News – it has over 35 million views and is still growing.
Jenna’s channel is the most-watched woman-run channel on YouTube, with over 15 million subscribers, placing her 7th in the world. In July 2015, the channel’s click rate surpassed 1.8 billion.
On 5 April 2006, Jenna created her YouTube account “Jenna Mourey”, but didn’t upload her first video until 13 February 2008, entitled “Itchy says I love you,” a 20-second video of her boyfriend’s dog, Itchy. At the time, most of her videos included her then-boyfriend, Max Weisz (known as MaxNoSleeves on YouTube). He launched his only channel after their break-up.
In February 2010, Jenna started her second YouTube channel because she enjoyed making people laugh. She wanted the channel to be the same name as her first one, but when searching under ‘Mourey,’ Jenna’s channel was the first link that showed up. This was problematic for Jenna’s mother, who was looking for a job at the time. So, Jenna named the channel “Jenna Marbles” after her chihuahua, Mr. Marbles. At first, Jenna only made vlogs about her life in the nightlife industry and with Marbles. She posted random vlogs until her viral 2010 hit, after which she began regularly uploading every Wednesday or Thursday.
Her channel’s growth allowed her to begin doing it full-time. Her success also lead to brand partnerships, merchandise, and ad revenue.
In 2013, “Good Morning America” interviewed Jenna, and then mocked her and her career, for which they received a heavy online bashing from Jenna’s viewers and other people in the YouTube community for their behavior.
Jenna’s videos were mainly short comedic skits with a “how-to” theme, as well as a few Q&A videos and occasional rants; they were also heavily-laced in dark, raunchy humor and swear words; her more recent videos are a lot more wholesome. Her later videos are unscripted, longer, and focus on a quiet life with her dogs and boyfriend; most are about art, beauty, and miscellaneous topics. Jenna enjoys giving her boyfriend or herself a makeover in a series called “Rachet Salone,” and a lot of her videos featured mainly around her dogs, such as “Teaching My Dogs How to Swim” and “My Dogs Try on Halloween Costumes.”
Jenna’s unconventional ‘beauty’ videos gained so much attention, that on 26 February 2019, she collaborated with beauty guru James Charles on his channel. She always finds a way to put a unique twist on trending videos or challenges.
On 25 June 2020, Jenna posted “A Message,” in which she gave a heartfelt apology for the internalized misogyny and racism in her old videos and the harm they caused to her viewers, saying ‘It’s shameful, it’s awful. I wish it wasn’t part of my past.’ She added that she has since attempted to learn from her experience and mature from it, saying that she only wants to produce wholesome, non-offensive content. To avoid offending anyone who comes across the videos, Jenna deleted or privatised the problematic videos on her channel.
Although her address was well-received as it was a genuine apology, Jenna spoke about the issue again and announced that she was taking a break from making videos and may never return to YouTube.
Video’s Up: I Made That Awful Soap Handhttps://t.co/cp4qrQGWn4
— Jenna 📁📂Marbles (@Jenna_Marbles) February 6, 2020
‘For now, I just can’t exist on this channel… I hope you know that’s [upsetting anyone] just not my intent; that’s not what I ever set out to do.’ She wanted to take time to reflect on her past and distance herself from it. The following day, Julien tweeted that he would also be taking a break from YouTube, and their joint Twitch streams and podcast would be on indefinite hiatus.
In November 2020, her channel ranked 177th as the most subscribed to. Even after leaving YouTube, Jenna is still referred to as the ‘Queen of YouTube.’
In 2014, Jenna won a Young Hollywood Award as a Viral Superstar, and in 2017 she won a Shorty Award for YouTube Ensemble.
Jenna released Kermie Worm and Mr. Marbles – a brand of dog toys named and modeled after two of her dogs (before she adopted Peach and Bunny).
In 2015, she guest-appeared in “Smosh: The Movie” as herself. The following year she became an executive producer for films based on James Patterson’s novels, “Maximum Ride.”
Jenna began public speaking, and in 2017 was invited to speak in Lisbon, Portugal, at the Web Summit, and the following year at Rise, a web conference held in Hong Kong. The Program Board also invited her to speak to over 1500 students at a Fall Speaker Event held by the Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
She was a producer of the weekly podcast series, The Jenna Julien Podcast, in which she and Julien (and occasionally some guests) spoke about conspiracy theories, other YouTubers, and their childhoods. After she left YouTube, Julien posted solo episodes until August 2020.
In 2011, she moved to Santa Monica with her then-boyfriend and fellow YouTuber, Stephen Maxamillian Weisz, known as Max and as MaxNoSleeves online; he made comedy sketch videos and vlogs. Jenna’s dogs, Kermit, and Marbles, moved to Santa Monica with them. Jenna and Max broke up in early December 2012.
She began dating Julien Solomita in February 2013, announcing their relationship on 13 June 2013. At first her fans were cold towards Julien, as they’d grown to like Max, but Julien’s personality and clear love for Jenna soon won them over. He started his own YouTube channel, and they often appeared in each other’s videos.
Julien tends to go along with whatever Jenna wants, who allows her to do his make-up, put wigs on him, make clothes or costumes for him, etc. A running theme of their joint videos is that Jenna is a Virgo and Julien is an Aries – a match that doesn’t usually work together. Julien is wilder and chaotic, whereas Jenna finds fun in control and order.
Their dogs are also frequent guests on their channels. Marbles is a 12-year-old chihuahua born on 5 June 2008, Kermit a 10-year-old Italian greyhound born on 20 June 2010, Peach a six-year-old Italian greyhound born on 15 June 2014, and Bunny who is a five-year-old full-size greyhound born on 8 June 2015, which they rescued on 19 April 2019.
In 2018, they adopted a hamster and named him Adword “Ad” Sponsorhands – Julien was particularly close to Ad, so found his passing on 30 March 2018 very difficult, and posted a beautiful video dedicated to him in which Julien cried, and said he would take a break from YouTube while mourning.
They bought a $3 million Los Angeles home in 2018, and currently reside there.
Jenna has a very positive public image, and is considered to be a caring, genuine and comedic person. However, her online reputation has not always been peachy-clean – she was critisized for ‘drinking, sexuality, and profane humor, which earned her the rap of being a potentially bad role model for her young fans.’ In the early years of her YouTube career, she made content in which she would use excessive derogatory language, slut-shame, and even spray tan to look darker when impersonating Nicki Minaj. As Jenna has got older and reflected over those videos, she has acknowledged her errors and offences, and learned from them.
In her “Reacting to My Old Videos (300th Video)” special, she said that what she did and said in the past is not okay, and the comments on her early videos lead her to learn from her mistakes and grow as a person.
She uploaded a video introducing their new pet, a fish. However, Jenna received comments saying that the way she rehoused the fish was not correct, and the supplies were not suitable nor healthy for the fish. Jenna responded by uploading a lengthy apology video explaining that she felt the best decision for the fish was to return it to the store. She also added the original video at the end of her apology, to show people what not to do, so that they may learn from her experience and mistakes. Viewers praised Jenna for her genuine and lengthy apology video, and compared it to more serious offences, which received much shorter apologies, such as PewDiePie’s apology for using the n-word when live streaming.
She has also been praised for her wholesome content, and the kind treatment of her pets, especially Bunny, who was rescued from an abusive home, which left the dog with many anxious tendencies.
Even though Jenna is considered one of the most successful and famous YouTubers, she is still humble and keeps her personal life private. She enjoys staying home and spending time with Julien and their pets.
Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
In 2015, Jenna was the first YouTuber to have her wax figure displayed in New York City’s Madame Tussauds Gallery.
She became a vegan in 2015.
Jenna has gray eyes, naturally dark blonde hair – but often dyes it – is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall and weighs around 120lbs (54kgs).
Net worth and salary
As of 2020, her net worth has been estimated at over $8 million.