The Glenn Questionnaire
Bella Poarch Is Here to Slay
Last fall, Bella Poarch’s lip sync of Millie B’s “Soph Aspin Send” became the most popular TikTok of 2020, rocketing her into the upper echelons of Gen Z fame and making hers one of the three most followed accounts on the app. Today, over 70.5 million followers keep tabs on Poarch, whose signature towering pigtails and anime-inflected looks regularly pull in millions of likes. But Poarch’s ambitions reach far beyond an app. Two weeks ago, the Filipino-American performer released her debut single, “Build a Bitch,” which debuted at 58 on the Billboard Hot 100. Here, she talks about her inspiration behind the song, her Aquaman obsession, and the difference between Kawaii Bella and Baddie Bella.
INTERVIEW: Tell me about the moment that your first TikTok went viral.
BELLA POARCH: I only had TikTok for a few months at that point. The first video I ever uploaded was of me singing, and it only got 100 views, so I took it down right away. So when “M to the B” got a million likes in a day, I was in shock. I would never have imagined something like that. I just thought it would be like every viral video and have a moment and be done. I didn’t think anything more would happen, it was so crazy.
INTERVIEW: What do you want people to feel when they see your content?
POARCH: I hope that I can inspire people. When I was growing up, I didn’t have any role models to look up to. For most people that’s their parents, but I knew I wanted to be different when I got older. I was my own role model. So I hope I can be a better role model for the kids like me out there.
INTERVIEW: Tell us about your latest song, “Build a Bitch.” How did you decide to feature Mia Khalifa, Valkyrae, and Larray in the video?
POARCH: I wrote this song to remind everyone that nobody is perfect. The people I chose to be in the video are all unique and talented in such distinct ways. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and you can’t put us in a box or keep us in one. I’m so grateful they all agreed to be a part of this video, and I’m especially grateful to call each of these people my friends.
INTERVIEW: Do you dream?
POARCH: Yes a lot. My dreams are very fucked up and random.
INTERVIEW: What are you most proud of?
POARCH: Where I came from.
INTERVIEW: Is there anything you regret not doing?
POARCH: I missed out on a lot of things in life while growing up but there’s nothing that I regret not doing because I didn’t really have a choice.
INTERVIEW: What are your beauty secrets?
POARCH: Napping. Lots of napping.
INTERVIEW: What’s your favorite movie?
POARCH: I love Lord of the Rings. All of those movies.
INTERVIEW: When do you get nervous?
POARCH: When I talk to people, when people look at me, when I have to interact with people. I don’t know…people.
INTERVIEW: Who’s your dream date?
POARCH: Aquaman. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jason Momoa or someone in an off-brand comic book costume of Aquaman. If he’s dressed as Aquaman, he can get it.
INTERVIEW: Where do you find your inspiration?
POARCH: I get most of my inspiration from anime and video games. There are two different Bellas. There’s Kawaii Bella and Baddie Bella. Kawaii Bella is really colorful with her style, has the rosy red cheeks, and is really playful with clothes, hair, and everything. Baddie Bella is all black everything. She loves to show off her tattoos, and her hair might be in pigtails, buns, ponytails, or just down. The biggest inspiration for me is the vocaloid Hatsune Miku. I’ve been listening to her songs since I was a kid and I just love everything about her. She’s the reason I first wanted to go to Japan and first started getting into different kinds of anime.
INTERVIEW: Do you have a TV?
POARCH: Does a projector count?
INTERVIEW: What’s the craziest thing a fan has sent you?
POARCH: My fans from the Philippines once sent me a huge box full of posters, handwritten notes, and exclusive toys that you could only get at the Jollibee in the Phillippines. I love them so much.
INTERVIEW: Do you keep a diary?
POARCH: No, but I have a manifestation book.
INTERVIEW: Do you get eight hours a night?
POARCH: Normally about 10 to 11 hours total. Naps included.
INTERVIEW: Do you think that people should live in outer space?
POARCH: We already fucked up Earth. Why would we want to fuck up space, too?
INTERVIEW: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
INTERVIEW: How much time do you spend on the phone every day?
POARCH: I’d say half the day. I’m on my phone and TikTok most of the time
INTERVIEW: What is next for you?
POARCH: I want to make more music, I want to go on tour, and I can’t wait to go back to the Philippines soon. This is just the beginning.