The viral photo marks the first time Jenna Marbles, whose real name is Jenna Mourey, has been pictured since leaving YouTube – and her 20m subscribers – in 2020. Marbles stepped away from the video sharing platform after apologising for doing an impression of rapper Nicki Minaj while wearing blackface in a 2011 video.
Since then, Marbles has remained offline and deactivated both her Instagram and Twitter accounts, leading fans to question whether they will ever see her again. That is until Tuesday, when a fan ran into Marbles and her YouTuber fiancé Julien Solomita at a mall.
The 35-year-old entertainer was spotted carrying a Foot Locker shopping bag, with her short bleach blonde hair in a half-updo and sporting her signature 90s choker necklace. Marbles was also wearing a baggy gray T-shirt and black leggings, with a face mask covering half of her face.
The smiling fan posted the image to Twitter with the caption: “me and jenna and julien slaying”. The photo instantly went viral, with more than 3,800 retweets and 92,000 likes. Fans professed their love for Marbles in the replies, while others declared how much they missed the former YouTuber.
“BREAKING NEWS THAT WILL MOST DEFINITELY CHANGE YOUR LIFE: Jenna Marbles seen for the first time in a long time,” tweeted YouTuber Def Noodles.
“I don’t miss anyone in this world like I miss Jenna marbles,” said one fan.
“im not saying she has to by any means, but if jenna marbles were to ever come back online, nature would heal and we would have world peace,” another person wrote.
“Am I crying over a picture of Jenna marbles because it’s recent and I miss her? Yes, yes I am,” said someone else.
As the photo of Jenna Marbles gained traction online, many fans questioned whether the fan had been given permission from Marbles to make the image public. But a social media comment attributed to her fiancé Solomita clarified that Marbles consented to the photo being shared online.
“Hey y’all. Wanted to say that whenever Jenna or I consent to taking a picture (basically any time someone asks) we are saying yes to them posting it,” he explained. “I appreciate y’all looking out for her and her privacy though”.
Jenna Marbles began posting comedy videos on YouTube in 2010. She quickly gained a loyal fanbase with her edgy content and self-deprecating humour, making her one of the most subscribed to channels throughout the mid-2010s.
In June 2020, Marbles shared a video to her YouTube channel titled “A Message” in which she apologised for her past racially insensitive behaviour, including her impression of Nicki Minaj and a rap song that featured racist lyrics towards Asian people.
“It was not my intention to do blackface…but it doesn’t matter because all that matters is that people were offended and it hurt them and for that I am so unbelievably sorry,” she said in the video.
“This isn’t OK and it hasn’t existed on the internet for a long time because it’s not OK. I haven’t done anything remotely like that because I heard people say, ‘This is blackface and I don’t like that.’”
She continued: “I do want to tell you how unbelievably sorry I am if I ever offended you by posting this video or by doing this impression, and that that was never my intention. It’s not okay. It’s shameful. It’s awful. I wish it wasn’t part of my past.”
Marbles said in the video that she would be leaving YouTube, explaining: “For now, I just can’t exist on this channel…I think I’m just going to move on from this channel for now.”
“I don’t know how long it’s going to be. I just want to make sure the things I’m putting in the world aren’t hurting anyone… so I need to be done with this channel, for now or for forever.”