Lele Pons on Her Mental Health Struggles and New YouTube Docuseries
Lele Pons's life is not all fun and games, despite what her cheerful social media presence may suggest. "I don't have a perfect life," she says. "Sometimes because of social media you show that you do." The 23-year-old Venezuelan American YouTuber and influencer — who has over 40 million followers on Instagram — opens up about her struggle with mental health in her new YouTube docuseries, The Secret Life of Lele Pons. There she talks candidly about her struggles with Tourette's syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and ADHD.
Pons talked to People en Español about why she decided to share her experiences. She says she wants her followers not to see her as perfect, but to realize that she is human and faces obstacles like many of them. "I wanted to do something to educate," she says about the series, in which doctors, her parents, and others close to Lele talk about how they have been able to help the star. "I want to let my fans and my world know that you don't have to be ashamed."
In the docuseries, her family members also share insight into how these conditions affect Lele's daily life. "I couldn't control or manage my OCD, and my coworkers and my team began to notice, and in the end I had to tell them what I had and they understood," she says. Lele then committed to seeing a therapist and went to a ranch, where she got treatment without distractions for a month. "I was with many other patients that had the same thing I have and that motivated me. It made me feel great because it made me see that I wasn't alone, that there are a lot of people like me."
In the series, she also talks about how haters' comments impact her emotionally. "People are making hating me cool. Sometimes I log on and I just want to end it," she admits. Lele — who made her signing debut in 2018 with her single "Celoso" — says she is taking a short break from her musical career so she can devote herself to raising mental health awareness with the series, and will return to the stage once the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Lele hopes young people are inspired by her life story and see that they can be successful even if they have a mental health condition. "You can achieve anything you want," she says. "If I could do it, you can, too."