Nessa Barrett: 11 Facts About The Singer And TikTok Star

The following article mentions suicide, eating disorders, drug overdose, and mental health issues.

TikTok has launched a lot of careers in recent years, but it's safe to say that Nessa Barrett is one of the most talented young stars to come out of the social media platform. The New Jersey native, whose full name is Janesa Jaida Barrett, rose to fame at just 17 after her dancing and lip-syncing videos went viral on the app in 2019. She moved to Los Angeles soon after, where she began making YouTube videos with other prominent social media personalities, including those in the infamous Sway House. Now, with 19.8 million followers on TikTok, 6.8 million on Instagram, and 1.2 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, it's clear that Barrett found major success online.

Yet, Barrett didn't just want to lip-sync to other people's music, she had always dreamed of singing her own songs instead. She made that dream a reality in recent years, releasing and touring an album and two EPs since 2021. The transition from influencer to serious musician hasn't been easy, but Barrett understands that her social media presence allowed her to share her music. "The platform that I was able to create on TikTok and Instagram ... really led the way for that, and I'm so grateful," she told ET.

Although fans have gotten to see a lot of Barrett's life through her social media, there's still so much about her that they may not be aware of. So let's break down some little-known facts about the singer and TikTok star.

Nessa Barrett had a hard time growing up

It seems that Nessa Barrett is living the life that most people would dream of, having found fame and fortune from using TikTok as a teen. However, it's worth knowing that the "die first" singer didn't have the happiest childhood before that happened. That's because growing up, Barrett said she felt like an outcast, not only as one of the only Hispanic kids in her town, but as one of the few who lived in an apartment with a single mother too. Her family had financial problems, which made things extra difficult. On top of that, she told The Line of Best Fit, "I was the kid who was bullied throughout school."

Barrett did find her place by playing soccer, but she eventually had to give that up after she suffered multiple concussions. Between that and her ADHD and dyslexia, she really struggled with her schoolwork. "I felt so trapped ... I was in high school, struggling and crying every day because I had no idea how I was gonna make it out," she said.

After finding success on TikTok, Barrett decided to leave home to Los Angeles at age 17, to seemingly escape her unhappy life in New Jersey. Yet, that of course didn't solve all of her problems, because she then experienced the dark side of Hollywood at a young age. She told Nylon, "I saw a lot of people lose themselves to a lot of crazy stuff."

Nessa Barrett's TikTok fame fell into her lap

It probably will come as a surprise that Nessa Barrett didn't actually set out to be famous on social media, but TikTok success just fell into her lap. "I never really went into social media wanting to be a social media influencer," she admitted to Variety, adding, "I never wanted it to be my job." In fact, it was Barrett's younger sister who suggested that she make a TikTok in the first place, so she presumably never expected her first video to go viral either.

Barrett then continued to make TikToks seemingly out of sheer boredom, and because they kept ending up on the "For You" page, her classmates became aware of her success. Yet Barrett didn't necessarily want that platform, especially since those kids went from hyping her online fame up to bullying her for it. She explained on the "Zach Sang Show," "As soon as I got over that like, 100K, like, followers mark, everyone at school just started, like, hating me."

Nevertheless, Barrett was able to use her TikTok fame to move to L.A., where she made more online content. However, it did take her some time to adjust to being an influencer. She told The Honey Pop, "At first, I definitely tried hard to fit in and be the person everyone wanted me to be." That changed though, once Barrett started using TikTok to share her music, since she realized that it was better to just be herself.

Music has always been an outlet for Nessa Barrett

Nessa Barrett obviously likes to sing, but it's much more than that, since music has always been an outlet for her too. That's why most of the songs that Barrett writes are extremely personal, usually reflecting what she's really going through in life. It was something she's done since she was a kid, because her parents' home recording studio was her go-to happy place after school. "Since I could walk and talk, I was writing and singing," she recalled to The Honey Pop, adding, "Music saved my life in a lot of ways."

For Barrett, music still serves as therapy for her today, particularly when she's going through a difficult time. She even told Billboard, "When my emotional side is in control, I can be like, 'OK, this is when I should go to the studio,' because I know that is the only thing that's gonna help me." Barrett hopes that when her fans listen to those songs, it helps them with whatever they're dealing with as well.

It's obvious that making music isn't just a job for Barrett, which is seemingly why she only wants to put out what feels authentic to her rather than what people expect a TikTok star to release. She dished to Nylon, "I've struggled a lot when it comes to 'Do I want to make music that I want to make, or do I want to make music that other people want me to make?'"

The TikToker has struggled with her mental health

Nessa Barrett has struggled with her mental health for as long as she can remember. She's been open about it in recent years though, in order to help others. The "dying on the inside" singer explained to ET, "I've been in therapy for anxiety since I was, like, six. And then when I was about 14, I was misdiagnosed with depression." While it appears her parents got her help, Barrett pointed out that they were also part of a church community that dismissed her emotional issues as something that could be prayed over.

Things got much worse when Barrett was 14, as she said the multiple concussions she suffered by then had intensified her mental health issues, making her severely depressed. That's when Barrett first attempted suicide, by overdosing on pills that she was given for pain. She recalled on "Call Her Daddy," "When it got worse because of my concussions I felt like I was insane and that there was no getting better and I was done."

Fortunately, Barrett was taken to the hospital in time to get treatment, and she later spent time in a psychiatric facility. However, it took years of misdiagnoses before Barrett was correctly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at age 18. She told Kerrang, "Finally knowing the pinpoint of what was wrong with me and getting that clarity, that was the moment where I was like, 'Okay, I want to help people.'"

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat

Nessa Barrett has severe body image issues

Nessa Barrett has definitely been through a lot, because she's also grappled with severe body image issues and eating disorders. Barrett first opened about her anorexia in Nylon, where she admitted that she was embarrassed to share that she had an eating disorder, despite being so open with her other mental health issues. "Right now, I think my eating disorder is probably the worst it's ever been," she told the outlet in February 2022. Barrett had been dealing with anorexia since middle school, but it worsened when she became famous, because online trolls often criticize her appearance. Barrett even admitted to turning to "substance abuse" at one point, in order to control her appetite.

While Barrett went on to get treatment, she revealed in March 2023 that recovering from her eating disorder has been a challenge, especially when she's on tour. In a now-deleted Instagram post, she shared (via Yahoo!), "i have breakdowns before many shows bc i'm worried ab what to wear or how i'll look on stage." However, Barrett is now working to understand that she needs to be healthy to perform.

Sadly, weight isn't the only thing Barrett has had difficulties with, considering that she confessed that she's self-conscious about her 4'11” height too. That was probably made worse when rumors surfaced in 2020 that she shortened her spine. When asked about it, she told Hollywood Fix, "I just find it stupid because people know I'm insecure about my height."

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Nessa Barrett dated both Josh Richards and Jaden Hossler

Like most young TikTok stars, Nessa Barrett has been in high-profile relationships that were heavily documented online. Yet what makes hers more interesting is that her two most famous romances were connected. The "scare myself" singer first dated fellow TikTok personality Josh Richards beginning sometime around January 2020. They didn't last long though, because they made a YouTube video about their breakup six months later. They did, however, remain friends and then some, because they were seemingly in an on-again-off-again relationship up until March 2021. Barrett later admitted on "Call Her Daddy," "Because of social media we developed a very serious relationship ... It was too serious for how young we were."

Barrett jumped into her next romance a month later, when she started dating another TikToker/musician Jaden Hossler after he appeared on her song "la di die." The problem was that Hossler and Richards were close friends, and both were members of Sway House. While that caused tons of drama, Barrett was smitten with Hossler, so much so that they got engaged. She gushed to Seventeen, "I've never been this in love ... He's the one person that really understands me."

The two ended up calling it quits in April 2022 because their individual mental health issues and pressure on their relationship became too much for them. "It was an us against the world type thing," Barrett explained, adding, "and that got hard when we were both struggling personally."

Nessa Barrett has had tons of online drama

Nessa Barrett has certainly had more than her fair share of online drama ever since she became a popular TikTok personality. Unfortunately, she faced public backlash twice due to her romances. The first was because of fellow TikToker Lil' Huddy, who in 2020 admitted that he and Barrett kissed while he was in an on-again-off-again relationship with Charli D'Amelio. Although Barrett said the kiss meant nothing, she told Us Weekly, "The narrative that is being spun around me is one of hate and slut-shaming."

Barrett was involved in another love triangle, or at that time more of square, when as previously mentioned, she started dating Jaden Hossler right after breaking up with his good friend, Josh Richards. Yet Barrett had also been friends with Hossler's previous girlfriend, Mads Lewis, who then accused Barrett of stealing Hossler from her. Barrett revealed on "Call Her Daddy," "I just thought that I was doing something that would make me happy, but then I had the whole world ... telling me that I'm a backstabbing b**ch. And I'm a homie-hopper."

Barrett didn't just have scandals involving guys though, because before that, she came under fire for posting what many believed to be a disrespectful TikTok dancing to someone reciting the Quran. She somewhat defended herself by saying, per Distractify, "I didn't understand what he was saying, but I really thought it was the cutest thing." She then offered a weak apology by adding, "I think ... I'm sorry to anyone that practices that religion."

Nessa Barrett found faith after Cooper Noriega's death

Nessa Barrett was absolutely devastated when her best friend, TikToker Cooper Noriega, died from an accidental drug overdose in 2022. The two had been close for years and often appeared in each other's online content, even getting matching tattoos. They were also open about their mental health issues, which Barrett addressed when reacting to Noriega's death in a now-deleted Instagram post. Per Seventeen, she wrote, "For so long it was u and me just simply keeping each other alive ... Our bond was like no other."

Barrett was apparently so destroyed over losing Noriega that she attempted suicide again. Thankfully, her friends were there to help her, and she was able to once again seek treatment. While that had to be a difficult time, she said that experience led her to finding God. She explained on "Call Her Daddy," "I've ... developed so much faith and I become religious out of nowhere ... God must want me here for a reason."

Barrett also told Kerrang how Noriega had encouraged her to turn to God for help before his death. "I have voice memos of him praying for me, and just telling me, 'Nessa, God's just waiting for you to accept him.'" Barrett said that now that she has, life has been better for her. In 2023, Barrett decided to then dedicate her song, "club heaven," to Noriega, where she sings about him having fun in the afterlife with God.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The club heaven singer is into tattoos

Nessa Barrett appears to have a passion outside of music, and that's tattoos. The "hell is a teenage girl" singer has gotten several all over her body, which began with her first inking the words "HEAVY SOUL" on her ribcage. Most of Barrett's tattoos mean something special to her, like the one that says "little," which is a nickname her grandmother gave her. Yet, Barrett told Elite Daily that the majority of them do involve music. For instance, when it comes to her "pure" tattoo, she explained, "I remember growing up ... my voice would be described as pure."

Barrett has also gotten matching tattoos with other people, like her ex-boyfriend, Jaden Hossler, and her late best friend, Cooper Noriega. Even after Noriega's death, she used tattoos as a way to pay tribute to him. She revealed to Billboard that her favorite tattoo is the one she has of his name on her hand. "I've gotten like multiple for him. I think I got like six a week after [his death]. This one is very special to me," she said.

However, just because Barrett is covered in ink doesn't mean she's done getting tattoos. As a matter of fact, she has a whole Pinterest dedicated to what to ink next, and she wants an entire arm sleeve. She dished to Elite Daily, "I kind of want my sleeve tattoo to be based on all my struggles and the ones around it to explain how I overcame them."

Nessa Barrett has her own unique style

Nessa Barrett certainly has her own unique fashion and beauty style, which you could say is a mix of edgy and glam. From the looks of Barrett's Instagram, it seems that she likes to wear sexy outfits when she performs, and she doesn't shy away from fabulous dresses when it comes to music videos or fashion events either. Yet, Barrett is also known for her affinity for loose-fitting clothing, since she's often seen sporting big sweatshirts or T-shirts. Barrett even admitted to Women's Health, "I love anything baggy."

For Barrett, it appears that it's extra important that she feels good in whatever she does put on. That could be why she partnered with Kim Kardashian's shapewear brand, SKIMS. She explained to People, "I love wearing SKIMS shapewear, especially when I'm on tour — it gives me that added bit of confidence before I perform."

Barrett's beauty aesthetic is a bit more quirky. For example, she revealed to Vogue that she sometimes turns her pimples into fake freckles, and that she's into super thin eyebrows. "I love the '90s brow, and sometimes I will pluck way too much," she said. 

Nessa Barrett loves her cat

It's definitely worth mentioning just how much Nessa Barrett loves her white Persian cat. Those who have followed Barrett from the beginning know she used to frequently adopt dogs when dating her ex, Josh Richards. These days though, Barrett seems to be mainly focused on her cat, whom she's referred to as both "Boo" and "Kitty." Barrett told Kerrang that she had a connection with Kitty immediately upon meeting him through a breeder. Yet, she knew that she was meant to get him when she learned that he was born on the same day that her bestie, Cooper Noriega, died. "He just brings me a lot of comfort," she said. She continued, "He's so connected with me. He falls asleep on my chest. He wakes up in the morning. I swear he talks back to me."

Barrett has since posted several TikToks with her cat, whether she's cuddling him in bed or dancing around her house while holding him. She even posted a video of him lying on her chest, purring. In another TikTok, Barrett showed herself petting Boo, and admitted in the caption, "im obsessed w him."

Fans, however, seem to be just as obsessed with Barrett. Rising to fame just a few years ago, it appears that Barrett will certainly have a long career ahead in the spotlight.