The Stunning Transformation Of Colleen Ballinger

When Colleen Ballinger first introduced YouTube audiences to her overconfident, self-absorbed singing character, Miranda Sings, in 2008, she had no idea the character would blossom into a full-time career enveloped by book deals, comedy tours, a Netflix series, major brand endorsements, and more. The classically trained singer and self-proclaimed theater geek has built an online empire over the course of 10 years, and has garnered more than 20 million subscribers between all three of her YouTube channels — Colleen Ballinger, Colleen Vlogs, and Miranda Sings — combined.

On her unorthodox career path, Ballinger told Vulture in a 2014 interview, "...I didn't put videos online with the intention of, 'This is gonna be my career. I'm gonna be a YouTuber.'... Now it's insane. And I don't need to ask anyone's permission... I do it all on my own." She may never have intended to become the YouTube megastar she is today, but there's no denying Ballinger's monumental success. With no signs of slowing down anytime soon, Ballinger is a bonafide lady boss. Interested to see how far she has come? This is the stunning transformation of Colleen Ballinger.

She got her love for performing from her grandparents

Musical theater and performing are a huge part of Colleen Ballinger's life. The YouTuber probably wouldn't have grown so fond of the arts if it wasn't for her late grandfather, who introduced her to — and encouraged her love for — musical theater. Sadly, her grandfather passed away on November 26, 2011; however, she continues to be inspired by him everyday. The YouTube star shared this emotional Tweet of her grandpa supporting her at her first-ever live performance, and even sang this touching tribute for him in a November 2012 YouTube video.

Along with a very supportive grandfather, Ballinger's grandmother also encouraged she and her siblings to perform in her living room as kids every year for Christmas. She shared an Instagram photo of one of their recitals with the caption, "Every year growing up all the kids in the family would put on a Christmas recital in my grandmothers living room. Full out productions with costumes and props and sets." The performances were just a warm up for the bigger stage she was destined to sell out later in life.

Bullies made young Colleen Ballinger's life a living hell

While Ballinger's over-the-top singing persona made her the megastar she is today, she struggled a lot with her confidence after suffering years of bullying while growing up. She opened up about being bullied in this April 2018 YouTube video, where she describes her first bullying experience at age 11 while aspiring to be a model: "I remember there was a woman doing my hair and makeup and the whole time she's doing my makeup she made fun of my unibrow, she made fun of my frizzy hair, she made fun of my wiry body, she made fun of my clothes... I was 11."

Ballinger went on to explain how the bullying worsened as she grew older and entered high school, where she was physically assaulted, tormented, and shunned by her peers for her looks. Now, the internet star experiences the most hate she has ever experienced in the form of internet trolls; however, she doesn't let the bullying get to her as much as she did when she was younger, saying, "I'm now am at a place where I know how to deal with it and be okay."

Before she was Miranda, Colleen Ballinger used to put on performances for her family

As a child Colleen Ballinger was extremely close with her family. Daughter of dad Tim and mom Gwen, Ballinger was one of three children, which included her siblings Trent, Christopher, and Rachel. Growing up, her family got to see her future as a performer first hand — and, as Ballinger describes in this YouTube video, no one knows her talents better than older brother Trent, who would put on shows with Ballinger for their family on the patio of their childhood home, singing songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and playing the piano. 

Ballinger describes her relationship with Trent in that same YouTube video, saying, "We were best, best friends. We did everything together. We played in the backyard together. We made up games. We sang songs. We laughed all day. We played all day. And we had such an awesome, tight bond." Looking at footage of Ballinger singing and dancing as a kid, it's no surprise she would grow up to become the entertainer she is today.

She used to be a Disney star

Before she was Miranda, Ballinger had to make that money, honey. She had just graduated college when she booked a show called Seussical The Musical. It was during this show where she was noticed by casting directors at Disneyland, who gave her an opportunity to audition for High School Musical at the park — and she got the role! She explains in this August 2016 YouTube video, "This was a dream come true for me. I love Disneyland. I'm obsessed with anything Disney... so I was just stoked they even wanted me to audition."

Eventually, Ballinger would gain internet fame with her Miranda Sings character, and fans in the Disneyland audience began noticing her. Ballinger would respond to recognition by acting like Miranda on stage, and this didn't sit well with Disneyland.

Ballinger soon received a call from the head casting director explaining that her voice wasn't up-to-par anymore, and her role in the show was reduced. Ballinger was very sad about losing the job, because she truly loved it; however, she harbors no hard feelings toward Disney. Thankfully, her Miranda character took off and she no longer needed the Disney gig!

Miranda Sings and a star is born

In 2009, Colleen Ballinger uploaded a YouTube video to her channel called "Free Voice Lesson." It went viral, and the world was introduced to the pretentious tone-deaf singer, Miranda. Ballinger explained the genesis to the character in a January 2018 episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan, stating she was just imitating the mean girls in college to make her friends laugh. The singer, who was terrified when her video first went viral, never thought anyone but friends and family would see her videos and was shocked when it became an online sensation.

In 2010, Ballinger recalled life before Miranda to Huffington Post, saying, "I had begun by posting some videos of my own performances, and then I started seeing these links from girls who would sit in their bedroom and sing into the camera... I thought it was so stupid, because I didn't think anybody got famous off of YouTube." Thankfully, those thoughts didn't keep Ballinger from continuing to create Miranda videos, which have helped catapult her into the successful career she has today.

She experienced heartache in front of millions of people

Early on in her career, Colleen Ballinger met fellow YouTube personality and singer Josh Evans (aka JoshuaDTV), after he reached out to her on Facebook. A relationship quickly blossomed between the pair and in January 2015, millions of online viewers got to watch as Evans proposed to Ballinger — because he documented it in a YouTube video. The video garnered over 2 million views, and on July 2, 2015, the couple married — and also shared their wedding on YouTube.

Sadly, the very public relationship would meet a very public end, when the pair announced they were divorcing a little over a year later. Ballinger released a (now deleted) emotional video announcing her divorce from Evans, explaining (via People), "We've shown you everything because we wanted to, and I don't regret any of that, but, you know, we chose to not share with you the hard parts of our relationship. And there were a lot of hard parts of our relationship."

While the experience was a traumatic one for Ballinger, she overcame the loss of the relationship and went on to have wonderful success, both personally and professionally.

She fulfilled a childhood dream and became a published author

When Colleen Ballinger was in kindergarten, she aspired to be a writer and created her own books. Her one-time childhood dream came to fruition in July 2015, when Ballinger officially published her first book, Selp Helf. The book was co-written with her brother Christopher, and was a parody self-help book, filled with personality quizzes and step-by-step how-tos from Miranda. Soon, the book would land on the New York Times bestseller list, where it remained for 11 weeks.

Her follow-up book, My Diarrhe, which was Miranda's "leaked diary," released on July 10, 2018. Ballinger announced the book with a hilarious video, done in character as Miranda. Ballinger also warned potential readers on book publisher Simon and Schuster's website, "It has every single secret about my life in it. My first kiss, my first period, stories about secret family members, secret photos of other celebrities, etc... so don't read it!"

Miranda is a better live performer than you

Colleen Ballinger is in love with performing live on stage. The internet star began taking her Miranda character across the world on-tour, after receiving a call from Jim Caruso, who asked her to perform at his Bird Land Cast Club. Her first live performance was a success, and Ballinger continued taking Miranda to the stage across New York City, including a stint performing with the Broadway cast of Mama Mia!

Ballinger explained in this October 2018 YouTube video, "I was a musical theater kid. I loved theater. I did theater in high school, I used to go see theater with my grandpa when I was a little girl. I always knew I wanted to be on stage. Performing was my favorite thing in the entire world."

The entertainer performed on stage as Miranda for 10 years, with her time on stage nearing its end in 2018 — or so she thought. After announcing she would need to stop touring, Ballinger announced she would be heading out on another (much shorter) tour with her new baby in 2019.  

Haters made her famous

In January 2016, Netflix ordered "Haters Back Off," an eight-episode series, created by Colleen Ballinger and her brother Christopher Ballinger, based on the fictional life of Miranda Sings. In an October 2016 interview with The Verge, Ballinger described creating the show with her brother, "Six or seven years ago, we started developing the idea of Miranda's world. We were actually writing a movie, but then we quickly realized we had so much more story to tell that we wanted to make it into a TV show. ...We started pitching it to different networks and Netflix was the best partner for us." 

Ballinger used the series to show audiences a more in-depth, "real" side to her Miranda Sings character. The show ran for two seasons before sadly being cancelled in December 2017. Ballinger expressed her devastation over the situation in this Tweet writing, "I put my entire heart and soul into this show, and finding out this news has left me heartbroken. I desperately wish I could continue telling the story of Haters Back Off, but I'm extremely grateful for the experience and to all of you for making it happen."

First comes a hit Netflix series... then comes love

While her Netflix series came to an abrupt end in 2017, Ballinger gained something from the show more meaningful than ratings and critical acclaim: true love. Ballinger began secretly dating her Haters Back Off co-star Erik Stocklin, and in June 2018, the pair got engaged

While the couple remained relatively private throughout the course of their relationship, Ballinger gushed about her love to People, explaining, "Erik's so wonderful...I've never been treated so amazing. He treats me like a princess. ...He is my biggest cheerleader and just the best partner in the world. I feel lucky." The pair shared adorable candid moments of each other on social media, and created fun videos together — including this August 2018 YouTube video addressing rumors about their relationship. 

It was evident the duo were in love, and in it for the long haul. And to the surprise of fans, Ballinger announced in a December 2018 YouTube video that the couple had actually already gotten married. In the 12-minute video, Ballinger stated, "This year I got pregnant and engaged and married all in the same year — yeah, we got married. ...Oops, forgot to tell you that one."

...then comes Flynn in the baby carriage!

2018 was an insane year filled with major life changes for Colleen Ballinger. Along with getting married to the love of her life, Ballinger got pregnant and had a baby boy! In a December 2018 YouTube video recapping the year, Ballinger explained she and her husband Erik knew very early on they wanted children and began trying for a baby, thinking it would take time. Surprisingly, Ballinger conceived a child very quickly.The singer shared the news with family and friends — and viewers — in a June 2018 YouTube video

While Ballinger was over-the-moon to be pregnant, she documented her very difficult journey — filled with pelvic pain and fainting spells — over the course of nine months. On December 10, 2018, Ballinger's water unexpectedly broke, and she went into labor. In typical YouTuber fashion, Ballinger vlogged about her labor and delivery in this December 2018 YouTube video and alerted fans with this Tweet. Ballinger and husband Erik Stocklin welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Flynn.

Pregnancy didn't stop her from putting on a cheerleading uniform and dancing with Ariana Grande

During Colleen Ballinger's rise to fame, the YouTube star befriended two of the most influential individuals within the entertainment industry — Ariana Grande and her brother, Frankie Grande. Although she doesn't spend as much time with them as she did in the past, Ballinger still regards the Grandes as family, as she explained in this March 2017 YouTube video, "I love the Grandes so much. ...The Grandes were the first people to ever really believe in me as a performer, as a comedian. They took me in as a stranger... really helped me with my career. "

So, it's no surprise Ariana Grande would recruit a very-pregnant Ballinger to be a part of her hotly anticipated music video for her single "Thank U, Next," which dropped on November 30, 2018. In the video, Ballinger helps recreate moments from the teen comedy film Bring It On. Everyone was talking about the video — including Miranda Sings, who shared her hilarious reaction on YouTube.

She's not a regular mom. She's a cool mom.

Colleen Ballinger was extremely transparent about her struggles throughout the course of her pregnancy, so it's no surprise she would open up to fans about her parenting trials and tribulations as well. In January 2019, Ballinger opened up about her struggles caring for a new child, showing the reality of motherhood with this Tweet depicting a stained shirt and unwashed dishes. The photo sparked hate from fans, who were angry at Ballinger for showing the messy side of parenting.

Ballinger responded to criticism in this January 2019 YouTube video explaining, "I was just trying to send a message out to moms out there who are struggling to take a shower, or struggling to... put on a clean shirt. Sometimes you don't have time to do that stuff, and that's OK, and you're still an awesome mom." After that, Ballinger made the decision to be more selective about what parenting things she shares online, explaining in the same video, "I haven't really talked about it a lot online because... the mom community, the parenting community... I have found, is not very nice."

Her body changed after pregnancy... and she's okay with that

While most moms bounce back from pregnancy — or at least present it that way on social media — Colleen Ballinger had a much different experience. The YouTube star opened up in a February 2019 YouTube video about how pregnancy affected her mental state, and how her body changed significantly. The online personality, who was 117 pounds pre-pregnancy, gained almost 70 pounds over the course of nine months. Ballinger struggled with her appearance, which came as a shock to the internet star, who always thought of herself as very "body-positive."

She explained, "...once I started gaining a bunch of weight, I started to hate the way I looked. ...I felt so disgusted with myself that I couldn't accept a bigger-size body on myself. I couldn't accept seeing the weight gain. ...It made me sad that I was upset about gaining weight."

Looking back, Ballinger, considered herself underweight before getting pregnant, though she shockingly revealed that she didn't feel that way at the time — she actually thought she should lose weight. After giving birth, she had a shift in perspective, and realized that she was going to have some days where she was okay with her post-pregnancy body, and some days where she struggled — and that was fine. She exclaimed, "This is my body now, and I'm going to be proud of it."