What Liza Koshy Was Like Before The Fame

Liza Koshy's fanbase was once primarily made up of Generation Zers, but these days, the internet star has become popular among many generations. With her quirky, comedic videos, Koshy has won over the hearts of millions of fans and, in fact, was the fastest YouTube personality to reach 10 million subscribers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Over time, Koshy's career has transformed into something bigger than having a YouTube platform. Fans can find her hosting red carpets, starring in major films, and from 2018 to 2019, you could catch her as the face of Nickelodeon's game show revival Double Dare. Perhaps most significantly, Koshy's success landed her a spot on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and well under 30, at that.

All of this combined with her headline-making relationship and subsequent heartbreaking breakup with fellow YouTuber David Dobrik catapulted her into the spotlight at lightning speed. But make no mistake: Nothing was handed to Koshy on a silver platter. The vlogger came from humble beginnings well before finding fame — she was just your average teenager. From her earliest family roots to her progression towards the top of the digital media world, this is what Koshy's life was like before the fame.

Liza Koshy hails from a biracial family in Houston, Texas

Before she was hitting red carpets in Los Angeles and interviewing A-list celebrities for Vogue, Liza Koshy was just a normal girl from Texas. The star originally hails from Houston and, according to The National, was born to an Indian father and a German mother.

Coming from a biracial family actually helped Koshy coin her catchphrase. She frequently calls herself "just a little brown girl with big dreams," and if you take a look at her Instagram page, it's in her bio even as of this writing. Clearly, Koshy hasn't forgotten her roots. According to NarcityKoshy attended Lamar High, her local public school, and the star admitted to The National that her social media career actually grew out of boredom during her high school years. Still, Koshy still has plenty of Houston pride. She frequently name-drops her home city in her YouTube videos and has consistently shared how grateful she is to share a hometown with Beyoncé

Liza Koshy grew up with strict parents

Liza Koshy's parents kept tight reins on their daughter when she was growing up, according to the star. When chatting with Access in July 2018, Koshy explained how strict her parents really were, particularly her father. According to Koshy, her parents always had her put school before all else and "made [her] academically focused." Koshy continued, saying, "[My father] was forcing me to study for SATs at one point and actually took my phone away, and stopped me from doing my career for a second." Who knew! "But I had an iPad so I continued," she added with a laugh.

Seeing as Koshy is a full-time content creator, it appears her parents have softened on the academic side of things. However, that wasn't the only thing they were strict about. Koshy insinuated that tattoos were a no-go in her household, which she joked about in her 2017 video "Why I Tattooed My Entire Body." In the clip, the YouTuber was pictured with fake tattoos all over her body. "Sorry mom. My parents are going to disown me," she joked when posting the video.

Liza Koshy is the baby of her family

Liza Koshy may not talk about her family too much, but every once in a while, she'll drop a nugget of information. In 2018, she chatted with Wired, and completed an interview challenge dubbed "Liza Koshy Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions." One of those questions was "Does Liza Koshy have siblings?" and she spilled some major tea, revealing she's actually the youngest of three children.

"I do! My mom made three brown girls and she's a white woman herself, it's pretty exciting. She made me, my sister Olivia, and my other sister Rahel, which is a very Indian name," she shared. True to form, she dropped a joke about her older siblings. "I am the youngest, so my parents kept trying until they had the best and just had to stop." That being said, don't think you'll catch a glimpse of Olivia and Rahel on Koshy's social media pages too often; she limits family appearances on Instagram. 

Liza Koshy has always been private about her personal life

Some things never change, and Liza Koshy's appreciation of her privacy is one of them. Of course, her super sleuth fans can figure out certain details, but for the most part, Koshy keeps the finer details to herself, as she told The Daily Cougar in 2014. "I really don't put my family out there too much mainly because it is an invasion of their privacy," she shared. "My followers do not necessarily need to know what part of town I live in or that I have two older sisters."

Another downside of receiving a lot of online attention? The cringe-worthy messages Koshy receives from men at times. She told The Daily Cougar how things can easily escalate online. "Sometimes I get creepy comments on Vine from guys. It can go from a compliment like 'Hey you're pretty' to something uncomfortable quickly," she admitted in the interview.

Liza Koshy's parents were far from famous

Liza Koshy wasn't born into stardom. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Koshy came from a modest family, with her parents working completely normal jobs. According to Narcity, Koshy's father Jose was a "petroleum executive" while she was growing up and her European mother Jean Carol was a yoga instructor. According to Koshy, her parents have been married for over three decades. Their loving relationship is one that Koshy is always happy to celebrate, and while she keeps family life private most of the time, she couldn't help posting about her parents in December 2014. "Why are my parents so adorable? *screams* GOALS," she captioned a sweet photo of them.

With a super famous daughter, Koshy's parents definitely get the chance to live it up these days. When Liza went to the 2017 Super Bowl, she had her father at her side, J-14 reported. Meanwhile, she asked her mom to be her date to the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.

Liza Koshy danced on the drill team in high school

That's right, even before blessing the world with her dance moves on YouTube, Liza Koshy had professional dance training. If you take a scroll through her Instagram, Koshy's earliest posts show her competing with her dance team and training with her friends.

Koshy continued to dance with the drill team throughout high school, Narcity reported. In fact, she wound up being the team captain, according to the popular YouTube series Draw Their Life. Koshy was the subject of one of the video segments, and the clip explained that "while Liza was in high school, she was captain of her dance team. She loved to dance. Also, she is an amazing dancer."

Koshy's earliest dance training proved to be the ultimate example of foreshadowing. In 2019, she landed a role in the Alicia Keys-produced dance comedy Work It, which follows the story of a girl who auditions for her school's dance team.

Liza Koshy received the ultimate promposal

Liza Koshy went all out for her high school senior prom and she even paid tribute to her South Asian roots by donning a stunning saree-style dress to the dance. Koshy shared a number of photos featuring the dress to her Instagram account — and she looked beyond gorgeous. The dark two-piece ensemble featured detailed embroidery across the shoulder and waistline.

Judging by the photos, Koshy had a blast at her school dance, but she didn't attend solo. Koshy shared a photo with her date for all to see, as well as the sweet promposal he used to ask her to the event. Her date taped a sign across a stretch of highway, which read: "Liza prom?" Koshy was, of course, touched by the gesture. Not only did she say yes, but she dished about the promposal moment on Twitter. "Baby just asked me to prom," she gushed.

Liza Koshy admits she wasn't the "smart kid" in high school

Liza Koshy's parents may have been strict when it came to education, but Koshy is the first to admit she was far from a nerd. In a March 2020 content segment with MTV, Koshy role-played all the "characters you might meet in high school". But when it came time to play the smart kid, she let out a burst of laughter. "I don't know how to be the smart kid, I wasn't the smart kid in high school," she exclaimed.

As it turns out, Koshy didn't belong to one clique in particular. Like she said in her 2016 YouTube video "Mixed Kid Problems: Growing Up Multicultural," she embraced a vast array of different crowds in school. "I loved hanging out with people of different ethnicities," she shared in the video, though she added it was "confusing" when it came time to mark down her own race on ethnicity surveys.

Liza Koshy has been outspoken about cyberbullying since day one

Even while she was still in high school, Liza Koshy used her comedic skills for a good cause. In March 2014, Koshy posted a video to her Instagram taken during her school lunch period. In the clip, she carried out a skit in an effort to bring awareness to bullying. The skit appeared to be a hit with her classmates, who looked on and recorded her. In sharing the video, Koshy also shared an important message, writing, "Bullying and cyberbullying have become a huge problem. I believe every person has been a victim of bullying in one way or another."

Koshy loves to pay it forward when she can, and her days of demanding change obviously started when she was younger. "Help us put an end to bullying and violence," she petitioned her classmates in the Instagram post. "I need everyone to post an anti-bullying instagram post or Vine...," she strongly urged. 

Liza Koshy didn't attend college for very long

Liza Koshy reached massive career success, but college didn't have much to do with it. In the 2018 segment "Liza Koshy Answers the Web's Most Searched Questions" with Wired, she was asked whether she went to college. The YouTuber gave a very honest answer to the question. "I went to school for one year," she said. "I majored in nothing — because I went for one year. It was amazing, I don't remember it," she joked. Koshy being a normal college student not all that long ago may sound hard to believe, but a quick scroll through her Instagram page shows a plethora of throwback photos taken at her university.

According to Narcity, the comedian attended the University of Houston in Texas and primarily focused her studies on business marketing. By 2015, though, she dropped out, the publication reported. Why the sudden change of heart regarding her higher education? According to the publication, that was the year Koshy moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. Clearly, the bold move paid off! According to Money Inc., Koshy was worth $4.4 million by 2018.

Liza Koshy viewed Vine as a huge "group chat" with her friends

If Liza Koshy's quick rise to fame surprises you, well, you're not the only one. Even Koshy herself didn't plan on becoming an internet mega-star. During the Dubai-based event ON.DXB, the star detailed how what began as a fun hobby became a full-blown career. "Vine came out then I had a career all of a sudden out of nowhere," she told the audience at the 2019 event, according to Arab News. "Vine was a giant group chat for me and my friends, so I only had my friends following me. I was creating videos for them," she explained.

According to Koshy, her group started with just a handful of friends and she never expected it to take off the way it did. "I had a really tiny circle with three friends and now it's grown," she admitted. Koshy continues to have her fair share of moments in which she can't believe how her life had turned out. "I pinch myself every moment because I'm living a dream that I didn't even think of dreaming before," Koshy told the audience in late 2019.

Liza Koshy's first Vine videos were done completely Guerilla-style

Not only did Liza Koshy have humble beginnings, but her vlogging career did too. Koshy's earliest videos were on the now-defunct social media network Vine and they were all self-shot. According to her 2018 interview with Forbes, she used nothing but her cell phone to launch her media career. "It was just me, with my phone, in my car, dancing along, talking or making a really bad joke," she recalled.

Koshy eventually made the leap over to YouTube, but acknowledges she had to make do with what she had, creating videos completely Guerilla-style. When speaking in late 2019 to an audience at ON.DXB in Dubai (via Arab News), Koshy explained how she managed to record her videos pre-fame. "I was just making videos in my car, making videos in my bathroom, making videos in my living room; making my home essentially a set," said the vlogger, who, as of this writing, boasts 17.8 million subscribers on YouTube.

It took time for Liza Koshy's parents to support her entertainment career

As with any child with strict parents, Liza Koshy's interest in an entertainment career didn't instantly get the stamp of approval from mom and dad. Koshy spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet in 2020 and reflected on her parents' early disapproval and how it helped her connect to one child she mentored during a trip to Vietnam.

"Her parents weren't always supportive of it which is how we related," Koshy recalled. "My parents weren't actually supportive of me when I first started out being a creator. So it was really cool to tell her hey, you're going to be alright."

According to the YouTube star, it was due to her parents' emphasis on school that they were weary of her YouTube career. "My parents are really strict about me keeping my priorities straight and staying focused on school," she told The Daily Cougar in 2014. However, she admitted they ultimately came around and are "proud" of their daughter. The star told Access, "They fully support it and they send me ideas every week that I don't use because they're pretty bad."

Tyler Perry gave Liza Koshy her first big break

Not everyone can cross over from YouTube stardom to bonafide Hollywood celebrity status, but Liza Koshy made the leap successfully. According to The Hollywood Reporter, producer Tyler Perry caught wind of Koshy's YouTube videos, and offered her a big break: a role in the film Boo! A Madea Halloween.

As for Koshy, she was elated by her first movie role. She gushed about the opportunity to break into the cinema world in an interview with LAEXTV. "There are so many cast members that are also influencers like myself online, and it's absolutely amazing to see that transition from digital media and all these social media platforms onto TV and film," she told the site. The star-studded film also featured social media stars such as Lexy Panterra and Bella Thorne.

Since then, Koshy added a slew of roles under her belt, including 2016's FML, but her first role was arguably the most exciting. Koshy could hardly contain her excitement about working with Perry on her first-ever role. "My initial reactions after reading the script was just crazy. It was just absolutely nuts how hilarious his writing is," she told LAEXTV.