"I'd rather die hot than live ugly," is the line that brought Instagram influencer Ava Louise to her viral fame. After appearing on Dr. Phil to talk about how social media was ruining her life, she became known for her controversial opinions
But while it appeared she went on the show to get "advice" on how to sort out her life, she actually only made the appearance with the intent to go viral. Ava sat down to talk with Distractify about her time on the show, and why she shouldn't be shamed for chasing clout.
Ava Louise said that she meant everything she said on her first appearance.
While it's common knowledge that most of the guests are fed lines on Dr. Phil, Ava admitted that her episode was purposefully edited to make her look bad, but she meant everything she said. She intended to portray this dramatic "caricature" of internet culture while on the show, but that doesn't mean that it's not rooted in her personality.
"I say I have a caricature and all that, but I'm pretty authentic with it. It's a part of me," the 22-year-old told Distractify exclusively. "I come up with everything I say that's gone viral."
Ava's decision to apply for the show came after she had reached 36,000 followers on Instagram, and she was looking for an opportunity to profit from it.
"I took inspiration from people like Tana Mongeau, from Trisha Paytas, from Paris Hilton, from Kim Kardashian," she said. "I went on Dr. Phil, knowing I was probably going to go viral because every joke I made and everything I said I pulled from internet culture... in order to get attention for it."
And it worked. Her first appearance on the show has racked up over 4.5 million views on Dr. Phil's YouTube page alone, and her Instagram following has grown to 141,000.
Her second appearance on 'Dr. Phil' was her "biggest regret."
After her first appearance on the show in Feb. 2019, Ava went to L.A. for another taping in September, where she was given a retribution storyline. But Ava says that she didn't want it — because she didn't really clean her act up between episodes.
"[Dr. Phil] wanted me to come on and say this person wasn't me and that I just wanted attention, but it is me because I did it — it's a huge part of who I am," she said. "I didn't know I was going to be typecast to be transformed. I was hungover on the show... I woke up still drunk... I'm not [a good girl]. I'm a messy b---h but I f--king love being a messy b---h."
Out of everything she's done for internet fame, Ava admits that, because of the false retribution story Dr. Phil gave her (which only brought in just under 600,000 views), that second episode was her "biggest regret."
Ava doesn't understand why she's shamed for looking for internet clout.
While Ava isn't the first to say it, she won't hesitate when she tells you, "You sell your soul for this lifestyle... You have to be willing to make that deal with the devil, and I am, and it takes a certain type of person to do it."
But she doesn't understand why she's being shamed for doing what more-established influencers already profit off of.
"[Other influencers] make their career off clout chasing. They make their career off scandal. When there's a problem in their lives, they put it on the internet because they know people will eat that up. And why can't I?" she asked. "All of a sudden I'm the clout chaser because I have 140,000 followers. But if I had 2 million, would I be a clout chaser, or would I just be another influencer who got herself in some drama?"
Of course, she attributes her Dr. Phil appearance in assisting the launch of her career, but she doesn't think that it should define her.
"Dr. Phil doesn't define me as a person; it's a TV show I went on to go viral," she said, noting that going viral is what creates a lot of other influencers' careers. "The ones who go viral are more famous than the people who are actually talented... My talent is having no talent. My talent is just getting people's attention."
But at what cost? Ava will tell you that she's willing to pay whatever the price is for internet fame — because it's what she's always wanted.
"I'll take the bullying on the internet, no matter what it does to me, because I want it. I want this lifestyle, I've dreamed of it since I was a little girl," she said. "Britney Spears had a breakdown. Amanda Bynes had a breakdown. A lot of people had breakdowns, but that's iconic as f--k. I'm willing to go down that path and have that breakdown — though I'm not going to shave my head because my hair is pretty."
Because at the end of the day, Ava still wants to be an influencer and thinks she's got what it takes to do it.
"I'm very good at being the bad guy. So I feel like it's the worst parts of myself I exploit on the internet for views," she said. "But that doesn't make me a bad person; I'm just chasing the bag."