Trigger warning: This article covers topics of sexual assault and eating disorders.
As one of the most-followed people on TikTok, Loren Gray knows what it's like to live under constant scrutiny. The Pennsylvania native first rose to fame on the lip-syncing app Musical.ly when she was just 13 years old. Just six years later, she has more than 77 million combined followers on her Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts (plus she has an additional 3.83 million subscribers on YouTube).
Though her fanbase is one of the biggest in the world, Loren has always been in control of what the public sees — that is, until her Snapchat series debuted.
In her 10-episode show, Honestly Loren, the star is letting people see a side to her that isn't as controlled or curated.
The &always jewelry creator is showing off fun, candid moments, like a shopping trip, or a romantic beach date with her boyfriend, Kyle DeLoera, but she's also opening up about her eating disorder, her sexual assault, and the pressure she feels to constantly be interesting to her followers.
The content creator spoke exclusively with Distractify about the show, and why she wanted her fans to see her as a "real person."
Loren Gray shared that it was "nerve-racking" to let the cameras in for her Snapchat series.
Though Loren has been sharing parts of her life on social media since she first became a teenager, filming her Snapchat reality series was a completely different experience for her. She noted that giving up control over and letting fans see more of her life was a daunting prospect because she considers herself to be a private, more introverted person.
"I keep a lot of aspects of my life to myself," Loren shared with Distractify. "[The show] has been a little nerve-racking, because a lot of people don't share everything online. Letting people in on this scale, versus what I do day-to-day, is a big change of pace."
However, she's happy that her followers get to see what her daily life is like because, like many, she tends to show off the "best parts" in her photos and videos.
"I love that people get to see me as a real person, and not as an edited, filtered character on the internet," Loren added.
The influencer is tackling "difficult and emotional" topics on the show, like her eating disorder and her sexual assault.
The content creator first got involved with posting on social media as a way to express herself while she felt like an outcast at school. On the show, she opened up about her long battles with anorexia and bulimia, and how online comments about her weight would affect her.
She hopes that discussing her eating disorder and other difficult subjects on the series will help her fans who may be going through the same thing.
"I was looking for someone that I could relate to to feel less alone and I didn't have that," Loren said about her experience growing up. "Now I have the opportunity to be that for someone else, even if it's just one person. If sharing my experience can do that for another little girl or little boy, that's my goal."
She first discussed the assault in a TikTok video posted in the spring of 2020, and she will do so again on the show.
"I've never really talked about it in front of people, I've only ever spoken about it from the comfort of my own home..." Loren said about the future episode of Honestly Loren. "I've never actually opened up [about it] to people in my life. That was different for me, and it was really emotional and difficult."
The "Queen" singer wants her story to make others feel supported.
"I wish I would have had someone to talk about those things, to make it less taboo and to open up that conversation..." she said. "I know I felt terrible, worthless, disgusting, and like no one could relate to anything that I was going through. If one person can [relate], and it makes them feel less terrible about their situation, then I want to be that for them."
New episodes of Honesty Loren will debut on Snapchat every other day until Aug. 25. You can subscribe to the series here.
If you need support, The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. You will be connected with a trained staff member in your area. Or visit RAINN.org to chat online with a support specialist at any time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.