Instagram’s Fav Comedian @DaddyIssues_ Has A Really Inspiring Life Story
Violet Benson, aka @DaddyIssues_ has always been the funny girl — “Making jokes helps me be less awkward,” she says — but in July 2014, while working as an accountant in Los Angeles, she decided to get serious about changing her career path.
“I was seriously depressed before I started @Daddyissues_,” she told me over the phone last week, during an interview that felt more like a gossip sesh with my long-time homegirl. “I hated my job. I’d cry in my car every single day before going into work.”
So how’d she go from sad accountant girl to managing an Instagram — with memes that she makes and curates herself — that’s now followed by upwards of 3 million people? Read Violet’s undeniably inspiring account of her road to Instagram fame below, and then get excited, because @Daddyissues_ has more in store for you than just good feelings. Along with the recent launch of a new website, Violet’s got a lot of fun stuff coming to you in the near future, including an online store, and a popping new emoji keyboard. Stay updated with her on — bitch, you guessed it — Instagram.
Tell us your life story.
I was born in Russia, in St. Petersburg. We moved to Israel while I was still a baby, but when I was 14, we won the Green Card lottery, so we moved to the States. I’ve lived in Los Angeles ever since.
What? That’s crazy! How’d that happen?
Well so, we traveled to New York for my Bat Mitsvah, and it was my first time in the States. My uncle suggested that we at least give the lottery a shot, so we did, and then we got the call that we’d won soon after. It was pretty wild.
So then what?
Then we moved to Los Angeles. We barely have any family, but we do have some in LA, so my parents were hoping that our family members would help us how to make it in America, basically. When we moved here, we were such immigrants [laughing]. Nobody helped us.
At what point did you develop your “daddy issues?” Is that where the name comes from?
I did have daddy issues growing up. The one thing that’s never been a point of contention is how proud I am of my dad. Before we moved to Israel, my father was a mechanical engineer with an amazing job, but when we moved, he had to establish himself all over again. Like, when we were young, my mom would lie to us that yogurt was ice cream so we could feel like we were eating dessert. But my dad refused to go on welfare — he was too proud for that — so he got a job digging graves. He was already in his 50s, and was digging graves, and then got a job at Sears fixing refrigerators, and then finally, got a job as a bioscience engineer in the States.
What are your daddy issues?
They mostly came from my dad traveling so much. I’d only see him for 3 months of the year. So I didn’t really grow up with a father, and then when we moved to the US, I was like, holy shit, we don’t get along at all? My father, being from Russia, wouldn’t really show affection either. And that’s what my daddy issues came from with guys, in terms of needing a certain kind of attention. I actually just wrote a blog about it on my new website, trying to kind of explain it, and putting myself out there, which was scary for me. Because when I made the name, I didn’t think my Instagram was going to blow up, you know? I was like I have daddy issues, every girl in LA has daddy issues…
Does he look at your profile?
He totally does, and I’m like, “Dad, please, come on, it makes me uncomfortable, because I’m not going to be able to write the way I want to if you’re looking at it!” He tried to send me some vulgar jokes to post, and I was like, “I’m literally going to be in therapy for the rest of my life if you don’t stop.”
Do you remember what they were?
Something about sex. I don’t remember. My parent’s are conservative though, so just random stuff. It’s funny, my dad was like, “I really like The Fat Jew.” I was like, ok dad.
“My whole Instagram account is about girls getting along. I don’t even hate on my ex’s new girlfriend. If I feel like I’m in a place where I’m getting jealous of another girl, I’m like ok, why do I feel like this?
Are you guys rivals? Are there such thing as “rival Instagrams?”
I don’t think so. I have such a specific voice, and I think people like to laugh… it’d be really boring to monopolize that. I’d have to post like 10 times a day! There should be a variety, you know, especially as people have different types of humor. Mine is obviously very female focused.
When’s your birthday?
Do you have more girlfriends or guy friends?
I have both, but probably more girlfriends. I really appreciate male companionship, and they can be a lot of fun, but I think it’s very valuable to have female friends. Plus, guys are going to eventually try to fuck you, right? I’m really a girl’s girl. My whole Instagram account is about girls getting along. I don’t even hate on my ex’s new girlfriend. If I feel like I’m in a place where I’m getting jealous, I’m like ok, why do I feel like this?
Yeah, jealousy between girls needs to stop.
Yeah! And it’s always because of guys that you always feel like you have to compete with other girls. My Instagram really helped me with that.
Nothing has really changed since then and now except my alcohol tolerance grew, my standards lowered and instead of dying in a field, it’s just me in the bathroom at work trying to not die from my hangover. #tb
A photo posted by Violet K. Benson (@daddyissues_) on
Do you get groupies?
A ton. More girls, but I get so many emails and DMs from fans all the time,. I do my best to respond. I’m really big on that. At Neon Carnival it was crazy. I couldn’t go two steps without someone asking to take a picture with me. That was probably the most I’ve ever been recognized at an event.
That’ll probably happen more.
Maybe. I’m very approachable, and I feel like it’s important to stay grounded about my Instagram, since it really is still just a social media account. I always liked making people laugh. I have anxiety. I’m very awkward. Imagine moving from Israel to America? It sucks. People from America are very different from people in Israel. Making jokes would help me to not be as awkward.
I feel like that’s always the deal with comedians!
I really feel like every comedian has grown up bullied. I think that’s what happens, that you endure so much stuff, you just can’t take shit seriously. I had a lot of acne — I’m 5’8, and been that way since I was 11 — on my chest, on my face, on my back, and I have veneers because I was born with enamel deficiency, because there wasn’t enough sun in Russia. I got veneers when I was 5 years old. But surgeries like that aren’t common. I was very insecure about my smile. When I moved to the US, I think God was like, you know what, you don’t speak English, you’re super awkward, I’m going to help you out. The first week I moved to America, all my acne cleared. And my tits went from an A to a DD in two weeks. Then finally when I was 18 or 19 — I was scared of boys before — I realized that if I make fun of myself, then nobody else can make fun of me. That’s why I’m able to make so much fun of myself, because I’m confident enough to not to take it seriously.
And so Instagram’s helped you to be less self-conscious?
Definitely. I was super insecure when I started my Instagram, and part of it was that I’ve ended up helping a lot of other people, and it was the first time in my life that I felt like I fit in somewhere. I always figured I’d have a 9-5. When I got 9k followers, Joe Jonas was the first person to follow me, and I texted my best friend, being like, “Oh shit, bitch I made it!” I couldn’t believe that a celebrity was following me! And then he would tag other celebrities, and then on January 5th, MTV wrote about me, and I was at 300k followers, and they wrote about me as the most relatable female account worldwide, and I remember I was in tears, I couldn’t believe it. I would cry in my car before I had to go into work. And then I thought, that’s how life is, so then January 9th, I incorporated myself. On March 1st, I quit my job.
What’s your plan beyond Instagram?
I just started my website, but I’ve got to keep working on updating that. I’m a one woman show. I don’t trust anyone to help me, so every day I wake up, and I’m like, what should I post today? Let me create something. There’s a @daddyissues_ store coming soon too!
Yeah, we’ll sell wine glasses, shirts, and pizza onesies. I’m excited. Aside from that? I’m not trying to be an actor, I’ll tell you that. I do like the idea of being a host, so maybe I’ll get involved in a talk show of some sort. I also have an emoji app that’s coming out in a few days, with some nice and raunchy emojis.
What’s your favorite emoji?
Ooh, let me look at my text keyboard. The ones that I always have there, are the two girls dancing, and what’s that purple thing that looks like a penis?
Yeah! And then the one of me crying laughing, that’s my favorite. But I think that should be everyone’s favorite emoji, right? Like, if you don’t love the crying laughing emoji, who are you?