Hurt by a fake YouTube nerd.

I would say I am an avid watcher of YouTube, and I have a few vlogs that I watch every day. I am a big fan of Philip DeFranco, and a while back, he did a video showing other YouTube channels, he likes to watch one of them was a channel called “sexy nerd girl”. I checked her out, and I ended up subscribing and watching her videos. She seemed like a nerdy girl just living her life and showing the nerd culture some love. She is even one of the reasons I wanted to get into doing vlogs and videos. It was only until yesterday that I found out that the woman I thought was Valerie Lapomme is actually an actress named Stephanie Kaliner.

So I come to find that all the opinions, jokes, life events, jobs, hobbies and just about everything I saw on her YouTube channel was scripted by a whole team of writers. After more research, I found that it was said on her website and other places that Val was a character, but from just watching the videos that was never made clear until yesterday. To be honest, I was quite crestfallen, there are many reasons I feel deceived and a little betrayed.

One of the things I love about vlogs is that they are a way to share yourself with the world; it allows you to share the lenses you look at the world through. You get attached to these people, and you feel for them when they go through rough stuff. When you come to find out that the person, you became attached to being a fake it oddly hurts.

The best thing I can compare this too is if a friend you grew to know and really like as a friend told you one day that everything they told you was made up and they scripted large pieces of their interactions with you. You would feel angry, betrayed and very mad at that person and fists might even fly. This is what I feel like people who pretend to be someone else online, and then they pull off the mask.

The second reason I am upset is that I feel like she is banking on the nerd culture for views. Lately, nerd culture is becoming more and more mainstream, and nerds are slowly crawling out of basements and comic book shops into  the light. When you put on a mask and pretend to be one of us, there will always be a backlash when the truth comes out. Nerd culture to me can be akin to race where you feel close to others in your group just by the very nature that they are like you. People no longer use “black face” to pretend to be black, but it seems like “Nerd face” is now becoming popular and I find it offensive.

A pretty girl saying she is a nerd and peddling these written lines and this written life is I feel wrong and hurtful. She prays on the men, women, and nerd culture to gain popularity when never fully embracing the things she says or does. I just hope the people I choose to watch are more genuine than fake Val turned out to be.

In a world of fakes we don’t need any more than we already have.

The Fedora Nerd – Ben Crawford

P.S. For anyone who was offended by the “black face” reference, i am sorry. The comment was just a comparison and the two are not equal at all. This rant was made when i was upset and is partly just a stupid thing I did when I was bored and upset. It can be taken as satire or the musings of some stupid fat nerd you can take your pick.


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13 thoughts on “Hurt by a fake YouTube nerd.

  1. Hey Ben. I can fully appreciate your sense of betrayal – you didn’t know Val was a character and this revelation stings. I’m not going to tell you how to feel about it, but I am going to leave you with 3 thoughts I have.

    1. Hannah Spear plays Valerie Lapomme and Stephanie Kaliner is our head writer – that means Stephanie is the one in charge of taking all the writer’s contributions to the show (which are pretty much all volunteer) and making sure they not only fit Val’s voice, but are told consistently, are high quality and are, frankly, funny. Everyone on this project is a nerd – I assure you. We all grew up loving one or more types of geeky endeavours – Val is an amalgamation of our shared experiences – and a positive role model for nerds (and women) – we didn’t have a Val growing up, so we decided to create one.

    2. I totally understand what you mean about nerd culture being co-opted and capitalized on by the main stream. I’m sorry you feel this show does that. That really wasn’t our intent. People that make content for the web for little to no reward, do it because they feel passionate about the content. We wanted to celebrate the things we love and the people we love (we are scouring the asiles of Comic Con just the same as you). I could be working in TV right now, pitching shows about flipping houses or how to renovate a restaurant, and be making WAY more money doing that, but I choose to work on the web, where I can play in a sandbox of my choosing and be in creative control… I only want to make things I care about – and the rest of my team feels very similarly.

    3. You said: “She is even one of the reasons I wanted to get into doing vlogs and videos.” and that makes me feel great. The project we all worked so hard on inspired you to celebrate your own voice and your own passions. There are so many people like you that email Val and tell her that she inspired them to ask someone out, stand up to a bully, write their own comic, shoot their own video, start a blog, go to a comic con or just plain feel like they have value and a community… That’s what we are taking home from this – it certainly isn’t money.

    I’m sad to hear you are now disenfranchised with the show. I hope you will reconsider your position.

    Mike Fly

    1. Mike I am glad and a little shocked to not only get a response from one person but two or maybe three people from the sexy nerd girl camp. I wrote this post, mostly as a way to vent, but I always try to be fair and give people a chance to explain and you all have done so, and I think that should be commended. I will admit I never went out searching for additional information about Val or sexy nerd girl passed just watching the videos, and if I had maybe I would have known sooner about the scripted nature of the show.

      I have been a nerd most of my life, and I have enjoyed it and have enjoyed the friends I made and I think there is no better community then good-hearted nerds because we have all felt pushed out by someone or some group because of our love for various nerdy related pass times. I think it’s that shared rejection than in part makes us so close as a community. I really love the message that Val had and my only complaint is you rarely see her talk about or deal with the issue of rejection for the sake of being a nerd. I know now that nerd kind is changing in the eyes of media that this rejection might lessen, to some extent, but we will never be fully accepted by everyone, and that is the way of the world, and I think in some ways its better because it does in genuine that sense of community I love so much.

      I hope you do take my works to your whole team that I do thank you for the entertainment over the years, and I am still dealing with the hurt but you have given me a nice big-band aid to help the healing. I will still try to make my own content and strive to be original and entertaining like Val was made to be. The sad part is I don’t have a team of writers or editors; I do it all, and sometimes I get too busy and I go months without putting out anything. I am trying to at least blog more as a start, and I hope my words and videos will touch people like Val has.

      The Fedora Nerd – Ben Crawford

  2. Hey Ben, I’m one of the creators of Sexy Nerd Girl. (Yes, we do read every comment.)

    I can’t argue with how you feel right now. I was fooled 10 years ago by someone pretending to be someone else online who was specifically targeting me. So I totally get the frustration you’re going through.

    However, we have never hid the fictional nature of the show.

    In fact, we’ve made great efforts to drive viewers to the website. In the end credit of every video, as the first piece of text in every video description, and through the “WHAT IS THIS?” button on our YT channel page.

    A Google search for “sexy nerd girl” brings up many results that mention the fictional nature of the show. And we never deleted any comments on our videos that directly referred to the show being fictional. They were kept there to inform viewers that the show is fictional.

    Our Blip channel and FB and G+ fan pages referred to the characters in the third person, the same way TV Guide does in TV show descriptions. At no point was any viewer ever more than 2 mouse-clicks away from discovering that the show is fictional.

    I know this is all probably moot to you right now. It would probably be moot to me, were I in your shoes today.

    I hesitate to use the word “fake” when describing SNG because that implies that we made an effort to intentionally deceive viewers, which is simply not true. That’s the exact opposite of what we’ve tried to do.

    And in many ways, Valerie Lapomme IS real because of what she stands for. What she stands for is this: “Be proud of the things you love and don’t crap on the things that others love.” That will never change. That’s the core of who she is. And to me, there’s no greater ideal in any real or fictional world.

    You said it yourself: “She is even one of the reasons I wanted to get into doing vlogs and videos.” I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. Actually yes I can. That makes me extremely happy. Encouraging others to celebrate what is most meaningful to them is the whole point of our show.

    We play to a nerd audience not because we’re banking on nerd culture’s emergence into the mainstream, but because we’re nerds. It’s who we are and what we know best. I can’t write a Star Wars joke and expect a prime time TV audience to get it, but I can trust that you’ll get it. I can trust that any nerd worth their mettle will get it.

    The sting of this new context of Val will eventually wear off. I hope you give her a second chance. I can assure you that you’ll never be this disappointed again.

    Your fellow nerd,

  3. Hey Ben,

    I hear your betrayal on the Sexy Nerd Girl. I too enjoyed her vlogs and I actually started watching when the show first started. I thought it was so cool to see a girl be so real with her audience. She was funny, interesting and the production value was great. Unfortunately, after a week or so I found out it was a show and not real and I was crushed. I saw the whole thing in a different light and it was incredible heart breaking to know that what she was saying was not genuine but rather scripted.

    I feel your pain and I completely empathize with you. It is sad to see that nerd culture is now being exploited to earn money. Rest assured that you aren’t alone and I won’t be subbing her new channel. I hope you feel better about this, I could only imagine if I stayed believing for as long as you did, how I would feel.

    Yours in Nerdery,

  4. You put it quite eloquently.
    However my feeling are still a little raw.
    I’m not sure exactly what they stomped on but I can feel it; and it hurts.
    1st Youtube gets run through by off season actors looking to cash in on the fun and now this.
    There is no chance for small cottage production start-ups.

    I mean; A Crew? REALLY? 🙁

    This is the biggest disappointment of the month for me (thank the Gods it’s only the 1st day).

  5. “People no longer use “black face” to pretend to be black, but it seems like “Nerd face” is now becoming popular and I find it offensive.”

    what ever

  6. “The best thing I can compare this too is if a friend you grew to know and really like as a friend told you one day that everything they told you was made up and they scripted large pieces of their interactions with you.”

    She’s not your friend, dude. You’re her fan. It’s not like you were interacting with her, having conversations… you were watching her videos. For that matter, anyone whose vlogs you enjoy is composing their life and thoughts in a way that’s intended to give you the impression they want to put across. You don’t really KNOW someone just from listening to them talk once a week. I think you need to spend some time examining how you find fulfillment in your relationships with others, because if you think watching someone’s Youtubes is just like being friends with them, then there’s a problem.

    1. I can definitely see your point; I did not know her personally but part of doing a vlog is sharing who you are. People do dress it up and filter it for the best entertainment value but at the core, most videos show a window into a real person’s life. I watched the character of val go through hard times, and I did comment and offer condolences and advice. I would say it’s a bit like being cat fished, you get to know someone, and they share very personal stuff and in the end, you learn that they are not real. I have real friends and a real life and a real girlfriend, but I did spend a year getting emotionally invested in her story, and if I am a fool for that then so be it.

      I am not as hurt as I was at first and looking back I believe I did over react, but I think the cool part was seeing the writers find this post and take the time to talk to an upset fan and for that they have my respect.

      Thank you for the comment!

  7. Terribly sorry to inform you, but “nerd” is not a race, and your view that this “nerd face” phenomena is on par with actual racist behaviors such as wearing black face is far, far more offensive than anything having to do with your crush on a YouTube actor.

    Maybe you should take a few steps back and really assess your statements.

    1. If i made it sound like it was on par then i am sorry, i was just trying to make a comparison and i did not mean to offend.

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