Lena The Plug has the brains and the body, studying Psychology in college and being known for her stunning curves. With more than a million fans across her social media she has become a force and body-positive and fitness advocate. We chatted about her fast come up on social media, her relationship with No Jumper’s Adam 22 and their upcoming sex tape.
Where were you born?
I was born about 10 miles from where we are standing right now, in Glendale, California. All of my Armenian family immigrated here and stayed here. My mom was born in Lebanon and my dad was born in Iraq but they’re Armenian and the entire Armenian community is in Glendale. They met on the track and field of my high school and I remember as a kid they would take me to the track field and work out whilst I sat on the grass. I also ended up going to high school there. My parents were athletic, my dad wanted to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 80’s but they didn’t really put my sister or me into any sports and fed us junk food. I find that so ironic because I was totally a couch potato kid.
“My rebellion came from just knowing that just because I was told by this person with authority, it didn’t necessarily mean it was right.”
How would you describe yourself growing up?
Much like how I would describe myself nowadays. I am still a shy person (I’m sure you can tell) and I enjoyed art, I drew a lot and loved being in school. I wanted to be the best at school, get straight A’s. I would say that I have always been thinking from a psychology perspective but I think that just came intuitively to me. I was always trying to find out reasons behind people’s behaviors, but I don’t know if I was exposed to any psychology aspects. In high school, I really liked maths, I was just good at it and I think I liked it because I was good at it. Everyone likes what they’re good at (chuckles). My dad loved maths and science and few months ago he went to community college for fun to take chemistry.
I remember when I was like 12, asking my mom’ Can I get my ears pierced, like my cartilage?’. She was like “No”. Well then I guess I’m doing it myself was what I thought! Small things like that, I mean Armenian culture is very traditional and conservative and pretty racist. I remember being told when I was young ‘Oh you shouldn’t hang out with those kids.’ I knew that was wrong but I’m going to do it anyways. My rebellion came from just knowing that just because I was told by this person with authority, it didn’t necessarily mean it was right.
I was kind of lucky in the sense that my parents got divorced when I was in 6th grade and I was much more afraid of my dad than my mom. But, my dad wasn’t really around to see the bad things I was doing so I guess I just got away with things more because of that. But, I was grounded like twice.
Did their divorce affect you a lot?
To be honest, I was quite relieved when they got divorced because there had been too many years of seeing them unhappy together. I mean the process wasn’t good but it was a good thing that happened in the end.
After college, did you go straight into work?
When I graduated college, I was working in a grocery store, the same store I was working in when I was in college. And then I started a job, I was working two jobs at the same time, I was working at the grocery store and I was teaching children with autism. I quit that and I came over here and applied for a graduate school, and was nanny-ing children with special needs. I have always loved babies. I LOVE CHILDREN. I have always thought they are the smartest people in the world. Even when I was in college, I was interning in the infant development lab and we had babies who were like 4 weeks old, who would come in and we would do experiments on. I just love kids, they’re awesome! I want to be everyone’s mom.
“With social media, it’s never under your control but I’ve only had the thought of ‘oh my god, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this’ one time when the sex tape on one mil thing went viral and I was given so much hatred from like 25 different countries. “
Is that one of the reasons why you wanted to study psychology? Or did you want to be a teacher?
I think I started studying psychology because I have always been interested in people, and I think people are really cool and everyone has a story to tell. It’s the same reason why I like spoken words, it’s about people sharing their stories. (I want to understand how fucked up I am.) But, it’s really funny because when you study psychology, every single professor will tell you not to self-diagnose when you’re learning about all these different disorders.
But, it’s like each of these diagnosis has like 50 set of general symptoms which you can find in everybody. I could even say that I am autistic, if I read you about what makes someone autistic. It’s all about the degree or whatever.
Did you have any plans after graduation? A certain career path you wanted to follow?
No, I’ve never been the person to plan and I was the first person in my family to go to college. So, there wasn’t a lot of direction, my family was like “Wait you got in? You’re going?.” I’ve always been like ‘What’s the next thing you’re supposed to do?’. It was more of a safety net, going to school. But, as much as I love school, I was thinking about going to sit in classes in UCLA for fun because I love learning, but it is very expensive and it doesn’t necessarily pay off, depending on what you study. I was proud of myself for getting in but I decided I shouldn’t go because it was too expensive.
“To them, I’m just a stupid girl who wants to take her clothes off and should literally drink bleach and die, those are things I’ve read. “I hope you get into a car accident today and die”. Coming from a psychology background, it makes me think what does that say about how people feel about women especially for women who are sexual. It’s terrifying.”
What were you thinking of studying in grad school?
It’s going to sound so boring but ‘Industrial and Organizational Psychology’. I think I just saw it and thought it was pretty cool. But then I just knew it wasn’t right, I would have basically gotten a job to make the workplace more efficient, being like human resources or something. When I picked psychology it was because I like people and I like babies, it just felt like a sell out of psychology.
After that, did you get working in social media or did you do other jobs in between?
I was nanny-ing and working with kids with special needs but I was thinking I couldn’t go anywhere form here. I felt like stuck, I wasn’t progressing and I wanted to change gears and work in different areas. So, that’s when I started interning at a social media start-up and that was kind of where I grew my following and figured out ‘Oh when you post pictures, this is what happens’. I wouldn’t say there is a ‘a+b+c’ formula, but it worked for me. I thought I should run with this.
We were helping a bunch of girls grow their followings and let them take over our Snapchat and stuff. And I thought ‘Well I could sort of do the same thing.’ And then I did and I learned a lot and I made a lot of cool connections. I left and now I’m doing my own thing.
“Time to me is the most valuable thing, you can’t replace it, the fact that now I can wake up and dictate what I want to do, figure out my day, its pretty much why I left my job.”
You mentioned previously in your videos you were homeless then?
I feel like homeless is such an exaggeration but we always joke about being homeless. Emily, my current roommate, and I needed a place to live for like 6 weeks and we stayed with friends, and we stayed in motels. We had to find a place to live and how do we prove that we have legitimate money? Even now, my landlord thinks I’m a model, I mean I guess I am a model, whatever you want to call it. We also roamed about for 6 weeks in my car.
What gave you the confidence you leave that job and think that you could do something by yourself?
I was really unhappy and I saw people doing their own thing and it kind of got to the point where the fact I could make the money doing my own thing became hard to ignore. ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’, waking up every morning, doing something I don’t want to do, I was just so unhappy versus how happy I am now. Time to me is the most valuable thing, you can’t replace it, the fact that now I can wake up and dictate what I want to do, figure out my day, its pretty much why I left.
“People can say what they want about me taking my clothes off and it not being honourable or respectable but it’s like is it more respectable of me sitting behind a desk and doing something I hate for US $10 an hour?”
Was private Snapchat the first idea you had after branching out of that company?
That’s what allowed me to leave. People on my Snapchat were asking me like 4/5 months before I left. I don’t understand this, why is it so weird that you take your clothes off? My following became so big, and people who ran private Snapchat companies came up to me and were saying ‘this is a great opportunity for you’. I didn’t really want to work with people who were going to take a large percentage from stuff. I thought to myself that if I really want to leave this company and do my own thing, I really want it to be like my own thing.’ I met someone online who had been doing the private Snapchat thing for a while and then he jump-started me and help me build my website. Then, we became business partners starting in September.
What was the feeling like with your first Snap on your private Snapchat? And knowing that people had looked at it?
Oh My God. After I left Arsenic, I moved in with my dad, I’m so sorry dad. He didn’t know who Lena the Plug is at all. I lived with him for 10 days, I decided to do the private Snapchat in the bathroom, in the shower. I took a few shower snaps and I felt good, I was like ‘I look hot, people are paying for this? I look fantastic’. Supposedly, someone told my step-mom who then told my dad who then who looked at my Instagram. I was getting ready to go out one night, I wasn’t wearing a sexy outfit or anything and he was like ‘Where are you going? Who are you going with?’ and I was like ‘ Oh wow where is this coming from? This is so bizarre.’ And I’m 25 and then he said ‘ You’re going to work for Verizon and delete everything that’s on the internet.‘ He doesn’t know much about the internet to know that ‘that’s impossible’. Verizon because they have good benefits, that’s what parents care about, the security. They want you to work for companies who give you the 401K’s and I thought my happiness mattered more than the 401Ks. I might regret it in a 10-20 years but right now I don’t care.
“I feel like one thing I really want to represent is that girls can be sexual and they can be intelligent and that’s okay.”
What do you think he thought you were doing then?
I have no idea. I almost wish I knew what he knew, so I could have a point of conversation to start from. Because, that was the last legitimate conversation I had with my dad and that was in September. My mom is not accepting what I do but she keeps up with my social media and your social media and Adam’s social media.
How did you decide you were going to focus on this and how did you grow your social media?
I had already grown my social media when I was at Arsenic. I just thought ‘Oh if I post this sexy picture, this is how people are responding, this picture performs better than this sort of picture in terms of what’s engaging and what wasn’t.
With social media, it’s never under your control but I’ve only had the thought of ‘oh my god, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this’ one time when the sex tape on one mil thing went viral and I was given so much hatred from like 25 different countries. That was the only time, maybe I shouldn’t do this, I was reading all the comments. As much as people say to ignore all the haters…
“I was listening to this Ted talk, someone said ‘ Be the person you needed as a kid’. I feel like, if I can do something that can make someone happy even just for a day and if that just takes a message then there’s nothing wrong with you because you’re sexual or just because you have a bigger body.”
How do you deal with that?
When it was all at once like that, I’m not going to say that I’m a super strong person but even for a strong person it´s hard. I’ve never been in the spotlight and to basically feel like you’re standing on stage and have like a billion people throw things at you, that’s what it felt like.
It was 95% of hate even though they don’t know me. To them, I’m just a stupid girl who wants to take her clothes off and should literally drink bleach and die, those are things I’ve read. “I hope you get into a car accident today and die”. Coming from a psychology background, it makes me think what does that say about how people feel about women especially for women who are sexual. It’s terrifying.
Did your bf, Adam, get hate as well?
Oh no, who is Adam? Some people didn’t even realize I had a boyfriend, they weren’t paying enough attention to realize there was another person in this. I will forever get the hate and I still do but I’m much better at dealing with it now. I watched his podcast and I met him at Arsenic as they wanted me to outreach to podcasts so I reached out to Adam. We started hanging out and then we went on a date.
How did you realize you wanted to be serious with him?
I always wanted to be serious with him but he had to realize he wanted to be serious with me. We never spoke about being boyfriend and girlfriend when all the media was labeling us, so ultimately the media decided it for us. It took Adam a much longer time to realize ‘I actually like this girl’.
How do you think your life has changed since you’ve met him?
Adam’s presence has inspired me to be unapologetic and try to be more confident and not give a fuck. Which is very important. If you think about it, he’s never followed the rules in his entire life and been rewarded for it. And a lot of people who are successful have been the people who never really followed the rules. I remember when I was thinking if I should quit my job and turn to the private snapchat, I was turning to him asking ‘What would you do?’. People can say what they want about me taking my clothes off and it not being honourable or respectable but it’s like is it more respectable of me sitting behind a desk and doing something I hate for US $10 an hour? Or I do this other thing that doesn’t necessarily take away anything from my life but gives me a lot of time to do things that I like and that I am passionate about.
Did you ever think that, once you dated Adam you would be in the limelight together?
No. I feel like it just happened and then people just started calling me “mom”. This is weird, but I feel like I am quite motherly in many ways so I don’t mind. I take care of everyone. I don’t feel like I am a huge influence but every day I have like a new girl tweeting at me or DM-ing me saying ‘I feel more confident being in my body because of you’, ‘because of you I don’t feel like I need to slut shame myself’ or like ‘because of you I want to work out more’. And those are the messages that are really meaningful to me, and I will DM them back or follow them back. I was listening to this Ted talk, someone said ‘ Be the person you needed as a kid’. I feel like, if I can do something that can make someone happy even just for a day and if that just takes a message then there’s nothing wrong with you because you’re sexual or just because you have a bigger body. They’re making me happy even though they think I make them happy.
“It’s hard to make a video being this figure that’s trying to promote healthy body image when it’s something I still struggle with. But, I feel like as long as you talk about it, it’s still important, I just feel like a lot of people don’t talk about it but it should be talked about more.”
What kind of plans do you have for the future? Like videos?
Plans…aren’t a big part of my life. I don’t know right now but I think I want to start doing live streaming stuff. I definitely want to do more stuff with workouts, body image and talk about those things. It is kind of hard as it’s still a work in progress for me. There are days when I wake up and have these horrible thoughts about my body image and I’m like “Okay, wait you know better than this.” It’s hard to make a video being this figure that’s trying to promote healthy body image when it’s something I still struggle with. But, I feel like as long as you talk about it, it’s still important, I just feel like a lot of people don’t talk about it but it should be talked about more. I mean I always wanted to be skinny, that was the most important thing and all I wanted.
You went on some crazy diets right?
Oh my gosh, I’ve been on diets since I was way too young. It wasn’t until 2012 that I was accepting of being bigger and fit. All I ever wanted to be was like super stick thin, Kate Moss skinny, that was the only thing I would be happy with. I was on this Instagram and there was this fitness model who had really big legs and she was the same height as me and she was probably the only fitness model I followed. Seeing her I feel like ‘this is okay, I can be this size and be healthy’. The reality is what I was striving for was something that was impossible for me, like if I didn’t eat for the next 60 days, I still wouldn’t be as small as Kate Moss, there are just certain things that just don’t happen and it shouldn’t matter.
Are you scared like you’re coming closer to the 1 million mark?
Scared?! No, I’m not. Adam and I realized through having sex with each other, in front of other people, filming it through my Snapchat, we kind of like being watched. We’re definitely not scared, sometimes we’ll film something on my Snapchat and we’ll watch it and think ‘Damn, that’s art, it looks good.’
With the one million do you feel more pressure?
No, I just see it as another fun sexual experience. People think that it’s so weird that Adam and I have this open sex, involving other people. But, it’s really fun and new and filming our sex is like trying out a new sex toy. It’s like adding something else to the mix.
Would you do it with other people?
We sometimes include other girls. But, I just want to have sex with Adam, it’s weird and gushy. I know what I like.
You’re going to the AVN award right?
Yes, I did an interview with AVN and they were like you should come to AVNs next year. We’re not on the ballot or whatever but we were invited like a real porn star would be.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I feel like one thing I really want to represent is that girls can be sexual and they can be intelligent and that’s okay. I get so many comments like ‘that’s so crazy you just recommended a book to us, you like read and you’re hot?; and I’m like oh my gosh what a profound idea, I can’t believe people still think this way. I just want girls to feel nerdy and sexy to be like oh yeah I can be both and that’s okay. I feel like so many girls dumb themselves down because they feel like that’s how they’re supposed to be. I don’t know what I want to be remembered for yet.