In October 2016, Danielle received her first ad request. This prompted the preteen to finally let her mom in on what she’d been doing on the app, and the potential money she could be making from it.
“I was pretty shocked,” Jen said. “She was so young, and she would be making more than me in a week — a lot more than me.”
Jen said an average ad or sponsored video opportunity via Musical.ly offered $400 to $500 at the time, and Danielle would receive multiple requests a week.
The sum of a few brand-backed, lip-synched videos amounted to more than she earned from both of her jobs, she said.
Jen helped her daughter field the incoming requests, and said she put away the money Danielle earned on the ads in a separate account.
“That’s money we can have college paid for,” she noted.
As Danielle’s fanbase and viewership grew, so did the payout for ads on Musical.ly. Companies were soon asking the mom-daughter pair to fly out to LA to take business meetings.
Jen made the decision to quit her night job as a cashier to help her daughter manage her fast-growing personal brand. By March 2017, Jen and Danielle were spending so much time in Los Angeles, Jen decided to move her family there.
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Back in LA, had a rough night. Walking in LA at night to our hotel was scary but it's whatever things happen. Anyways rumors need to stop I am signed with collab therefore I know lots of other musers I work with. Yeah they might be a boy but it doesn't mean I like the person. Not that type of girl when I am with someone I am loyal. People stop spreading rumors. Can't wait to hang with my friends in LA.
An account with the user name “danielle_cohn.is.a.hoe” reposts images and videos of Danielle with captions calling her a “bitch,” and telling her to “cover up.” The user also edits Danielle’s pictures to make her look ridiculous.
Another account description simply reads “End Danielle.” Other groups dissect the minutiae of the way Danielle poses in Instagram photos.
“She touching her gross hair” one commenter on the “danielle.cohn.hate” page wrote.
“I was hurt and I couldn’t really handle it,” Jen said, upon discovering a cyberbullying group for the first time.
She admitted that she’s tried to fight back in comment sections to defend her daughter.
“When I see the stuff that’s posted, I don’t want her to look at that,” she said. “They’re telling her to kill herself. To this day I will still talk back. It’s just hard. It’s just really hard.”
The majority of people criticize Danielle for being “inappropriate” in the way she acts, dances, and dresses online. Aggregated videos to prove this point have racked up millions of views on YouTube.
Jen explained that her daughter was friends with Sebastian for well over a year before they became a couple.
“I’ve known Sebastian and his mom — he’s a really good kid, and he’s never had a girlfriend until [Danielle],” she said.
When Sebastian’s Musical.ly following started to grow, Jen decided to become his manager. Sebastian has about an eighth of the followers that Danielle has.
“We don’t have a problem with it,” Jen said of the age difference between Danielle and Sebastian. “As long as they’re not doing anything inappropriate — we know they’re not doing anything. They’re never alone.”
Since she manages both of the teenagers, Jen said she spends a great deal of time with them professionally and personally. She maintains the two rarely spend time together alone.
Jen said “of course” she has considered the implications of Sebastian turning 18 this year.
“We deal with it. Once I see something that could get [Danielle] in trouble, I wouldn’t allow them to be together,” she said.
Danielle believes she receives more hate than the average Musical.ly star or young internet influencer. “Many of the influencers are doing the same thing as me, sometimes even worse,” she said.
“Dani is so pretty,” one fan account wrote, reposting one of her Musical.ly videos from last year.
“Pls stop the hate!!!!” another fan account wrote.
“Dani we always say this but we love how u always stay strong and just ignore the hate but its true u are a young girl and always stays happy we just love u sooooooo much dani and u always makes us happy,” another account wrote.
Many of them, like with most mainstream celebrities and internet celebrities, are elated when their idols, or “faves,” take notice of their social media support.
After Danielle takes notice of an adoring post, the fan will update the caption to say that “Dani liked” it.
Before her online fame, Danielle said she wanted to be a guidance counselor. Now, she says she “also” wants to be a singer. However, her first attempt at that, a single called “Marilyn Monroe” released on YouTube last year, didn’t get the warm reception Jen and Danielle had hoped for.