Why Jaremi Carey is Fine Not Being Phi Phi O’Hara Anymore

So long Phi Phi O’Hara and hello Jaremi Carey! The longtime New York City resident has shifted gears completely with who they are, both on social media and off, by telling their millions of fans to refer to them as “Just Jaremi”.

Jaremi, at least to me, is a lot like Madonna when it comes to the amount of times they’ve transitioned throughout the course of them being famous. It started completely different on that show many years ago which eventually led to them embracing the cosplay side of their drag while presenting as a boy during some of their music phases. 

There was also that ridiculously impressive 365 days of drag that the multi-faceted entertainer did in 2016 which should be put in some sort of record book. 

Now Jaremi is showing off another side to their talents by becoming a massive presence on Twitch. And don’t worry, he still does drag, its just presented in a much different way compared to how some people still view him from almost a decade ago.

Jaremi exclusively chatted with me about the main reason why Phi Phi is a name of the past, how he’s dealt with his awful haters, new music on the way and much more below. 

Credit: Jaremi Carey

What made you officially change from Phi Phi O’Hara to your real name?  

It took a long time to realize that I never needed that name to be on stage, to perform, to sell my merchandise, to travel the world. It was a vessel I cultivated for my artwork and it did me wonders, but it was time for me to let that go and get the recognition instead of “Phi Phi” for all the hard work I have done. 

Does this mean that you are done with drag for good or are you trying to highlight a different part of you? 

Nope not done with drag. I still do drag but this time on Twitch while bringing makeup and art to the streaming scene just under my real name. There is a different feeling to drag now that I have removed myself from one scene that was quite negative for me into a positive world where when I do drag, I am able to do it on my own terms instead of someone else’s. It is quite liberating to do drag now if I’m honest.

I noticed you did a Trailblazing Women series on your Instagram which looked incredible. How did that come about? 

The Trailblazing Woman photo series was one of my favorites. It not only showcased women from around the world using either the power of makeup and styling to pay tributes to an American political figure but it was incredible to have a series that also showcased artists and people other than myself.  All of these photos were done in the middle of a pandemic with what they had lying around the house and it was absolutely beautiful to see!

You have also become a huge personality on Twitch! Has gay-ming always been something you’ve been a fan of and what inspired you to start that? 

It’s wild to see how quickly my Twitch has grown, I’m beyond grateful! I have always been a gamer since I was a kid. I would use games, comics, all things nerd to escape from the reality of what my childhood was, which was rather abusive, mentally and physically. So to go back and play all the games that used to have tainted memories and make them positive not only for me but for others is incredible! My fellow streamers and the community I have built has been unlike anything I have ever been part of. I never feel like it is work and I get to be just authentically me without judgement!

What is your all-time favorite video game? 

Hands down Pokémon has been the most incredible game for me even to this day. I have some of the best memories with my Dad while getting Pokémon cards or going to Toys “R” Us where he hunted down the special Mew they released for the game. It will be a game no matter how many generations they create and is one I hold dear to my heart.

You’ve also excelled in the world of singing. Any new work coming out this year? 

I’m always writing, singing and planning on new music! Especially with DMCA cracking down on Twitch with music people that don’t own. I would love to make music to stream and share that way too! So hopefully after this pandemic starts letting up I will be back into the studio.

Credit: Jaremi Carey

How do you deal with the negativity from people online and does it get to you still (if it ever did)? 

It used to get to me bad, REALLY bad. Especially because the source that created all this and made way for it to happen did not reach out or help heal or make the situation a healthy one. The fact I had people from around the world I’ve never met sending me hate, death threats and more not only to me, but my family, was exhausting, terrifying and ridiculous.

It took me a long time for it to finally sink in that those people do not get to define me, nor do they get to decide my future or even my mood for the day. I laugh at them now. I can say I don’t get many trolls from RPDR since I think maybe I have made it clear to them that I don’t see or care about them, Instead, I care about me now.

However, I do get random trolls in the gaming world dropping the F bomb or so on and honestly, I don’t care anymore. I really truly don’t. I look at it like this, they are watching while I am doing. I am surrounded by quite amazing people, I have a great life, I am married, have a beautiful family. I am going through life being who I want and only allowing people that add positivity to my circle. There is not a thing in this world that can make a faceless comment hurt me or bring me down anymore.

What else can we look forward to as your career progresses? 

This last year was an incredibly hard time for MANY of us. I like many lost my job to COVID, so I’m excited for the world and its people to heal so we can move forward with our lives. I miss touring, I miss human interaction and telling my supporters thank you in person! I have many plans from a few shows, music, a comic book, my art and so much more this year so here’s hoping we all get through this and can make our plans a reality this 2021!


Sourcing: The Verge

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