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Influencer and musician Danielle Cohn, who boasts 18.2 million TikTok followers and 1.8 million YouTube subscribers, has become an online sensation thanks to her lip-syncing videos and controversial social media presence.
Since the social media star rose to prominence in 2016, fans and critics have speculated about her age and expressed concern about her sexualized social media presence.
Cohn made headlines in July when she made a video addressing a leaked audio clip that revealed that she had an abortion earlier this year.
Since posting the video, Cohn has received support from fans who "respected" her decision and transparency, but others remained concerned about her age and relationships.
Cohn's mother, Jennifer Archambault, has described the situation as "painful," and she hopes her daughter can heal out of the spotlight.
With 18.2 million TikTok followers, 4.7 million Instagram followers, and 1.8 million subscribers YouTube, Danielle Cohn has established herself as a rising star in the influencer space. As a public figure, the teenager, who lives in Los Angeles with her mother Jennifer Archambault, is no stranger to controversy — Cohn's critics frequently voice their concern for her wellbeing, and some question whether the influencer is as old as her social presence suggests.
Here's a timeline of her career and controversial rise to fame.
Cohn rose to social media fame with her lip-syncing videos on Musical.ly.
Cohn grew up in Orlando, Florida, where she developed a love for performing and frequently competed in pageants.
Cohn's mother, Jennifer Archambault, worked two jobs to support her son and daughter, BuzzFeed reported in 2018. While she was at work, Archambault recalled, her daughter would film lip-synching and dancing videos on the family's iPhone.
In 2016, Cohn began to post these videos on Musical.ly, the short-form video app that would later be acquired by TikTok.
As Cohn developed a skill for creating and editing videos, her content racked up millions of views, and within months, she had acquired a million followers.
With the increased exposure came opportunities to post ads and sponsored videos, which promised $400 to $500 per post at the time, Cohn told BuzzFeed.
Ultimately, her success inspired the family's 2017 move to Los Angeles.
"When her numbers started going up on Musical.ly, she started getting invited to events and some of these events were in LA so we came out here to attend," Archambault told Insider. "And she loved it so much out here that we just ended up moving."
After moving to Los Angeles, Cohn solidified her status as an influencer and launched her music career.
Within her first year on the west coast, Cohn scored high-profile partnerships with Target, Live Nation, and Samsung, among other brands — and she continued to amass millions of followers on her various social media profiles.
In May 2017, Cohn released her debut single "Marilyn Monroe."
To date, the music video has racked up over 14 million views on YouTube.
As Cohn's career progressed, her content, appearance, and relationships raised eyebrows — and her followers questioned Archambault's judgment.
As Cohn continued to share her life online, critics frequently expressed hesitation about her revealing clothes, "risqué" photoshoots, and romantic relationships with content creators who appeared to be several years her senior (Cohn has previously been in a relationship with 18-year-old influencer Sebastian Topete and is currently in an on-and-off-again relationship with 18-year-old influencer Mikey Tua).
Concerns intensified as some social media users began questioning the influencer's age — and several skeptics even created content that cast doubt on Cohn and Archambault's claims that media star was born in 2004. One YouTube video even compiled evidence from what appears to be Cohn's elementary school yearbook, which suggests that she was in 4th grade during the 2015-2016 year.
Comments on Cohn's social media posts are flooded with users urging her to confirm her age.
Questions about the teen's wellbeing came to a head when she teased on social media that she was married and pregnant.
In April of 2019, Cohn posted a photo on Instagram in which Tua appeared to be kissing her stomach. The following day, Tua posted a YouTube video in which they pair revealed that Cohn was pregnant. Cohn then uploaded a four-part video to her channel that showed the couple marrying in Las Vegas.
The pregnancy announcement was later revealed to be a prank, and the photo has since been removed from Cohn's Instagram. The marriage, Archambault told BuzzFeed News, was simply "clickbait" — not a legal union.
Living in the public eye and weathering the constant criticism, Archambault says, quickly became a challenge.
Cohn and Archambault struggled to adjust to the intense scrutiny that accompanies social media fame — and Archambault told Insider that she developed intense anxiety from all the attention the family receives.
Some of her anxiety, Archambault says, comes from in-person interactions with fans and critics.
"It's extremely difficult and nothing can prepare you for the amount of bullying, stress, and invasion of privacy that you have to deal with," she explained. "It's really hard for me when we're out in public, just knowing everyone knows where we are all of the time and not knowing what to expect when strangers just walk up to us."
More of her anxiety, she says, is stoked by the deluge of hateful comments online.
"It's hard dealing with everyone online because once one person says something bad all of a sudden you have thousands of people coming at you just because people want to be apart of something and it's really sad," she said.
Cohn's father reignited speculation about her age after posting an explosive Facebook status and YouTube video.
Blake Lyons/Facebook/Dustin Cohn/YouTube
On September 16, 2019, Cohn's father, Dustin Cohn, took to Facebook to address the speculation about his daughter's age. In the since-deleted post, he claimed that she was 13 years old — not 15, as her social media profiles suggested at the time.
"I have decided to set things straight about my daughter Danielle Cohn," the post read. "For years I have done the diplomatic thing while dealing with my daughter being online in a way I didn't approve of and trying to have it handled out of social media because I figured the system would work and keep my daughter safe."
Cohn added that he'd voiced concerns about his daughter's social media exposure in the past, to no avail.
"We found Pinterest boards with her photos and I told her mom I worried about pedophiles," he wrote. "The pictures now have gotten worse and worse. I am finally saying something on social media because people need to be held accountable."
Cohn's friend, Blake Lyons, commented on the post with a photo of what appeared to be Danielle Cohn's birth certificate. The document listed her date of birth as March 7, 2006 (meaning, if the paperwork was legitimate, Cohn would have been 13 at the time).
Insider was unable to confirm whether the birth certificate in the photo was, in fact, Danielle Cohn's, as Florida birth records are confidential per Florida statutes.
The certificate, however, does appear to match what a Florida birth record would have looked like in 2006. The document includes the signature of the state registrar in 2006, C. Meade Grigg — and the lower-right-hand corner of the paper features a Florida Department of Health logo consistent with the logo used in 2006 (one that has not been in use since 2013).
In June of 2020, Cohn addressed his daughter's age again, briefly creating a YouTube channel in which he posted several videos on the subject. In one clip, he presented his daughter's birth certificate, promising viewers that he'd "show it again" to prove that she was 14 years old (and not 16, as her updated social media profiles suggest). The YouTube channel, however, is no longer available.
Cohn and Archambault denied the claims about her age — and Cohn repeatedly spoke out against her father.
In response to her father's YouTube video, Cohn posted a video of her own titled "The Truth About My Dad."
In the video, Cohn described her parents' "toxic" relationship and detailed her father's behavior throughout her childhood, which she says included excessive drinking and violent behavior.
Cohn added that she believes her father "is not a good person," describing an alleged incident in which he kicked the entire family out of his home (he then responded with another YouTube video in which he claimed that he's "never" forced his children to leave the home).
Archambault stands firm in her claims that Danielle is now 16 years old.
"Danielle is 16," she told Insider. "She's addressed it herself on many YouTube videos but, unfortunately, we have a lot of people that want to ruin her career or make something out of nothing so that they can get attention or followers."
As for critics' concerns about the apparent age gaps in Cohn's relationships, Archambault isn't worried.
"Honestly, as long as my daughter is happy and healthy that's all I care about. Everyone always has something to say — I think just because it's Danielle that's what makes it a problem, because I see other influencers with bigger age gaps and no one ever talks about it or attacks them for it," she said.
Despite the constant scrutiny, Cohn has continued to create content and pursue a music career.
In June of 2020, Cohn released her new song "Do It Better," to a mixed response.
The music video racked up over 400,000 views on YouTube, receiving an equal number of likes and dislikes (17,000 each).
Some commenters, however, criticized her use of chained animals in the video, calling the choice "cruel" and "ill-advised."
Concerns about Cohn's wellbeing resurfaced when leaked audio suggested that the teenager had recently had an abortion.
In July of 2020, audio of a conversation between Cohn and Archambault leaked online, sparking more discussion about Cohn's safety.
In the clip posted to the @2helpdanicohn2 Instagram account, which has since been removed, Archambault can be heard calling Cohn "cold-hearted" and voicing regret for "allowing" her daughter's past behavior.
"I allowed you to have an abortion," she said. "I allowed so much that I shouldn't have allowed, and it's allowed you to be the person you've become."
In follow-up audio clips, Archambault suggested that Cohn go live with her father.
In response to the leaked audio, Cohn posted a video titled "The Truth About My Abortion" in which she discussed the situation at length.
The audio, she confirmed in the 31-minute video, was real, and she'd had an abortion in January of 2020. She said that she'd been manipulated into having sex and did not initially recognize her lethargy and appetite as signs of pregnancy.
"As much as this is really embarrassing for me, and something that I don't want to talk about, it has come to the point where I have to. And I do have to tell my story," she said.
Cohn added that anyone who was faced with a similar decision shouldn't feel embarrassed by their choice, as "it's not a bad thing to do."
Ultimately, she said, she felt "alone" throughout the process, as she didn't tell her family the news.
"I couldn't tell my family. I didn't want them to be disappointed in me," she explained.
Some commenters said they "respected" Cohn for coming forward about her decision, but others voiced concerns about her age, wondering how old she was at the time of the pregnancy and abortion.
The leak of the private conversation, Archambault says, was a painful betrayal.
The infamous audio, Archambault revealed to Insider, was recorded by her best friend of five years.
"I was just really hurt that someone we loved and trusted would do this to us and hurt Dani this badly," she said, adding that the teenager felt compelled to make the video and "be honest" with her following after the clip leaked.
"This was definitely not the way she wanted it to come out. Eventually, she would've come out with it, but it's still so new and she's still grieving," Archambault said.
Ultimately, Archambault is proud of her daughter for using her platform to discuss the issue.
"I wish I could've protected my daughter and kept this from happening, 'cause no parent wants their child to have to go through something like this," she said. " But things like this happen, unfortunately, and I'm happy Dani was able to share her story in hopes to prevent other young girls from having to deal with the same pain and heartache she's had to deal with."
Since posting the YouTube video, Cohn and her mother appear to be moving forward.
Both Cohn and Archambault have resumed posting on social media and, according to recent Instagram posts, appear to be spending time together.
Archambault hopes her daughter will take time to heal in private.
"She obviously loves doing what she's doing but everyone needs a break sometimes just to take a step back and have some time to herself especially after all of this," Archambault said. "Dani will continue with her career when she's ready."
Cohn, however, appears to be moving forward with her career — and she's hoping to give back to the organization that helped her.
"Thanks to Planned Parenthood I was able to feel confident in my decision. After talking to my nurse, at the clinic, I knew everything was going to be okay and that I would get through this," she said in a statement. "I want to donate 30% of my Merch sales to Planned Parenthood to help their fight to provide affordable high-quality expert care."
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