Jennelle Eliana, born on August 23, 1998, is a YouTuber who became famous practically overnight for documenting her experiences on the road with her pet snake Alfredo. She’s got more followers than many celebrities, with over two million subscribers and over 90 million views since she joined YouTube in 2018. As one of the fastest-growing online personalities of all time, her meteoric rise to success has sparked rumors that she is a YouTube plant or that her impressive statistics are bought and paid for. We’ll take you through her fascinating life story as you celebrate her birthday.
Jennelle Eliana grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento and she spent all her life in California, leading a somewhat sheltered existence for most of it. Eliana’s elementary, middle, and high schools were located in the same neighborhood of Elk Grove, a diverse community that was a safe and predictable bubble. She was born to an Ethiopian father and Filipino mother who were both immigrants and who wanted to see their daughter succeed in the U.S. She studied hard in school, followed her parents’ strict rules, stayed away from social media, and wasn’t even allowed to get a job until she completed her studies. For Eliana, going off to college was her only way out of her suburban prison and when she was ordered to attend a neighborhood community college, she ran away from home in a rare display of disobedience and impulsive behavior.
Eliana moved to Sunnyvale, a suburb associated with Silicon Valley. While living with a roommate, she worked as a ski technician to pay her rent and cover some of her community college classes. Her time in Sunnyvale changed her perception of success and happiness. Surrounded by people working prestigious jobs in tech, Eliana couldn’t help but notice how unhappy they all seemed and how trapped they looked. Her work made just enough money to live on, and most of it went to the rent when she only slept in the house more than lived in it. One day while watching videos on YouTube, she stumbled across vanlifers and got intrigued. It looked like a simple but fulfilling life and didn’t seem too difficult to lead.
After saving up and doing lots of research, Eliana bought a van. She began modifying it to her tastes, documenting it on her Instagram account, which she opened in 2018, a year after she started living in the van full-time. She met her co-driver and companion Alfredo, the snake that same year, picking him up at a reptile expo in town. When Eliana started her YouTube channel, the explosion was unprecedented. With two videos, she accrued over one million subscribers in a matter of days, making her one of the fastest-growing accounts in YouTube history. As of 2022, she has over two million subscribers, and in May 2022, she purchased a permanent house. Eliana’s brand and channel keep growing as more people tune in to catch a glimpse of her vanlife.
Eliana opens her YouTube channel and this marks the beginning of a new life.
Eliana posts her first video on YouTube.
Eliana begins working on her new RV after getting rid of the first one.
In fulfillment of a long-held dream, Eliana is able to finally buy a house.
Why We Love Jennelle Eliana
She’s done what we all dream of
We’ve all thought of hopping into a car, driving far away, and going where the mood takes us. Eliana did it, showing us how fun and liberating it can be.
She is self-made
Racking up one million subscribers from two videos is no mean feat. Eliana bucked the trend and proved that you can come from nowhere and make it to the top.
She has shown us that happiness isn’t tied to wealth
Eliana has proven to us that you can find happiness and fulfillment in your life by following your heart and taking a risk. You don’t need piles of money and accolades. All you need is the open road and someone to share the adventure with.
5 Surprising Facts
Her lifestyle is affordable
In a YouTube video, Eliana said she spends around $705 per month on her vanlife expenses.
Eliana’s partner is a snake
She says she chose a snake because it's a low-maintenance pet.
Her first van was on Craigslist
Eliana bought a 1995 GMC Vandura Explorer van for $2,500 after seeing it on sale on Craigslist.
Her trips are spontaneous
Eliana doesn’t organize her trips unless she is meeting up with friends, preferring to go off-script as it makes her happier and more comfortable.
She has modest recording equipment
Eliana doesn’t use most of the fancy recording equipment other YouTubers have; she records, edits, and uploads everything on her phone.
Jennelle Eliana FAQs
What does Jennelle Eliana do for a living?
Eliana is a vanlifer.
How did Jennelle Eliana get famous?
She became famous for sharing her life and traveling with her pet snake in a van.
Is Jennelle Eliana Filipino?
Eliana is Filipino on her mother’s side.
Jennelle Eliana’s birthday dates