Colleen Evans (née Ballinger) is best known as Miranda Sings, an eccentric and narcissistic YouTube character who boasts over 4.6 million subscribers and 600 million views. Sings has been delighting her “mirfandas” with a combination of music videos, farcical tutorials, and ridiculous commentary since 2008.
Evans (who also posts as herself on the PsychoSoprano and ColleenVlogs channels) was a 2014 Teen Choice Awards nominee and has appeared on the Tonight Show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and The View. She recently released Selp-Helf, a book written in Miranda’s voice, and kicks off her Summer Camp Tour in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
City Pages: How did your classical training prepare you to create Miranda Sings?
Miranda Sings: I studied classical music at Azusa Pacific University. I was a vocal performance major. Miranda is inspired by a lot of the girls I was in school with who were snooty and cocky and rude. I don’t feel like it was justified behavior because they weren’t even that good, so I was poking fun at them. I would get bored in class sometimes, so I would sing just above or below the pitch in choir to annoy my friends and make them laugh.
CP: How did you develop her fashion style and makeup?
MS: When Miranda was first created seven years ago, she was much more normal-looking. The only thing that’s remained the same is the middle part with the two clips pulling my hair back. Everything else has changed over time depending on what the hate comments said. I was fascinated at the thought of strangers watching my videos and leaving mean comments. Whenever they said they didn’t like something, I would do it more. If they didn’t like my lipstick color, I made it brighter. They said my lipstick was sloppy, so I made it sloppier. They didn’t like my clothes, so I made them uglier. The haters kind of created Miranda’s persona.
CP: Do those comments affect you personally?
MS: It depends on the type of hate comments. For the most part, they don’t upset me because they’re talking about a character that isn’t real. Sometimes there are comments that attack me personally, or my family or husband, and those do irritate me. I’ve learned over time how to let go of the hate comments and focus on the positive ones, because I do get a lot of lovely, positive comments from my viewers — and they stick up for me, which is really cool.
CP: Do you know how the Miranda Sings story will end? Have you planned her death?
MS: [Laughs] I have not planned her death — yet. I take it one day at a time. When this character started, I was not anticipating a career out of it. I was just being silly and trying to make my friends laugh. I never had a path for Miranda or a plan for her life. Even when it started to get success, I thought, “This will only last a day. There’s no way people will watch in a month.” I assume it’s going to be over tomorrow so I work as hard as I can today and try to enjoy it and live out the career to its fullest. I’m married now, and if I have kids, Miranda’s going to have kids. Miranda’s going to live as long as people want to see her.CP: You got married in July [to fellow YouTuber Joshua David Evans]. How did knowing that millions of people were going to watch your wedding video impact the planning?
MS: There was definitely extra pressure [but] I was not nervous at all to get married to Josh. I love him so much. In the planning of it, I wasn’t thinking about the viewers; I was thinking of how to keep the wedding as authentic as possible to who Josh and I are, because I know that’s why people watch us in the first place. The wedding really reflected our personalities, and I think that’s how the viewers would have wanted it. If we had tried to impress the viewers, they would have seen right through it because they know us so well.
CP: Given that you’re both YouTube celebrities, is there anything off-limits as far as filming goes?
MS: My husband films every single day of his life so there’s not a lot that’s off-limits, but we do have a private life. We’re hermit crabs. We spend most of our days at home. I cook dinner for him every single night that I possibly can. We certainly do fight like anyone else does but that’s not broadcasted. We don’t want to put any more hate or negativity out in the world. We want our channels to be a place for people to escape and be part of a positive environment. Anything negative, we try to keep out. Every once in a while it still creeps in there, because it’s life and we’re human.
CP: Have you ever regretted a video or deleted one after posting it?
MS: There have been a few videos I put on private, but not because I was ashamed or regretted them; it was more because they were old videos and I don’t think they’re that funny. There are things I’m embarrassed about or videos that are hard for me to watch, but I don’t regret anything. I feel like I’ve been authentic to who I am. I’m proud of everything I’ve got on the Internet right now.
CP: Beyond Miranda Sings, what are your aspirations for your career?
MS: I think the Internet is the future of entertainment. I need to keep writing and creating quality content that’s uplifting. Whether that’s on YouTube, or on television or in movies, I’m down for anything.
Miranda Sings' Summer Camp Tour
When: 7 p.m. Wed.
Where: Northrop Auditorium
Tickets: $35.50-$78 — click here.