The hidden side of Jake Paul
“Are we doing video?” Jake Paul asks, half-aiming the question at me and half-directing it towards his representative on the Zoom call. “Err, yeah?” I reply. “I don’t usually upload the video from these sorts of chats, but...”
But it would seem strange to interview one of the biggest screen presences of the last decade and not have him appear, well, on screen.
‘Biggest’ replaces ‘most popular’ here, given the word ‘popular’ tends to imply widespread affection, and it’s fair to say that Paul is more well known than well liked. Controversies have arisen at intervals since the American emerged on Vine in 2013, three years before his two-season stint on the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark. Paul, 26, has nevertheless only seen his profile grow in the decade since, with 20 million YouTube subscribers and 25m Instagram followers at the time of writing. Still, he does not identify as a YouTuber or influencer anymore; he’s a professional boxer.
If his knockout win over former NBA star Nate Robinson in 2020 didn’t convince you, or his knockouts of MMA stars Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren in 2021, or his decision win over UFC legend Anderson Silva in 2022, then he hoped his fight with Tommy Fury would have. Well, kind of; Paul would argue he doesn’t care what you think at all, even after Fury outpointed him in February.
When I start our interview – conducted a week before that fight – by asking what the biggest misconception about Jake Paul is, he takes a moment to think, before laughing: “I think people... they don’t think I’m a real person. And I think they judge me from my past a lot, versus looking at who I am today. I think, as humans, we naturally do that, so I get it. But yeah, I think that’s it...
“And they compare me to my