Modeling is a career with many competitors and therefore, it requires one to be passionate, tenacious, and determined. Erika Costell has proven that she possesses all these qualities and has risen in her career as a model. She has also become a force to be reckoned with on social media. In July 2017, the young lady launched her YouTube channel and in a little time, exploded all over the platform.
That meteoric rise was partly fuelled by her pretend romance with a famous YouTuber, Jake Paul (the duo subsequently fell for each other for real). Famously tagged as Jerika, Costell and Paul dated for several months during which they reigned supreme as the “it couple” of YouTube. They, however, broke up in late 2018 and since then, there have been controversies and lots of soul searching as well.
How Erika Costell Achieved Her Life-long Dream of Becoming a Model
Erika Costell was born on November 12, 1993, in Bedford, Michigan, as Erika Michaelann Costell. She has a dozen siblings including her half-brother, JC Sheehan, and her half-sisters, Morgan and Dani Sheehan, who are also social media personalities. She is greatly obsessed with goats, yes, you read right, goats. This is a weird revelation as girls her age would prefer a dog or a cat. But she keeps one as a pet, a female goat named Twinklebuddy.
Erika harbored thoughts of becoming a recognized model from an early age and so as a little girl, would get fashion magazines and mimic the models in the pictures. She also became a cheerleader in high school for many years and a national champion cheerleader at some point. The young girl, however, did not neglect her academics as she studied business administration at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
At the age of 16, Erika Costell compiled pictures of herself with the help of Larry Murdock, her first manager, and sent it off to a modeling agency. This resulted in a series of jobs as a teen model. The beautiful and talented model would later gain fame from DAN Talent Group Inc. and also represent the Wilhelmina International and Ideal Fit Models. She has not looked back ever since.
How She Became A YouTube Star
Erika Costell initially joined YouTube in March 2014 but didn’t pay the platform much attention for the next few years. Fast-forward to 2017, she decided to take it more seriously and started uploading videos on a regular basis. Her content largely covered vlogs on music as well as other noteworthy topics and she soon garnered thousands of followers and viewers.
Costell’s fame, however, spread like wildfire after she started collaborating with a controversial YouTuber, Jake Paul. Jake incorporated her into his Team 10 project, a unique incubator for nurturing aspiring social media influencers to perfection. The project included other social media stars such as Tessa Brooks and Alissa Violet, and also attracted major investors like Vayner Capital, Sound Ventures, Danhua Capital, Adam Zeplain, Horizons Alpha, and A-grade investments.
As part of their work under the Team 10 umbrella, Costell and Jake created lots of videos together. One of them was a video that showed them getting married in Las Vegas in June 2017 and fans immediately lapped it up. That particular video garnered about 31 million views and since then, Costell has become YouTube royalty. Her eponymous channel now has 4.47 million followers and 153 million views.
Making Sense of her Fake-turned-Real Relationship With Jake Paul
As earlier stated, Costell and Jake Paul first started out by collaborating as members of Team 10. They then broke the internet when they released a video of them getting married in Las Vegas in June 2017. This fuelled the speculations that they were married or at least dating and the rumors further gathered momentum after the pair dropped a song titled Jerika (apparently a mashup of their two names) in July 2017.
The pair also filmed a lot of other videos about their supposed relationship. It, however, turned out to be all a ruse as Jake revealed in a September 2017 interview with the New York Times that the whole relationship was just as fake as WWE. Following that clarification, Costell and Jake continued their Team 10 work but fell for each other along the way. This real romance commenced around January 2018 and the couple did a lot of adorable videos that left fans yearning for more. They, however, caused a small uproar after they posted a video of themselves semi-nude.
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) November 7, 2018
The Jerika romance lasted for about six months before the couple called it quits in November 2018. In an emotional post on Twitter, Jake revealed that they had done lots of soul-searching and discussion before reaching the conclusion that breaking up was a healthy decision for them. He stated that it was quite heartbreaking and asked fans to respect their privacy. He then went on to shower encomiums on his ex, describing her as a beautiful soul as well as a powerful, smart, and independent woman who changed his life on many levels.
Jake followed up his Twitter post with a YouTube video, Jake Uncut, in which he broke down what went wrong. According to him, their relationship had become super rocky and super toxic for some time and it got to a point that they were deliberately hurting each other. He also suggested that fame took a toll on them and maintained that they broke up, not because it was what they wanted but rather because it was what they both needed.
What is Erika Costell Doing Now?
Erika Costell has moved on with her life and is focusing on expanding her career. She has signed new deals with a modeling agency as well as a record label. She also founded a women-oriented music label, named BIA Entertainment, in 2020. The model is yet to give her heart out again but her ex is having no such problems. Jake is now married to another popular social media personality named Tana Mongeau. He and Tana started dating around May 2019 and got engaged the next month. They later tied the knot on the 28th of July 2019 in Las Vegas.
Even though Jake Paul is now married, the fascination with him and Costell continue. Back in August 2019, the pair were photographed at a restaurant getting lunch and many people jumped to the conclusion that Jake was cheating on his wife. He later came out to deny that it was him and maintained that even if it was, there was nothing wrong with a married man getting lunch with an ex whom he had not seen in a while. Two months later, in November 2019, Costell and Jake were spotted hanging out in San Diego. This caused an uproar as fans asked the erstwhile couple for explanations.
An exasperated Jake wondered why exes couldn’t be friends while Costell explained that they only got together as part of the healing and moving-on process. According to her, it was all about growing up and becoming a stronger person and she couldn’t care less what people made of the meetups. Through this whole brouhaha, Jake’s wife has maintained a cool attitude. She however once stated that it wasn’t cool finding out that her husband was meeting up with his ex via Twitter.