Branden Miller is an actor and comedian known for creating and portraying the fictional Joanne the Scammer, also known as Joanne Prada. The character gained notoriety for Miller's Twitter account, which posts from Joanne's perspective, and Miller's Instagram account, which consists of various videos of Joanne's character. As of May 2018, his Instagram account has nearly two million followers and his Twitter account has nearly 700,000 followers. His social media posts often discuss themes of scamming, being "fake" or "petty", and parody on being a white woman.
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Miller claims he had a difficult time discussing his homosexuality with his classmates, and described himself as "trade". He came out to his family and friends after his sister discovered gay porn on his computer, and says he was not shown support from his mother, who claimed his sexuality was unbiblical. Miller discovered at the age of 17 that he was adopted, and that he was born to a mother of Puerto Rican descent and a black father of unspecified heritage.
Before creating the character of Joanne, Miller began starring in pornographic videos on "cam sites" at the age of 18, under the pseudonym "Playboi Branden". In his pornographic videos, he would "act straight" in order to appeal to those who fetishized "gay-for-pay" men.
"Miss Prada" and conception
Miller says that Joanne's creation was inspired by videos made by YouTube personality Chris Crocker, mainly his video "Leave Britney Alone". She was initially created as the character "Miss Prada", and had the role of a prostitute. Miller uploaded videos to YouTube of his character "Miss Prada", who would often proclaim her infatuation for singer Chris Brown and make sexual advances towards various men. The character was also inspired by the discovery of his adoption, which he says he wanted to "run away" from. The character also stemmed from Miller's belief that "every modern woman is a scammer".
In May 2016, Miller was emailed by an anonymous person claiming to work for Twitter, who would "verify" his account if he provided certain information. However, the anonymous person deleted Joanne's account instead. The person asked for $500 in return for the Twitter account, which Miller refused to pay. Eventually, the Twitter handle was returned to Miller and was also verified.
In August 2016, Miller joined the entertainment network Super Deluxe to begin creating a series of videos starring Joanne the Scammer. The first, entitled "Caucasian Living with Joanne the Scammer", stars actress Chelsea Peretti. Miller also starred in an 8-minute long Thelma & Louise-themed short entitled "Khadi & Joanne", which also starred internet personality and comedian Khadi Don, and was produced by Super Deluxe as well.
Joanne the Scammer has received attention from various notable figures such as Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Solange Knowles, Teyana Taylor, Ariana Grande, Amber Rose, Rowan Blanchard, Sky Ferreira, Chelsea Peretti, and others. Miller was invited to the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards for his portrayal of the character of Joanne. Miller co-hosted Amber Rose's annual SlutWalk Festival in 2016.
The Fader describes Joanne as "a fiercely independent hot mess who goes to obscene, hilarious lengths to look out for herself" and "a byproduct of how frightening and lonely the world can feel". Teen Vogue describes the character as "a self-proclaimed 'messy b*tch who lives for the drama'". Paper Magazine calls Joanne "a gorgeously exaggerated meshing of meme culture and the darkness of the deep web and Craigslist with elements of gender fluidity, hip-hop and the ball scene tossed in". The Huffington Post says that Joanne gained popularity through "embezzlement and offensive remarks". BuzzFeed called her "a hilarious and compelling character that has become wildly popular on Twitter". The character also appeared in Fergie's music video for "Tension". The character had a cameo appearance in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral.
- McDermott, D. "Joanne The Scammer Lives For Drama. Branden Miller Is Just Trying To Live". The FADER. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "MTV VMAS 2016: Joanne the Scammer, 3 Things to Know". People. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- O'Donnell, Carey (28 March 2016). "Talking Business With Social Media Prophet Joanne the Scammer". Paper Mag. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Gorton, Thomas (5 May 2016). "Learn how to scam with the internet's biggest cheat". Dazed. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Pulliam-Moore, Charles. "How Branden Miller, the Man Behind Joanne the Scammer, Got Scammed Off Twitter". Fusion. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "How Joanne The Scammer Got Scammed Off Twitter". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
- Deluxe, Super. "Caucasian Living with Joanne the Scammer". Caucasian Living with Joanne the Scammer. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- McCormick, Luke. "Watch Caucasian Living With Joanne The Scammer". The FADER. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Bergado, Gabe (18 August 2016). "Joanne the Scammer breaks into Chelsea Peretti's Caucasian mansion". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Jung, E. Alex (18 August 2016). "Joanne the Scammer Breaks Into Caucasian Lady Chelsea Peretti's House". Vulture. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- McCartney, Claire (18 August 2016). "Watch Joanne the Scammer's New Video: 'Caucasian Living'". Paper Mag. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- O'Donnell, Carey (1 November 2016). "Solange Knowles Won Halloween Before It Even Happened". Paper Mag. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Chau, Thomas. "Teyana Taylor Wins Halloween as Joanne the Scammer". PopCrush. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Adhiambo Rogo, Paula (30 October 2016). "Teyana Taylor Dressed Up As Joanne The Scammer For Halloween And It's Hilarious". Essence. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Elizabeth, De. "Ariana Grande's Faceswap With Joanne the Scammer is Pretty Iconic". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Vibe (27 August 2016). "Joanne The Scammer To Attend MTV VMAs 2016". Vibe. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Diaz, Evelyn. "This Is Proof That Joanne the Scammer Is the Diva We All Want to Be". BET. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Rose, Amber. "Lineup". The Amber Rose SlutWalk. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Bellino, Damian. "Everyone Turned Out and Slayed at Amber Rose's SlutWalk". VH1 News. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Finley, Taryn (31 August 2016). "15 Times Joanne The Scammer Was The Messiest B***h Alive". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Notopolous, Katie. "How Joanne The Scammer Got Scammed Off Twitter". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 29 December 2016.