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Belle Delphine

South African-born British internet celebrity, model, and YouTuber

Belle Delphine

Delphine in October 2020

Born

Mary-Belle Kirschner


(1999-10-23) 23 October 1999 (age 21)[1]
Other namesBunny Delphine
Occupation
  • Internet celebrity
  • pornographic actress
  • model
  • YouTuber
Years active2015–present[a]
Modelling information
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)[3]
Hair colourBrown
Eye colourHazel
YouTube information
Channel
Years active2016, 2018–present
Genre
Subscribers1.92 million
Total views44.3 million

Updated: 11 January 2021[4]

Mary-Belle Kirschner (born 23 October 1999),[1] better known as Belle Delphine, is a South African-born English Internet celebrity, pornographic actress, model, and YouTuber. She is most notable for her erotic and cosplay modelling on Instagram, sometimes blending the two together. Her posts on the platform were often influenced by popular memes and trends. Media outlets have described her as an "e-girl" and a cross between an Internet troll and a performance artist. Delphine has also been cited as an influence on the e-girl style commonly adopted by TikTok users.

Delphine's online persona began in 2018 through her cosplay modeling on Instagram. In mid–2019, she gained notoriety through creating a satirical Pornhub account and selling her "GamerGirl Bath Water" product through her online store. Shortly after, her Instagram account was deleted due to community guideline violations. After a hiatus from October 2019 through June 2020, she started an OnlyFans account, on which she posts adult content. She also began uploading music videos on her YouTube account, which often functioned as promotions for her OnlyFans account.

Early life

Delphine was born in South Africa on 23 October 1999.[5][6] She was raised in a devout Christian household.[7] After her parents divorced, she and her mother moved to England and settled in Lymington, Hampshire.[6] She attended Priestlands School in nearby Pennington, but dropped out at the age of 14 due to being bullied online.[6][1] Around this time, she was treated for depression.[6] She found work as a waitress, babysitter, and barista.[1] She began posting pictures of her cosplay onto her Facebook account, which was later deleted,[1] and described her now-deleted cosplay posts as "low-res and dimly lit".[1]

Online career

First stint as an online content creator (2015–2019)

Early years and Instagram modelling

Delphine has had an Instagram account since 2015,[8] and in July 2016, she registered a YouTube account.[9] In August 2016, Delphine uploaded a makeup tutorial, demonstrating how to do a cat-eye.[10][11] In 2018, Delphine began to regularly upload pictures of her modelling on Instagram, which had a distinct, self-proclaimed "weird elf kitty girl" aesthetic, and she used accessories such as pink wigs, thigh-high stockings, and cat ears.[5] She also regularly produced cosplay-related content,[5] which included characters such as Harley Quinn and D.Va.[11] In March 2018, Delphine launched a Patreon account, where supporters could pledge a monthly donation and receive access to self-described "lewd" photosets.[8][11] In September, she uploaded a second YouTube video featuring her giving a tour of her pastel pink room, while wearing fake braces and thigh-high stockings.[11] Rolling Stone noted that her style in this second video is more in-line with that of the one she later adopted during her rise to prominence on Instagram, which they described as "alien Disney princess porn star."[11]

Delphine's Instagram follower count surged from 850,000 in November 2018 to 4.2 million in July 2019.[11] Her content began to notably and frequently include ahegao facial expressions, which are exaggerated, eyes-rolled-back expressions that signify an orgasm, often featured in adult anime.[5][12][13] Complex stated that "along with her more traditional photos, she has posted clips of herself coyly eating a raw egg, shell and all. A scroll through her feed is just as likely to find colorful thirst traps as it is to see photos of her playing with a dead octopus."[12] As her popularity grew, Delphine began to draw controversy for her content. In January 2019, adult content creator Indigo White alleged that while underage, Delphine used other sex workers' nude photos and represented them as her own.[11][14] A February video, which showed Delphine dancing to a song about suicide while holding a gun, also drew controversy.[15] Shortly after it was posted, false rumors of her death began to circulate online.[15][16]

Delphine was listed as being involved with three companies that were incorporated between October 2018 and July 2019: Innovative Artists, Plain Jane Investments, and Belle Store.[17][18][19] Innovative Artists and Plain Jane Investments additionally list an individual named Joshua John Gray, with Gray resigning from Innovative Artists in 2019.[17][18] Innovative Artists was formerly named under Belle Delphine Limited.[17]

Pornhub account and GamerGirl Bath Water stunts

In June 2019, Delphine made a post on Instagram in which she promised to create a Pornhub account if the post reached 1 million likes.[20] Pornhub responded to the post, calling it "the best news."[21] The post quickly earned over 1.8 million likes; in response, Delphine held up her promise and created a Pornhub account, to which she uploaded 12 videos.[20] The videos she uploaded were troll videos that featured misleading titles and thumbnails.[11][21] Each of the videos received poor like-to-dislike ratios, ranging between 66% and 77% dislikes.[22] Pornhub Insights also published a statistics report detailing that Delphine's videos became the most-disliked in the history of the website.[23] One of the videos, titled "PEWDIEPIE goes all the way INSIDE Belle Delphine", was a minute-long clip which featured "a cat ear-clad Delphine eating a picture of YouTuber PewDiePie, winking throughout".[20] The video drew a response from PewDiePie, who continued with its joking nature.[15][24] Later in 2019, Delphine was nominated for a Pornhub Award.[25] In December, Pornhub released their annual statistics report, which included Delphine as the most-searched celebrity in 2019;[26] "Belle Delphine" was also the fourth-most-searched term in general during the year.[27]

Wordmark logo for Belle Delphine's online storefront.

On 1 July 2019, Delphine launched her online storefront, along with a product that was dubbed "GamerGirl Bath Water".[28][29] The product was marketed as the remains of her bath water and was priced at $30 (£24).[28] Delphine stated that the idea to sell her bath water came from continued fan comments on her photos saying they would drink her bath water.[5] Upon initially selling the product, Delphine added the note: "This water is not for drinking and should only be used for sentimental purposes".[28] The first run of the bath water sold out in three days.[29]

Her selling of GamerGirl Bath Water was met with controversy, media coverage, and Internet memes.[29][30] Two days after the bath water product sold out, a website was created attempting to capitalize on its success, selling "GamerGirl Pee" for just under $10,000; this new website and product was confirmed not to be by Delphine.[31] @BakeRises, a since-banned Twitter user, impersonated The Daily Mail as a means to fabricate a headline alleging that Delphine's product caused a herpes outbreak.[24] Snopes debunked this claim, stating that "the 'herpes' twist to the story was no more than a hoax."[32] YouTube video responses also sprung up featuring individuals drinking, cooking, and vaping the bath water.[11][30]

EJ Dickson of Rolling Stone noted that the response from media outlets alternated between "deriding Delphine's fans for their naïvete and applauding her for her marketing savvy".[11] Katie Bishop, writing for The Guardian, reported that the sale was "widely mocked".[33] International Business Times wrote "while some people were amused by the idea of buying someone's bathwater, others have said that anyone who bought the GamerGirl Bath Water was 'sad' and 'pathetic'".[30] Patricia Hernandez of Polygon commented "Perhaps this seems like a strange thing to do, but it's very similar to the phenomenon of sex workers selling intimate items, such as panties". Hernandez additionally opined "What's curious about Delphine's side hustle here is that it seems to be a mixture of business and next-level performance art. In the video advertising the bath water, she outright calls this a stunt. And if you look at her wider Instagram oeuvre, Delphine's work is defined by her willingness to go there. The result is as strange as it is funny".[28]

In a July 2019 interview with The Guardian, Delphine stated "I'm lucky. I can do crazy things and get to see the world react to it, and there's definitely enjoyment in that, even if it's sometimes a little scary. I get a bigger reaction to my weirder content but I think that's only possible because I also make risqué content".[33] She added "I think it's been amazing and fun, but it's time to move on to new things. I have a diary next to my bed full of crazy ideas. I'm not sure what will top this, but I'm looking forward to seeing what will come next".[33]

Instagram account ban and social media hiatus

On 19 July 2019, Delphine's Instagram account was banned.[34] Business Insider reported that Delphine's account ban came "after a seemingly co-ordinated reporting campaign against her."[35] However, a spokesperson for Instagram told the outlet that her account was removed for violating the company's community guidelines.[35] The specific post or reason that led to Delphine's ban was not provided by the spokesperson, who cited privacy.[36] At the time of her ban, the "belle.delphine" account had accumulated over 4.5 million followers, according to Business Insider and Social Blade, a social media analytics firm.[35][37] Commenting on the ban, Delphine stated she was in contact with Instagram to restore her account.[38]

After her ban from Instagram, Delphine continued using her Patreon and Twitter accounts. At one point, her Patreon account had over 4,400 supporters.[8] Polygon noted that "at least one man" spent $2,500 in exchange for a personal Skype conversation with Delphine.[28] After a tweet on 21 August, Delphine became uncharacteristically inactive on her social media platforms.[39] This prompted many of her Patreon supporters to believe they were being scammed, as she had previously promised upcoming special content.[39][40] During her hiatus, PewDiePie featured memes relating to her GamerGirl Bath Water product on his Meme Review series.[8]

On 4 October 2019, H3 Podcast co-host Ethan Klein suggested that Delphine may have had legal trouble due to posting her bath water product.[39] On, 7 October, Delphine tweeted an image of her her mugshot, with a caption detailing she was arrested.[39] The image contained a "Metropolitan Police Service" watermark, although there was not any external proof of an arrest, and the Metropolitan Police said the claim could not be verified.[38][39] Delphine later alleged that someone had stolen her pet hamster at a party and that she vandalised that person's car in retaliation, resulting in her arrest.[40][41] Online publications and users raised concerns over the validity of Delphine's claims due to her previous trolling; some noted that Metropolitan Police mugshots do not contain watermarks.[40] Delphine uploaded her fourth YouTube video on 4 November 2019, before taking a break.[42]

Return to social media (2020–present)

Transition to OnlyFans and pornographic content

In June 2020, Delphine returned to social media, uploading a YouTube music video parodying the song "Gooba" by American rapper 6ix9ine.[2][43] The video also promoted her newly-launched Instagram, TikTok, and OnlyFans accounts.[2][43] She was later banned from TikTok.[44] The Spectator and Business Insider reported that her OnlyFans account draws in over $1.2 million (£1 million) per month.[6][45] In September, she uploaded a music video for Doll.ia's "Plushie Gun" song.[46] The video featured Delphine twerking in fishnets, licking a razor blade and playing with toy guns.[46]

On 20 November 2020, Delphine's YouTube channel was terminated "due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy on nudity or sexual content".[46][47] Prior to this, many of her videos had been age-restricted for their adult content.[46] Her channel had around 1.8 million subscribers and 78 million video views prior to its termination.[46][48] The termination, which happened without warning, drew criticism from both Delphine and general YouTube audiences, who questioned if there was a double standard between mainstream celebrities and independent content creators like Delphine.[47] Her channel was shortly reinstated with YouTube attributing the termination to "a mistake by the review team."[49] Around this time, Delphine started posting adult and explicit content on her Twitter account. On 25 December 2020, she uploaded homemade hardcore porn featuring her boyfriend (who prefers to remain anonymous) to her OnlyFans account.[6][50]

Media reception and public image

Belle Delphine's

ahegao

face attracted considerable online media attention

[5][51]

Delphine's persona and content has garnered curiosity and scrutiny from online users and media outlets alike. Various outlets, including Business Insider, The Cut, Kotaku, and Polygon have described her as a "troll", and several instances of her activity online as "stunts".[5][8][28][24] Many of those outlets also assert that Delphine's often erotic content has a satirical and ironic layer to it.[11][24][44] Delphine herself views her modelling as falling into the category of erotica,[45] but in December 2020, when asked on if she considers her online activity as performance art, Delphine disputed the idea.[44] Instead, she described her actions as "just jokes," and went on to say she enjoys "playing" around online, calling the internet "a really fun place to tease and mess around with".[44]

Writing for Vice, Kitty Guo described Delphine's humour as "tongue-in-cheek and deliberately gross-out", and commented that her modelling shots have a "slick glamour".[1] Bishop wrote that Delphine "has successfully tapped into an online subculture by creating content that exists somewhere between Internet pranks and erotic modelling. For many of her followers, Delphine is a personality before she is a pornographic model".[33] Alex Galbraith, writing for Complex, commented that her "exceptionally weird" stunts "seem to be satirizing the whole idea of sexiness".[12] Writing for Kotaku, Joshua Rivera opined that the overt sexuality in Delphine's content was presented satirically, "given her long list of stunts that all tend to subvert or toy with well-established fetish tropes".[24] On the sexuality found in her social media posts, James Cook of The Telegraph commented on Delphine being "one of a new breed of mostly young social media celebrities to have found a way to harness obsessive, sexualised internet culture to make huge amounts of money", albeit in a "dubious fashion."[44]

Her association with an e-girl image has been covered in the media, with publications having cited her as influencing the e-girl aesthetic commonly found on TikTok.[52][53] Kotaku and Business Insider have described Delphine as a "peak self-aware e-girl",[54] and as a figure that some may point to as "a symbol of the first wave of e-girl", respectively.[52] Her association with a gamer girl image and its tropes has also been acknowledged. After the success of the GamerGirl Bath Water product, Rivera opined "even the notion of 'gamer girl bath water' plays with all manner of stereotypes about women in games and how some men see them: as mythical unicorns to lust after".[24] Rolling Stones's EJ Dickson described Delphine's posts as being more "bizarre" and "ridiculous", rather than "overtly sexual", and opined that "Such content appears to indicate that Delphine is leaning into — if not overtly parodying — the perception of the ideal girl as a hot, innocent young thing whose desire to play Fortnite is only eclipsed by her desire for nerdy gamer boy dick".[11] Dickson also opined on why Delphine attracts much controversy, writing that:

Delphine markets herself as a 'gamer girl', which engages with a very specific stereotype about women in gaming. In the gaming community, there's a longstanding perception of female gamers as desperate attention-seekers who sexualise themselves to get more views and capitalise on horny dudes' desire for nerdy female counterparts.[11]

Lela London, writing for The Telegraph, opined that "for women to truly escape gaming's gendered grip, we need to raise more non-fetishised Gamer Girls to the top. Belle Delphine is proof there is still quite a way to go."[51] Aoife Wilson, Head of Video at Eurogamer has conversely commented positively on Delphine's online persona and content, asserting that "[Delphine] is an incredibly savvy businesswoman. She gained a huge online following through her love of cosplay and her ability to replicate real-life ahegao faces. She's kept that momentum going by engaging with her followers and trying new things, always skirting the line between sexy and surreal. She absolutely knows her audience".[51]

Delphine's polarising social media presence has also been noted, with the London Evening Standard writing that she "has sparked a flurry of debate online, with fans branding her everything from a master manipulator to a harmful sexist stereotype of gamer girls."[55] Business Insider cited one fan response in particular, which likened Delphine to a "2019 Andy Warhol".[8] Citing her as "a surrealist troll that became too much for Instagram", Business Insider ranked Delphine 89th on the 2019 edition of its UK Tech 100 list.[56] The list's purpose is to feature the one-hundred "most interesting, innovative, and influential people shaping the UK tech scene."[56]

Her content's use of themes from Japanese popular culture has also been examined. Dickson wrote that the references to Japanese culture in Delphine's content have sparked criticism, as she has been "accused of racism and cultural appropriation in her cosplay, as well as capitalizing on the eroticisation of young girls".[11] Conversely, Japanese adult performer Marica Hase stated "I see her manga characters as more of an homage and not racist."[11]

Personal life

Delphine has a boyfriend, who often serves as the photographer of her modeling content and chooses to remain anonymous.[6][44] He anonymously performed with her in her hardcore porn debut, which was released on her OnlyFans account in December 2020.[6][57]

Notes

  1. ^ Delphine took a hiatus from October 2019–June 2020.[2]

References

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