We sometimes say of certain famous child stars, “She grew up onscreen.” And that truism certainly applies to Julianna Grace LeBlanc.
She’s just turned 17. And she’s been a YouTube star for 14 of those years. A little quick math tells us her online career started at the tender age of 3, when her parents began posting gymnastics videos of her.
Over the years, LeBlanc’s range of contributions to her incredibly popular YouTube channel has run the gamut from challenge and lifestyle videos to professionally produced music videos. Along the way, she graduated from YouTube to roles on multiple TV shows, including her current stint on Nickelodeon’s show Side Hustle.
Many of her earlier videos find LeBlanc—who went by the first name Annie for years but then switched it to Jules—doing all sorts of fun, innocent stuff. But as she’s gotten older (and changed video platforms, which I’ll get to in a moment), things have gotten decidedly less innocent.
The vast majority of the videos young fans will find on LeBlanc’s YouTube channel consist of challenges, games and just goofing around with friends. They come with self-explanatory titles like “My Workout Routine,” “What’s on My iPhone,” “Morning Skincare Routine,” etc. It’s exactly the kind of light, fun stuff you’d expect a successful young teen influencer to be producing—videos that make the most of LeBlanc’s natural affinity for the camera and carefree, girl-next-door vibe.
That said, as she’s gotten older, some of the videos have begun to veer in a more adult direction. The video for her song “Utopia,” for example, features her snuggling and cuddling close with an onscreen boyfriend, as well as wearing some revealing outfits.
While researching LeBlanc, I noticed that her most recent video on her YouTube channel was a year or so ago—an unusual gap for a prominent young social media influencer.
Digging a little deeper, I found that LeBlanc’s absence on YouTube these days corresponds with the fact that she’s jumped to TikTok in the last year. The videos there demonstrate a big jump in “maturity,” and not in a good way. Profanity, skimpier outfits (including one video shot in lingerie), sensual dancing and references to sex (one video includes Kings of Leon’s song “Your Sex Is on Fire”) are virtually the only things fans will find. And LeBlanc’s carefree attitude has been replaced with a lot of makeup and sultry glances at the camera.
Frankly, the gap between LeBlanc’s YouTube channel and her TikTok page is pretty jarring. And it’s hard to imagine any conscientious parents who’d want their tween or young teen daughters imitating the trajectory this teen influencer has taken. In fact, it almost feels like a cautionary-tale case study in the dangers of social media combined with online fame at a young age.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.