Canadian Influencer 'Plushh' Talks About Her Viral Toronto Accent, Music Career And Balling Up Rules

Plushh is a Canadian influencer and musical artist perhaps best known online for her viral "Balling Up Rules" and "If The Business Is True" videos, in which she speaks with a heavy Toronto accent that inspired intense discussions on social media. She's been posting content online, including music videos and comedy skits, since around 2018 and has steadily amassed a following, becoming something of an icon in the Greater Toronto Area.

We spoke with Plushh over Zoom about how she got started making music, how she became an influencer, her most viral moments and much more to get a better picture of the woman behind the viral accent.

Q: When did you first start pursuing a career on social media?

A: So I was straight out [of] domestic violence, then COVID hit. No one was listening to my music. I'm like, "I'm depressed. I'm like, "I gotta do something." So TikTok was booming and one of my close friends was popping on it. He was like, "Yo, you gotta just try this out." So I'm like, okay, let me try it out. Let me see if it will pop off for my music. Then it took a different direction, it went straight to comedy, which I do appreciate. I still push the music, that's my main goal.

Q: What was your earliest popular content like?

A: I think I started off with mostly trendy videos, trying to pick up on the trends on TikTok. I think that's my best advice for anyone trying to do TikToks. But I wanted to do my own thing. So I started to do skits and then I honestly just rambled. I like to ramble and I was rambling and people just mess with it, to be honest, it's crazy. The accent is unique to them.

Q: Is music still something you're pursuing?

A: Yeah. I have like 15 or 16 songs released. I was pushing music very heavily and then the TikTok account was taking off, so I'm like, "Okay, I wanna roll with this 'cause I'm trying to take like a Drake standpoint. Drake is an artist. He's always been an artist. He's always been passionate about music, but that's not how he got up. He started to do comedy, went to SNL and started to get recognized. So that's kind of the direction I'm going in my head. But yeah, I have a ton of songs released, I have a EP coming out soon, "Project Weston." Yeah, the music is crazy right now.

Q: Some of your earliest viral content was your "Toronto man" skits. What are those and what is a Toronto man?

A: I feel like Toronto's a very opinionated city. It's very unique. It has all these cultures coming together. You meet very unique people here. I think people around me inspired [those skits]. To me that's kind of like regular life, like just how people act. A few lingos took off when I was talking on the TikTok and I'm like, "How funny would it be if I dressed up as a Toronto man and did skits like that?"

I feel like there's two types of Toronto mans. There's the type that are rappers, trappers, cappers. Then there's like the business Toronto men. But I feel like Toronto's a very corrupt city. I feel like the men get in their heads here and I feel like they get stuck in this vibe, where like, in Toronto, you can't make it out. You're kind of stuck in this environment and I think that's what makes Toronto men, because they're just trying to find any means to get out. But yeah, there are two types of Toronto men: The grungy ones and then the ones that are just floating around in Toronto trying to get by.

@theofficialplushh factz #fyp #toronto #plushh ♬ original sound – 💙 Plushh 💙

Q: One of your most viral moments came in 2022 when you explained Toronto's "balling up rules" to social media. How did that video come about?

A: Honestly, I smoke a lot of weed and I was tired of smoking with people and the certain things that they do. I was just on [TikTok], rambling. I think I made 40 videos in my drafts that day. You never know which one's gonna bump. I didn't even think that was gonna bump. I just wanted certain people to know, if you smoke with me, don't smoke a certain way.

The Balling Up Rules video, those rules were literally rules to smoke with me. I guess it was a cocky thing. A lot of people disagreed with the [no] filter [on your joint] thing. Now that I'm getting older, I agree with them. It's just better on your teeth, better on everything, smoking with a filter. But yeah, the "balling up rules" thing was crazy. I didn't even think people would react like that. Yeah.

Q: What was your initial reaction to going viral for "balling up rules?"

A: I thought it was crazy. It usually takes 24 hours for the algorithm to click in. That video wasn't even [up for] 24 hours, it was just booming. I don't feel as if it got crazy views, like maybe a million or two, but I feel like people in the city [of Toronto], in the geographic area, loved it.

I think in Toronto, balling up, that's what we call smoking weed, so it's very prominent to people in this area. So that's why it picked up. But I thought it was crazy, it took off pretty quickly, but I think it stopped around like two million.

Q: A lot of people seemed captivated by the "Toronto accent." Did you expect people to have such strong opinions on the way you speak?

A: To me, it's pretty crazy because this is just how I talk regularly. If you go to an interview or at work, I tone [the accent] down, but this was just regular life to me. I was just ranting, so I didn't even think people would say anything about the way I talk at all. I was more focused on aspects of being a female, like how you look on camera, and stuff like that. I never would've thought they would say something about the way I talk, especially being a rapper.

I think that people have a hard time understanding that any skin complexion can grow up in certain environments. You surround yourself with certain people, like if I surrounded myself with certain people who maybe took a different direction in life and did not speak like that, then maybe I would have that sort of vibe. I've been around all types of people, but just from living here so long, I guess it's just how I sound.

Q: Where do you think the negative reactions to the accent come from, like people calling it the "most disgusting accent on earth?"

A: I have no clue why. If I was scrolling and I saw someone [with an accent like that], I'd think, "Well that's them, that's what they're doing. It's not me." If I don't agree with it, it's not me. I feel like maybe it's because of my skin complexion or they're confused, maybe they think I'm trying to be someone I'm not. [Maybe they think] I'm trying to be Black, but that's like not my persona at all. Free Palestine, you know what I'm saying?

I think […] you could look at me [if I don't talk] and be like, "Wow, this girl is she smart? Does she have an education? She looks put together, she could have money. Oh, does she come from a good family, a big house?" Then when someone starts talking, you learn about all their trauma and all of their stuff. I feel like maybe people just didn't get to know me enough [before the virality]. As soon as you put yourself on the internet, people form fake opinions. I love it. I want them to go to bed every night sleeping, knowing, "Wow, who is this girl?" You know what I'm saying?

Q: Your next big viral moment happened in 2023, when a clip of you talking on the Seeking Success podcast about a big influencer getting rich and "leaving their mom in the hood" went viral. What's the story behind that clip and was the business true?

A: Shoutout to Seeking Success podcast. Honestly, we didn't even think that was gonna go viral. But once again, I think it's just facts. I think that a lot of kids, especially those growing up who don't have a lot of money fear what's gonna happen to their parents if they don't make a lot of money.

I wasn't really even talking about [the influencer] in general, if the business is true, to me it was true. You know what I'm saying? I heard some stuff. I've seen some stuff, you know what I'm saying? So yeah, I was just ranting about that. I am passionate about it, 'cause there's someone, whether it's him or not, there are people with a lot of money who just run and leave their people behind, never mind the friends who've been with them since day one. So, yeah. Honestly, I seen what I seen, but only God knows and we'll leave it to God.

Q: How did you react to going viral this time around and how did it differ from the first time?

A: I was stoked to see certain people post it and recognize it. Shoutout to Andrew Schulz and the BFF podcast, Dr. Miami posted it, super dope. I think that the connection was different this time. I got to connect with a lot of people and gain a lot of opportunities.

However, in Canada, it's not like you get a bag. So it was kind of just, I'm still such a regular girl, I live a regular life, I have regular people. I don't associate myself with craziness. I was kind of just sitting here, seeing it all happen, but almost stuck in a dissociative state, where it's like, "What is really happening?" Because you're getting all this fame and this clout and no money accumulation in Canada. So it's different. I seem to go viral every six months, so I'm kinda used to that, but not much changes in Canada.

Q: What sort of benefits did you gain from the viral video?

A: I feel a lot of positivity. A lot of positivity, a lot of branding, a lot of small businesses hitting me up. I'm all for small businesses. I feel like some small businesses don't hit me up because they think they're small and we won't help them, but I'm here.

We're gonna start live streaming hopefully soon, stuff like that. The negativity, I don't get too much negativity in person. Mostly the hate is behind the screen. But yeah, it doesn't bug me too much. I have my own mental illness and it never stems from a hate comment.

Q: Are there any negative comments that ever get to you, or do you just let it all roll off your back?

A: Sometimes people can find out personal information about you and try to hit a soft spot there. I'm pretty hotheaded. You say something to me, I wanna pop off. It's taken a long time for me to learn that I cannot do that anymore, that you have to just let things go.

I lost a lot of weight. There are a lot of weight comments. That bugs me a little bit, but not enough to cry. Like, drink your protein shake. Surely, what do you do? But yeah, that's pretty much it. People who hate me will be people who I knew from my past who make fake accounts or something. It's just weird.

Q: What do friends and family think of the virality and your influencer career?

A: My close ones are very supportive. My parents are very supportive. They supported me through school when I wanted to give up as well. They supported me through my social media. My family, some of them agree, some of them don't. They don't really say nothing to me. Most of them just provide support. "Oh, I've seen your video, it's funny." They're not really hating.

Some people around me, friends, and colleagues, they might ask me certain stuff, trying to understand what I do. I think that's fine. I think that social media is something so new. This wasn't around like 50, or 60 years ago. You know what I'm saying? So, yeah, some are supportive, some are not. My close ones are all supportive, I don't keep anyone around me who is not supportive, blood or not.

Q: Do you get recognized in public ever and what are those interactions like?

A: I appreciate every single one of you who have stopped me. It's all love. Sometimes you'll catch me in a bad mood, but I'll never say no. I'll never say no. If you're mocking me, especially if I've been drinking or something… I was walking on the street and these Cathies were like [snarking me] and I was like, "Yo, do you want a picture or are you mocking me?"

I might get a little snappy but we're trying not to do that. It's usually pretty cool. People are surprised to just see me. I love seeing them. Take all the pictures you want. Respect my people, leave them out of it, but take all the pictures you want of me, makeup or not.

Q: Toronto has a lot of very well-known viral characters, like Zanta, the "Believe" guy and of course Toronto Debby. Do you think you've been deemed one of these so-called characters?

A: First of all, RIP Debby. I think it's so sad to call these people characters. I feel like what we saw of her was Debbie. I never met her and I never knew her. I think I'd seen her one time. She gave me a fist bump.

But am I a character? I don't know. People say that to me. But this is really me. I feel like in the city, you could think so many people are characters, but then when you meet them they're completely different. I just think that's such a touchy subject. I think that Debby, in general, I don't think she was a full character. I think that she was doing what worked for her. I think that she really talked like that. I think that she was also a woman who had a lot of trauma. I don't think I'm gonna become a character like that. I mean is Plushh an alter ego? I'm not sure. Is Nicki Minaj an alter ego to herself? It is an interesting topic.

Q: So where does your content go from here? Any plans to expand or grow your content in 2024?

A: I have not been making content, which is crazy. Like I said, my best advice to anyone doing something like this is to be consistent, to post three times a day, five times a day. I think my content will change in the sense that I have a bigger following now, so I'm gonna push my music a lot more. I really wanna stay more consistent with my fans, at least try to post a skit and vlogs, stuff like that. I wanna push YouTube.

But first of all, I have a job. I'm working and then I'm just coming home to my family and my people and just living such a normal life. I post a video here and there, but I think that the smartest thing to do would've been to bang it right away. You know what I'm saying? You go viral, go [for it] right away. People around me, like my parents, are like, "Oh, release songs right now, do this right now." I'm like, "No, I'm mentally not there." I really did put my mental health first when all this was going on.

I wanna start livestreaming heavily. I wanna connect with my fans on a more personal level. I'm not gonna forget about my TikTokers. TikTok is probably one of my favorite apps because you have such little time and you have to make something out of it. You have to grab their attention. I feel like I'm just good at that. I'm never gonna stop making TikToks but I am gonna push my music significantly. But I love the comedy.

A big thanks to Plushh for speaking with us. You can follow Plushh on Kick, on TikTok @theofficialplushh, on YouTube @theofficialplushh and on Instagram at theofficialplushh.

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