YouTuber and former Vine star Lele Pons has opened up about her experience of being kidnapped at the age of five in her birth country of Venezuela on Logan Paul’s podcast.
Pons rose to prominence on the now inactive six-second video sharing app Vine, where she made comedy content for a follower base of 10 million. Now, she makes a range of content on YouTube, with over 17 million subscribers, and 40 million followers on Instagram.
Lele has previously been open about the darker parts of her life normally unseen in her lighthearted content, via a series on her channel called the Secret Life of Lele Pons. In these videos she talked about her struggles with OCD, ADHD, and Tourette’s syndrome.
In episode 212 of the Impaulsive podcast, Lele went into some of the details behind a frightening kidnapping experience she had as a child in Venezuela.
“I’ve been kidnapped before and I survived,” she announces as the topic arises, with Logan saying that she’s had a “crazy life” and encouraging her to speak about her experiences with the kidnappers.
Topic starts at 35:15
“They just wanted money,” she explained. “My grandfather owns tractors, a lot of tractors in Venezuela. They wanted to kidnap me and my mom for money.” As Lele explains, her Grandparents came from Italy and brought items from Italy to start a business, her Grandfather being “the rich one.”
“They wanted money. They kidnapped us but they crashed into a tree. There was a village and we were able to escape. I don’t remember but this is what my mom told me.” She said that her and her family “left right away the next day and didn’t come back” until she was 13.
Due to years of lack of investment in infrastructure and the country’s political and economic decline, around 4.8 million Venezuelan people have left the country since the crisis began in 2014, according to the United Nations.
According to the World Bank, in 2016 Venezuela had the third worst homocide rate in the world, at 56 per 100,000 people.
This terrifying story is one that many fans may not have expected from the huge internet star, but is yet another window into her life behind the screen.