Anna Kay Akana is an American actress and comedian who primarily rose to fame with her self-titled YouTube channel which has over 1.8 million subscribers and over 211 million video views as of May 2017. She also co-hosts the podcast ‘Explain Things to Me.’ Well known for her hilarious sense of humor, crazy love for cats, and unmatchable comic timing, Anna is equally talented at creating serious documentary style videos as she is at making funny ones. An ardent animal lover, her first career choice was to become a veterinarian. However, life had other plans for her. Her foray into comedy happened in the aftermath of a very tragic incident. Her teenaged sister committed suicide on Valentine's Day 2007 and her death shook young Anna to the core. In the months following the tragedy, Anna didn’t even laugh once. But all that changed one day when she watched a Comedy Central special and laughed for the first time since the suicide. Thus she began to view comedy as a way of moving on and chose to pursue it as a career.
Childhood & Early Life
Anna Kay Akana was born on August 18, 1989 to William, an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and his wife, Mia Akana. She is of mixed ancestry. As a result of her father’s job the family moved often, due to which Anna got the chance to learn different languages. As a young girl Anna wanted to become a veterinarian as she loves animals a lot. A tragedy befell the happy family when Anna’s 13-year-old sister Kristina committed suicide in 2007. Following her death, Anna stopped laughing completely. It was only after watching a comedy show did she start laughing again, thus realizing the healing power of comedy. She now dropped her dreams of pursuing a veterinary career and focused instead on becoming a comedian.
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Anna Akana started performing stand-up comedy at the age of 19. However, she suffered from panic attacks and anxiety before going on stage which forced her to take a break from live performances. Around this time she started her own YouTube channel and began posting her videos. Her funny videos soon started gaining attention and before long she was a popular online personality. By this time she had regained her confidence as well and restarted giving live performances on stage.
In the early 2010s, she also ventured into acting and appeared in minor roles in TV shows, such as ‘Awkward,’ ‘Shake It Up,’ and ‘The Fosters.’ In 2013, she made her film debut with a small role in ‘Inappropriate Comedy,’ followed by a supporting role in ‘Kids vs Monsters’ (2015), ‘Dirty 30’ (2016), and ‘You Get Me’ (2017). She also had a recurring role in the 2015 web series ‘Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures.’ She is also very popular online, with over 1.8 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, 312k followers on Instagram, and 141k fans on Twitter.
In addition to being a YouTuber and actress, Anna Akana also owns a clothing line called Ghost & Stars, which features several cat-themed designs and a range of other clothing. In 2014, she was presented with the Digital Pioneer award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.
Anna Akana was once in a relationship with Ray William Johnson. Following their break-up, she began dating comedian Brad Gage. She loves all animals, especially cats! She is the proud “mom” to six kitties and encourages her fans to adopt and rescue cats as well. Her cats are often featured on her YouTube videos and Instagram posts.