He was a YouTube star who went dark. Now Jasmeet Raina has a TV series about online fame | CBC News

After years of YouTube stardom for his online confessionals and sketches, Jasmeet Raina — the Guelph, Ont.,-born Punjabi Sikh millennial formerly known as Jus Reign — wanted a new creative challenge.

So with nearly a million subscribers to his name, Raina went totally dark in 2018, leaving Reddit users and YouTube commenters to speculate for years over his whereabouts.

Six years later, he’s back in the public eye with Late Bloomer, an eight-part Crave series loosely based on his own experiences trying to make it as a 21st-century content creator in a religious family. The show premieres Friday.

WATCH | Jasmeet Raina on how different generations view success:

Former YouTube star Jasmeet Raina on the pressures of online fame

Punjabi Sikh content creator Jasmeet Raina, once known for his online persona Jus Reign, tells CBC News about his new show Late Bloomer, what success looks like within immigrant families and how his relationship with the internet has changed.

“I felt like maybe the internet wasn’t the best place — or YouTube wasn’t the best place — for me to tell the story,” Raina told CBC News in an interview, explaining why he suddenly went off the grid and left online fame behind.

“The Internet can be a pretty wild, hectic, attention-demanding and -giving place,” he added. He wanted to make a show exploring the deeper elements of life as a young South Asian person, “so in order for me to do that, I needed [to] carve out that time to be able to focus on this.”

A man lit by orange lighting is photographed in close-up.
‘I felt like maybe the Internet wasn’t the best place — or YouTube wasn’t the best place — for me to tell the story,’ Raina told CBC News in an interview earlier this month. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

‘I don’t look at the internet as an evil thing’

Late Bloomer stars Raina as Jasmeet Dutta, a young content creator and med-school dropout whose comedic web videos are made from the basement of his immigrant parents’ house in the Toronto suburbs.

Jasmeet helps his family run their tiffin (homemade meal) service, but his true ambitions for success — going viral — are entirely, humorously at odds with what his parents imagine for him. They tout his sister’s fiancé, a prolific realtor, as their ideal of what a man should be.

“There’s a generational difference between what success means to different people,” Raina said. “Especially coming from a different culture or different background, you have your own interpretation of what that success [is] going to be.”

LISTEN | Why this Canadian YouTube star left it all behind: From 2009 to 2018, Jasmeet Raina was known online as Jus Reign. His viral videos about being a first generation Indo-Canadian millennial amassed more than 160 million views on YouTube and more than a million fans on Facebook. But one day, with no explanation, Jasmeet decided to walk away from the spotlight. Now, he’s back with a comedy series on Crave called “Late Bloomer.” Jasmeet talks to Tom about his hiatus, representing his Punjabi Sikh culture and faith on screen, and what his relationship with the internet is like now.

For the fictional Jasmeet, that generational clash manifests in nightmarish dream sequences.

He buys his father a yellow sports car, only to be yelled at for making the family look like they’re showing off; or he imagines that his nude photos are leaked from his laptop, garnering coverage on Punjabi-language news channels and disgracing his parents.

“As a child of an immigrant growing up in this world … there’s always conflicting ideas in your head and conflicting views. They’re always just kind of bashing up against there,” he explained.

A man lit by orange lighting sits on a wooden block during a photo shoot.
In his eight-part series, Raina wanted to explore mental health challenges from the perspective of a creator who struggles with a fear of the unknown and expects things to go wrong in a hundred different ways. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

“You’re really trying to figure out what it is that you are. And so that level of pressure, that level of expectation can kind of harbour or further propel that anxiety.”

Raina says he wanted to explore mental health challenges from the perspective of a creator who struggles with a fear of the unknown and expects things to go wrong in a hundred different ways. “I think naturally, as a person, my brain tends to do that,” he said.

But his approach to posting online — and his own relationship to the internet — has changed dramatically since he began making videos at 19 years old.

“I don’t look at the Internet as an evil thing or something that we should avoid at all costs,” said Raina, now in his mid-30s. “But I think it’s just [about] having a healthy relationship with it.

“You don’t need to have this anxiety daydream that you’re gonna become irrelevant or people [are] gonna forget about you. And even if they do, whatever, who cares?

“There’s still life to live, you know? It doesn’t really matter.”

#YouTube #star #dark #Jasmeet #Raina #series #online #fame #CBC #News

What’s your Reaction?
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0