It's easy to assume that anyone with a blue check mark on their social media profile leads a glamorous life. But the reality is, as Phoebe Robinson knows, most of these people are still trying to make ends meet.
"When Jessica Williams and I started 2 Dope Queens, the podcast came out April 2016, and it shot to the top of iTunes, like worldwide and everything," the comedian told E! News, "people were like, 'Oh my god, you've made it, like you're killing it blah, blah, blah.' And I was like, y'all podcasting does not, especially during that time, it was not paying a lot."
And Phoebe isn't trying to be humble. Despite the success of 2 Dope Queens, she was still working odd-jobs and trying to pay off student debt, making her feel like a fraud. "People see this one thing," she reflected, "and they think that your whole life is that."
So when Phoebe set out to write and star in the Freeform series Everything's Trash, based on her 2018 memoir Everything's Trash, But It's Okay, she wanted to be real about what it's like as a content creator. "You can have aspirational shows set in New York, but I also wanted it to be grounded in something," Phoebe said. "Like when you're hustling, you got to do whatever to get by."
And by whatever, she means whatever. The show, which also stars Nneka Okafor, Jordan Carlos, Toccarra Cash and Moses Storm, sees the characters jumping through hoops to do various tasks, including arranging a photo shoot. They even hunt down a hawk to use as a prop in said photo shoot.
These quirky scenes are made up for the show, but it's also representative of how different Phoebe's life is from that of her strait-laced brother Jayden (Carlos), who is running for a political office.
This story line is, for the most part, taken from Phoebe's real life relationship with her brother Phil Robinson, an Ohio state representative. "He met his wife freshman year of college and they have two kids and they have this beautiful house," Phoebe explained. "I'm in Brooklyn. You know, I am not married. I don't have kids."
She described how their vastly different lifestyles made her question herself, saying, "I think a lot of times you can get stuck into the idea it has to look one certain way, and if you're not doing that you sort of feel bad about yourself. So with this show, we really wanted to kind of honor that and be like, listen, everyone's journey is different."
It's a struggle that a lot of young people can relate to, especially when they're not following a traditional career path. But Phoebe hopes that viewers resonate with her character and understand that there's no need to compare yourselves to others, even if they are your siblings. "Just be proud of the steps that you're taking to find yourself," she encouraged. "I think that's the biggest thing."
And as she taught in her book, everything's trash and that's okay.
See Phoebe and the rest of the cast in Everything's Trash, premiering July 13 on Freeform.