“This wasn’t supposed to happen for someone like me.”

Mona, or DontCallMeWhiteGirl, the Instagram handle that millions of us know her by, said she didn’t envision success for herself growing up. In fact, she said for years she didn’t see value in being on social media at all.

“I didn’t want to do anything,” she shared during a recent episode of her hit podcast. “I was a very negative thinker coming up and it’s something I still struggle with today, you know trying to keep it positive.”

The Philadelphia native said she didn’t see many examples of success in her childhood, and that deeply scarred her in adulthood.

“I wasn’t really pushed to do anything more than what my peers were doing, and that can be really depressing,” she shared with Essence. “I’d look out my window at 9-years-old and the view was an alleyway filled with prostitutes or people taking a sh-t —that was what I saw on a daily basis.”

Mona said that as a child, she would often daydream of stardom, but the effects of growing up in an underserved neighborhood wouldn’t allow her to take her dreams seriously. “I’d see flashing lights and red carpets for myself as a little girl, but instantly my mind would say ‘shut up, dummy’ — that’s never going to happen for you.'”

Despite the fear, she said she knew there was more for her out there. “Even back then, I really felt like I was supposed to be doing something big,” Mona said.

Although naturally bright, she shared in previous podcast episodes that she was misguided as a youth, didn’t care for school and eventually landed herself in jail in her late teens/early twenties for fraud.

After being released at 21, she said she was afraid to want a better life for herself. “The way society is set up, life is not supposed to be fruitful for a felon,” she said, pointing out the barriers in place for ex-cons including the inability to take out student loans, not being able to vote and even difficulty with obtaining proper identification.

She shared that her limited lifeview led her to become engaged to the father of her first child despite knowing that wasn’t the path she wanted to take. “I thought purchasing a home and having a father in the house for my child was it for me, but I felt so empty.”

While battling these feelings, she was still able to make people laugh and at the behest of one of her friends, she started a podcast in 2018. “I didn’t even know what a podcast was, but people kept telling me they enjoyed hearing my opinions on topics and that I was really funny.”

After continuing her podcast and posting videos here and there on Facebook, eventually, her online popularity led her to become a co-host on the hit show, Million Dollaz Worth Of Game in 2020. From there, she said she began to see value in consistently leveraging her voice on social media, and enjoyed viral moments that catapulted her platforms to the hundred thousands. But it wasn’t until she recounted a special sexual encounter on Instagram live did she officially become a household name.

“Why you being weird to me?,” is what she’s heard saying after explaining to her viewers that her former love interest didn’t understand why she was in love with him.

“That was a big moment,” she said.

To date, the audio from the clip has been used millions of times on TikTok and weaved through songs from artists like NLE Choppa and Fabolous to name a few.

It even led her to be featured on the deluxe version of Jazmine Sullivan’s Grammy-award-winning album, Heaux Tales.

“That was a really cool moment,” she said, sharing that Sullivan reached out to her to hang out, and wound up using clips from a conversation they had about relationships on the album, which centers women’s experiences with love & dating.

“I never thought I’d be here, but now that I am, I’m going to make sure that I become bigger than just a social media star. I’m really grateful, but I’m going to accomplish so much more.”