Anna Kay Akana (born August 18, 1989) is an American actress, filmmaker, singer, musician, author, and comedian. She is known for her YouTube channel, which has over 2.5 million subscribers and over 226 million video views.[1]

Anna Akana
Anna Akana at 2018 Vidcon EU.png
Akana at VidCon Amsterdam in March 2018
Anna Kay Akana

(1989-08-18) August 18, 1989 (age 30)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
  • Actress
  • filmmaker
  • producer
  • comedian
YouTube information
Years active2010–present
Total views282,851,467
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg1,000,000 subscribers
Updated May 30, 2019

Early life, family and educationEdit

Akana's father was an officer in the United States Marine Corps, including during her childhood.[2] Her family moved every few years to a new state or country.[3]

On Valentine's Day 2007, Akana's 13-year-old sister, Kristina, committed suicide.[4] Several months after her sister's death, Akana watched Margaret Cho perform on a Comedy Central special and laughed for the first time since the suicide. She began to see laughter as a means of trying to move on with her life and decided to seriously pursue comedy.[5] Akana has been vocal about her sister's suicide and is a strong advocate for suicide prevention. In 2013, Akana uploaded a YouTube video, "please don't kill yourself", in which she explains how it felt for her to have a family member die by suicide.[6] In that same year, she released a book Surviving Suicide which contains her journal entries from the two years after her sister's death.[7]

She is openly bisexual.


Akana first started performing comedy at age 19 but switched to YouTube video performances in 2011 after experiencing panic attacks and anxiety before going on stage.[5] She later resumed performing stand-up onstage.


In 2014, Akana formed a comedy music duo, Cat Benatar, with fellow comedian and writer Megan Rosati.[8] (The duo's name is wordplay for the pop singer Pat Benatar.)

Akana creates both comedy and documentary YouTube videos.[9] In 2014, Akana was listed on New Media Rockstars Top 100 Channels, ranked at #72.[10] In that same year, Akana decided to focus more on her skills as a director and attempted to make one short film a month.[11] While she did not reach her goal of twelve short films, she did make six short films which were received well by her YouTube audience. Akana starred in all of her short films and has starred in various other short films, and she has since continued to create short films.[12]

One of her short films, Miss Earth, was partially financed by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's production company, New Form Digital. It was part of the 2014 Incubator, a series to showcase and produce original stories by YouTube Creators and filmmakers.[13][14][15] Miss Earth was later adapted into a web series, Miss 2059, and released on Verizon's go90 app in June 2016, with a second season released in late 2017.[16][17][18][19][20]

Akana executive produced and starred as the lead role in the original comedy-drama web television series Youth & Consequences, created by Jason Ubaldi and released in March 2018 on YouTube Red. She is also the host of the web series Crash Course Business: Entrepreneurship beginning in August 2019.[21]

Film and televisionEdit

In 2011, Akana appeared in the TV series Awkward. In that same year, she also appeared as an extra in Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" music video.[22]

In 2015, she appeared in the films Ant-Man and Kids vs Monsters.

Akana starred in SnapperHero, a scripted video series distributed via Snapchat.[23] The series was sponsored by AT&T.[23]

In 2016, Akana appeared alongside Sally Field in the indie comedy film Hello, My Name Is Doris, written by Michael Showalter.[24] That same year, she also appeared in a short Star Wars fan film, Hoshino[25] as well as the comedy film Dirty 30.

She has a recurring role in the Comedy Central show Corporate.[26]

In 2019 she announced in RHPC's "Off the pill"-podcast to be part of the Netflix original "Jupyter's legacy"

Akana also hosts the podcast Explain Things to Me with fellow comedian Brad Gage where the two interview experts in various fields about their work.[27]

Other venturesEdit

In 2015, Akana released a clothing line, Ghost & Stars, which features several cat-themed designs as well as formal dresses, leggings, and a variety of T-shirts.[28]

In 2017, Akana's book So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister was published. The book describes Akana's struggles and experiences growing up and offers advice to her late sister.[29]

In 2019, Akana released her debut single, "Intervention". Its music video was directed by Auden Bui.[30][31] She has since released two more music videos, one for “Pretty Girls Don't Cry” in July 2019 and “Not My Proudest Moment” in August. She continued to release music videos for songs named "Alone Together", "Disappointment" and "Let Me Go". Her debut album "Casualty" came out in October. [32]

Critical receptionEdit

In reviewing her video, “Why Guys Like Asian Girls" (which references "Yellow Fever", a term for an Asian fetish)[33] Cate Matthews of The Huffington Post wrote: "A step-by-step takedown of 'yellow fever' or the desire to date Asian women often accompanied by bizarre, offensive attempts to do so, could start the healing. Luckily for us, YouTuber Anna Akana was more than up to the video-making task."[34]

In reviewing her video, "How to Deal with a Breakup", MTV wrote: "In this sketch, comedian Anna Akana envisions the flurry of activity inside the cranial command centre of a newly single dumpee."[35]

Deadline referred to Akana as "a prolific online creator whose channel boasts 60 million views and 900,000 subscribers, and last year wrote and starred in her own narrative feature Riley Rewind, scoring a none-too-shabby 20M views online."[24]


Feature filmsEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Inappropriate Comedy Student driver
2014 Here She Is Miss Hawaii Also writer
2015 Ant-Man Writer
Kids vs Monsters Daisy
2016 Hello, My Name Is Doris Blogger
Dirty 30 Ashley Driscoll
2017 You Get Me Lydia
2018 Next Gen Ani Voice role
2019 Go Back to China Sasha Li
2019 Let It Snow Post-production


Year Title Episode Role Notes
2011 Awkward "Knocker Nightmare" Asian girl
2012 Shake It Up "Made in Japan" Tomoka
The Beauty Inside 5 episodes Alex #29
2013–2014 The Fosters 2 episodes Lily
2016 Adam Ruins Everything "Adam Ruins Shopping Malls" Female Shopper
2017 Stitchers 7 episodes Amanda Weston Recurring Role
2018 Corporate 4 episodes Paige Recurring Role
2018 Big City Greens 11 episodes Gloria Voice role; recurring
2019 Amphibia 3 episodes Sasha Voice role; recurring
TBA Jupyter's legacy

Web seriesEdit

Year Title Episode Role Notes
2011 Breaking Los Angeles 9 episodes Herself Also producer
10 Second Traumas 8 episodes Various Also a writer, executive producer and director
2012 Pointy Teeth "Pilot" Anna
2013 Riley Rewind 5 episodes Riley Brown Also writer and producer
2015 52 Ways to Break Up "#24 and #25- Compare Notes" Anna
Command Center Commander Also writer and director
Broken People 2 episodes Pinches
Last Moments of Relationships "CRAZY DATING STORIES" Fay
Stunted Nora
Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures 5 episodes The White Spirit
Adult Wednesday 2 episodes - Executive producer
Rough Day Detective Mah-jong Also executive producer
MisSpelled "#HotlineWing" Stella
#Cybriety "Neighbor Ellen" Ellen
2016 Hipsters 3 episodes Jane Also director
Tiny Feminists "Linda" Ms. Applebaum
This Isn't Working 5 episodes Nicole
Transformers: Combiner Wars 4 episodes Victorion Voice role
Single by 30 6 episodes Grace
12 Deadly Days "Coffee Cups" Judalina
Go-Go Boy Interrupted 10 episodes - Co-producer
Miss 2059 24 episodes Victoria Young Also creator, executive producer and director
2017 Drive Share "Garbage Mommy" Driver
Search Bar 12 episodes Various Also creator, executive producer and director
2018 Youth & Consequences 8 episodes Farrah Also creator and executive producer

Music videosEdit

Year Artist(s) Title Role
2011 Katy Perry "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" Extra



Year Association Category Nominated work Result Refs.
2014 San Diego Asian Film Festival Digital Pioneer Won [36]
2015 Streamy Awards Best Actress SnapperHero Nominated [37]
2018 Streamy Awards Acting in a Drama Youth & Consequences Won [38]
2019 46th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Digital Drama Series Youth & Consequences Nominated [39]


  1. ^ "YouTube: Anna Akana". YouTube. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "My dad was right". YouTube. March 11, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  3. ^ Luhar, Monica (November 13, 2015). "Anna Akana is 'Chasing Laughs' and Telling Stories". NBC News. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Surviving Suicide". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Luhar, Monica (November 13, 2015). "Anna Akana is 'Chasing Laughs' and Telling Stories". NBC News. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Akana, Anna (September 27, 2013). "please don't kill yourself". YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  7. ^ Akana, Anna. "Surviving Suicide". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  8. ^ "be uncomfortable". YouTube. March 14, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  9. ^ Yu, Tiffany. "How Death Shed New Light on 'Riley Rewind' Actress Anna Akana's Life". Mochi Magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  10. ^ "The NMR Top 100 YouTube Channels: 75-51!". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  11. ^ "Focus//Anna Akana". YouTube. February 7, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  12. ^ "Anna Akana- Short films". Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  13. ^ "Incubator Series". Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Filmmaker Spotlights". Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  15. ^ "New Form Digital Press Kit 2016" (PDF). (Press release). 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  16. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 25, 2015). "Verizon's Go90 Orders 6 Series from New Form Digital (Exclusive)". Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  17. ^ Hamedy, Saba. "Anna Akana takes action in New Form Digital's 'Miss 2059'". Mashable. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  18. ^ Dry, Jude (June 20, 2016). "Watch: Exclusive Clip From New Form Digital's 'Miss 2059,' Starring Anna Akana". Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  19. ^ "MISS 2059 | OFFICIAL TRAILER". go90. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "Miss 2059 go90 page". Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  21. ^ "Who Even Is An Entrepreneur?: Crash Course Business - Entrepreneurship #1". YouTube. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  22. ^ "Last Friday Night (2011)". IMDB. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  23. ^ a b Jarvey, Natalie (January 29, 2015). "AT&T Launches Scripted Series on Snapchat". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2015. The series, SnapperHero, stars YouTubers Anna Akana, Freddie Wong, Harley Morenstein, and Jasmeet Singh alongside Snapchat celeb Shaun McBride, who also served as creative director.
  24. ^ a b Yamato, Jen (July 11, 2014). "'Hello, My Name Is Doris' Uploads YouTuber Anna Akana". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  25. ^ "Hoshino - Star Wars Fan Film". Retrieved June 24, 2017 – via YouTube.
  26. ^ "Corporate Scripted Series". (Press release). Comedy Central. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  27. ^ "Explain Things to Me". iTunes. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Ghost & Stars". Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  29. ^ "So Much I Want to Tell You". Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  30. ^ "Intervention - Anna Akana (Official Music Video)". Anna Akana. May 8, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ Blynn, Alex (May 8, 2019). "Anna Akana Talks Mental Health, Coming Out & Her Music Debut With 'Intervention'". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  32. ^
  33. ^ Akana, Anna. "Why Guys Like Asian Girls". Youtube. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  34. ^ Matthews, Cate (July 29, 2014). "Here's What 'Yellow Fever' Really Means". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  35. ^ Williott, Carl (April 29, 2015). "After A Breakup, Your Brain Basically Becomes An Episode Of '24'". MTV. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  36. ^ "Digital Pioneer Award". SDAFF. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  37. ^ Gutelle, Sam (August 12, 2015). "Snapchat Series 'SnapperHero' Leads Streamy Award Nominations". Tubefilter. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  38. ^ "Acting in a Drama - Streamy Awards 2018: Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  39. ^ Mistretta, Amy (March 20, 2019). "2019 Daytime Emmy Award Nominations Announced". Retrieved March 22, 2019.

External linksEdit