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JennxPenn Explains Why Her YouTube Red Series Made Her Sick

Vlog star says filming ”Foursome“ felt like summer camp — even if one part made her want to gag

After a grueling day shooting her first scripted series, YouTube star Jenn McAllister nearly couldn’t stomach the demands of this traditional acting thing.


“For an entire episode, I had to eat a giant ball of chocolate, and it made me sick,” the 20-year-old better known as JennxPenn, said in an interview with TheWrap, laughing. “I did feel ill, but it’s all good. It’s going to be great.”

Over six years McAllister has built a base of 2.4 million subscribers with a YouTube channel of video blogs; direct-to-camera clips of her speaking straight to her followers. But even after shooting the movie “Bad Night” last year, her new original series “Foursome,” debuting today, is the longest project she’s done yet requiring traditional acting chops.

High-school comedy “Foursome” stars McAllister as Andie, a sophomore who navigates the drama of secondary education with her three best friends in spite of her older brother Alec’s mission to make sure she’s “undateable.” Vine star Logan Paul, who has 9.1 million followers on Twitter’s six-second video app, plays Alec on the AwesomenessTV production.

“Foursome” is also the first scripted series on YouTube’s paid service Red, an experiment by Google’s massive video site to see if fans of stars like McAllister are so obsessed with their digital icons that they’ll pay $10 a month to see more of them.

McAllister spoke with TheWrap about the challenges of juggling the new series with her YouTube channel in the following edited Q&A.

TheWrap: What’s it been like shooting a series?
Jenn McAllister: I liked it a lot. One of the biggest difference was we shot for longer than “Bad Night;” we shot for five or six weeks. It was really cool to be on set everyday with the same cast, whereas when we shot a movie, there were different people coming in. I grew really close to everyone. It was kind of like a summer camp … I was on set for 12 and a half hours every day, so you’re really close with these people.

Your YouTube fans expect you to post content regularly even if you spend all your waking hours working on a TV show. How did you juggle the two?
When you’re shooting a project of this scale, it becomes your life. My call time would often be 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and the locations might be 20 miles from where I live in LA, so it was lot of commuting there and back.

And then you just have to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

I had to prepare ahead of time when I got the role. I shot five to six weeks of videos and edited all of them before I started shooting “Foursome,” because otherwise I just would have no time. And it’s important to keep up with everything that’s going on online.

Does that make it more challenging to be a YouTuber who acts than simply a traditional actor?
It’s really challenging, because I am my own boss. I do everything for my channel. From coming up with the ideas to editing it, I do absolutely everything. I’m a one-man team. It is difficult when something like this comes up, which is why it’s so important to make sure I get everything done before we get into production of the show.

The months leading up to shooting “Foursome” were super hectic, the busiest time of my life.

Did “Foursome” push you outside your comfort zone?
For an entire episode, I had to eat a giant ball of chocolate, and it made me sick. I also had to shoot a scene in a sports bra and underwear. That’s something I was nervous to do, because I’ve never shot anything where I was in underwear.

Any on-set antics to share?
Logan Paul was doing a scene where he had to open the door to get out of a classroom — he couldn’t get it open. So he just smashed through the entire door. It came off the hinge. That was pretty funny.