Monica Quintal remembers the moment she knew her son was a bona fide “internet celebrity.”
“We were at the mall near our house,” Quintal, who lives in Methuen, Massachusetts, told Business Insider. “It was about two years ago. I think Anthony tweeted that he was trying on suits at a store.”
What happened next still makes the mother of 15-year-old Anthony laugh.
“Twenty minutes later, I see 11 girls running down the escalator and into whatever department store we were in. I was like, ‘Is Justin Bieber here or something?’ But they were trying to find my son!” she said.
Anthony, a Britney Spears fan, makes videos from his home for his 1.4 million followers on Twitter and 1.3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. Every week there’s a new vlog-type video (an autotuned “Lohanthony’s video of theeee weeeeeeeeek” plays before each video.)
Quintal, a mother of four, said she first knew her son was making videos for YouTube when he was 10 years old, noting that he found a community of friends who would meet offline and hang out.
At first, she admits, the idea that her young son making YouTube videos for the world made her nervous. But she got to know the parents of the other kids, and said it was a great alternative to the friendships made at school, of which Anthony had many.
No different than summer camp or a sport, YouTube was Anthony’s extracurricular activity.
The biggest concern came when his videos — like his parody of a Nikki Minaj video — started making the rounds on the internet, showing up on popular websites like World Star Hip Hop.
“Some of the comments were terrible and so mean. This is a child!” his mum explained to Business Insider.
But she remembered that Anthony didn’t care. From a young age, Anthony’s whole personal brand has revolved around loving his “haters.” He loved all the comments he was getting, even the less-than-kind ones.
And lots of the comments, it has to be said, were those of support for the young star-on-the-rise.
A few years later, Anthony is your average teenager, except he makes lots of money via ad revenue, and, under the representation of Fullscreen talent management, shows up to events where girls are screaming their heads off as he walks from room to room, taking selfies and signing the backs of iPhone cases.
He’s no longer in public school, and really wants to move to LA, he told Business Insider, but his mum has some other ideas for now, and a lot of them have to do with keeping Anthony grounded.
Quintal says she’s a mother first — and Anthony’s a kid first — before anything else.
“Anthony is my child, but I have three other children, two of them younger than Anthony. I have to make sure he doesn’t get special treatment,” Quintal told Business Insider.