She stars as Violet Adams in the Hulu original television series Freakish (2016–present). Among other roles, she played Aday Walker in Tyler Perry‘s horror comedy film Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016) and The Explorer in the YouTube Premium original series Escape the Night (2017). She co-hosts the MTV television series Total Request Live and is set to star in and co-produce a YouTube Premium comedy series, Liza on Demand, and the reboot of the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare, both premiering in 2018.
As of March 2018, Koshy’s main YouTube channel had more than 14 million subscribers, and her two channels had a total of more than 2 billion views. She has received two Streamy Awards, a Teen Choice Award and a Kids’ Choice Award.
Koshy began posting comic videos on the Vine platform, in 2013, under the pseudonym “Lizzza”. When Vine closed in 2017, Koshy had over 5 million followers. By 2016, Koshy was also becoming noted on the YouTube platform. In November 2016, just before the 2016 election, Koshy interviewed president Barack Obama on her YouTube channel to encourage voter registration. Koshy’s videos feature “her loud facial expressions, quick pace, and her commitment to looking as ridiculous as possible as the joke demands. [Some of her videos] take serious issues – like anxiety, the pressure to fit in and internet trolls – and make them accessible and engaging for her viewers.”
In 2017, Koshy became “the fastest YouTube personality to reach 10 million subscribers”. As of March 2018, her main YouTube channel had over 14 million subscribers and more than 1.6 billion views. Videos on her main channel receive an average of nearly 10 million views. As of June 2018, her second YouTube channel had more than 6 million subscribers, and her two channels had a combined total of more than 2 billion views. She also had more than 16 million followers on Instagram, more than 11 million on Musical.ly, more than 2.8 million on Facebook and more than 2 million on Twitter. By August 2017, her total social media penetration was approximately 45 million followers.
In 2016, Koshy starred in the Hulu original horror series Freakish as Violet Adams. She reprised the role in the show’s second season in 2017. Also in 2016, she played the role of Aday Walker in the horror-comedy feature film, Boo! A Madea Halloween, and starred as herself in the YouTube Premium series, Jingle Ballin‘. Koshy starred as Princess Aubrey in the 2016 comedy film FML. In 2017, she played a recurring character, The Explorer, in the YouTube Premium mystery-reality series Escape the Night. Koshy is set to star in and co-produce a YouTube Premium series, Liza on Demand, premiering in 2018, “following the chaotic misadventures of the eponymous character” as she works to become an “elite tasker” doing odd jobs for pay. Also in 2018, Koshy is set to voice the character Owl in Crow: The Legend, an animated virtual-reality short film written by Eric Darnell, starring John Legend.
Koshy hosted the live preshow at the 2017 Golden Globes Awards, which received 2.7 million live viewers on Twitter – a record for the medium. She also hosted Nigel Lythgoe‘s series Every Single Step and was “the only social entertainer chosen to promote the 2016 MTV Movie Awards.” She is one of the hosts on Total Request Live on MTV, which began a series of daily live broadcasts in October 2017. She also serves as a producer and developer of content for MTV. Koshy was the first “digital star” interviewed for Vogue magazine’s “73 Questions” web series. Koshy conducted interviews of the celebrities attending the 2018 Met Gala on behalf of Vogue.
Koshy collaborates with The Giving Keys, a jewelry company that employs and supports the formerly homeless population, on a necklace collection. Her online advertisements for Beats Electronics draw four times more viewers than those of other celebrities.
Koshy was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She is of half-Malayali Indian and half-white descent; her parents are Jose Koshy, a petroleum executive, and Jean Carol née Hertzler, a yoga instructor. She has two older sisters. From kindergarten until 5th grade, she was placed in a dual language educational and cultural program, where she learned how to speak Spanish fluently. In 2014, after attending Lamar High School, Koshy enrolled in the University of Houston and began to study business marketing.
In 2015, Koshy left college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career. She dated fellow YouTube personality David Dobrik from late 2015 to late 2017, revealing their break-up in June 2018.
|2016||FML||Princess Aubrey||Supporting role|
|Boo! A Madea Halloween||Aday||Supporting role|
|Jingle Ballin‘||Liza||Main role|
|2016||Making a Scene with James Franco||Herself||Season 3|
|2016–present||Freakish||Violet Adams||Main role|
|2017||Escape the Night||The Explorer||Season 2 (5 episodes)|
|Total Request Live||Herself||Co-host|
|Ellen‘s Show Me More Show||Herself||Guest (1 episode)|
|2018||Liza on Demand||Herself||Main role|
Reception and awards
Koshy has won two Streamy Awards and a Teen Choice Award. She also received one nomination each for a 2017 Shorty Award and a 2018 Shorty, one for a People’s Choice Award, two other Teen Choice Awards and two other Streamy Awards. Teen Vogue named Koshy to its 2016 list of “The 7 Female Comedians You Need to Know”. The Hollywood Reporter included Koshy in its 2017 list of “15 Rising Crossover Stars”. The Washington Post cited Koshy as one of the “funny women .. at the top of their game today [who] girls get to study” as models for comedy and empowerment.
John Jurgensen of The Wall Street Journal described Koshy’s appeal as follows: “Her comedy is heavy on self-deprecation, slapstick and wordplay, more goofy than snarky. … One reason her sketches work for advertisers is the replay factor, [squeezing] in dozens of puns and double meanings, in part to encourage easily distracted viewers to re-watch. … Koshy has proven to be safe territory for established entertainment companies and advertisers who have fled from edgier online content”.
|2016||Streamy Awards||Breakout Creator||Won|||
|2017||People’s Choice Awards||Favorite Social Media Star||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Female Web Star||Won|||
|Choice Comedy Web Star||Nominated|
|Shorty Awards||YouTuber of the Year||Nominated|||
|Streamy Awards||Creator of the Year||Nominated|||
|2018||Kids’ Choice Awards||Favorite Funny YouTube Creator||Won|||
|Shorty Awards||Creator of the Decade||Nominated|||