#Surviving Sophia – Inside Social Media’s Biggest Mystery12 min read
Every few months, TikTok’s new phenomenon emerges, earning millions of views and endless conspiracy theories. That was #SurvivingSophia hashtag for a short time in November.
Based on a handful of tweetsAnd TikToks, the story was compelling and confusing — the viewer had the feeling of being thrown into the middle of a tale that had no clear beginning or end, just videos of people either talking about their experiences or self-proclaimed cultural recappers trying to parse unconfirmed details. But even if people couldn’t quite follow, it was engrossing: As of publishing, the hashtags “SurvivingSophia” and “SophiaNur”They have combined 63.8 millions views on TikTok.
Some of the posters claim that the central character Sophia Nur, a woman from Toronto, Canada who is 24 years old, is a Somali Muslim Muslim who has moved around from one city to another. According to them, Nur is “obsessed with L.A.influencers” and always managed to find her way into spaces where they would be, like Jake Paul’s Triller Fight against Ben Askren, or the VIP area of Rolling Loud Miami. Nur befriended — or at least attempted to, according to the people who spoke with Rolling Stone — influencers and the people within those social circles, making her presence among the digital culture elite more normalized.
Interviews with Rolling StoneSeven influencers, as well as other people who knew Nur, tell a similar tale. While no one knew Nur personally, she told people she worked in PR or knew someone who was an influencer. She would often say that she had some sort of relationship with rapper Jack Harlow — sometimes she would say she was Harlow’s PR, while other times she would say she was in a romantic relationship with him. In addition, Nur allegedly asked people to pay for her flights and hotels, with promises of being reimbursed that didn’t often come through. (Harlow, 23 years old, did not respond). Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)
Halima, her cousin, posted one of the earliest Twitter threads addressing complaints about Nur. Halima did not respond. Rolling Stone’s request for comment, wrote that “she scammed me and my friends and tried to ruin our lives.”The16-tweet threadDescribed how Nur, in 2019, asked for her to stay in London with her for two months. “went on a PR tour as she was a publicist for Anwar Hadid and worked for OVO,”A popular clothing brand.
Halima wrote to Halima that Nur had problems with her bank account and asked Halima if she could front her some money. “As she was my family I believed her,”She wrote. In the thread, Nur presented her with a bank statement that had tens of thousand dollars in it. Halima posted that, in total, she lent Nur about £1,500, close to $2,000.
According to the thread, Halima stated that she introduced Nur to friends and that Nur started promising them she could help with their careers. One friend said that Nur got him a recording session and record deal with Naughty Boy while another was offered a modeling contract with Louis Vuitton. The thread abruptly ends with a story about Nur confronting her and realizing that she was wrong. “every call, text, and story [were] lies, she still did not admit anything.”
As people tried to make sense out of the thread which received almost 20,000 followers on Twitter, some began sharing a clip of an April 2021 episode of Logan Paul’s podcastImpaulsiveThe hashtag is also used. In it, co-host Mike Majlak relayed a story about a woman he met at Jake Paul’s boxing match against Ben Askren, which was hosted by Triller in Atlanta. According to the episode, this woman — who remained unnamed in the video, but whom Majlak confirmed to Rolling Stone was Nur — introduced herself as a Triller employee. Majlak stated that this woman “proceeded to find her way into every single setting throughout the rest of the night and was removed forcibly by security at every single event.” (Triller told Rolling StoneThey never had Nur work for them.
Interview with RSMajlak still remembers her as “flippant”And “quirky.”He said that, before the fight started he and some other influencers were mingling at the open bars in the stadium. Nur then introduced himself to them. Nur arrives as the fighters settle into their suites. “moseys in” to the one designated for Paul’s “family and friends.” Majlak says she told him that she didn’t know where her friends or “the team”She was, and she asked Majlak if she could join them in the fight. Majlak agreed.
Singer and TikTok star Olivia O’Brien, 22, tells Rolling StoneShe thought so “something was off about her,”She met Nur the next night. Their initial interaction happened at one of the bars outside the suite when Nur recognized O’Brien and complimented her hair. She says that Nur told her she worked for a PR company, which had sent her to this event alone — a different story than what she told Majlak.
When O’Brien and her friends start heading to the suite, Nur told O’Brien that her phone was about to die, and asked if she could join them to charge it. Nur began “taking selfie videos of us and [asking for our handles because] she wants to tag us,” which O’Brien found odd since Nur had claimed she followed them all on social media. Sophia asked for Sophia’s removal, not wanting to be seen as Nur’s reason she was there.
O’Brien remembers Nur later finding her way back to their suite and apologizing to Majlak for making him uncomfortable. She said that she’d lost her AirPods and just needed to find them (this was a common excuse for her to work her way back into places she’d been asked to leave, others have alleged.) Logan Paul entered the suite while she was there and Nur approached her. “She runs up to him and goes, ‘Do you hate me? I’m so sorry!’ He had no idea who she was,” O’Brien says.(Paul did not reply to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)
After the fight had ended, the members of the suite met up at the nightclub. There, Majlak and O’Brien noticed Nur as she started to make her way toward their table. Majlak saw Nur and forcibly took her away. “There’s nothing I can do,”He said it to her. “No one knows who you are.”
At about 2 a.m., the club closed and the group went to Jake Paul’s house. O’Brien says Nur asked if she could jump in her Uber, but there wasn’t any room, so instead, she went in another car with one of O’Brien’s friends. O’Brien says she texted that friend and told him not to let Nur in the Uber. But somehow, Nur ended up at Jake’s mansion.
Logan and Majlak stated in the podcast that they let her stay because Paul was. “impressed by her ability to always be where I’m looking.”Majlak disagrees Rolling Stone She was finally expelled by security. The next morning, O’Brien received a video from Majlak of fellow YouTubers JC Caylen and Oscar Guerra recording themselves with Nur who they bumped into in the lobby of the hotel they were staying at. Majlik looks more amused now than angry. “There’s like an inherent kind of like jovial laughability to the entire situation that was the through-line for all of us creators to connect on,”He tells Rolling Stone.
Others, however, didn’t find Nur’s antics so amusing. A woman named Camille — who asked her last name not to be included for her privacy — tells Rolling StoneIn May 2021, she met Nur via the app Clubhouse. Camille told Nur that Nur was visiting Atlanta and they had lunch together. Nur explained to Camille that she was working on the Triller fight. Camille explains that Nur paid for the lunch as well as the cost of the hookah at an Atlanta hookah bar. When Nur asked Camille to pay $400 for her flight from Atlanta to Nashville she was suspicious. But, she said that she had no choice. “didn’t press it because she did pay for everything the other day. ‘I guess we’re even,’”She thought.
Camille claims that the two kept in touch and formed a friendship. “talking every day.”Camille claims that Nur called her FaceTime shortly after. Nur was in L.A at the time, and seemed in panic. Nur told Camille that some family members ran up her credit cards, so she couldn’t afford a hotel and needed help paying for one.
“I’m empathizing with her and I had the money to give her so I didn’t mind,” Camille tells Rolling Stone. She claims she gave Nur $250 more, bringing the total to $650.
Camille’s suspicions grew after Nur said she had attempted to PayPal her the original $400 but told her that it would take a while because it was coming from Canada. Camille stated that she believed this was a lie, as she claimed she ordered items from China for her small business and the payment is immediate. Camille decided to call Alec Holden, an agent in real estate whom Camille knew and Nur claimed was her boyfriend.
“That’s when I messaged Alec and said, ‘Hey do you know Sophia? She said you’re her boyfriend,” Camille tells Rolling Stone. She says he responded by saying he didn’t know her. “That’s how I found out everything was a lie.”Camille immediately demanded that Nur pay her back. (Holden didn’t respond). Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.)
Camille recollects feeling upset and betrayed after the event. “I felt stupid for believing her lies,”She says.
Brittany DeJardo met Nur in Los Angeles on June 18, 2021 while DeJardo was visiting a friend. “having a group of girls there,”They began to follow each other on social networks. DeJardo ran into Nur while attending Rolling Loud Miami in the next month. Following that, Nur, DeJardo and Leticia Moreira, her friend, went to Rolling Loud in Miami the following month. They then headed out to Gold Rush with a group consisting of Denzel Dion and other influencers. Nur claimed Jack Harlow, her boyfriend, would perform a set at the club that night.
“It was just [suspect], we were all just following her around,” DeJardo tells Rolling Stone. “Denzel was like ‘I’m sick of this,’”She was left wondering what had happened to him.
DeJardo relates that Nur told DeJardo she was after she arrived at Gold Rush “gonna go talk to Jack.”The group watched as Nur fled, claiming that she was going to talk to Harlow. “She would just go behind the DJ stand and like sit back there for a little bit as if we couldn’t see her, and then she’d come back and be like, ‘So I was talking to Jack,’”DeJardo.
Harlow did not come out to perform; DeJardo left Nur around 5 a.m. The two remained in contact for the next few weeks. In early August Nur sent DeJardo a text about a Las Vegas trip. DeJardo tells Rolling StoneBecause she was staying at Resorts World, she was invited and had tickets to Harlow at Zouk Nightclub.
“Hey, I saw on your [Instagram] story that y’all are going to Vegas,”Nur texted DeJardo. “Me, Rickey [Thompson], and Denzel are also [going] on Friday.”
Jai’Lynn Parham — who was approached by Nur at the concert — remembered that trip in a TikTok video now-viral. Parham claimed she met Nur at Harlow’s concert and was invited by Nur to join the group for an afterparty.
Harlow returned from the concert to talk with audience members after it was over. Parham and DeJardo both told the story. Rolling StoneParham and Nur watched Harlow get pulled over on a stage to talk with her. Parham said she witnessed Nur introduce her self to Harlow. DeJardo & Parham claim that Nur said Harlow was her host when she returned. “mad”She was flirting and interacting with Urban Wyatt, his friend. Wyatt did not reply to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.) After the show, DeJardo says they all followed Nur to a casino where she told them they’d meet up with Harlow to go to a party. He never showed up.
On Nov. 18, a group of content creators put together a Twitter Space — the platform’s version of an audio-only chatroom — with the title “#SurvivingSophia, what is this mess.”The Space attracted close to 20,000 people at one point. It also featured Camille and social media stars with large followings like Jeff Wittek and YouTuber Suzy Anthonyyan. (Antonyan declined to comment.
Screen-recordings from the Space were later uploaded on TikTok to Twitter. These showed the speakers voicing their grievances and sharing with Nur. Multiple people were able to take advantage of the space. OffshootTwitter Spaces about Nur and drama that are still in use Rapidly, chaos ensuedAs many perspectives as possible were offered.
Some came to her defense. In one of the Twitter Spaces “#SurvivingStupidity, Let Sophia Live,”Many were offended by the suggestion made elsewhere that Nur might have invented a sexual assault allegation. They argued that these allegations shouldn’t be brought into a discussion of someone who simply “borrowed”funds, but never paid them back. “At the end of the day, I don’t care how fucked up a person is… that is not part of the conversation about her being a scammer,”One Person in the Spacesaid.
Antonyan was asked by a TikTok to recount her encounter with Nur. “I’ll fuck that bitch up if I fucking ever see her again,” Antonyan said. Dion said that he didn’t send Nur money, but alleged that he paid for Nur’s flight and hotel, which he said he still hadn’t been reimbursed for. Wittek stated that he gave Sophia his credit card information after Sophia called him, crying. “guys are after her.”
Although a few influencers were unable to attend the Space, they agreed to speak with us in an interview. Rolling Stone, Wittek claimed that he met Nur at the LIV Nightclub in Miami, after the Austin McBroom boxing match against Bryce Hall in June 2021. He claims Nur introduced herself to him as a publicist. He also gave her his telephone number. He says she texted him several days ago, asking for his number to meet with her so that they could discuss her being his publicist. But he denies that he ever mentioned that he was looking.
Months went by and he didn’t hear from Nur again until the beginning of November. That’s when he got an unexpected phone call one day at 8 a.m. He received a call from Maggie, a model he used to work with. She said that Nur was calling her and was having trouble. Wittek said Maggie told him that Nur called to say she had called. “was beat up, robbed, and raped in Vegas and she had no way out of there because [the perpetrators] took her wallet and her purse.”He claims he jumped in and tried to help her immediately. “If a woman says she was sexually assaulted, I don’t ask questions. I’m not gonna interrogate her,”He says.
Wittek claims he gave Nur his credit information to book her flight and get an Uber once she landed. He also hired a locksmith because she said she lost her keys. He said that Nur gave him his credit card details so that she could book her flight and get an Uber once she landed. Rolling Stone he doesn’t regret giving her his credit card number.
“It’s an AmEx,”He tells Rolling Stone. “They text me immediately if there’s anything else booked” so he could immediately cancel any unauthorized transaction — which he did, he says, when Nur tried to book another flight on his card.
However, not everyone felt sorry that Nur took their money. As #SurvivingSophia gained popularity online, many in the comments supported Nur’s alleged actions — in an influencer economy, where was the line? “All I see is a businesswoman,”Read one comment “Influencers deserve to be scammed at every step they take,”You can read the other.
“People just want to see the world burn. They want to see influencers and get their money taken because they feel influencers make money easily and they scam their fans, which is true in some situations,” says Wittek. “She preyed on good people. She didn’t prey on shitty influencers that are ripping people off.”
All online trace of Nur disappeared after she became a social media sensation. Wittek tells Rolling Stone that he invited Nur on to his podcast to speak about the #SurvivingSophia hashtag and the story surrounding it, which he said she agreed to do but he later decided it would be best if he wasn’t the person to conduct the interview. It was. “just wasn’t something I wanted to get involved in, giving her more of a platform,”He tells Rolling Stone. “She can make a video right now if she wants to talk about it.”
But, he said, “There are usually two sides to every story. It wasn’t even me vs. Sophia or the victims vs. Sophia. It was the internet and their made-up narrative versus nothing.”