What Blac Chyna Was Like Before The Fame

As the Blac Chyna/Rob Kardashian social media war continues to unfold in all of its shameful glory, people are starting to wonder if this was the inevitable conclusion of Chyna's long con: to piggyback onto the fame of others in order to make herself a household name. As she and Rob sling accusations, PFAs, and lawsuits, let's take a look at who Chyna really is and how all of this craziness began.

Early life

Chyna was born Angela Renée White on May 11, 1988, in Washington, D.C. She attended Henry E. Lackey High School in Maryland. A born hustler, White knew from her first job that she had star quality. According to her Elle profile, White's first paycheck came from McDonald's, where she never had to sling burgers or fries. She was immediately put on the cash register, claiming, "I guess it was because of my personality." Her fast food career led to Hooter's, then stripping, which she did for two years "at local Maryland spots" to save money for college.

She was always adorable

Over the years, Chyna has amassed a staggering 13.1 million Instagram followers, and it's not just the sexy snaps that helped her get there. Okay, that didn't hurt, but her Instafans also probably love that she shares adorable throwback pics every now and then, like the ones featured above. Chyna captioned the photo on the right, "Young Chy I was a tomboy for the longest!!!" Alongside the picture on the left, she wrote simply, "Young Chy," according to the Daily Mail. It sure seems like the tomboy phase was definitely over by then, huh? 

Stripping career

At the age of 20, Chyna headed to Miami to attend Johnson and Wales University. She took classes during the day, but at night, she performed at the King of Diamonds club, a notorious adult entertainment mecca that is frequented by rappers and athletes. Her first stripper monikers were reportedly "Dora Renée" and "Cream" until she "borrowed" the nickname Blac Chyna from a customer for whom she gave a lap dance one night, according to Michel McCrudden.

With her new persona intact, Chyna fully embraced the stripper life and dropped out of college. When asked by Elle whether the pivot back to the pole disappointed her parents, Chyna said, "My mom [who goes by the name Tokyo Toni] used to be a stripper, so she was like, 'If this is what you want to do, be the best at it.'"

Modeling career

Chyna's modeling career took off in September 2010 when she graced the cover of Dimepiece magazine and was featured in Straight Stuntin' and Black Men magazines. She nabbed the model of the year award at the 2011 Urban Model Awards and continued building notoriety in spreads for Urban Ink, XXL, and Smooth Girl.

Music video vixen

In November 2010, Chyna appeared in the video for Kanye West's "Monster" as Nicki Minaj's body double. "It was good Nicki rapping to the bad Nicki, so they needed an extra body," she told XXL. "They actually put her head on my body so it would look like she was rapping to herself. They had me tied up to a chair and they put her pink wig on me."

By November 2011, Chyna was being pursued romantically by rapper Tyga, although she initially denied his advances. She did, however, appear in his "Rack City" music video, for which she was paid $2,500, which may seem like a sweet gig, except it pales in comparison to her claim to Elle that she once made $15,000 in a single night at King of Diamonds. Chyna would continue to make appearances in music videos, like Minaj's "Come on a Cone" video in October 2012, but make no mistake, it wasn't about the cash.

Notoriety in rap

According to Sylvia Obell's BuzzFeed profile of Chyna's come-up, the savvy stripper and magazine model has always had her eyes on a much larger prize than just being the queen of the pole. Which is why when she started getting mentions in rap songs, like Drake's 2012 track, "Miss Me," in which he says, "Call the King of Diamonds and tell Chyna it'd be worth the flight," Chyna was more than ready to leverage the notoriety. And by the time Nicki Minaj referenced her on "I Luv Dem Strippers," and Kanye West name-dropped her on "High Lights," she was already a household name.

Obell alleges that this was all part of the plan, writing, "While no one and everyone was watching, Chyna was making calculated moves to close in on her own empire with a precision and finesse that not even the Kardashians saw coming. This wasn't a PR breakthrough. It was a coup."

Beef with World Star Hip-Hip

In 2011 interview with 305Honeys, Chyna addressed a controversy over the website World Star Hip-Hop publishing a video of her dancing at King of Diamonds. According to Chyna, she wouldn't have agreed to let anyone tape her performances for two reasons. 1.) It is against the club's policy for anyone to take pictures of, or record the dancers. 2.) Believe it or not, Chyna did not want that image of her out there in the public. She said, "They basically recorded me when I had got on stage, which was wrong, because World Star Hip Hop...they had reached out to me once before, and then once, you know, I got a little bit poppin', they reached out to my manager and we both told them 'No, we didn't want to have anything to do with being a World Star Hip Hop honey.' That's not the look that I'm trying to go for, so I just thought that that was very disrespectful."

The foresight to use her successful stripper career as a launching pad rather than a defining persona would soon pay off, as it didn't take long for Chyna fulfill her once abandoned attempt a higher education.

Entrepreneurial efforts

In 2013, Chyna graduated from JLS Professional Makeup Artist School. Later that year, she launched her 88 Fin clothing line and her own brand of false eyelashes, LASHED by Blac Chyna. In 2014, she opened her LASHED Beauty Bar salon, offering a variety of cosmetic services, in addition to makeup lessons.

Relationship with Tyga

Chyna and Tyga met at an afterparty for Brown's F.A.M.E. Tour in October 2011, Global Grind reports. Chyna said their relationship officially began when she was in his "Rack City" video in 2011, after which point the pair were often spotted at events together. The couple posed together for Urban Ink magazine in March 2012 and confirmed that they were expecting a child shortly afterward. They became engaged that August, and son King Cairo was born in October 2012.

Blac Chyna and Tyga split in October 2014 amid reports that he cheated on her with Kylie Jenner, but the pair was rumored to be on-again off-again for quite some time.

Fling with Future

In early 2015, Chyna was briefly rumored to be dating rapper Future. The chatter grew louder when she stepped out with the word "Future" tattooed on her hand. Unfortunately for her, Future wasn't nearly as invested. As the volume on their relationship increased, he tweeted (via the Daily Mail), "Single & focusing on what makes me happy...U kno I dnt f— wit no rumors [sic]." Chyna has reportedly gotten the tattoo removed—and grown adept at hiding her hand.

Hookup with P.J. Tucker

Though neither Chyna nor basketball pro P.J. Tucker ever confirmed a relationship, eagle eyes on the internet realized something was up when they matched up Tucker's tattoos to those of a gentleman on Chyna's Snapchat. Why was this such a big deal? Because, as Complex reports, Tucker was married. After the rumors erupted, Tucker deleted his Instagram account, and Chyna deleted all of her posts with "him"...but screenshots are forever.

Criminal Record

Under her given name of Angela Renée White, Chyna has quite a rap sheet. Radar Online reports that she has more than 20 driver's license suspensions in Maryland, which resulted in an arrest after being pulled over for speeding in 2008. On January 29, 2016, Chyna was arrested for public intoxication after allegedly being drunk at the airport in Austin, Texas, and possessing a controlled substance (USA Today reports it was ecstasy). A police report from the incident states that the model's "behavior was unpredictable, going from extremely angry, cursing at everyone, then to crying."