Nik Avocado ruthlessly penetrates a 10-pound king crab with a pair of kitchen shears. Their silver tips flash as he snaps off a leg, hacking away at the crab’s flesh while bellowing about his latest plan to take down the haters. “Health is wealth,” he says, mangling the crab leg while nearly snipping off one of his chipped pink fingernails. “Health is wealth.”
You may know Avocado, aka Nicholas Perry, as YouTube’s premier mukbanger — i.e., someone who posts videos of themself eating large amounts of food online. He’s been on the platform since 2016, and in those five short years, he’s built a huge following of more than 2.5 million people. It’s more likely, though, that you’ve seen the oft-memed video of him punching his passenger seat and demanding that a neighborhood woman stop feeding stray cats. Either way, Nik Avocado is a mandatory passport stamp for every internet adventurer, and his labyrinth of YouTube channels offer a veritable buffet of fucked-up treats. There’s the instant classic in which an adult dressed as a giant panda feigns masturbation, and another video in which Perry performs a self-composed funeral dirge entitled “He Like Cheese.” In a more recent clip called “Something Bad Happened at Jack in the Box,” Perry flails an Auntie Anne’s pretzel while condemning airline mask mandates. “How am I gonna breathe with cloth in front of my nostrils?” he screams, yanking his black mask over his chin.
The ensuing drama — and breakdowns and outrageous villainy — is a big part of his business. Perry even has a channel entitled “Drama, Meltdowns & Fights,” where you can find him screaming profanities at his husband, fellow YouTuber Orlin Home. Another channel, dubbed “Upset Feelings,” includes a video named “HEARTBROKEN,” in which a sobbing Perry appears to have a mental health crisis triggered by a ripped pair of shorts.
Lately, however, he’s pivoted into a different kind of revealing business — OnlyFans. Already in the the top 0.14 percent of OnlyFans creators, Perry claims that his channel is the place where he strips away his sensational YouTube persona to provide fans with a more “authentic” experience, letting them in on a glimpse of the so-called “real Nik.” At first glance, that seems to be the case — unlike other influencers who’ve moved to OnlyFans for the grift (see: Tana Mongeau), Perry’s channel features actual sex work, peppering hardcore dick-and-hole videos with eroticized, nude photos of his ever-expanding stomach. And while his OnlyFans occasionally features mukbang, the more general posts about his weight and food consumption are some of his most popular. In one, he cradles his shaft under a caption that says, “What I like to do while digesting a big meal.” In another, he lies spread-eagle on a suede couch, fondling his belly with his half-hard penis askew. “Who’s gonna stuff me more?” the caption reads.
This, he tells me, is just him being “real.” But here’s where things get messier than a vat of Wendy’s cheese sauce. On a recent call from his home in Orlando, Perry admits that his entire persona — the fast-food addiction, the instability, the public fights with his husband — is fake. “It’s all completely scripted,” he says, though he admits only a few of his hardcore fans know he’s just putting on a show. “YouTube has been a way for me to create a character and provide entertainment. What you see on camera is completely exaggerated for clicks.”
What are we to make of his OnlyFans presence, then? How “authentic” can it be if the rest of his public persona is an act? Can his paying customers trust that they’re getting the “real Nik,” or is Perry too tangled in his own alter ego to know the difference between truth and good entertainment?
Before we parse fact from fiction, we have to go back to the beginning. In my interview with Perry, he describes his early mukbangs as a big “fuck you” to the vegan YouTube community where he got his start making videos like the “10,000 Calorie Avocado Challenge.” When he left veganism in 2017, his audience was outraged. “Most people who watched my channel were vegan, and they thought I was being immoral and unethical when I started eating meat,” Perry tells me. “So [mukbang] was kind of a middle finger, as in, ‘I don’t owe anything to these internet strangers.’” Better still, Perry realized he could turn that outrage into cold, hard cash as he filmed himself eating fast food like McDonald’s for the first time in years. “Their hate caused the videos to spread, which gave me a huge boost and sent a lot of traffic to my channel,” he explains.
Ever since, Perry has continued to learn how to use conflict as currency. In 2019, fellow mukbanger Stephanie Soo accused him of emotional manipulation during a collaboration video, posting videos like “Why I Am Scared of Nikocado Avocado” and “How Nikocado Manipulated All of Us” to YouTube. (At the time, Soo raised the alarm after Perry encouraged her to gossip about another YouTuber.) Perry tells me, however, that the entire feud was orchestrated to benefit both his career and Soo’s. (I reached out to Soo for comment, but didn’t receive a reply.) “We both knew that this would be the best thing for our careers,” he says. “Both of us got our names further out there than we ever thought possible.”
He describes the debacle as an “opportunity to add onto [his] role as the villain,” although he adds that he and Soo are no longer on speaking terms. “I’ve taken the path of a trainwreck because I know that’s what sells,” he says. “That’s what keeps people’s attention. They like the shitshow. I’m willing to be that villain because I know it will keep people talking.” (To that end, there’s an entire cottage industry devoted to Nik Avocado “cringe compilations.”)
Perry explains that he majored in performance in college and claims that he made callbacks for The Glee Project, a reality spinoff of the TV show. “YouTube has been a way for me to create a character and provide entertainment,” he says. “People watch wrestling, and they know that’s fake. They know reality TV is fake, but it doesn’t prevent them from enjoying it.”
To the uninquisitive eye, the toxic pageantry appears to extend to Perry’s relationship with Home. Conflict between the couple is a driving plotline on Perry’s multiple YouTube channels, as well as on Home’s channel where he regularly posts videos like “I Just Blocked Nick and Cheated on Him.” Fans can also frequently catch Perry and Home engaged in verbal and physical squabbles — like this one, a sequence in which the camera pans to a frenzied montage of Wendy’s fries, nuggets and chili as Perry and Home scream insults and have a half-hearted fist fight in the background. As they continue to call each other “disrespectful,” “ugly” and “fat” while throwing king-sized temper tantrums, commenters are left to wonder about their physical safety.
Perry, however, insists that he and Home are controlling the narrative. “I’m smart enough that I know that drama sells,” Perry says. “[Orlin] has gotten in more and more practice with me doing fake food fights, cheating meltdowns, breakups. It doesn’t stem from anything that reflects our relationship in real life.” Home backs this up, telling me that they’re “nothing like what you see in our videos” and that their marriage is “amazing.” “With Nick’s background in acting, we learned very early on in our careers that drama is the number one seller on YouTube,” he says. “That’s the most effective way to put yourself out there. And it’s worked!”
All of which brings us back to OnlyFans. In particular, Perry claims that his relationship with Home is stronger than ever, partly because they began making OnlyFans content together. “My husband was the one who told me to join OnlyFans,” Perry tells me, explaining that it’s become a “liberating” way for the couple to explore their sexuality. “I was hesitant and nervous about what people would think, because once you’re out there like this, it’s out there forever. But he told me, ‘Nik, life is short and you aren’t the only person in this world with a penis.’” (Hours after our interview, Perry — as Nik Avocado — posted a video entitled “We Broke Up,” sobbing that he feels overly dependent on Home while waving to passersby in an airport.)
Better yet, Perry adds, he doesn’t have to rely on any gimmicks like mukbang or contrived drama on OnlyFans, because most of his audience there gets off to “just me being me.”
When I ask why his followers should believe him and take on face value that he leaves the shtick to YouTube and presents his real self on OnlyFans, he cites his business acumen, seemingly equating it with trustworthiness. “I’m running a massive empire and intense upload schedule that [requires] a lot of self-awareness,” he explains.
The truth, however, is probably better found in something he’d told me earlier. He started by waxing poetic once more about how OnlyFans had bolstered his life in every way possible. “I’m the best I’ve ever been in terms of my career, my love life, my business,” he declared. All of which could be completely accurate, of course. But it’s what he offered next that struck me as the more honest assessment: “As long as they’re watching, that’s all I care about.”