Amanda, a young woman who opened up about her past as a sex worker and recovering crack cocaine addict in the popular YouTube series "Soft White Underbelly," has died at the age of 25.
The sad news was shared in a 25-minute video called "Amanda (May, 2021)" that was uploaded on Saturday. In it, Amanda's father and Lima Jevremovic, CEO of digital health platform AURA, paid tribute to Amanda.
"On Sunday, May 9, the treatment center staff walked into Amanda's room, thinking she just peacefully sleeping and realized that she had passed away. It's been a really, really big shock for us," Jevremovic said.
She added that Amanda, whose surname was never revealed, was under 24-hour supervision at the residential facility and that foul play was not suspected.
In a post on a GoFundMe page on Saturday, Jevremovic elaborated on the circumstances surrounding Amanda's death at such a young age.
"It is believed that, in combination with the physical damage caused by her long-term drug use, she passed away from the traumatic brain injuries (TBI's) she sustained as a result of multiple violent rapes and beatings she endured as a young homeless woman living on the streets of Los Angeles," she wrote.
Amanda first shared her story of working as a sex worker on Los Angeles' Skid Row in a December 2019 video. In March 2020, she appeared on camera again with a black eye and several missing teeth. Soon after, Amanda got sober.
In her final appearance in the series, she looked happy, healthy and proud as she shared she had been sober for "10 or 11 months" and was no longer battling cravings.
"I am more clearheaded and my mindset has changed about drugs and everything. I feel really great about my next step," she said.
"Soft White Underbelly," a project from photographer Mark Laita, launched in April 2016 on YouTube. Since then, the channel has racked up more than 2 million subscribers and 307 million views of its heartbreaking and life affirming videos that capture intimate portraits of people in the grips of addiction, and their journey toward recovery.
"I want people to see that it just takes time and effort," Amanda said in her last appearance. "Being sober and being in recovery are two different things. I just want to put that out there and I'm in recovery. I'm here to make action and do the things that I can do to stay sober for the rest of my life."
When talking about her future, she said she hoped to work with youth who have autism, like her brother. "Most importantly I want to become a CNA (certified nursing assistant)," she said. "I helped out with my autistic brother growing up so that's something I think I would be really good at and I would enjoy."