Family Remembers OnlyFans Model Coconut Kitty as ‘Badass Artist,’ ‘Rockstar Mom’
In recent years, Coconut Kitty had begun to contemplate the benefits of a quiet life. She had long been a popular presence on Instagram, with over 5 million followers flocking to her NSFW posts and OnlyFans account, but lately, her sisters say, she’d been working toward a change. She was excited to be involved in creating of a Coconut Kitty adult cartoon, which she’d teased on social media — a project her younger sister Sarah noted placed her behind the camera instead of in front of it. Beyond that, she had told her family she’d almost finished writing a memoir, and she had been making strides toward focusing more on painting, her true artistic passion, where she created works depicting scantily clad women, oftentimes with cascading strawberry blonde locks, not unlike Coconut Kitty’s.
“She loved the female form. She would always be drawing women, motorcycles, and vintage cars,” Sarah says. A lifelong animal lover, she’d even bought a farm, a retreat where she kept goats, ducks, a dog, and a cat. “I think maybe she was just tired of doing the work,” Sarah says. “As a woman, I feel like we can all appreciate the fact that when you put yourself out there, people are going to criticize what you look like. That’s exhausting in and of itself. I totally get why she was moving to a slower type of lifestyle. She wanted the farm, she wanted to do other things and focus on other types of art.” Her assistant Khloei remembers her as a caring boss and close friend. “Coconut was such a kind person she had the biggest heart I’ve ever known,” she says. “She didn’t deserve the bullying she got online but she always just kept being herself and still tried to love everyone.”
On Feb. 18, a post went out on Coconut Kitty’s social channels took fans by surprise with the announcement that the creator had recently died by suicide. “It’s unfair. Life isn’t fair,” said the announcement, which was posted anonymously, but which Rolling Stone has confirmed was written by the creator’s three sisters with help from her assistant. “We wish you guys could get to know her the way her friends and family did.” The post eulogized Coconut Kitty, describing her contagious laugh, her love of creating art, her hard-headedness, loyalty to her loved ones and her tenderness toward animals in need. It urged readers to check on their friends and family and included contact information for a suicide prevention network.
On Twitter, followers shared their shock and grief at the loss. Some expressed hopes that this was the end of just the Coconut Kitty character, and that perhaps the person behind the account had moved on to a different line of work. “Please tell us that Coconut, the character, has run her course and that the loving soul behind her lives on, looking for her next big project,” tweeted one user.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The creator behind Coconut Kitty’s account died on Feb. 12, authorities in Northern California confirmed, and her family confirmed it was suicide. The sisters, who penned the social media announcement with help from Coconut Kitty’s assistant, requested anonymity for their family — and the safety of their sister’s two children, in particular. This article will refer to the creator behind Coconut Kitty as Diana Deets, an alias she used in her work as a cam girl, and will publish her sisters’ first names only.
Speaking on a Zoom call, Sarah, 29, and Cate, 27, say their big sister would want to be remembered by the public for her work as a “badass artist” and a “rockstar mom,” above all else. They remember her as their role model, champion, and protector. Cate recalls a time when she was eight or nine that Deets insisted she stand up to a bully from school. “[Diana] helped me find this girl’s phone number, and we called her together and confronted her,” Cate says. “I was like, ‘You need to leave me alone,’ and [Diana] was sitting next to me, cheering me on, like, ‘Yes! Tell her.’ She was so fearless and so protective. And [the bully] actually never bothered me after that.”
Despite her tough exterior, Deets struggled with depression from a young age. “She had a long battle with mental health issues, like her whole life growing up,” Sarah says. Deets also spoke about her mental health challenges with Rolling Stone in a 2021 interview. “I had self-esteem issues growing up, I had depression when I was a kid. It’s a normal thing,” she said at the time.
Deets was raised in Northern California with her sisters, four siblings of a blended family who don’t use the “step” prefix when referring to their parents or each other. Deets was an athletic tomboy, her sisters say, cheerleading in high school and competing in synchronized swimming. She was the first among them to get a tattoo, and she didn’t like to be told she couldn’t do something. “She was never going to learn by just being told,” Sarah says. She had to do it herself and experience it herself.”
She worked early on in her adulthood as a stripper, her sisters say, before shifting to online work as a cam girl in the mid-2010s. “My mom was glad that she moved to online, because she didn’t want her out there putting her life at risk,” Sarah says. “We all knew about it. It wasn’t something that was hyper-focused on. It was just what she did.”
In 2018, Coconut Kitty was born. The way Deets explained it in 2021, she created the character when she grew weary of live streaming. “I wanted to get out of camming,” she said. “It was draining. I didn’t like being online and having to entertain people live.” Plus, she was starting to get recognized in public, and as a mother of two young children, that freaked her out. “I didn’t want to put my real face out there anymore. I wanted to maintain my private life and do my online work,” she said.
Coconut Kitty was an exaggerated likeness of Deets. She had an hourglass body to the extreme — not unlike the cartoonish figure some people pay to achieve through plastic surgery — with large breasts, an impossibly small waist, and a tiny head. Coconut’s appearance, Deets told Rolling Stone, was at least partly inspired by her own love of anime. “I wanted to make something that looked like a real-life anime character — small chin, big eyes — that was made in my likeness, because I use a picture of myself and I edit it,” she said. “I just wanted to create a fantasy, just a character. And I was able to hide my identity and still make money off my art.” Other inspiration came from the edited bodies she saw published in magazines like Vogue and Hustler, she said. Coconut Kitty had a button nose, a dusting of freckles, and looked significantly younger than Deets.
The youthful quality of her edits caught some unwanted attention. Coconut Kitty’s tenure as an online persona was marked by people demanding to know to what extent she’d edited her pictures and accusing her of trying to look too young. In 2021, as Rolling Stone reported, a video accusing Deets of catering to pedophiles got millions of views on TikTok. Soon Deets was facing the wrath of anti-trafficking activists, some of whom accused her of “grooming” underaged girls for sex work. Deets said she was shocked by the suggestion that she was trying to look like a minor or entice anyone underage into her line of work. “It’s not until people see I could be an older woman that they want to actually say I look like a minor,” she said, citing her “tattoos, huge fake boobs, huge butt.” “No one thought this was minor material until someone put this storyline out there. This is how fast false information spreads.”
She told Rolling Stone she viewed her work as art, full stop. “What’s wrong with freckles and big eyes? Why are we making limitations on the art we can create? There are no rules in art,” she said. “That’s why I’m so passionate about it. I made a character that I thought was in my likeness, anime-style, that I thought was pretty. It’s as simple as that. There was no deeper thought than that.”
Her sisters agree. “I always understood where she was coming from,” Sarah says. “ Like, this is a character. This isn’t meant to embody some child. Like this is somebody who’s literally created a digital art character.”
Her sisters also have no problem revealing that Deets died at the age of 37. The creator’s age was another thing followers obsessed over, with some accusing her of being as old as 50 and hiding behind digital editing to deceive her audience.
Although she was dedicated to her digital art, Deets sometimes felt worn down by constant criticism from her followers. The Coconut Kitty character wasn’t only about protecting her private life, when it came down to it. Removing her real body and face from the equation also let her distance herself from the near-constant critiques that come with putting yourself and your body online. “Whether they say you’re pretty or ugly or your boobs are lopsided or this or that, it doesn’t matter because it was literally a character I created,” she said. “This character gave me the opportunity to disassociate myself [from the criticism].”
Deets’ sisters say her struggles with depression — as well as addiction — were lifelong. She checked herself into rehab twice, they say, including within the past year, when her mental health took a downward turn. “She had a bad experience at this place, and she left early, and I don’t think she had the tools to deal with what she was dealing with at the time,” Sarah says. “I think that’s part of the reason why she lost her battle with her mental health issues and addiction issues.”
“My sister struggled with addiction and depression all her life and she fought hard against those demons,” says Ray, 39, the eldest of the four. “She had a passion for life, but she also had her demons, and somewhere along the way, I guess it got to be too big of a fight. I do know this: we all loved her, she loved us, and she loved her kids. And for her story to end this way is tragic. We will never really understand it or know how much she was suffering. But that is the dark side of depression and addiction. One thing I will tell you and your readers: No matter what, always end your conversation with, ‘I love you,’ cause you never know when someone may be suffering, hurting, or need help.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 confidential text messaging service that provides support to people in crisis when they text 741741.
Additional reporting by: EJ Dickson.
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