Before making her way to Los Angeles, Blac Chyna (née Angela Renée White) was born and raised in Washington D.C., where she first developed her strong work ethic. “I’ve been making my own money for a very, very long time,” she exclusively told PEOPLE. “My first job was at McDonald’s when I was 15.”
In a 2016 interview with Elle, Chyna expanded on the experience, saying: “Normally you start on fries or burgers, but I was never back there. I guess it was because of my personality.”
After a brief stint as a dancer at a strip club in Maryland, a then-20-year-old Chyna had enough money saved to attend Johnson & Wales University in Miami. For two years, the D.C. native went to school while working at King of Diamonds before dropping out of college to pursue exotic dancing full-time. “I was falling asleep all the time in class. It wasn’t working out for me,” she told Elle in 2016. Chyna also revealed that she once earned $15,000 in one night at the Miami strip club.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
While Chyna hasn’t directly addressed her unique nickname, according to a “Before They Were Famous” YouTube video, the model allegedly deemed herself “Blac Chyna” after meeting a client at a strip club who went by a similar moniker. Before making the change, Chyna allegedly went by “Cream” and “Dora Renée” in the strip club scene.
Chyna may have reached new heights of fame after first being linked to Rob Kardashian, with whom she shared a whirlwind and tumultuous relationship, but the model had already established a name for herself prior to their coupling up. In 2010, Chyna was given a shout-out in Drake’s single, “Miss Me,” where he rapped: “Call up King of Diamonds/And tell Chyna it’d be worth the flight.” She also appeared as Nicki Minaj’s body double in the rapper’s 2010 music video for “Monster,” and has modeled for black men’s magazines.
In 2011, Chyna appeared in the music video for Tyga’s “Rack City,” which led to the pair dating and eventually welcoming a child together — son King Cairo — in 2012.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS
That same year, Chyna moved to Calabasas in California, where she struck up a friendship with Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kim Kardashian. Chyna even appeared in an episode of KUWTK and attended the reality star’s 2014 wedding to Kanye West in Italy.
A NEW LOVE
Following her split from Tyga — who went on to date Kylie Jenner after their breakup — Chyna began seeing Kim Kardashian’s brother, Rob, with whom she shares daughter Dream. The pair, who embarked on a revealing Facebook Live before the premiere of their eponymous reality show, revealed they first met at Kendall Jenner’s 16th birthday celebration at Six Flags. “The weirdest thing now like looking back at pictures, we was like winning prizes together and sitting on the ride like close to each other,” Chyna said of their initial connection.
Chyna is a self-proclaimed businesswoman, boasting an array of businesses like Lashed Cosmetics and Chymoji. “Years later, right after I had King, I wanted to do something that expressed myself, so I started Lashed Cosmetics,” Chyna revealed to PEOPLE. “The lipsticks, the full skincare line, the beauty bar and 88Fin clothing trickled down from that. Nobody supports me at all. If anything, I’ve gotten other people more money … I’ll leave it at that.”
Chyna and Kardashian’s romance came to an end after the youngest Kardashian sibling posted explicit photos of his former fiancée, who was eventually granted restraining orders against the star. “I’m not going to take something that happened to me in the past into my future,” Chyna told PEOPLE. “First and foremost, I’m going to make myself happy. because once I’m happy, then Dream can be happy and then King can be happy and then everybody else around me can be happy.”