In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the Jonas Brothers' breakout self-titled album (their first with Hollywood Records), we're celebrating with a week full of JoBros features for our readers.
Anyone who was a fangirl of the Jonas Brothers back in the day may remember a little website called jonasbrothersfan.com, which was run by two sisters named Katie and Karleigh Santry. The Jonas-obsessed Pennsylvania natives were the pioneers, if you will, of the Jo Bros fandom – as their site truly acted as a hub for all things Jonas. You see, this was a time before Snapchat and Instagram, so news on your fave stars' whereabouts wasn't all that easy to find. So what did they do? They gathered every piece of information they could find about Nick, Joe and Kevin, and put it out there for fangirls like themselves. J-14 caught up with the sisters to chat about what it was like running such a popular fan site as teens and low-key being treated as celebs for it.
J-14: How did you discover the Jonas Brothers?
Karleigh: We were on vacation at Disney World, and they had a Radio Disney channel on the TV – and we heard “Year 3000.” Yeah, so after that, I just spent time Googling them.
J-14: Who came up with the idea of creating jonasbrothersfan.com?
Karleigh: I had been thinking about a bunch of different ideas for websites just because my dad was a web developer, and I was really fascinated by it. So I threw a lot of ideas at him, but once I found the Jonas Brothers, I was like, “This is it! I'm tired of searching ten different websites for information. I'm going to search for all the information, then I'm going to make it available for everyone else.
J-14: Was there ever a time when your parents were like, “Why are you spending all your time on the Jonas Brothers?”
Katie: My parents were so supportive. It had like a good mix because my dad was the computer [guy] and then my mom – she was all about concerts. Even before Jonas Brothers, she like slept outside to get us concert tickets. Both ends covered!
J-14: What was it like being recognized at a concert for the first time after your fan site blew up?
Karleigh: I remember it – because I remember shortly after, a few days later, someone was posting on the forum that I was so mean because I looked at them weird.
Katie: That was the first time we had an experience with haters.
Karleigh: Someone asked like “Can we have a picture with you? Can you sign this?” And I was like, why? I wasn’t trying to be mean, but I’m just a fan!
Katie: I would go to a concert, and I would get like 10 boxes of Nerds. Like people would bring us stuff that we had mentioned. I liked Cinnabons from McDonald’s, and I would get them at a concert! So one day, I was like, “Guys, I like diamonds and cars too!”
J-14: Have you been recognized recently?
Katie: So a couple of months ago, I was at my dentist getting my teeth cleaned. And while my dental hygienist is in my mouth, she goes, “I have to say something really weird.” And she was like, “I was so obsessed with you and your website. I watched every video show you ever posted.” It was so awesome! I instantly got my phone out and called my sister, called my parents, like, “Guess what just happened?!”
Karleigh: There were people who watched my videos that were at my university – small world, I guess!
J-14: When did your peers and classmates find out about your website and what was it like?
Karleigh: Well, if we’re talking about when it was actually happening, that wasn’t as great of an experience because people can be mean.
Katie: Basically, we took some of our friends to concerts. I don’t know if you remember the Kevin Jonas bringing coffee thing in Cleveland? I feel like after that, because that video got so big when the Jonas Brothers had posted it, everybody at school knew. And for whatever reason, people weren't as mean to me. I'm two years older than Karleigh, and you can probably tell in our videos, I'm a lot more outgoing.
Karleigh: I was a Freshman in high school, so I was terrified!
J-14: How did you deal with the bullies?
Karleigh: For the first two weeks of school, I was bullied so bad that I came home crying every day. Eventually, after my first two weeks of high school, we had to be home schooled.
Katie: For me, I didn’t really care – but we were traveling so much. At that point when we were at our peak, we were in New York like a couple times a month, and we were going to California. We went to the Bahamas. Like we were traveling so much that we literally couldn't [go to school].
J-14: How did you keep up with running the website when the Jonas Brothers got so big?
Katie: We had partnered with another company, and they helped.
Karleigh: People would apply and be able to post on our website, and we'd have to approve everything. And obviously, we were posting as well.
J-14: Was there any inside scoop that you knew and had to keep quiet?
Karleigh: I guess we kind of knew very limited things. Mr. Jonas – he would let us break some news.
Katie: We were the first ones to post when Joe Jonas had fallen [at the 2007 American Music Awards] when he was all bloody in that white suit. [Their dad] gave us that picture and let us break that. At that point, our fan site was getting more visitors than their official website. It was nuts.
J-14: What was it like meeting the Jonas Brothers for the first time?
Karleigh: Obviously, I had gathered up all my J-14's so I could have them sign like 20 things. The whole time, they were just signing and signing.
Katie: We had gone to a free mall show, and we had entered to win a meet and greet – and I won! My mom was like, "Both of these girls are going!"
Karleigh: At that point, if Katie had gone and not me – especially considering I was the fan at the time – UGH!
Katie: There were tears. Then the guys were like, "OK, you can both go." So we walk in with all these magazines, and my mom goes – this was literally on camera – she says to, I think, Joe Jonas, “We picked up these magazines on a potty break!” We were like, "What were you thinking?! Why would you say that?!"
Karleigh: Like, "THAT’S THE JONAS BROTHERS." I was 14.
Katie: For your mom to tell the Jonas Brothers you were on a "potty break" – it's just the most awkward thing.
J-14: What do you guys think is different about the Jonas Brothers fandom compared to others, especially considering Snapchat and Instagram wasn't around at the time?
Karleigh: There wasn't as much social media. It was us trying to get organized as a fandom to be able to achieve some of the stuff that we were able to achieve as a fandom. It was a lot more difficult! There weren’t a million social media outlets for us to come up with these campaigns to promote them. I think that's where jonasbrothersfans.com became such a nice thing. You don’t really see as many fan sites anymore. It's mostly just social media accounts. You were fighting the power! You wanted to get them on the radio.
Katie: I think they did such a good job being so connected with their fans. They always had meet-and-greets, and they were free!
J-14: Fast-forward to 2013 – what was it like finding out the Jonas Brothers broke up?
Katie: So I was a radio DJ and then did the social media, and I did my celebrity daily dirt. So I was still living in that world.
Karleigh: I was very into school at that point, so I was really focused just with that. I didn’t really have time to be a fangirl, but I was hurt. I was hurt real bad when it happened. I was hurt even more so when Nick Jonas cut off his hair. I'm still affected. I'm going to be so sad if he keeps it short forever.
J-14: Where do you two consider yourselves as fans now?
Karleigh: I keep an eye on them, like ready to pounce if the Jonas Brothers come back. I'm a die hard boy band fangirl. I need a boy band to follow, so I need them together. And I hold onto that hope.
Katie: I still follow them all on social media – I'm also single. I'm just throwing it out there.
Karleigh: I mean, I'm single too! So if any of them are single... I'm available!
Katie: Bring us full circle, 10 years later!
We'll be posting exclusive JoBros posters, articles, and more for Jonas Brothers Week over on our J-14+ Facebook group. Join for a safe space to obsess over celebs the same way you did when you were 14.
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