Torrell Tafa’s Steady Rise


Like many, Torrell’s university journey began because he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do career-wise. When he started his degree, doing what he does now wasn’t even a consideration. But at some point in his studies his focus shifted, the Cougar Boys YouTube channel was taking off. The time and effort required to sustain the channel’s virality was eating heavily into the time he could put into uni—though despite this, Torrell still managed to finish his bachelor’s degree.

The Cougar Boys experienced years of success as a group, but as they grew older, life caught up with them. Some of the boys moved over the ditch to Australia, and travelling trans-tasman to film content became increasingly harder. When COVID hit, it became impossible. The group has since remained close friends, but the videos came to a halt. 

It was then that Torrell branched out began focusing on taking his own brand to new heights, and this he did. While numbers aren’t the only the benchmark for success, he’s got a lot of them, boasting a wide fan-base with millions of followers across TikTok and Instagram, and a face that most people in New Zealand under 30 would recognize. 

More importantly, though—he’s just the same old Torrell. Speaking to Complex Australia, he talks about a potential Cougar Boys return, compares content creation today to a decade ago, and the struggles that come with being an ‘influencer.’

Taking it back to your time at uni, what was your experience at university like?

I went to uni because I had no clue what I wanted to do, and then by the end I still didn’t know. I did a bachelor of commerce. At the same time as uni, I was juggling the Cougar Boys’ YouTube channel. So I’d go to lectures and I’d just be editing all our videos. I would always think of those people who have their passion, and they’re always doing it. I’ve always just done YouTube. Straight after uni, I thought I wanted to get into advertising and marketing, but I didn’t really know how, so I just pretty much focused on YouTube.