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“Catfishing” comes home to Montgomery County

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Published on: Thursday, July 18, 2013

By Donna Broadway

SILVER SPRING – MTV’s Catfish has reached a point in its popularity and pop culture relevance that the term “catfish” has been submitted to Merriam-Webster for inclusion in an upcoming dictionary.

The term “catfish,” which is used to describe a person who pretends to be another person online, is derived from a fishing term. When transporting codfish from Alaska to China, fishermen found that by the end of the trip, the fish would be mushy and tasteless. In order to prevent this, the fishermen would add catfish to keep the codfish agile and active. The term was brought to show creator Nev Schulman’s attention after the husband of the woman who catfished him explained the term.

The most famous example of catfishing occurred in 2012 when then Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was hoaxed into an online relationship with a non-existent woman.

Catfishing has also hit Montgomery County with Trina the Natural, who declined to provide her last name to protect her identity, and her “catfish” Lee, both of Silver Spring. The two appeared on the show’s second episode, which omitted Lee’s last name.

In 2011, Trina met a 27-year-old exotic dancer named Scorpio from Atlanta and after a year-long MySpace courtship – the two said they loved each other and discussed marriage – Trina began to suspect something was off about her relationship and contacted Schulman and Max Joseph, co-host and cameraman for Catfish, to help her learn the truth about Scorpio.

“Every time I asked him to send me pictures, it would be the same picture he already sent. This started happening towards nine months, and I asked him for pictures but he always had a show here, he had to fly, he gave me all these excuses that he couldn’t give me pictures,” Trina said. “I wasn’t trying to go on Maury, but I wanted to see if he was who he really is. So I got in contact with Nev and Max, and they helped me from there.”

Schulman and Joseph found Scorpio, who lived just a few miles way.  Scorpio turned out to be Lee, a 32-year-old father of four who was not an exotic dancer. Lee claimed the pictures he was using were of his cousin, Larry Drummer.

Trina was able to meet Drummer after Schulman set up a video chat with him. Trina said she is not in touch with Drummer or Lee.

“She's got such a kind of natural spirit and pure energy to her. She’s really an amazing person,” Joseph said.

Since her appearance on “Catfish: The Reunion Special,” in February, Trina has signed with Straight Sixx Entertainment and Video management company. She has also partnered with a media company in Baltimore, Touchy Situations. Trina said she no longer dances in exotic clubs, but she makes featured appearances.

Trina also has an online reality show called “Beyond the Pole,” which showcased her performing in different cities. In addition, Trina has installed Web cameras in her home that record at all times and broadcast on her website.

Despite being on the show, Trina said she still gets catfished.

“A lot of people on my fan pages say can you Skype me. Check out my Facebook page and know it’s really me. It continues to happen. A lot of it has been going on, but now we have a show that comes on and tells you about it. It happens in real life,” Trina said.

Trina is not the only Catfish participant from the state. Derek, the suspected catfish from the July 16 episode, lives in Baltimore. Lauren suspected that she was being catfished, but unlike Trina and Scorpio, she and Derek had a happy ending, as the show found Derek had been truthful about his identity. Their last names were also omitted from the episode.

Trina is still single and looking for love online and offline. Trina will appear on season two of Catfish, though show producers have not specified what her role will be.

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