Jackie got trolled! The “Paulinda” BJJ prank is still alive and active. For what appears to go back at least 6-years may be the longest running practical joke on BJJ academies according to an article written in 2017. More specifically, a woman named “Paulinda” (or in other cases Gabby) called our Ralph Gracie gym in San Jose claiming to be a brown belt that competes and is interested in joining the gym. She sports a deep Brazilian accent, or a good imitation of one. Over an extended conversation intended to keep the call receiver on the phone for as long as possible, one of the most bizarre questions asked is whether it is ok to train in a thong!
Jackie is our assistant membership coordinator and is tasked with bringing in new members to the gym. Our gym is also targeting females so that we can reach critical mass for a women’s only BJJ class. Of course this all made Jackie very excited that she would land a high-profile sign-up. She logged the call into our lead generation system for follow-up after Paulinda promised to come into the gym later that week for a try out class.
Well — after a little Googling, Jackie realized that she had been cat-fished. Based on one Reddit post from 2 years ago in 2017, one school complained about receiving the calls for almost 4 years at that time. According to other posts, Paulinda calls from many different numbers and continues all over the world, with schools as far as Australia falling victim. She calls several times and finds reasons to get upset and berates the phone call receiver, calling them sexist and racist. Different theories include competitor trolling, mental illness, and just old fashioned fun.
Various gyms reported these incidents:
“We’ve had a stalker call us for going on 4 years just to waste time. She’s learned more over the years about bjj to draw out these stupid calls before we realize it’s her and her last attempt at pointlessly wasting our time involved her making a fake profile on Facebook for a famous competitor in Europe. “
“She has called my coach (male) multiple times over here in IRELAND! She has claimed to be a black belt then a brown belt, and that she received her brown belt in England and Poland on different occasions. Very strange stuff whatever is going on.”
According to Jackie, she was lured into a 45-minute conversation, answering questions covering every minute detail about the academy.