Behind every catfish, there’s the bait. Who is Janessa Brazil? Stolen images of an adult entertainment star are being used to con victims out of thousands of dollars, breaking hearts in the process. Journalist Hannah Ajala embarks on a quest to find Janessa, in this 7-part true crime series. And who is responsible for catfishing scams? Produced for the BBC World Service and CBC Podcasts by Antica Productions and Telltale Industries.
Emma Carey • Esquire • Sep 1, 2023
"If catfishing mysteries like the viral 2021 true crime pod Sweet Bobby are your jam, then prepare to fall for Love, Janessa."
Lucy White • Independent.ie • Apr 23, 2023
"...sensitively told, and almost invites our sympathy for the scammers by also interviewing Ghanian ‘Sakawa boys’ who dupe lonely hearts into draining their bank accounts to eke out their own living...ripple effect of catfishing, in a twisty seven-part series that’s more well-rounded than Sweet Bobby."
Ximena Smith • Stuff NZ • Feb 18, 2023
"...it doesn’t have quite the same level of intrigue as Sweet Bobby (the stellar catfish podcast series from a few years back); however, enough breadcrumbs have been laid for me to want to continue following the trail."
James Marriot • The Times UK • Feb 17, 2023
"Love, Janessa’s excellent host, Hannah Ajala, coaxes sympathy from this unlikely premise. There’s an undertow of tragedy. Apparently, one of the ways the “models” get men hooked is by starting every conversation with questions like “Have you cleaned your teeth today. Are you warm enough?” and so on. They just want to be cared for. And double-D boobs, of course. …"
Patricia Nicol • The Times UK • Feb 5, 2023
"Hannah Ajala, a British journalist based in Nigeria, is the empathetic presenter of a series that spans Europe, America and the “sakawa boy” scammers of Ghana in its attempt to find out how these scams work. "
Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian • Feb 4, 2023
"Love, Janessa is an intriguing, heartbreaking, follow-the-scam catfish show...what’s really gripping, and introduced gradually, cleverly, by presenter Hannah Ajala, is that there’s not just one lovelorn victim. There are layers upon layers upon layers. This sympathetic, impeccably researched show finds out."
PR Staff • PodcastReview.org • Feb 1, 2023
"Hannah Ajala brings a fresh perspective to the increasingly common issue...These scams, of course, can have devastating fallout, but in the moments when they’re unsuccessful, they can also be a bit funny, which the show acknowledges with its jaunty sound design and sometimes humorous interview clips. Ajala doesn’t make light of the scams, though, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of them. After just the first two episodes, we’re hooked."
Fiona Sturges • Financial Times • Jan 22, 2023
"Equal parts jaw-dropping and heartbreaking...Through smart storytelling and some seriously dogged reporting, Love, Janessa builds to a remarkable conclusion that I shan’t spoil for you here. What I can say is that the series rarely goes where you think it will and never loses sight of its humanity. In the realms of true crime, these are rare qualities indeed. …"