Akana was born on August 18, 1989 in California, United States. Her was an officer in the United States Marine Corps, including during her childhood. Her family moved every few years to a new state or country.
On Valentine's Day 2007, Akana's 13-year-old sister, Kristina, committed suicide. Several months after her sister's death, Akana watched Margaret Cho perform on a Comedy Central special and laughed for the first time since the suicide. She began to see laughter as a means of trying to move on with her life and decided to seriously pursue comedy. Akana has been vocal about her sister's suicide and is a strong advocate for suicide prevention. In 2013, Akana uploaded a YouTube video, "please don't kill yourself", in which she explains how it felt for her to have a family member die by suicide. In that same year, she released a book Surviving Suicide which contains her journal entries from the two years after her sister's death.
Akana first started performing comedy at age 19 but switched to YouTube video performances in 2011 after experiencing panic attacks and anxiety before going on stage. She later resumed performing stand-up onstage.
In 2014, Akana formed a comedy music duo, Cat Benatar, with fellow comedian and writer Megan Rosati. Akana creates both comedy and documentary YouTube videos. In 2014, Akana was listed on New Media Rockstars Top 100 Channels, ranked at #72. In that same year, Akana decided to focus more on her skills as a director and attempted to make one short film a month. While she did not reach her goal of twelve short films, she did make six short films which were received well by her YouTube audience. Akana starred in all of her short films and has starred in various other short films, and she has since continued to create short films.
One of Akana's short films, Miss Earth, was partially financed by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's production company, New Form Digital. It was part of the 2014 Incubator, a series to showcase and produce original stories by YouTube Creators and filmmakers. Miss Earth was later adapted into a web series, Miss 2059, and released on Verizon's go90 app in June 2016, with a second season released in late 2017.
Akana executive produced and starred as the lead role in the original comedy-drama web television series Youth & Consequences, created by Jason Ubaldi and released in March 2018 on YouTube Red. She is also the host of the web series Crash Course Business: Entrepreneurship beginning in August 2019.
On October 10, 2019, she was featured in a 30 minute Youtube documentary created by SoulPancake in collaboration with Funny or Die wherein a variety of comedians discuss mental health called Laughing Matters.
In 2011, Akana appeared in the TV series Awkward. In that same year, she also appeared as an extra in Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" music video. In 2015, she appeared in the films Ant-Man and Kids vs Monsters. Akana starred in SnapperHero, a scripted video series distributed via Snapchat.
In 2016, Akana appeared alongside Sally Field in the indie comedy film Hello, My Name Is Doris, written by Michael Showalter. That same year, she also appeared in a short Star Wars fan film, Hoshino, as well as the comedy film Dirty 30.
Akana has a recurring role in the Comedy Central show Corporate. She also has a recurring role as Gloria in the Disney Channel show Big City Greens. In 2019, she announced in RHPC's "Off the pill"-podcast to be part of the Netflix original Jupyter's Legacy.
Akana also hosts the podcast Explain Things to Me with fellow comedian Brad Gage where the two interview experts in various fields about their work.
Akana is openly bisexual.
|A Million Little Things: Season 2|
|"Coming Home":||"Grand Canyon":||"Mixed Signals":||"The Perfect Storm":||"Austin":||"Unleashed":||"Ten Years":||"Goodnight":||"Time Stands Still":||"The Kiss":|
|"We're the Howards":||"Guilty":||"Daisy":||"The Sleepover":||"The Lunch":||"Change of Plans":||"One Year Later":||"Mothers and Daughters":||"'Til Death Do Us Part":|
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