Meet the 19-Year-Old Whose Racism Prank Fooled the Net

Zaida Pugh, aka Ms. Muffin, explains her thought-provoking pranks that often provoke intense reactions.

Zaida Pugh aka Ms. Muffin
Zaida Pugh aka Ms. Muffin Zaida Pugh/

Of course, Pugh tries to make sure things go smoothly and ensure that no one gets in trouble or is hurt.

“If anybody else does try to interfere, try to fight or anything, I always have actors around trying to prevent that or tell them something. I didn’t really want nobody to get up or try to fight or anything,” she says, adding that with the bus prank she was more interested in verbal, not physical, reactions.

The actor who played the racist white guy is actually Latino—a man Pugh met in the subway in New York one day when he helped her with the stroller for her son.

Pugh usually bases her videos and pranks on things that catch her interest or are trending.

“In this time, doing a racial video would be the perfect time [with the recent] talk about Donald Sterling and all of that stuff. But it really just comes to my head,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll probably meet people and they would experience things and I get ideas from that and I just sit there and think: What is a video that I should do about, that no one is really talking about, that’s something that we really need to pay attention to?”

Pugh admits she does get a kick out of the reactions to her pranks, especially with people who insist the pranks are real, though she never really tries to hide the fact that they are just jokes.

“It really makes me laugh seeing how people react to it. But I know. This time I actually noticed someone really was p–sed off,” she says with a laugh. “I guess he stayed up all night trying to do a video [about the incident] and then I guess he was about to finish editing it, he did some more research and he realized it was a prank. I try not to pay people no mind. This is just something I do. I’m a prankster and I’m just taking it to a different level. Nobody’s getting hurt. Nobody ever gets hurt. I get everything sorted out. It’s kind of like the show What Would You Do?”

So how did all this get started for Pugh? She says she wanted to do something different and to bring a little extra excitement to her fellow New Yorkers, while doing something she loved.

“I actually was 16 after I had my son and it was very depressing.… [M]y mother was telling me I need to do something with my life, [but] I didn’t know what to do,” Pugh shares. “I felt like I was nothing, but then I asked myself one day what is it that I can do, what do I like to do, and I’ve always been into acting.”

As so the pranks were born. But things are still hard for the young mother, who just turned 19 last month.