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Who the hell is Nelly Yoa? He’s our Jay Gatsby

By Mathew Mackie

Today, “serial pest” Nelly Yoa fronted court in a Rolls Royce, flanked by actors posing as bodyguards. So who is he? He’s no-one. He’s everyone.

The sight of a smile emerging from a Rolls Royce, wrapped in salmon, flanked by eight identical cronies covered in the same black suit brings to mind the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Who is he anyhow, an actor?”


“A dentist?”

“… No, he’s a storeman from Ballarat.”

Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly:

“He’s the man who told everyone that he had a deal for the Melbourne Victory before negotiations broke down. He said Usain Bolt was present at the birth of his child while he played for Collingwood.”



On the surface, it seems that Nelly Yoa is full of the same matter that oft-spools from his mouth. According to an investigation by the Huffington Post, Yoa has been “a brand ambassador for American Express, a Nike-sponsored athlete, a leading mentoring figure for Sudanese youth in Melbourne and a former hopeful for English soccer giants Chelsea, despite days of denials from the organisations he claims strong links to.”

In 2018, he wrote a front-page op-ed for Fairfax, claiming that police ought to crack down on the African gang problem, because, in part, as he had trained some for the Apex gang movement and/or he was attacked with a machete, leaving him in a coma.

He was due in court today to fight dishonesty charges, swirling around his purported false statements to the police.

Clearly, the limits of Yoa’s talents is subject to the expanse of his imagination, as he “slid into the DMs” of journalist Josh Butler and railed against the media via a statement, decrying his treatment after the publication of the aforesaid op-ed (one that many believe was plagiarised from another’s blog post), hoping that the AFP would conduct more raids in order “to teach the media to report facts”, before noting that his court appearance was “spectacular” befitting a person “rightly admired by all Australians.”



If Jay Gatsby has a library full of books he hasn’t read, Nelly Yoa probably has a thousand clickbait pieces neatly tiled on his desktop. In Fitzgerald’s novel, Gatsby is a figure of constant renewal, one that is forever editing his own narrative. This man of self-presentation is eventually revealed to the reader as an innocent, hopeful young man who stakes everything on his dreams, unaware that his dreams are unworthy of him.



After all, what kind of individual (who seems to be on the same tax bracket as the rest of us) decides to truly make a day of his day in court? Yoa is springing from the same platonic conception of Fitzgerald’s creation. Yoa, like Gatsby, “invented just the sort of (Jay Gatsby) that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception, he was faithful to the end.” After all, the quality that made Gatsby great was his ability to believe his own lies, to turn his crazy dreams into reality.

Clearly, we have a problem with the concept of truth, especially those that shirk our responsibility to telling it. To us, he’s a “serial fibber”, an “attention seeker” or a “compulsive liar”. Today, it seems, we got him good. His day in court was put back a week, meaning that Yoa’s Rolls Royce bill and/or casting session was for nothing.



No. The opportunity to do the same thing again, to rewrite his past, is what motivates him.

Nelly’s dream is ours, as it was the Americans and Jay Gatsby. While we never lose our optimism, we expend all of our energy in pursuit of a goal that moves ever farther away.

This metaphor takes the form of absolution for Yoa, or an Order of Australia, or an ornate high-five routine with Usain Bolt. He wants us to disprove his narrative, but also to discover the truth within his lie.

This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.

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  1. New England Cocky

    Why does AIMN waste editing on this self-absorbed, self-delusional wanker?

  2. leefe


    Oh. A sportsballer.


  3. BB

    Who the hell is Nelly Yoa?
    He’s no-one.
    Ok got it..

  4. Roswell

    I must be the only person who’s never heard of him.

    I learnt something today.

  5. Grumpy Geezer

    Well, that was a laugh.

  6. Roswell

    How about some more of your laughs, Grumpy. You are of the legend status. No one comes close.

  7. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Mathew.


    I never heard of him, either. Maybe he’s not as famous as he would like to be.

  8. Grumpy Geezer

    Got one on the boil Roswell.

  9. Roswell

    Kate, if he was famous for doing something good in the world, or something evil, I would have heard of him.

    Narcissists don’t usually qualify (though I do make exceptions for the likes of Morrison or Trump).

  10. Roswell

    Good man, Grumpy. I’m in need of a good laugh.

    I had one the other day but since then I’ve read too much about Morrison, which has resulted in some unlaughs.

    So far this month the unlaughs are leading the laughs 124 to 1.

  11. Roswell

    Why does AIMN waste editing on this self-absorbed, self-delusional wanker?

    NEC, would your prefer it unedited? 😁

  12. Kate Ahearne


    I must be mad, but I’m glad to have read this. Without Mathew’s article, I would have remained ignorant of this sociological phenomenon called Nelly, and my knowledge/understanding of human nature would be all the poorer for it.

  13. Kathryn

    Who the fkuc is Nelly Yoa?


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