Ever dream of quitting your job and making your living as a famous YouTube or Instagram star?
If so, meet Greg Baroth.
It’s his full-time job to make people famous on social media.
He’s the one you call if you think up an insane prank — say you want to swim with snakes in your Beverly Hills pool — and you need someone to find the snakes and bring them to your house.
Or maybe your stunt needs a drone, pronto. Or maybe you want to do your stunt with Denver Broncos football star Von Miller. Or with Vine/YouTube star Logan Paul. Or rap star Wiz Khalifa.
Baroth’s your man.
It all started with a love of reptiles
Baroth grew up in Los Angeles, but as a kid he seemed about as far from the celeb set as possible. He loved snakes and turtles and spent his teens working at a reptile store dreaming of becoming a marine biologist. He was, in a word, a geek. “There was a reason why I was a virgin until college,” he jokes today.
But while in college he took a fancy to marketing and opted to explore it by doing an internship at famous music talent agency Bill Silva Management, which led to a paid job for a social media startup backed by CAA, another big talent agency.
That’s where he met his first client Randy Jackson from American Idol. Jackson hired him for a moonlighting gig to do things like man Jackson’s Twitter account (back before Twitter was a part of the show). Baroth helped Jackson get into live tweetstorms during the show with Ryan Seacrest.
Jackson introduced Baroth to other clients, like Carlos Santana’s son Salvador Santana, and the comic Louie Anderson. Soon, he was making more money moonlighting than at his day job.
So Baroth quit his job, and dropped out of college, too, and started doing social media full-time. He was 21.
“My first year, I made $US75,000. After that, it’s always been six figures,” he says, and a healthy enough six figures to let him to buy a house in L.A., where the median home price is over $US700,000.
But his life really changed when a PR friend introduced him to womanizing party animal Dan Bilzerian, who was looking to hire a social media person. Baroth realised that this dude was “the guy’s guy” and came up with ideas that got noticed by bro media sites like BroBible and turned Bilzerian into a bigger Instagram sensation. “He really does live that lifestyle,” Baroth says of Bilzerian.
Baroth no longer works with Bilzerian (although he says they remain friendly). Today he’s probably best known as the guy helping “Mini-Me” Verne Troyer’s become a social media hit.
But with or without Bilzerian, Baroth’s life is still certifiably insane. Take a look.
Greg Baroth became known as the guy that helped make party-animal socialite Dan Bilzerian Insta-famous. Baroth no longer works with Bilzerian but he helped capture (and sometimes thought up) some of Bilzerian's most popular stunts.
Here's a funny pic of Bilzerian and a group of women at Battlefield Las Vegas, a place in Las Vegas where you can drive tanks over cars. What you can't see: they are standing on top of a crushed BMW. That's Baroth in the far left, looking at his cell phone.
Turns out, Baroth's love and experience with reptiles is a great asset for his chosen career. Here he is with Finnish prank star Jukka Hildén. They are hanging with a 16-foot 150-pound reticulated python. Baroth is perfectly happy having a massive snake draped around his neck.
The python is one of several huge snakes visiting Hildén's house. 'Jukka wanted to swim with snakes. He has a nice house in Beverly Hills with a pool,' Baroth says. So Baroth contacted famous reptile man Brian Barczyk who brought the snakes.
Baroth also helped Jake Paul and Brian Barczyk prank YouTube stars 'Team 10' by bringing snakes and other reptiles over to roam the house.
It's not always snakes. Here's Logan Paul holding an alligator snapping turtle when he and Baroth visited Prehistoric Pets, a reptile pet store in the L.A. area.
These days Baroth is often helping Verne Troyer with his social media life. Troyer challenges pro athletes to video games in a YouTube series called 'PWNED!'. Here they are with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Behind the scenes: Brown showed up with an ESPN camera team in tow. They were shadowing him that day documenting his social media adventures.
The 'PWND!' show is also how Troyer wound up hanging out with Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. Baroth took this photo.
The best way to get a good viral video is to do a collaboration with another social media star, who can help get viewers for it, Baroth says. Do enough viral videos and you will become a YouTube/Insta-star. The trick to going viral is to think up a great, but easily do-able prank. For instance, they dressed Troyer up as a baby, put him in a stroller pushed by YouTube star Roman Atwood ...
... look closely. Troyer is vaping. TMZ covered the prank, catching the surprised look on people's faces as they walked around town and people noticed the baby was smoking. 'Vern is definitely a lot of fun,' Baroth says.
One of his most famous bits happened back in 2013 when Baroth took a photo of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wearing a Darth Vader mask next to model Katherine Webb. They were all on the set for the short-lived ABC show called 'Splash.' Abdule tweeted the photo and the tweet went crazy. Lesson learned: famous + funny = viral.
More recently, Baroth found himself spending a weekend at a place called Weed Island with his client, who goes by 'BigMIke' on Instagram. He's the CEO of a company that makes fertiliser for marijuana plants (and has an Instagram a lot like Bilzerian's). 'BigMike took me on a private jet with a bunch of models.' The landed in Oregon where famous weed grower Ken Estes has cultivated giant marijuana plants on a private island in a manmade lake. You can imagine the resulting photos.
It's not always private jets around the US. One day Travel Channel food star Adam Richman called up Baroth and a few days later whisked him off to Portugal. Here they are sampling the famed Portuguese cherry liquor Ginjinha. It's very sweet.
Or there was that time when music star Steve Aoki invited him to a backstage performance in Melborne, Australia. Baroth was determined to be one of the first people in Melborne with Snap's Spectacles, which had just came out in pop-up spots. He failed to get one by standing in line in Venice Beach but managed to buy one off of someone on Craigslist. Aoki loved them and ...
And here's Baroth hanging with Wiz Khalifa during a music video shoot. Baroth helped Khalifa's photographer procure a video drone and got invited to the shoot as a thank you. That's another trick of the trade: Network like crazy with everyone and always be available to do someone a favour. Also be available on a moment's notice to jet off someplace fun. (That's one reason why he's always checking his phone.)
Sometimes, a video goes viral through luck though. For instance, Baroth took Troyer to a Wolf Sanctuary ...
But you don't have to be huge celebrity to live a YouTube dream. One of Baroth's favourite projects was helping travel vlogger Jax Austin, who 'quit his job, and sold his belongings and bought a school bus. He's converted it to be completely livable,' Baroth said. He helped Austin find an PR agency and together they convinced Virgin Mobile to help sponsor his trip. Virgin put an ad wrap on his bus. 'His plan was to drive around the United States in it and that's what he's been doing,' Baroth says.
Baroth certainly isn't the only one making a living procuring snakes, tanks and drones for wanna-be social media stars. Other people have also made this their career charging anywhere from $500/month to $5,000/month (and big social media agencies can charge up to $10,000 a month), he says. The upshot is: If you have a great film-able idea, with some help from a professional social media guru, you can become Insta-famous yourself.
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