The term “YouTube star” may be overused and exaggerated at times, but in the case of Jake Paul, the description hits the mark. With more than 18 million subscribers, Paul landed at No. 2 on Forbes’ list of highest-paid YouTubers of 2018.
L.A. Weekly publisher Brian Calle recently paid a visit to Paul's Calabasas home to learn more about the 22-year-old social media innovator.
Visit L.A. Weekly on YouTube to see parts of the interview and get an inside look at Jake’s life and home in We Are L.A.: Who Is Jake Paul?
L.A. WEEKLY: What is "Team 10"? What are its main goals and who's involved?
JAKE PAUL: Team 10 is the first ever social media label; similar to a record label except for social media platforms. We find, help create and incubate enormous social media influencers that want to make it big online! The main goal is to help foster the next generation of online content creators.
As an influencer starting out, even if you have amazing potential, it’s virtually impossible to break through and become a mainstream creator — unless you have someone or a team that knows how to navigate the various platforms. Team 10 helps influencers move right to the front and rise to the top. To date, Team 10 created and/or established many of the top 50 influencers online.
Tell us a bit about your RNBO merchandise brand.
RNBO, an acronym for Rise N’ Be Original, is a uniquely positioned clothing brand catering to a teenage and young-adult demographic of like-minded individuals who have a purpose of rising and changing the world every day. Currently RNBO has once-a-month exclusive drops of very limited pieces. It’s an elevated brand concept and something that I differentiate from just Jake Paul merchandise. We have been working on some secret stuff for the brand for several months now and have some new, huge and exciting drops coming soon.
What was the motivation behind your new "uncut" show on your YouTube channel? What has been the most fun and most challenging aspect?
The motivation was to give the internet a different look into what it means to be in the spotlight or to be one of the biggest YouTubers on the platform. I think a lot of people misconstrue what our lives are like, and I wanted to shed even more light on it because no creator has ever done so in such a revealing and unflinching way.
The most fun part has been expressing myself freely and letting people see the really real, raw version of myself. The challenging side is figuring out the format because it hasn’t been done before. This is such an important project for me that we are taking our time to step back, really dig deep and make sure we execute it perfectly for the fans.
What/who are your inspirations for your music?
Musically, Drake and only Drake. But as far as what inspires me as an artist, it is simply my emotions and thoughts whenever I’m in the studio. I let that raw part of me dictate the direction and let it evolve from there.
You mention that people have a "huge misconception" of who you are as a person. How do you think they perceive you? How does that compare to who you really are?
People have definitely painted me as a bad guy over the past couple of years due to controversies, which I understand and fully take responsibility for my part in all of it. I think people perceive me as some sort of villain or troublemaker, which in reality (at least from what I think lol) is not the case. I am a hardworking and caring guy who has had to navigate this whole industry with no guidance, advice or road map from anyone other than myself and my personal experience. I’ve made mistakes along the way ... but they don’t define me and never will!! All I can do is learn from them and move on.
What advice would you give younger YouTubers who aspire to become successful like you?
Join Team 10 lol ... or be super super super super super super unique to the point where YouTube as a platform needs you. If YouTube doesn’t need you on the platform, you won’t rise to the top. Don’t follow someone else’s lane; create your own.
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What are your near-term and long-term goals for your brand? How do you plan to continue to innovate in the social media space?
Too many to name, however, I operate like the Jay-Z of the social media space with regard to fully immersing myself in the space so I can build an empire with the tools I’m gathering along the way. My goal is to create a name for myself and build businesses and game-changing content around the space we’re in.
What's something about you that your millions of fans might not already know?
I love them more than they know. I’m so thankful for their support and I don’t get to say it enough. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. Without them, I’d be nothing. So, thank you if you have ever supported me, watched me, critiqued me or have even liked one of my videos; it has all been appreciated in ways you can’t even imagine. Thank you all!