How Juanpa Zurita became an international superstar @eljuanpazurita

juanpa zurita

In 2014, before Juanpa Zurita became an international entertainer, model, and YouTube star, he was a nervous, silly kid making wacky six-second videos on Vine … and he needed to talk to me.

This is our story …

One morning I woke up to more than 1,000 tweets demanding that I follow a guy named ElJuanPaZurita. Certainly, an interesting way to start your day!

When I dug down to the bottom of the pile, I discovered that a young man named Juan Pablo Zurita had tweeted me with a request to follow him so we could chat. The tsunami of tweets? His fans trying to help him. His … fans?

juanpazuritaTurns out the 18-year-old Mexican not only had about a million fans, he also had a manager. The young man emerged virtually overnight as an international sensation and is making a comfortable living as a mulit-media entertainer. He has become famous enough to be recognized and swarmed in almost and city street in the world.

He told me he needed my help, so I invited him to have a Skype chat.

Juan told me that he wanted to channel his growing fame into something meaningful and important but he didn’t trust advisors back then who were only focused on money. over the course of a few calls I was able to help him and guide him in a way that did indeed propel his success.

But I also discovered that Juan Pablo is more than silly and good-looking. He’s talented, grounded, and an extraordinary young man with a vision of accomplishing much more in this world beyond funny videos. I wanted to share his story with you.

Here is an interview with Juan Pablo Zurita, teen heart-throb, creative genius, and one of the world’s greatest influencers:

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Mark: What you do is NOT easy! I am astounded by the intense creativity it takes to be consistently entertaining! How do you keep coming up with new ideas?

Juan Pablo: It’s actually easy … every day of my life I experience stuff that happens to a lot of people, so I simply take these funny coincidences in life and make them funnier! Sometimes I run out of ideas but another one always pops in a little while.

On the other hand, it’s not always “real stuff” on my videos. I also might create a “mini” movie with a joke in it, create some scenario that doesn’t really exist. I make fun of current events and stuff in the news … but always with respect.

You often use special effects like stop motion to create zany scenarios. On average, how much time does it take each day to edit and produce a video story?

Some videos I can come up with within a minute or less. But most of my stories take much more time, hours to film, and more time spent in editing. Sometimes it takes me hours to film even a short video because I have to drive to another place, or change clothes, etc.

Tell us a little about how you got started. What do you think ignited your content and attracted so many fans?

I first started doing Vine videos in English because I thought that interest in Vine didn’t exist in Mexico. But when I got up to 1,500 followers, I realized there was great interest here. I contacted other Mexican Viners with more or less the same amount of followers as me and started making videos in Spanish and collaborating with them. We helped each other to learn and grow our followers together.

About the millions fans that I have now … I really don’t know what happened. It seemed like it almost happened overnight. I’ve been very fortunate.

The first time I was asked for an autographed picture was when I had 3,000 followers.

juanpazuritaI think people feel connected to the videos I do. They live those same experiences and that makes a bond between us. And because the videos are so natural, organic and looping … People really love them and it gets to a point when they admire you. I think it’s crazy!

I still don’t understand this influener phenomenon or how it happened but I do have to say that it has changed my life. My fans have helped me achieve a lot of important things in Mexico and around the world, and I love them.

In just a few months, you have became an Internet star. How has this impacted your personal life?

Totally, this has had an impact like nothing else in the world. It was one huge BOOM.

My life totally changed in several ways. People started recognizing me in the streets and asking for pictures. At the beginning they said “you’re the guy from Vine!” and then it was “you are JuanPa Zurita” as if I was an artist they admire.

Then I was asked to be on TV shows and attend meet-ups and conferences in different states in Mexico … Really crazy! Screaming fans!

And of course I started making money, not only with Vine, but also Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, because as Vine grew, my other social networks grew too. So at the beginning, creating content was a fun hobby but it has become a responsibility and I treat it like a job.

The most important thing is to always remember who you really are. I am just a kid with a good sense of humor. I know that. A lot of well-known influencers have really changed over the years, thinking they are actually famous and they have stopped being humble. I want to always know who I really am.

juanpazuritaWhat kind of money do you make? What kind of sponsors do you have and how do they find you?

I do make money through my videos but because of my audience, I also have sponsors on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I also charge for appearances at conferences and shows.

So, the way it works is that a brand gets in contact with me and asks if they can sponsor a certain amount of videos/posts/tweets, and I agree or disagree depending on the payment. Sometimes I chat with the brand for several days to achieve the price that I want or just not accept it.

I also have a manager that is in contact with a lot of brands and he offers me several deals. If he gets me a campaign he gets 20 percent of the payment and he handles everything for me. But in the end, it’s me who decides if I want to do the campaign or not.

I have worked with a lot of brands, small and big ones in several social networks. I’ve done pictures for Motorola, tweets for movies like The Fault in our Stars, and videos for Coca Cola, Axe, Bubaloo, and many others. I work in Twitter for Telcel. It’s the biggest mobile phone company in Mexico.

How long can you sustain a career as a creator? Where do you go from here? What’s next?

I believe being an influencer has a strong future. It has had its epic moment and right now it all still growing.

On the other hand I am starting to make Snapchat stories … this is a whole new and different thing. I think you have a bigger connection with the followers. It’s like a window into your personal life and I think it’s going to get even more important in the next years.

Then of course there are new opportunities on YouTube, which I do not consider as a social network, but mainstream entertainment. A huge future. I’m making YouTube content to the max! The key is to always be consistent, and have an honest presence in all social networks.

About sustaining a career … I believe I can sustain a career doing what I do on the Internet. But if I have the opportunity to study in college, why not take it? Even though I have a profitable career, following through on an education is important. I’m would not be abandoning the Internet, I am just making my opportunities larger.

By associating my college career with my Internet career I believe I can do even bigger things in the future and have an unbelievable impact on people.

Since I first coached Juan and conducted this interview, JuanPa has exploded on the social media scene. He has not pursued a college career and his first love, Vine, was discontinued as a social media service. However, JuanPa effortlessly moved into Instagram (24 million followers) and YouTube (10 million followers) and other platforms.

Zurita also has become a model for Dolce & Gabbana and several other fashion brands.

If you can’t see the video, try here.

He recently signed a contract to be represented by Creative Artists Agency.

And he has stuck to his vision to be something more. He has leveraged his fame to create good in the world, recently raising more than $2 million dollars for earthquake relief and creating various campaigns in favor of humanitarian aid.

In March 2017, Juan Pablo Zurita, Chakabars, Jérôme JarreCasey Neistat and Ben Stiller campaigned against famine in Somalia. The movement, called Love Army For Somalia, has collected more than 2 million dollars. Zurita went to Somalia, with a plane lent by Turkish Airlines, in order to distribute the food bought with the money collected by the Love Army, to Somali families.

Since my early interaction and consultations with Juan, it has been exciting to see his progress. Imagine my excitement when I opened up a digital version of Esquire magazine and saw him in a fashion ad!

But what I’m most proud of his that he has stuck to his vision of being an entertainer who is making a positive impact on the world.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books and is an expert on personal branding. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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