I want to share with you the four people who I admire and respect more than anyone else. Well, at least outside of my own sphere of personal contacts and people I know well.
To me, all four of these people are celebrities and I consider myself a fangirl of each.
Since I was a kid, I always enjoyed being a nearly psychotic fan of someone I really liked for one reason or another. It makes me feel good to latch onto strangers who manage to put stuff out into the world which resonates with me on some level.
I always have to be extreme about everything I do and feel, and being a fan is certainly no exception.
A few quick little factoids before I introduce you to these insanely unique and amazing people.
First, they are all people who I discovered via the internet. They would never be found on a list with each other for any other reason; they all do totally different things and none of them are very related.
The reason they are all right here on this list is because of one thing which links them together in my mind: they are everything I love in people. Mind you, I generally hate people.
Just bear with me here…
I discovered Gary Vaynerchuk mostly by chance and thanks to StumbleUpon. I suppose since I did tell them what I’m interested in, we can’t attribute the encounter entirely to chance, can we?
Gary is probably the most “mainstream” of these celebrities. He’s been a guest on Ellen and has been featured in every big business and tech publication that comes to mind, including Mashable, Techcrunch, Bloomberg, NY Times and tons of others.
StumbleUpon sent me to a video of him. He was just this regular looking guy talking in front of a camera and the first thing about him which really got my attention was his obvious confidence and the passionate volume of his frenzied voice.
As I listened to him sort of ramble about social media and the importance of authenticity, I slowly began to realize how awesome the shit he was saying was and how every word he spoke rang absolutely true in my mind. I was hooked instantly.
So who is Gary Vaynerchuck and what is he all about? Well, I think of him as a brilliant entrepreneur and storyteller first and foremost. He helped grow his father’s family business (a liquor store) into a multi million dollar enterprise and launched a sort of video blog called WineLibrary TV way back in 1997 or some shit.
From there, he saw the massive potential of using the web and later social media to grow his business even further and eventually went on to start his own digital media marketing startup which today is VaynerMedia.
Using clever content marketing in favor of traditional media such as advertisements, his agency works with brands like Nilla to create highly effective social media marketing campaigns which produce tangible results. In the case of Nilla, the campaign created by Gary’s company boosted their sales by something like 12% after over a decade of stagnant sales.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of awesomeness that is Gary freakin’ Vaynerchuk. The man is about as genuine and real as anyone in sales has ever been, which counts for a lot in my book.
Plus, he swears freely and never flinches when he drops an F bomb during an interview with a serious media outlet, which I’ll admit makes him stupidly cool to me all on its own.
I’ve included just a few of his videos here for you to see him in action. Trust me, my words come nowhere close to doing him justice. Just watch one of them please. You can thank me later.
Marketers ruin everything – the video http://t.co/vz1onFcgc2
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) December 29, 2014
Caliban Darklock has the noble distinction of being the only one in this list who has actually spoken with me, on more than one occasion. In fact, back when I first joined the Warrior Forum several years ago, he was one of the very first people who exchanged private messages with me there and who cared enough to be friendly towards me and I immediately liked him.
He’s a serious badass, you’ve been warned.
His advice on business has the same quality of sincerity and sensibility that Gary’s does and I really can’t say I’ve encountered many people in life who I consider more fearless than myself, but I think Caliban is one of them. He is literally unafraid of being himself at all times, on his own terms.
I pride myself on not giving a shit about the opinions of most people, but I have often read things Caliban has said publicly that I’m not brave enough to say myself.
He is the ONLY reason that I visit Facebook, which has never been a platform I can say I’m particularly fond of. I go there only to read his stuff (and play the occasional game while I’m there) and on the rare occasion when he goes on a blackout for a week or two, I immediately begin hating Facebook again and stop visiting there as often.
Okay, I also love the make up and the fact that he can make videos of himself saying really awesome shit even when he’s drunk on Sailor Jerry’s Rum. He’s also an amazing storyteller, you should go check out his products and buy them ALL RIGHT NOW. You can thank me later, once again.
Also, I recommend following him on Facebook unless you are too lame. If that’s the case, just leave my blog now please.
I am tempted to start a hashtag for TMI Tuesday where people talk about awful personal things regarding their… http://t.co/SrlTMkCp0U
— Caliban Darklock (@cdarklock) January 16, 2015
Oddly enough, StumbleUpon introduced me to more than one of the four people in this list. What are the odds, right?
Several years ago now, I clicked the Stumble button and it took me to a video. I’m not exactly a huge fan of videos most of the time. I usually find them annoying and have to be in the right mood for them.
Oh, and they have to be something I find interesting or entertaining to begin with of course. I often just click the button again when I see it start to load something from Youtube or another video site.
Thank the stars that I didn’t hit it again before the Youtube page loaded the video (in the playlist above) that shows a young man driving around in his car, rapping his heart out to the perfect beat almost non-stop for nearly an entire five full minutes.
After the first two minutes, my jaw had pretty much hit the floor and I was glued to the screen. I literally couldn’t stop watching and listening to him spit rhymes more clever than my ears had ever heard.
When the video was over, I just sat there in total awe of this raw rampage of lyrical talent that had just showed up out of fucking nowhere and interrupted whatever I had been distracted with at that moment.
I was like, “who the hell is this kid and why have I never heard of him before now?!” I didn’t understand how it was possible.
Needless to say, I was an instant fan from that day on.
Almost as if I had discovered him at just the right point in time, he visited Portland (my home city) shortly after I became aware of him and I was fortunate enough to be one among a small crowd of no more than twenty people who were cool enough to see him perform at the Roseland Theatre downtown.
I admire Wax because his style is truly unique. I first heard him rap better than most “artists” played on the radio, but when I saw him live he also busted out a guitar for a couple of his songs and started, like, singing.
I was like, “hey, wait a second! I thought he was a rapper…”
He’s much more than a rapper. He scored a record deal with Def Jam, but eventually left because the executives leaning over his shoulder kept trying to cramp his style.
Their loss, I have to say. You can’t put him or his music into a box, he’s way too real for that. I love it that he is able to be an indie artist and that his fans love him and support him. That’s how I believe the world should work.
I have bought tickets to two more of his Portland shows since then and on both occasions, something came up that kept me from making it there. I am still trying to get over that…I’m convinced fate is at work here somehow.
RT @JosephKahn: I hope my tampon commercial gets more than 300 views. <– gonna be tough, it's a period piece
— WAX (@bigwax) December 4, 2014
Before you make assumptions, I’d like to make sure everyone knows that I’m not including Jes Baker on this list just because I feel obligated to include at least one woman.
In fact, guess how I “stumbled upon” her? Yep, you guessed it. One day I landed on a blog post of hers and read some poetry she shared by another author, and I was pretty moved by what both of them had to say.
So who is she and why is she awesome? Well, she is a well known advocate of what she calls “body love” and in my mind is one of the leaders of what many refer to as the “Fat Acceptance Movement.”
Basically, she says that being fat is fine and in no way has any bearing on how physically beautiful you are. She’s 100% right about that too.
The work Jes does for women (and men) all over the world who struggle with their weight (myself among them) is truly inspiring and the reason I admire her so much is that she is standing up for a group of people who are harshly criticized, bullied and even hated by much of society.
Her notion that being fat is just fine defies current popular opinions about weight and body image and she simply refuses to feel negatively about her own body simply because the rest of the world hasn’t evolved far enough to see their own shortsightedness yet.
I am not the type of person who feels genuinely jealous of others very often at all, but I do envy Jes because she knows who she is fighting for and has successfully started a movement to change the world, rather than giving in and changing herself in the ways it wants her to.
I wish I could say the same for myself, but I’m not there yet. Maybe it’s because we are the same age that I feel jealous of her, I guess I feel like she’s accomplished more in her time here and is doing more meaningful things than I am.
Last year, I flew all the way to Tucson to attend her first annual Body Love Conference, which you need to buy tickets for. Read a post or two from her blog so that you see for yourself why she is the ideal hero for any girl or woman who has ever been told that she’s fat and thought less of herself afterward.
"You don't need to change your body; you need to change the way you view the world…You can exist just as you… http://t.co/4tUJrJKkwV
— The Militant Baker (@militant_baker) December 2, 2014