We often hear about social media's power to destroy. From messy breakups to overindulgent or overly provocative posts that unveil your insecurities, test your self-esteem or rob you of your productivity, it's easy to label digital platforms as the culprit of our complications. But like with everything in life there's balance, and in the case of social media, it lies within its power to create. It has enabled many to bypass the middleman and turn a "no" into a "yes" by proving that there's a market for what is being offered, and those social media stars who chose to use it for good have witnessed how moments can be monetized at simply a click of a button.
For Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor, social media not only gave him a voice, it gave him control—turning a fresh out of college grad into a well-paid content king in a matter of months.
In just six seconds, he has amassed 2.2 million loops and counting on his latest Vine post. It’s titled “Superman’s girlfriend’s new hairstyle,” and is a comedic spin on the comic book character’s supposed kryptonite: his girlfriend’s new neon green tresses that sends him into a series of convulsions.
In a world where becoming a celebrity seems as easy as uploading a video and garnering a large following, King Bach reigns supreme. The Canadian-born actor hailing from West Palm Beach, Florida has turned what for many is an unprofitable past time into a multi-million dollar career—complete with movie roles, television deals and the launch of his own production company, Bach Enterprises. It’s quite the come up for someone who just a few years ago couldn’t even get callbacks from castings.
Social media has allowed those who would previously have been overlooked to build their own bridge and walk right over the gatekeepers of Hollywood. In an industry where only dollars make sense, being crowned the top Viner with a 15.3 million following proves that hard work and strategic execution can catapult a career beyond fifteen minutes of fame. For the Florida State University alumn, it was all about putting his business degree—and his talent—to good use. Despite the expectations of his Jamaican parents, whom Bach says thought he would join the family career path in corporate, he packed his bags and relocated to Los Angeles soon after graduating in 2010 to pursue his dreams of acting and filmmaking.
Before The Fame
In 2011, just a semester shy of graduating with his Master’s at the New York Film Academy, Bach dropped out of school, but not before his short film, Agent Steele, made it’s way to NBC’s Dateline. Yet, despite having his foot in the door with the success of his first project, Bachelor still struggled to land acting gigs. “I was doing a lot of auditions and castings and I would always be in the room with people who had a bigger following,” say Bach on our call. “I was like the only way I can master that is if I can create my own following. So I did just that.”
Bach turned to YouTube, uploading his first video for Bachelor’s Pad TV channel on March 2012, which, according to Vanity Fair, he did with his own personal funds earned from his return on Apple stock investments. But producing high-quality content for $5,000 to $35,000 a video proved to be costly, so when fellow friend and Viner Brittany Furlan introduced him to the six-second platform for a fraction of the cost in May 2013, he didn’t hesitate to begin creating captivating content for his community of followers. It was just the break that he needed. Within five months, he had gained 2.5 million followers. “It was new and nobody was creating content like I was—viral videos that were six-seconds,” he said.
It wasn’t long before sponsors and television came calling. In fact, he says that at about 300,000 followers, he had already started padding his pockets, charging sponsors such as Samsung a reported $1,000 per 100,000 followers. At a current 15.3 million followers, that’s a lot of zeroes. In addition, he landed regular gigs on shows like House of Lies, Wild’n Out, and Black Jesus, and throughout 2015 he continued making appearances on a number of television shows, but it’s the big screen that he had really set his eyes on. Like many of his comedic predecessors, such as Jim Carey and Marlon Wayans who got their break on In Living Color, Vine has become more of a platform to launch Bach’s career, and a potential means to an end. Towards the end of 2014 he told The New Yorker, “When I start doing movies, that’ll be the time to pack Vine in. Quit when you’re on top. Be the king.” [Tweet ""Quit when you're on top. Be The King" - @KingBach"] With the recent release of his first feature film Fifty Shades of Black, where he plays Jesse opposite of comedic kings Marlon Wayans and Mike Epps, his ongoing loyalty to the digital app still has yet to be determined. Though he recently told Time in reference to leaving his Vine fans, “I can’t just leave them hanging,” there’s been a noticeable decrease in the consistency of his posts.
Regardless, you can’t blame the 27-year-old for putting Vine on the backburner while he heats it up on the big screen. This year alone he will star in at least four feature films, including the upcoming release of Meet the Blacks, a spoof on horror film The Purge. Bach plays the boyfriend of Mike Epps’ daughter, who attempts to confront Epps about his disapproval for dating his daughter on the one day of the year where murder is legal. Similar to many of his Vine skits, Bach’s role is an over-exaggerated stereotype of the black male that often times comes off crude, but to be clear, he doesn’t intend for comedic roles to be the culmination of his career. “I do it all. I do acting, comedy, and I have a dramatic movie that’s coming out. I don’t limit myself, I just like having fun,” he says.
Taking risks with his craft is a part of the game that he enjoys playing, and it’s a fearless approach for someone who once said that his biggest mistake was doubting himself and not going after certain opportunities that could’ve benefited him. “You can’t be afraid to fail. If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re not going to succeed. The only way to learn is by failing; nobody learns by doing good all of the time. You learn from the mistakes you make along the way.”
[Tweet ""If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re not going to succeed." @KingBach"]
Luckily, he has the support of many of the same comedians that he grew up watching, and who have witnessed his seemingly overnight success in part due to the digital platform that has launched the careers of a number of his peers. “All of them really put me under their wings and gave me tips here and there. They basically told me to don’t give up, just keep going.”
As to his dating life, that, like Vine, has also become subservient to his slew of projects. “I’m not really looking for anything, I’m just keeping focused and keeping my eye on the prize of what I moved out here to do,” he says.
After all, building a legacy where he’s paid to do what he loves and create his own opportunities takes a certain level of dedication—no distractions permitted. Besides, if you ask the modern day king of comedy, King Bach just wants to have fun.
Check out King Bach in Meet the Blacks, in theaters April 1st.