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There are social media influencers. Then there’s Tana Mongeau.
With over 5.4M subscribers on YouTube, 5.7m followers on Instagram and 2.5m followers on Twitter, the content creator has been a mainstay on social media for over five years now. Her nearly 900M views on the Google-owned platform are a result of her captivating personality through her well-known, unique “story time” clips, vlogs, music videos, and other forms of content. Outside of the 23-year-old’s success on social media, she has teamed with Unruly Agency and David Weintraub to expand her entrepreneurial ambitions in the real world. Weintraub is a former UTA talent agent turned TV show creator, executive producer and elite talent manager, having produced and created over 500 hours of hit TV shows for many of the top cable networks as well as being the star of his own shows like A&E’s “Sons of Hollywood” & “Hollywood Hillbillies.” He is owner and CEO of DWE Talent and is Mongeau’s manager and producing partner.
From launching Tana’s Angels Agency (TAA) to Mongeau potentially entering the YouTube boxing scene as the first female influencer boxer, the two have plenty to discuss about her future ambitions on and offline. Those aspirations range from launching her upcoming podcast “Cancelled” to her own branded food called ”Only Foods” and exclusive alcohol line named ”Dizzy.”
Popular content creator Tana Mongeau.
Frederick Daso: I want to know the person, not the persona. Tell me about yourself, Tana. Who are you and how did you first get into creating content online?
Tana Mongeau: I think my downfall might even be that I’ve never really tried to build a persona. Now we’ve built a brand. It’s fun to elevate my personality, but most of my success has always come from authenticity and just being who I am. I mean, I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I thought I was going to be a stripper until I started doing this. I’ve always lived a very crazy life. I’ve always been incredibly outspoken. I kind of raised myself. I’d like to think a lot of me came from growing up in a turbulent household. I think a lot of it created my relate-ability and stuff like that. When it comes to who I am online versus who I am, there isn’t much of a big difference in my day-to-day life.
I might be a little louder online. I might be a little crazier. Sometimes it’s fun to play into the drama, but I am still a dramatic, wild person when it comes down to it. You never know what you’re going to get. I say what’s on my mind. I do what I feel like. What you see is what you get.
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People don’t realize that many things that are done online are calculated. I mean, I’m more of a businesswoman than I let on, but I think that it’s important not always to show that. The fans don’t care about the ten hours a day that I’m doing brand deals or work or sitting in meetings. If I had to think about what wasn’t online as much, compared to what it is, we’re working, and we’re always trying to innovate new business or see what we can do in this space. Or, I’m always working as hard as I can to work on the business. Now I think it’s so important for me to promote being a successful young woman to my followers, and that you can do it yourself. It doesn’t have to come from any man or any family or any handouts or anything like that.
Daso: You mentioned your background from a turbulent household, turbulent life, moving to content creation, but you didn’t do it independently. You had to have a team around you. How has that team evolved since you first came on the scene?
Mongeau: Initially, I was uploading videos to the internet, messing around, not realizing that there could be an entire business built around it. I almost came up when people didn’t know that you could build such a big business around being a social media influencer. I kind of had to learn as the industry developed a space for that. For so long, before I was with David, I had other management, and I believed that I had to do everything myself and run the business myself. I did a lot more work in that time-space. It wasn’t until David and I came together that I realized that my main focus should be on being talented, giving people what they want to see and working on what’s important, then having lots of people behind the scenes to run everything else on.
So, it’s changed a lot. I’m very lucky now to finally be in a place where I have people that I can rely on and fall back on and that can run all of the parts of the business that frankly I don’t want to or don’t have time to. Yeah. But now, it’s a full-blown business. We have to have managers and assistants, executive assistants, PR people, financial people, lawyers, etc. Now, Team Tana has grown to be very big but based on necessity, as it’s gotten bigger. There’s been more of a space to be taken seriously now. We’ve built a full running team, especially when it comes to running an agency and having a bunch of people that work there and work with us on signing people and stuff like that. But it’s been a work in progress.
This past year is the first time in my career where I feel like I have a giant team around me to help me up until now. I was carrying too much weight on my back.
Daso: Great. I want to flip the next question here to David. David, you see these social media influencers and the industry as a whole grow up. Now when they’re reaching out to you to bring you on as Tana has, what are the barriers that they’ve had to face?
David Weintraub: Look, I think that there’s a lot of people that want to be mega influencers, want to have a huge business, and may have a following, but don’t exactly have a business, and they’re trying to develop it. They may have some numbers, but I don’t know if all of those numbers translate. That’s very different about this situation and Tana and me going into business together. As one, I came in as a manager and as a producing partner. I came in to help restructure the business, fix existing problems, and create content with her that we could then go out and sell. Tana came to the table with such a huge audience. It reflects her way of doing stuff that is unlike anybody else. I don’t look for a bunch of influencers to try to work with.
I felt like she was saying everything that I wanted to hear, that she wanted to do. That was a lot of the stuff that I wanted to do. Coming together, we were able to go and strike all those deals that we wanted to go and create a fully branded business. I think when you’re looking at people out there that want to jump into that, they have to wait for the right moment and the baby steps have to happen. She said that it kind of organically happened by posting videos and then a business creating from that – everybody is trying to mirror that at this point, and you can’t mirror that; the audience has to resonate with you. The audience has to love you. They want to either want to be a part of your world, or they’re going not to want to buy stuff or be a part of businesses that you’re pushing at them.
What I find interesting about Tana is that she is not a character or somebody who’s faking it. She’s somebody who everybody resonated with and they relate to. Then she’s now achieving these levels of going up and up to where we have a full structured business. Now we’re going to help other people who want to jump into this business by actually showing her insight into it. In addition, we will provide them my perspective on top of Tana’s and then pushing you out there into the world to make money.
Mongeau: One thing I’m grateful for is David as well. I think one of the pivotal things all talents should look for in a manager is building their own business. Also, I found in him that he allows me to fully be myself and do whatever I want to do online. It’s almost a very hard job because it’s like, I’m just throwing shit at him. He’s having to catch every curveball that I do because he’s letting me do whatever I do and then build a business around it. I’ve seen it so many times in this industry. Many people who want to work with you or manage you tell you what to do, telling you how to do it, telling you deals. You’re going to do what they say. That is something that I will never be.
To have an authentic and successful business is about me bringing to him whatever I want to do. Him saying, ‘Okay, here’s how we’re going to make millions of dollars doing this in the most ethical, effective, incredible way.’ It’s almost like you have to find a partnership with someone who can build a business around exactly who you are. And David executes that perfectly.
The dynamic duo David Weintraub (left) and Tana Mongeau (right).
Weintraub: I also think, because this is a new business, this is a business that’s only seven to 10 years old. For me, as I come from 25 years in the game as A&R, an agent, a manager, a TV show, creator, or producer, I’ve done every role under the sun.
I’ve worked with actors, rappers, rock stars, reality stars, celebrity chefs, and celebrity hosts, and now the influencer business is here. We all have to adapt to doing that business differently. And the buyers are completely different. The buyers that we have to deal with for Tana are a specific set of buyers. The buyers you’re going to deal with for a rapper will be a specific set of buyers. You have to kind of curb that stuff. Here’s the one thing I’m going to say is that once you start to cross over completely, which is what we’re in the midst of right now, Tanner has done a complete 180 crossover besides having a billion views on YouTube. We now are going to have a television show, a talk show, a podcast, an alcohol company, a clothing line, a sex toy company, a jewelry line, a weed company, a full-scale tour besides all of the little deals that come in and they’re like, oh, here’s another a hundred grand to post a picture.
Here’s another 50 grand to put a story up. Here’s another 500 grand to wear my clothes. All of those deals still exist. Now, it’s about building this platform where we can insert all of the abilities that we have using our analytics, using our numbers, using our following, pushing people, wanting to be involved in our new projects, and buying the products that we own. There isn’t anything out there that she is not the majority owner of her product with her name behind it. That’s the difference between, I think, what people don’t understand about where the influencer game is going. It’s not just, Hey, let me get a quick ten grand to post a picture. How do I make a million dollars in a month? How do you do that? How do you make $12 million a year? Tana said to me yesterday that it was something that she wanted to do.
Mongeau: He’s also making sure that whatever he offers is something that I want to do. It’s never going to be a point of selling out, like, that it’s things that I enjoy and things that I love and how also to take my ideas or the things I do in a digital space and make them more of a household thing or a traditional thing, or, what I mean? As well as longevity, I think that something that he brings me is also creating longevity for my business, career, and life. People, especially the public and everything that has been looked at, especially an influencer level or any level of fame, everyone said Paris Hilton would be famous for two minutes and then go on. She turned that into an insane multi-million dollar business. That’s kind of what he’s doing as well, to make sure that the money and the career and all that stuff isn’t just bleeding.
Weintraub: Just to say, I was Paris’s first agent. I signed her at UTA in 2003.
Mongeau: Sorry to interject here, but the big reason why I like wanting to work with David because he worked with Paris, one of my biggest inspirations and my mentor. It was a perfect fit.
Weintraub: I remember when I gave Paris her first million-dollar payday. And, it was for a movie called Pledge, which we package that was an in-house package with parents and a bunch of clients representing UTA. I remember bringing her the check for the first million dollars. She’s like, wow, she’s like, I’ve made like, this is crazy. Now you think about it in the influencer world, a million dollars is a lot easier to come by because you have these numbers to prove your worth more so than somebody taking a shot at you. I want to say like Paris’s is of the world, the Kim’s of the world, the, anyone that kind of paved the way there’s a whole new reckoning with talent, like Tana, because they’re able to take a lot of different businesses and put it into one. If Tana wants to sing, if she wants to act, if she wants to design a t-shirt, if she wants to design a shoe, or if Tana wants to learn how to fly a plane, that’s great. These are all examples of stuff that you can start building businesses around and monetizing the content. We’re able to monetize content while integrating products into our content.
Daso: You’re operating on a whole new level beyond just the content creation as you’re creating products that stem from that content creation. What I see here is, in a sense, Tana is becoming a conglomerate, right, where you have all these different product line services. Exactly. Exactly. I think what’s interesting is that, so you have a diversity of things that you can offer your fans, offer the populace at large, but the trouble that you could run into an error potentially is that you’re doing too much at once. How do you make sure that what you’ve already started with the couple, say like the first three products you’ve launched?
Weintraub: I’m going to say that I am a 20 plus year veteran of this game. The bandwidth of what the clients can do comes with the fact that we do have a huge team of lawyers, publicists, management assistants, designers, photographers, editors. We have all of that. I don’t think that we’re spread too thin. I think this is about actually playing catch up because when we got into the business, I said, look, we have the one-year plan. We have a two-year plan. We have a five-year plan. We have a ten-year plan. Let’s implement those all out. Now we’re in our first year of doing this. Every single thing that we wanted to go out and do we have now sold and have a business for it.
I think that I think that her ability to maintain being the star and letting the team handle the business and say, Hey, this is the schedule. This was what needs to be done. Let’s itemize it out and get it all out there. It allows her to have time for herself and time to run the business while not having the stress of having to think of everything and deal with all of those nuances. As a manager, I want my client to be involved as much as possible in the actual business as they want to be. She took on an even extra role when she came to me and said, ‘Hey, now it’s time for us to teach the other influencers and people who want me to become this.’ She’s now taken on this extra role that she didn’t have to do in any way, shape or form.
Mongeau: I also always make sure that when I’m taking on a business, that it is something that I can integrate into my life authentically in the sense that like, it’s almost like whatever I’m doing, I want to, whatever I’m doing naturally as is, I want to build a business around, like with only fans, it was like, I’m already posting these photos online that is, provocative or fun or sexy. Now let’s find a way to monetize that with the alcohol brand. It’s like, I’m already going to the club being photographed, drinking alcohol. Why wouldn’t I be drinking with the weed? I’m already smoking weed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Why would I not want to have a Tana-flavored strand? That’s what Paris and Kim did. I always take notes from them with that because it’s like that’s exactly how Kim Kardashians built such a big business with the Kardashians’ beauty line.
It was like, I’m already wearing makeup and showing people how to do my makeup. Why wouldn’t I be using a product that I curated that I love? Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be, if I’m wearing clothes, why wouldn’t I partner with a brand to create a line that I can love and then go where? I’m not going to take on some type of job that would be so far away from what I’m already doing. I try to make sure that my businesses are already authentically easily integrated into my life. When it comes to all of the things that, the hard parts of the contracts and the, what I mean, discussing stuff with people and having my lawyers review, I’m making sure that my team covers other parts.
Weintraub: I also think that there was a time when you didn’t do that. And, and she wanted a complete change. I mean, unfortunately, there also is a whole underbelly of this world where people are extremely taken advantage of, okay. People are raw people. We have, they lose their money. They’re not saving money. There’s a whole thing. Tana and I got together and made sure that everything is straight because we have to have forward momentum. We have to go and buy properties and buy airplanes and buy all the things that we want to buy. Not that it’s just quick money in and outspend it. This is about creating wealth.
Daso: David, you’ve kind of hinted at this, so I’m going to ask about it now. Tana’s new agency, Tana’s Angels Agency, is working with upcoming and aspiring influencers.
Weintraub: Well, our first signings that we’re doing under the TAA umbrella are people with one to 10 million followers that want to go in a direction that needs help understanding how to monetize it.
Mongeau: I’ll choose some smaller influencers than I truly believe in their growth. It’s just about finding people who fit my brand and my package that I feel I can genuinely benefit from. I would never take on anyone that I felt like I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence.
Tana Mongeau (middle) with David Weintraub (right) signing papers establishing the creation of Tana … [+] Angels Agency, managed by Tara Electra (left) of Unruly Agency.
Weintraub: I was going to say is that when we announced the company, we had a hundred thousand submissions. Now out of a hundred thousand submissions, I would probably say like, 30, 40% of them are not people that we can sign because you can’t just design a business around somebody that has 30 followers that maybe wants to do sites. We have to pick and choose a lot of that stuff. Cause we are going to be running a business. A big part of the agency is the selection process and making sure anyone I take on as a client is someone I feel like I can multiply their business tenfold, whether that’s a brand new business and already existing business or whatever that is. Also, we have great success with our partners who are part of that company with us, Nicky and Tara at Unruly Agency.
Mongeau: They’re already the most established agency in the space that I wanted to work. I’ve wanted to have a talent agency or help people and manage a few people for a very long time. There were so many points in my career where I either tried and realized it wasn’t the right time or where it was just not a fit. When I signed with Unruly and David, and I worked with them for like a year, it was just common sense for us to expand. Having them and all of their employees come on and help us make sure we are doing it as well as we can, has been such an amazing blessing and why this finally felt like the perfect fit.
Weintraub: Also, Tana has such a great insight into this because she’s lived through the ups and downs. She’s lived through the craziness of good deals and bad deals and making money and losing money. All these different things that she has a real point of view and experience are everything. Think about the 15-year-old version of Tana watching all day long, looking at Instagram who wants to aspire to be that. Who better to see than someone who’s now in their young twenties who’s now made it showing you what to do and what not to do. You have the experience of people like Unruly and the experience of people like DWE.
Electra and Mongeau celebrate the formation of TAA while Weintraub adds the finishing touches to the … [+] contract in the form of his signature.
Daso: Fantastic. Now Tana, the last topic for today is boxing. I’ve been seeing some tweets from you and others and talking about whether you’re going to get in the ring or not. What’s that looking like? Who are you going to call out? Will it happen?
Mongeau: To be honest with you, boxing was something that I never took seriously until I saw the insane business that can be built by it. I’m very lucky to have spent so much time with Logan and Jake Paul, to have seen them almost spearhead the seriousness of influencer boxing behind the scenes. I’ve had the opportunity of sitting with them and see the millions of dollars that they made from the endorsements and even just the new platform, a new audience, a new eyes they built and just a way to expand their brand. I saw that, and I took note. There was still a very long time where it wasn’t something that I was sure if I wanted to do, but now it’s one of those things where it’s everywhere, and I would feel very stupid not to capitalize on it.
I also think it’s a very fun new project. When I look at all of the things I’ve done across my career or repertoire, I’ve checked a lot of boxes and no pun intended, but boxing isn’t one I have yet, and I’m excited to try it out. When it comes to boxing, it’s a lot of time and dedication. It’s something that you have to take very seriously. With me, I’m willing to do that for the right amount of money. And that’s the bottom line. As much as Twitter beef is fun, taking it to the physicality of it is not something I would ever do for less than a couple of million dollars at least to step in the ring. I realized that there was some viability and getting a couple of million dollars to step into the ring is when I started to take it seriously.
Weintraub: The tweets no longer became a joke. Now we’re very lucky to be sitting here and have received several multi-million dollar offers on the table to box, including one from Triller and another from Live X Live. Live X Live are pay per view veterans who have presented a completely ground breaking way of doing a headlining fight for Tana, which we are entertaining that option right now. Now, it’s kind of just waiting on choosing the right opponent, choosing the right time, and deciding if she wants to do it and going and just killing it. We’re not even sure exactly how we want to do that yet. Maybe it’s an OnlyFans mud wrestling tournament. It’s just about imploring this new extreme business that has to be taken seriously and influence around.
Mongeau: I’m excited to learn more about it and decide what I do. I can’t wait for people to finally see all of the insane offers we’ve been receiving.
Weintraub: The world of COVID changed everything, from home events and people gathering people for watch pay-per-view media to people being in a community, talking about stuff, leading up to an event, both like concerts and fights. The world has jumped in the landscape of that. The pay-per-view numbers are through the roof. The opportunities to do all of the branding within the bites have gone through the roof. A handful of people out there are really in this game and dialed in that know the formula. Obviously, with the success of Floyd and the success with the Paul brothers, we’re in the same arena as that. The offers that we have on the table right now are to be taken. I mean, they’re really serious that I have to say, look, there are many fakes out there. I mean, I dealt with people that had these fake celebrity boxing stuff that they would do in like New Jersey with like the weirdest fighters, and no money was ever made.
The talent was never paid. There’s a lot of people out there that are faking it. You have people like Ryan Kavanaugh and Bobby Sarne that own Triller that makes real legitimate offers that we know we’re going to get paid. We know that if we partner with them, everybody’s coming to the table to do something. You have many people out there trying to jump in this game, but it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. Right. I will say that we have multiple multi-million dollar offers on the table for not just one fight but multiple fights. We’re looking at opponents right now that we feel are going to fit it. We will be making an announcement very shortly, and there will be a fight coming out this year.
Now, I will tell you for the female side of this boxing business pioneer that you will see that Tana will pioneer that.
Daso: Absolutely. One thing I wanted to ask that you guys touched upon is, working with certain organizations like a Triller or Socialgloves. You guys have seen the scandal that’s currently unfolding with Socialgloves. Tana, you yourself have had some choice words for a certain Mr. Austin McBroom. I want to get more of your perspective.
Mongeau: It’s very funny to see someone that you don’t like who has been through some scandals themselves for scamming, potentially be involved in something where people aren’t getting paid. I can personally say I would never step in the ring unless I were paid millions of dollars to sign the dotted line beforehand. I feel very sorry for so many of my influencer friends working with any company ever to box and not get paid. I think I was just making a joke about it at the end of the day. I hope to God my friends get paid.
Boxing-wise, my goal is to work with an amazing partner who treats me well and pays me well. Like, let’s say Socialgloves does pay out all of their clients, then potentially it’s something we can implore, but obviously, we want to choose the best option if there are many scandals around anything. The last thing I need to do is dip my toes into another scandal.
Weintraub: The other thing you may see in the future is a promotion company coming out of TAA where Tana is the promoter.
Daso: Speaking about that, you just saw another famous influencer, KSI (Olajide Olayinka Williams “JJ” Olatunji), come out with his own promotion company. So, not necessarily that you guys are falling in his footsteps, but I’m seeing is an ample opportunity to come out with your own promotion company.
Mongeau: Is that right? Absolutely. I mean, KSI is a beast and a multi-million dollar business, and my hats off to anybody who’s innovating things in the influencer space that haven’t been done before. I think that’s what’s very exciting for me. There are many things like this that I get the opportunity to do and spearhead as a woman and a young woman who came from, no money and nothing at all. I mean, everything for me will always fall back on inspiring the young girls out there that they can go do anything they want. To support anything empowering young women to be equivalent to men in today’s society inspires me.
Weintraub (left) and Mongeau (right) having fun.
Daso: Final question here. Let’s say the contracts are printed out. You signed on the dotted line. Who would you want to fight? Who are you calling out here? This is your moment.
Mongeau: That’s an amazing question. I’ve said it from day one, and I will continue to say it: my dream fight is with Bella Thorne. I think that fight would be so much fun to put together.
Weintraub: That’s very true. We’ve made Bella a multi-million dollar offer to fight, but she hasn’t accepted it yet. Come on Bella, where are you at?
Mongeau: While I have goals for people that I’d like to fight at the end of the day, now it’s going to come down to the best fit. I hopefully think I can win against and the money is there. If it’s someone I want to fight, I see many people that are just kind of. They want to fight their friends and stuff like that. That really, I mean, while I would do it for the right bag. I don’t know. I hope to find someone that is a perfect fit that I have beef with. Do you know what I mean? That would be fun to watch because it all does fall back on entertainment. I haven’t made my decision. If people want to box me, reach out, and that’s where I’m at right now.
Daso: I heard of another person who might want to fight you, which is Corrinna Kopf on Twitch. You guys had some interaction on Twitter, so maybe she’s another viable opponent for you there.
Mongeau: It’s tense. I don’t want to say that. I’m not sure. There’s a lot of obsessive people, and I’ve had beef with them that would love to get in the ring, but I don’t know if it’s the right fit. I don’t know. Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t have an extreme interest in fighting her over other people. Still, I appreciate all of the subtweets and whatever she wants to do to continue to build my business.