Network outside your comfort zone because your peers probably can’t help you. Don’t spend much time networking with peers because usually you guys are at the same stage of the process. Someone who hasn’t gone down this road before really can’t help you. Find older people who have done what you are trying to do several times and become their friend.
Dress like a million bucks in every circumstance. People are simple and they judge books by their covers…
Follow Up. Many times we make connections but to make that connection work for you. You have to invest the time and energy to turn that connection into a relationship.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Gatsby Randolph.
In 2013 Gatsby Randolph burst on the scene in Hollywood, arriving on a one-way ticket and never looking back. He arrived in the city of lights to sign a million- dollar record deal for a rapper he had been working with. When that deal fell through, Gatsby was left with no plan and no resources.
Ever the entrepreneur, he set out to take the next 30 days, no holds barred, to conquer the city that had just turned its back on him.
What he was able to achieve in those 30 days is a shock only to those who have never met Gatsby Randolph. His ability to succeed at the seemingly impossible is part of what makes him such an enigma.
He is simultaneously equal parts marketing genius, taste-maker, actor, filmmaker, and philanthropist while he simultaneously guides the careers of others and can spot talent a mile away.
His authenticity resonates with everyone who meets him, but most canʼt tell you exactly what it is he does. He calls himself a “Social Architect” and has the unique ability to appear to be an open book while revealing very little.
When Hollywood slammed the door on him, he proceeded to force them open with a charismatic smile and an ability to draw people to him like a moth to flame.
With cameras in tow, he not only was able to attend, but dominated the room at every exclusive red carpet and private event in Hollywood. He then went on to throw the single most exclusive event the city has ever seen.
With incredibly savvy and sheer determination, Gatsby Randolph has broken through the walls of Hollywood and quickly established his place with the Hollywood Royalty.
In his first documentary “ Who Is Gatsby Randolph?”, this first time filmmaker and star Gatsby Randolph creates a hilariously funny and inspirational wild ride though the red carpets and hills of Hollywood.
“Who is Gatsby Randolph” features appearances by Jay Z, Beyonce, Diddy, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Beckinsale, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West. Cedric The Entertainer, Vince Vaughn, Steve Harvey, Scottie Pippen, Jimmy Kimmel, and many many more.
“Who is Gatsby Randolph?” is slated for a February 2021 release through BLK PRIME Distribution.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee as a serial entrepreneur dealing with anything entertainment. During my high school years, the big thing was teen dance parties. I became a big party promoter at age 15, which led me to DJing and opening up a nightclub while in College.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I always knew I was supposed to be in Hollywood. At the time, I just didn’t know in what capacity. However, the first time I had this epiphany was when I was 18 years old. It was 2 months before I graduated high school, and I really didn’t want to go to college. I had found some success in throwing teen parties and I thought it would be my gateway into becoming a Hip-Hop Entrepreneur (i.e. The Next Puff Daddy, Russell Simmons).
With my parents, both doctors, they were insisting on me going to college or else they were going to cut me off financially. So I explained to them in order for me to have a chance at making my dreams come true I needed to go to Los Angeles for one weekend to see if I could get discovered.
On Senior Skip Day when all the other kids were going to the park for a BBQ, I took 300 dollars, a Brioni suit I found at a thrift store, went to the airport and flew to Los Angeles.
On the plane, while I was ear hustling I found out that there was an award show pre-party going on that night for the NAACP Image Awards.
I paid a limo driver to take me to the party. Once I arrived with bags in hand, one of the event coordinators assumed I was a young actor. She asked me: “Where is your manager or publicist?” I responded, “My manager’s flight was delayed so I landed early. I’m in LA by myself so I just came to the first thing on our itinerary.”
Then she took my bags out of my hands, and rushed me onto the red carpet, and put my name on a slate. Cameras started flashing, photographers were yelling my name, journalist started interviewing me.
The next day I went to the awards show and sat on the front row. I met so many people that weekend, when I was back in class on Monday, agents and managers were all calling my phone trying to schedule follow ups, lunch meetings, and screen tests.
I knew at that moment Hollywood is where I belonged.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
In 2015 I was trying to close a deal with some investors. After 6 months of courting, the investors wanted to go to Vanity Fair’s Oscar party. Without knowing how hard it is to get into this event I told the investors I go all the time and that they could be my plus 2.
After doing some homework and discovering how tall of an order that was, I became desperate as Oscar night approached. Then out of nowhere I came up with a crazy idea that I thought could work.
I knew someone who won an Oscar in 1994, I convinced them to let me borrow the Oscar for the night. Once I had the Oscar in my possession, I then gathered 10 people in 2 SUVS and went down to the party as if I had just won.
The cops believed me and escorted me and my entourage to the red Carpet. Once I stepped on the carpet, paparazzi went crazy. I was interviewed by BBC, and Good Morning America.
Every A-Lister in the party congratulated me including, Reese Witherspoon, Jay Z, Beyonce, Tom Ford, and more.
Until this day most people in Hollywood still assume that I’m an Oscar winner.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The first mistake I made was being too naive. I thought when I came to Hollywood so many people would see my drive and want to help me on my journey. It didn’t take me long to figure out there is an entire sub industry of the blind leading the blind.
I once did a shopping agreement for a project with this guy who talked as if he were Lou Wasserman, come to find out he had no experience at all. Two weeks after I signed with him I got into an Uber with a friend. I heard a familiar voice, I looked up and guess who the driver was?
Yep, you guessed it .
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My first feature documentary: “Who Is Gatsby Randolph”. It comes out February 23rd 2021 on BLK PRIME/Pay Per View, and is currently in the running for the Oscars 2021.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think diversity is important because TV/Film directly effects the youth imagination. If we don’t have projects they can relate to, then it’s hard for the next generation to fully open their minds up to think outside the box.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- There are no rules in Hollywood.
Often times in Hollywood we think there is a right way to get into the industry, and that’s false. There is always more than one way to skin a cat, the only thing that matters is that your voice gets heard.
2. Stop caring what people think.
Most people make choices based on what the people around them will think. That’s a horrible mistake. Unless the people around you are experts at what you are pursuing then their opinions are just that, an opinion. So I would take it with a grain of salt.
3. Network outside your comfort zone because your peers probably can’t help you.
Don’t spend much time networking with peers because usually you guys are at the same stage of the process. Someone who hasn’t gone down this road before really can’t help you. Find older people who have done what you are trying to do several times and become their friend.
4. Dress like a million bucks in every circumstance.
People are simple and they judge books by their covers…
5. Follow Up
Many times we make connections but to make that connection work for you. You have to invest the time and energy to turn that connection into a relationship.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Spend time alone, to rest, and get your thoughts together.
Do not tell everyone every idea that pops in your head.
Do whatever it takes to spark your imagination.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want to use my influence to inspire the world to be comfortable in their own skin.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
While in college I had a communications professor, “Mr. Richie” who ran the campus radio station. Even when I was a freshman in college he gave me a radio show, that till this day has been the key start to all of my success.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Everything you want in life is on the other side of fear. Good or Bad. To chase my dreams I had to get over the fear of failures and I think that applies to everyone.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Denzel Washington, because I think he is one of the smoothest cats living.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!