“Your social bio says you have experience acting Johnnie. I was just wondering if you had tips on how to identify with playing a character you may not like?”
“Look, one thing I’ve always learned: always be yourself.”
“Umm, that’s true in a certain context, but what about when you’re trying to ‘be’ someone other than yourself as an–?”
”–You know scrolling through my phone, I see a great meme on my timeline that says, “be yourself. Everyone is taken. That’s my advice to you,” internet star Johnnie Davis said while RTing the image.
“….OK thanks I guess.”
Similarly frustrating junctures defined the Q&A session of the 18-year-old Davis, who kept his phone handy for the duration of the event. Davis recently released a “self-help photography book” entitled Joy With Johnnie—but the book doesn’t have much advice besides one-liner memes and quotes from famous people interspersed with pictures of the Twitter-famous “life coach, model, actor, and creative.”
Davis has gained over 3 million social followers, and makes an estimated $12K monthly from “self-help sessions” in which he lets women rub on his body while he reads memes. He said at the outset of the event that his goal in life is to “parlay his notoriety into more notoriety” through the book. The hour-long Q&A seemed to confirm what the book already implied: that Davis may have an envious physique–but not the best advice.
When a fellow artist asked him advice on hiring a manager, he told them to “cut out the middleman.” When the artist noted that he didn’t have the connections that a manager would, Davis said, “excuses are like assholes.”
When a 13 year old asked him advice on how to gain a following for his comedy clips, Davis cut him off and said “look, I’ve heard this story a million times. Nothing can happen until you just quit everything and do it. I see a good Tumblr post for you: Quit your job, say f**k your boss, and move to LA. Once you move, things will just happen.”
The 13-year-old noted that he didn’t have a job and wasn’t allowed to curse, to which Davis simply said, “oh, good.”
41-year-old Lonnie Sims asked Davis for marketing techniques, to which Davis said “you should create everything for yourself.” He then tried to get the crowd to clap at the plea to artistic purity, but others sat puzzled, wondering what his advice had to do with marketing.
When a 23 year old journalist asked him to define “creative,” he paused, before raising his shirt and exposing his six-pack while yelling, “I created this!”
By that point, many of his fans began to disperse from the banquet hall, disappointed that, as one supporter noted, “he’s not quite what we thought he’d be in real life.”