Being a reality television star often comes with a lot of opinions and a lot of criticism; and when said star wants to change career paths, it can be hard to be taken seriously in the cut-throat, corporate world.
Social media personality Harry Jowsey, known for his wild antics on Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle and New Zealand’s own Heartbreak Island, has decided to venture into the world of business and slowly step away from his status as a bonafide social media star.
The influencer, who boasts 4.3 million followers at the time of writing, spoke to Newshub earlier this month about the transition from the fluffy, flirty world of reality TV to the serious sector of business and investments.
Speaking to Newshub, Jowsey said he wanted to start using his income more wisely, rather than splashing it on the latest gadget or material, “dumb” splurges.
“I think [it’s] the fact that social media and reality TV is such a short-lived project if you don’t make the most out of it. I think I got really scared about like one day not putting my money anywhere safe and just spending it on dumb things,” he said.
Jowsey, who is originally from Australia and grew up in New Zealand, relocated to California to launch his career and make a name for himself in the bright lights of Los Angeles.
He said moving to LA has allowed him to meet a wide range of people he can learn from, many of whom are passionate about investmenting and making their money work harder.
“When you’re in LA, or when you meet cool, exciting young people that have businesses, it’s their entire world. They put so much time and energy into it. To just be part of it is also really exciting and gets me more excited than buying a new watch or trying to go somewhere fancy,” Jowsey said.
“I’d rather work with people that are that motivating.”
Jowsey noted that the hate he frequently receives from people on social media has helped him build a thick skin, which he now uses to his advantage. When pitching ideas and experiencing rejection in business, he said the years of trolling and abusive comments have in some way, been a positive.
“I think because there’s so much judgement, everyone judges what you do – [whether] you’re better than this person or if your numbers are going up and down. I think having so many people have their eyes on your every move made me just think a little bit smarter,” he explained.
“I also had a good feeling about when I would invest in something and then be able to post about it, instead of a materialistic item.”
Before pursuing his new goals and ambitions, Jowsey said he was well aware that some people would struggle to take him seriously due to his background in reality television, admitting that reality stars and influencers are often burdened with the stereotype that they’re “not the smartest people”.
“I think that reality TV people are known to not be the smartest people… [but] there’s always going to be someone that acts smarter than you and tries to pick you apart.
“I just think it’s one of those things that no matter what you do, people are going to try and always put you in a box and try to… place you on the hierarchy ladder, and you just have to prove them wrong. I guess that’s just the constant goal.”
On the first season of Netflix’s Too Hot To Handle in 2020, Jowsey was portrayed as the cocky villain who was there to stir the pot. He told Newshub that while he doesn’t necessarily care for people’s preconceived perceptions of him, he wants to be known for more than the persona the show curated.
“I think reality TV loves to show people a small percentage of [a contestant’s] personality. I never really cared too much about what people thought about that. My biggest goal was just to work and let my work speak for me. I look at people that are well known for their movies and what they do, and they’re known as that.
“So I was just trying to put that side of me away and to be known for something a bit bigger than reality TV and whatnot.”
When asked what advice he would give to someone who wants to venture into investing, he said it’s important to not be afraid to play the long game.
“I always tell my friends the money you have isn’t going to be the only money you make for the rest of your life. You have to continue to think like that because if you get afraid and hold onto your pennies, you can’t grow those pennies,” Jowsey advised.
“You can bet, bet, bet, lose, lose, lose the whole time, [or] you can put it all in on one [smart] thing and it doubles or triples your money,” Jowsey said.
Jowsey admitted he had been to university to study business, but at the time, didn’t believe the degree was a good fit for him or would prove beneficial in the long run, noting that in some cases, life experience can outweigh education.
“I went to university doing a double degree in business and art and I realised… it just seemed like a waste of my time. I’d rather go out there, figure it out and learn, and learn from people that are successful,” he said.
“I’d rather go and try and meet millionaires and billionaires that have done it and then watch how they move, instead of watching some professor. It’s a very interesting dynamic, especially coming from a small town in Australia and growing up in New Zealand and coming here to people that grew up in Vegas and have made money their entire lives. It definitely makes me miss my home a lot more though because it feels like a big fairytale over here.”
So what’s next for Jowsey?
“What I’ve been working on at the moment is a lot of acting and learning to break into that world. My goal in the next five years is to have some sort of spot in a Marvel movie, whether that’s [being] Thor’s younger brother or something along those lines,” he said.
“My goal is to continue to make people laugh and to entertain… I had some friends who have battled with mental health and it made me want to make my friends and people laugh more.”
Although further stints on reality TV aren’t on the agenda, Jowsey admitted he’s not opposed to trying his hand at a competitive show that would put him to the test and get him out of his comfort zone – like Dancing with the Stars, he suggested.
While life in LA is like living in “a fairytale”, Jowsey said he would love to come back to the Land of the Long White Cloud to reconnect with his family and friends.
“I really want to. I think I’m going to come back in December or January. I really want to do RNV [Rhythm & Vines music festival]. I want to come back for that and I want to travel around.
“I have a bunch of friends that I haven’t seen in such a long time. Both my sisters have had kids, so I want to go see them. There’s so much to do back there.”