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Donny Savage: Sculpting Mind, Then Body—OFF THE CUFF

08/17/2020
By TDrew

This week, we go Off the Cuff with entrepreneur, influencer, and model Donny Savage. Donny reveals how the COVID-19 environment has impacted him as a creator and what he is doing to maintain his physical, emotional, and mental health during these challenging times. He also provides valuable insight into what it takes to make it as a high-level social media influencer.

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

Donny Savage Interview Key Points

 In this interview, Donny discusses the following issues:

  • How he stays locked in, confident, and grounded.
  • How he overcomes the fear of new challenges and prepares for them mentally.
  • The challenges of transitioning to becoming a blogger on YouTube.
  • How the pandemic has affected him and how he has dealt with the challenges presented by COVID-19.
  • His workouts and how they have changed during the lockdown.
  • What wellness means to him.
  • The changes he made to get to the current point in his career.
  • How he is expanding his brand.
  • How he stays authentic.
  • How he continues to develop and work on himself.
  • The importance of being comfortable in your environment.
  • The importance of not comparing yourself to others.
  • What advice he would give to people coming up.
  • What he’s working on and what’s coming next for Donny Savage.

About Donny Savage

Donny Savage’s birth-name is Donnelle Blaylock, Jr. He was born on February 8th, 1992 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He got his first job as a sales associate at FootLocker and then went on to become a real estate agent and model. Then in October 2015, he went viral on Facebook and Instagram with a 17-second video of him eating a Hershey’s chocolate bar with the caption, “Is this too much chocolate, ladies?” He even enjoyed appearances on television shows like the Wendy Williams Show and others.

Donny Savage wearing a black leather jacket getting out of a car.
“Is This Too Much Chocolate, Ladies?”—Donny Savage

This viral moment completely changed Donny’s life and catapulted him to national fame. He put his real estate career on the back burner and concentrated on his modeling career. He is a big food blogger on YouTube, appeared in numerous viral music videos and has recently started a podcast which will come to fruition soon.

Donny currently resides in Los Angeles and has over 400,000 followers on Instagram.

Find Donny Savage online:

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

  • Thank you for joining me, man. Thank you for joining Off The Cuff. We are, on Off The Cuff today, we have a very, very special guest. He is from my hometown, our hometown, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He’s a… Man, I don’t know, this man does it all. He’s actually, he’s the first actually, extremely successful, male model and entrepreneur that we’ve had on, Off The Cuff which I’m very excited to get your perspective man, on some things, but this is Donnell Blaylock, Donny Savage, D Money, too savvy. I don’t know man, I don’t know.
  • I appreciate it.
  • But, yeah man. Tell the audience just to start man, just a little bit about yourself and who you are and what’s going on in your world.
  • Man, is funny as I’m sitting here thinking back, we know each other for a long time. Long time, like, what? 13, 14, you know what I’m saying?
  • Yeah.
  • That’s funny even thinking about that. And we got the same birthday, which is odd in this world. But, yeah, bro, you know, just coming from Grand Rapids, that’s not like, the highlight of Michigan. You know what I’m saying? A lot of people, their focal point is Detroit. You gotta, In order to make it you got to come out of Detroit, you know? So, that kind of starting from that perspective of coming from that smaller city which is not a hub and trying to maneuver and have something tangible as far as like a modeling thing. Then kind of just transitioned into the influencer world and trying to scale it. But like, for a long time, I was still in Michigan. So being able to outsource certain things and being able to travel then come back home to where I was comfortable, that was a blessing and you know, being able to be relevant And keep moving and finally coming out here to LA where I figured, I can finally scale and work my way up from there. I’m looking back on it like damn, I was doing all this from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Yeah.
  • You know, I had to sit down and think about that like, that shit is crazy, you know.
  • Yeah, no, you’re a trailblazer, man. I mean, you know, I think what’s really cool about the type of conversation like this and the reason why I really liked the opportunity to just do this stuff is that we’re able to be raw and real and give people a perspective just with you on maybe some things and some thoughts that, you know, they would have never gotten to get out of you because looking at somebody like you. Like, you’re, you’re the most desirable man to a lot of women on the planet, right? But being like that, it’s like, you know, a lot of what people don’t see is the things that you had to go through. Your mental mindset, like how you had to adapt as a model and an entrepreneur and a food blogger and like all the things that you do. So, it would be really interesting for me and I think just for our conversation to get a little bit of insight on, how you have been and how you deal with the transitions in your day to day and just, you know, being who you are. Because just like me and everyone else, man, I know there’s ups and downs. And, how do you deal with that? How do you stay locked in? How do you stay confident and, you know, stay who you are?
  • You know what, every new venture, every new pillar that I add on life, man, it’s just terrifying. Like–
  • Wow!
  • You know wat I’m saying? I’ma use this example. Okay, back in 2015 I had an opportunity to be in my first music video ever. Which was Chris Brown, music video. So, I went from, you know, cause I was doing teaser videos and that was more or so geared towards the women but that was just me and the camera. Just playing around, being flirtatious and whatnot. But like, now you throw me in the game where this is no longer a small production. This is a… This is 50 people. Plus off production, plus him directing his own music videos. So, that’s zero to 100 for me. So it was like, it’s a sink or swim. What do you do? I just knew that, it was a situation that I felt uncomfortable in but it was like that’s probably why I should do this and pursue this. Cause it is time I have to do something like this, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. So like, that builds character at the end of the day.
  • That’s a fact, that’s a fact. So whenever you felt a little uncomfortable, you knew that meant that, that was something that you needed to do?
  • There was speaking in front of people. The times that I’ve done, like Live television interviews, like the whole night. It’s like, it is the build up. Like, you know it’s scheduled you know you have to do it. And it’s like, damn, do I psych myself out? I’m wondering how I’m gonna sound. There’s going to be so many people looking at me. I’m about to go crazy. And then you have to snap out of it. Cause then like, when it’s lights, camera, action, you just got to perform at the end of day. So you have to tune it all out and not even think about it. So it was like, when it’s over, I’m like, damn, you know what, that wasn’t so bad. But like I said, it’s the whole buildup to get to that point.
  • How do you prepare mentally for stuff like that?
  • Kind of looking at the journey. Looking back on like how far I’ve gotten, and I’m like, there’s no turning back at this point. So I can say it’s go big or go home at that point, and I ain’t going home. You know, I just… It’s crazy cause a lot of those times like I never had like a real big team. It was always, if it was a situation where a manager who was there, that was cool. But like the last couple years I haven’t had management. So it was just me just showing up to these things. And it’s just having like a quick little mental talk to myself and kind of walking myself through it, like, no you got this, don’t even trip. And if you mess up, so what? You’re human. So, just telling people that couldn’t go speak in front of this amount of people or this type of public speaking situation or have all eyes on them. You might fold, you know.
  • So that’s been a big point of growth for you personally? Is the ability to public speak.
  • Huge. And that’s the thing man. Is like, yeah, I’ve been in front of the camera for a while now but it’s like, I’m still at war with myself on a regular basis. Transitioning into the whole vlogging thing on YouTube, like, I should have did a long time ago. But it was like the build up of, like man, people will be interested in my channel? I don’t know cause it’s something new. It’s something new for me. So, at this point, I’m like, I’m gonna just do it and just see what happens. This is one of those things when it’s uncharted territory. You don’t know what the outcome’s gonna be like. But then you’re so focused on the results, but you just haven’t even done the work yet. So how would I know how it’ll will turn out?
  • You got to take that leap.
  • Exactly.
  • Take that leap man. So how is… Obviously, all of our lives have been changed whether you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an entertainer, like no matter what you do. How is this, is this time period, have you been able to take advantage of it? Has it been able to kind of establish maybe some new habits for you? Like how have you been dealing with the change of lifestyle? I know it may not be, you know, LA, a bit on the West Coast and the East Coast. I mean, it’s different, like, it’s not same as if we were in Michigan. But, so it’s so different. So, how have you been dealing with that?
  • Bro, honestly, this is probably the best situation to ever happened to me.
  • Yeah.
  • You know what I’m saying? Cause it’s forced me to sit back and analyze things and be like, what can I add to my repertoire? Like what new thing can I tackle? And now, I’m looking at it like, these are things that I’ve just been putting off. Like, I’ve been putting off my podcast, I’ve been putting off my YouTube channel and this are things that I wanted to add to everything I had going on, but I can’t tell you why I never did them. And of course, like being out here and the weather is amazing. I got my girl out here, she’s doing her thing. So, as far as I, I can’t complain. We got the beautiful sun and then the palm trees every day. You know it is so exciting because this situation right here, you’ll see who’s gonna make it out of it. And I’m not saying like I want anybody to fail, but it’s like, you got to be on overdrive and you got to take up a new hobby or make your side hustle your main hustle. And this is the best situation to see, what type of characters are gonna be built when it’s all said and done. So this is the most cardio I’ve ever done in life. Me and my girl been doing this. 100K challenge in the month of May. We are what? Caleb what are we like? 59 miles on a month as far as cardio out of 62 miles. This is the most cardio I’ve ever done, period.
  • Talk about that man. Cause you know, our platform and the reason why I like having these conversations is not just mental stuff and getting insight from people like you about how they think and how they push yourself forward mentally. But I think wellness means something different to everybody. Right?
  • Right.
  • And for some people it means, eating on a crazy diet and being in the gym six to seven times a week and killing themselves. And for other people, wellness means stretching every day. For other people wellness means, doing one workout a week or whatever. So, building off of that, that’s amazing. The fact that you’ve been able to do that. How, how important is that type of stuff to you? Like, is there a real connection to wellness for you? And like mind, the body and like how do you think about that?
  • Yeah, cause I mean, and it’s funny, I got my Gold’s Gym shirt on. I can’t go to Gold’s Gym but like I’m a gym rat at the end of the day. And it’s like, of course, I would do cardio, but like I said, this is the most kind of cardio I’ve ever done. I love lifting weights. I used to do CrossFit before I had an injury. So I was always trying to like push myself to new heights physically and then I get a high off that, you know, mentally like for me. So it’s like, okay, you got another obstacle, you can’t go to the gym, what’re you gonna do? I’m not the person, like I usually don’t mess with resistance bands and, you know, a lot of the bodyweight at-home workouts and stuff, you know what I mean? Like that was never really my thing. So I’m like, what can I do to at least keep my wind up and stay in shape? So I’m like, my boy from the UK hit me up, it was like, do this challenge with me. So we were just going back and forth every day. So you know, through the Nike run ads. So he’s been keeping his results, I was keeping my results and we just kept pushing each other. I was like, now, we’re coming up on the end of the month and so my 62 miles will be done. But I’m like, okay, then what? So then we just start all over. Let’s just do it the next month. Cause we already gained this traction. It would be inconsistent and I don’t wanna lose the results that we did, you know, we gained. So let’s just keep this thing moving. At the end of the day–
  • It’s great how it works, right? Like ones you get in the flow, and ones you’re just like, yo! Then you’re just like, oh okay. Like–
  • You feel weird if you don’t do it, at that point, you know.
  • Right, right. At least for me and I think you just said it, like, the reason why I’m so big on just being active, but just figuring out things that you like to do, is because I’ve just found mentally, that I’m just a completely different person. Like if I don’t break a sweat for like, I don’t know, like three to four days, I don’t know if this stems from our athletic backgrounds, like whatever. But like, I just go crazy. I just don’t, like, my brain doesn’t work the same like, it’s therapy for me. And I feel like it’s the same for you.
  • Yeah, it stimulates the mind, you know what I’m saying? And then like out here. And I’ve never been the most outdoorsy person of course. I mean, I live in Hollywood with my girl but it’s like we take our strolls out here and you know, just being in the sun man. Just seeing the beautiful cars drive past. Like it’s an environmental thing for me as well. Just getting the fresh air. So, I just like to stay active.
  • That’s big, that’s big. Have you seen… So with you, yourself have you seen like a big change? As far as like if you look at yourself, two, three maybe four years ago. What are some of the changes that you made to get yourself to this point personally? Was it just like, I’m just gonna start small and see how it builds or was it just one day you were like, I’m gonna just kick it in gear, like have you always been like that?
  • No, that was a process for me. Cause in the beginning, like I said, I had management you know, that was kind of like facilitating certain things. And that was like my creative director as well. So it wasn’t me entirely going off my own ideas. It was a collaborative thing. And then we ended up parting ways. I’m like, this is all on me now, entirely. So it was just kind of trial and error and trying to see what works, what doesn’t work. I guess, what are the things I can add, what brands I can work with? What platforms can I be more efficient on? And I’m still figuring it out. I’ll be the first one to tell you, like I don’t have this shit down pat. And there’s a lot of people that say they do and they lying to you.
  • Majority of them are.
  • Especially when we’re talking about, I guess zoning in on these platforms cause they change every quarter. So to say that you’re a mastermind in social media. Social media has only really been prominent the last, I’ll probably say, five, six years like on a major scale, you know. So it was kind of narrow down and fine-tune what things work for me. So now, I’m just starting to really figure that out. To where, okay, I’ve done the Instagram thing, that Facebook was popping. Let me move on to a couple of new platforms. Let me move on to YouTube, Let me move on to podcasting. But then giving you the visual as well. Actually recording the audio and the visual and put it together and then putting it on YouTube as well. So like for me, actually it’s been a process bro. Like just trying to grow and trying to expand my brand at the end of the day. And it’s been more relevant now than any other time especially me moving out here to LA. Cause I’m seeing, you know, some of the big YouTubers out here. I’m kind of taking notes to see what they’re on, how they maneuver. And what I’m finding is that a lot of these people are in this close-knit group. And they kind of just, they piggyback on one another. Like, all right you want in? I’ma take you under my wings, I’ma catapult you. All right lets put the next person up, put the next person up. And they’re creating together. And I was like, that’s what I’m finding now. Like I need to be more so in the mix as far as like collaborating with people in different niches, you know, different industries. So, yeah.
  • I think something that has already been very cool about you is just the fact that you’re authentic. You know what I mean, I think that, like, a lot of times in social and in content creation and stuff like that. A lot of people are trying to put out images and perpetrate things that they really aren’t.
  • Right.
  • And I think that a thing that you do very, very well is being authentic and to who you are. Not just with like, okay, you know, it’s your style, it’s your love of food, it’s your love of documentation. Like you take stances on issues, which I think is very cool. So with all of these things that may try to make you be something that you’re not, how do you stay authentic?
  • I think it’s like a gut feeling or something bro. It’s like an intuition. And I’m like, you only fake it for so long man. And then being out here, I see how there’s no longevity in that. I’m not gonna say any names or any people but it’s just–
  • Yeah. This is why we’re doing this. This is important.
  • Yeah, I mean, it’s not… It’s the fact that you can’t keep that up for so long bro. You can only keep it up for so long and you’re gonna expose yourself. In one way or another, whether it’s you try to fake a lifestyle. I mean, that’s what a lot of people are doing. That’s like the number one thing. I’ll be the first one to tell you, I do not have all the money in the world, still trying to figure it out, still trying to put the pieces together for my work, my work works and my whole brand, and stuff like that. But it’s a lot of people out here faking it till they make it. Especially with these courses, these guru, entrepreneurial courses. And there’re making the money off courses versus really, I mean, cause it’s like, if you’ve been successful at something, you don’t necessarily have to put all the time into trying to show people how you were successful. Cause you’re more focusing on whatever it is that you’re doing. Like bullshit programs. Like I’ve taken bullshit programs before. Like, this is how you create a social media marketing agency or this is how you do this. They’re not even necessarily teaching you the shit. Like themselves, they’re, oh I’ma be the front man for it. And I’m gonna get such and such. I’ma get John and Jim and them to teach the rest of the shit. They just facilitating it. You know wat I’m saying? I’m like this shit is corny. You don’t do that shit for so long. But some of those people are starting to get exposed right now. And I just… It’s interesting because sometimes I’m like, damn, they’re playing the game. I’m like, should I play the game like that? I have full capacity to do it. I have all the capabilities to do it. But I’m like, I don’t wanna finesse people like that. I can’t do that and I don’t want that to come back bite me, I don’t know 10 years, 20 years down the road. Like, oh yeah, he finessed everybody and he didn’t really teach them something legitimate. I just, I don’t want to bullshit people.
  • Well, often authenticity has longevity man. and I think like the fact that, you know, when your audience is able to see this conversation and our audience as well. This is the type of stuff that endears the people that support you and are fans to you for the long run because they know what they’re getting is real.
  • Right.
  • Like you said, man, I’ve said this all along like you can only fake the funk for so long. Like even you. You have a super active, large, engaged following. You’ve done it yourself, you’ve done it your own way. You could easily be like, yeah, Donny Savage is gonna teach you how to be a male model and blah, blah, blah. But you’re not comfortable doing that because you feel like it won’t be the most authentic way to represent yourself. Just like me, I can be like, oh, I’m social media marketing and branding for Fortune 500 companies and I have my own company and blah, blah, blah. But it gets to a point where at least for me, it’s like, the work always does the talking man. It’s like, the work, the results, like those always do the talking. And at the end of the day, something like that, I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that. And I know you wouldn’t be comfortable doing that either. Your own personal goals and where you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to get haven’t been done yet.
  • Right.
  • Like, that’s, to me, how you build a legacy. That’s how you continue to inspire people with how you are. And I already know, there’s probably so many, you know, not just people in from where we’re from, but just black men in general that just look up to you. And this is actually a good segue to something else that I wanted to ask you. Like, how do you continue to develop yourself and work on yourself? Like, knowing that there’s people that look up to you, knowing that you have an audience. Like what are some things that you do to continue to work on who you are and improve yourself, better yourself?
  • I guess from like an informative perspective, I listen to podcasts every single day. I’m on YouTube every day soaking up information, whether it’s relationship stuff, business, certain etiquette, how to I guess own your confidence, and how to scale that. Just everything in my day to day. And trying to act on it. Like I’m not just trying to soak up new information and not put in action. So yeah, I mean, you know, from the physical standpoint. Trying to stay working out. Trying to really master my craft. Like right now, bro, I wish I could show you this stuff right now. Like I just got all the equipment for my YouTube studio. Cause I’m like, if I’ma do this, I wanna have my comfortable space, when I’m doing this. Like I see what you have set up in the background for you. Like that’s perfect. You know, you come in, it’s consistent. You know, you got all your, you know, like, what’s that? Like neon sign in the back?
  • Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, the one from, yeah, yeah.
  • Yeah, you know what I’m saying? You got that. Everything is just comfortable. So like I’m about to transform this whole section right here.
  • Oh dope.
  • Into my in-house studio where I can just come in, I feel comfortable, I’ll be able to do my videos, I can hop on my podcast, and do my thing. But that was like, that was me figuring out like the psychological standpoint of when you’re shooting content. How important it is for your environment and for you to be comfortable in it. Like you find yourself stumbling over words, paying attention to the blank spaces when you don’t have fillers in there for yourself. I was watching videos on that, cause I was trying to figure out like man, how come every YouTuber, they have this dope setup, background and I’m like, I’m just thinking they’re just doing it for show. But I’m like nah, like that’s for their comfortability. And what, you know, like that’s, their workstation. They can just come through, do whether it’s a hour long video, or for five minute long video. Like, it takes them nothing just to get in that zone because they’re in their comfortable space.
  • Couple of more things, man, and I’m gonna let you go. I think it’ll be… I think for those watching this, like your audience and stuff like that. For those that are watching you in this, that are young entrepreneurs. Especially like young black entrepreneurs. Like what’s some advice that you would give them from being where you are now?
  • I always say, stop comparing your situation to other people’s highlights men.
  • Man!
  • I had to, like really get over that. Cause you’re looking at, I mean, whether you looking at somebody for sports or YouTube or whatever it is, I don’t know, whatever the profession may be. It’s like you comparing what you’re starting to somebody who’s like five, 10 years in the game. They already perfected what they’re doing. So really just put your blinders on, stay in your lane and just focus on yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish. Cause like, they have a completely different story than you at end of the day. And how you’re doing it is gonna be entirely different. You can take little tidbits from, I guess a person’s process, but the end result still won’t be the same, you know. And I had to really buckle down and stop trying to like pay so much attention to what everybody else was doing. Like for me, for instance, prime example. The Tiktok situation like, it’s cool for some people that’s really trying to devote time to that, but at end of the day, I mean there’s people pop in on it. That’s not really my thing. But I’m looking at these other big creators that are doing it and I’m like, that’s cool. It’s super trendy but it’s like, nobody’s really creating original trends on there. Like everybody’s following what every other trend is. And that’s not something that I wanted to do or really indulge in. So it was like, I tapped into it for a second and I was like, I’m not doing this ass goofy as dances every day. I just, I couldn’t get myself to do it. It wasn’t authentic, like I’m saying It wasn’t authentic. Like, what am I doing this for? And not even to, you know, shit on another person that enjoys doing it. It just wasn’t my thing. So I’m like, all right. At some point in time, when I have long term content or when I’m doing a podcast and I wanna chop some stuff down, I wanna throw it on there, alright, cool, I’ll do that. But following all the weird trends, I’m good. I’ll stay off of this for a while.
  • Yeah. Before we hop off, let everybody know what you’re able to let people know. What you’re working on, what you’re doing, all that type of stuff. Because you’re doing some awesome stuff, man.
  • I appreciate that. Man, it seems like 2020 is flying by. Like not a lot of shit is getting done.
  • It’s literally about to be June.
  • Yeah, so, I mean, first and foremost, I got my podcast dropping. Its called Off Top, Donny Savage. And I’m really talking about life experiences man. The things regarding, like I’m not fully immersed in Hollywood, but I’ve tapped in and I’ve been working on a few things. Talking about stuff like that, social media of course, the whole influencer spectrum. You know, random trending topics. Of course, the whole nine. I’ll be bringing a lot of dope influencers on there as well, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, a lot of people that are my network. It’d be dope if you’s on there too.
  • Yeah, I’d love to man.
  • We can lock that in. I’m super excited about that. Like, that’s gonna be my baby. That’s where like a lot of my time is gonna go to, cause I’ve been waiting to do it for a long time man. The YouTube, that’ll kind of be more so vlogging. Not so much just like my day to day like I’m just about to wake up and just have my camera like, this is what I’m doing today but more so zoning in on whether it’s like food, food stuff, men’s essentials, the little tidbits about social media that I can give, that are authentic. I just did a music video for Lyrica Anderson. for her second single of the new album. I think that video should be dropping soon. I got the Coming 2 America too, dropping I think in December, I’m not mistaken. That’s if things, I guess, are on track or whether they’re gonna stream it or I don’t know what’s gonna happen with that. but yeah.
  • Dope.
  • Those are the major things right now.
  • As a side note like, men’s skincare and men’s like that stuff is just like, I will be fully, fully tuned in when you talk about that stuff man. Cause even on our end, like with our company, a lot of stuff that we blog and do products reviews for and stuff. There’s so many good men’s skincare products. And not just skincare, just men’s wellness in general a lot of people don’t know about. And that’s an amazing type of content niche just in terms of recommendations and stuff that you’d really dominate. So I’m excited to listen in.
  • Man, I had, I was literally working on my own men’s grooming kit bro. Like everything is getting done from scratch, in the house. And then you know, this happened. Like I had just got my samples. I had my beard balms, beard oils.
  • Oh wow.
  • I was getting ready to come out with like the brushes, the combs, the whole nine. Just kind of slowed everything up for me but it’s all good.
  • Oh yeah, put that in the back pocket, man. People would die for that, for sure. Donny Savage, thank you, man. I appreciate you, taking the time to be on Off The Cuff for 1and1life indeed, man. This is awesome bro, it’s–
  • For sure bro.
  • Yeah, it’s very cool to be able to get insight from someone who is as successful at their craft as you are man.
  • I appreciate that.
  • I am very, very excited to continue to see everything that you do and you know, everything that you come out with. And if you want some stuff from us just let me know man, I’ll send you a care package
  • Yeah, bro, and we can see what we can do how we can collab or put something together. Like I’m always open to that. Plus you’ve been creating you know, long time, long… It’s crazy when I’m thinking about that bro. I remember AAU. Back in the day. I remember AAU back in the day dude. That’s crazy.
  • Well, again, thank you for a time, bro. And like I said, I’m super excited to continue to see you just level up and do your thing man.
  • I appreciate that bro.
  • Keep doing your thing. Thank you, brother. Appreciate your time.
  • Likewise. All right bro.
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