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Eric Dunn: Creating Authentically & The Pressures to Produce—OFF THE CUFF

08/27/2020
By TDrew

This week we go Off the Cuff with recording artist, social media star, and model Eric Dunn. Eric discusses issues related to wellness, how he keeps his mind right, and handles the pressure to keep producing viral content. Eric is known for his authenticity in a world of fake creation and in this interview, he provides valuable insight on how to keep it real.

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

Eric Dunn Interview Key Points

In this interview, Eric discusses the following topics:

  • How he takes his role model responsibility seriously.
  • How he got involved in meditation.
  • How he keeps himself out of a mental rut and stays motivated.
  • The importance of changing where we put our energy and attention.
  • How he handles the constant pressure to create content.
  • The importance of not trying to force your creativity by overthinking your content.
  • The folly of trying to ‘go viral.’
  • How to stay true to yourself.
  • The need to create content around your passion.
  • The importance of treating your followers with respect.
  • How his ‘Running Through White People’s Neighborhood’ video blew up and led to future collaborations.
  • The genesis of his character ‘Jerome.’
  • How validation from others affects him.
  • The importance of being 100% present.

About Eric Dunn

Eric Dunn was one of the first adopters of the early social media platform, Vine. He created one of the first pieces of content to go viral on that platform with over a million views. He is now an active creator of content on every social media platform. His creative work covers a wide range of areas, including public speaking and modeling, commercial acting and voice-over work, particularly in the field of meditation and wellness. Eric has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida Atlantic University.

A photo of Eric Dunn wearing an overcoat and a gray hoodie with a smile on his face.
Eric Dunn was One of the First Adopters of the Early Social Media Platform, Vine

27-year-old Eric first started making Vine content in 2013. Shortly thereafter he created the alter ego ‘Jerome’ in the very well-received video series, Jerome is a gangsta from the suburbs. Jerome is also an R&B singer and actor, known for the shows Ultra Sultra, Honda Classic All Access, and Behind the Vine.

Eric has been involved in a number of successful marketing campaigns, including collaborations with Under Armor, UA Basketball, DUUUVAL Draft Night, Champ Sports, Shell, Old Spice, and Breathless resorts. He signed with international modeling agency Wilhelmina in June 2017 and finds regular work in the Big and Tall division as well as lifestyle shoots. 

Eric Dunn looking so satisfied while admiring his new kicks from UA basketball.
Eric Uses His Social Media Platforms to Engender Positivity

Eric uses his social media platforms to engender positivity, kindness, and acceptance. He has a passion for mental wellness and helping people who are struggling in life.

“When I help others become successful in reaching their goals, I’m successful in achieving my goals.”

Eric Dunn

Find Eric Dunn online:

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

  • I’m excited for this conversation bro.
  • Me too, man. Me too.
  • So this is Off The Cuff 1AND1 Life. We got comedian, actor, Reverend, I don’t know, athlete,
  • Bro, everything. Sports fanatic.
  • Podcast extraordinaire, social media brilliant guru person. What else do you do man? You got, oh you’re like a-
  • Meditation, I got a meditation platform, voice actor.
  • Man, everything. Eric Dunn, one of the most talented people I know. This conversation is gonna be really awesome because I think with who you’ve been able to talk to on Off The Cuff. I’ve had other conversations with other entertainers like Danny LoPriore, big CI conversation with clarity and other-
  • Guys.
  • Yeah, other people that, ’cause all you guys, you guys are so insanely talented, and I think along with that comes a larger conversation of how you view wellness, how you keep your mind right. The part about you Dunn is that I’ve been able to watch your journey from you having, you essentially being one of the main people to start a way on one of the first social media platforms being bought. Where you built up a cult following you, created like one of the first viral and probably most famous viral pieces of content in the history of that app and then turned into you kinda being a cultural phenomenon in the sense. I mean, it’s really hard to build up that type of traffic and persona just based on natural talent. So I’ve told our audience a little bit about who you are. But obviously, this will go on your platform, it will go on ours as well. But I guess, talk a little bit about who Eric Dunn is kinda deep down, aside from you making everybody laugh and being as brilliant as you are with content and stuff like that. Where is this love of wellness? Where is this love of mental health? Where is the Reverend Dunn side come from?
  • So thank you for having me on the show TDrew. For those that don’t know, me and TDrew go way back to the vine days. We used to get, in the comments, people used to say that we look alike. So I saw him in the comments one day and we’ve been friends ever since. So the friendships alive and well. I’m glad we’re still out here making content together and keeping the convos alive, years to come. But yeah, so the Reverend Dunn that you’re mentioning, that I put the name obviously, I put that on there. And I don’t know, I don’t remember how long it’s been on there, but I put it there as a little play on words for Rev. Run, who used to have his show run, and at the end of his show, people don’t know this backstory of why the heck I got Rev in my Twitter name. But at the end of his Rev Run’s House show, he would always say God is love, Rev. Run. So I just put Rev at the beginning of my name ’cause Dunn and Run was a play on words. But at the same time, I also try to use my Twitter platform to create a positive place. A lot of my tweets are positive, positivity driven. I’m not on there, spewing negativity and hate all the time, rarely ever, unless it’s sports related, but that’s obviously in a joking way. I’m never serious about that. But growing up, I had never known much about mental health and never was exposed to it. I didn’t have any issues in the family with depression or people taking their lives or growing up in middle school and elementary school, high school, college. I never had any of those those mental health issue problems. So I kinda came late into the game of being exposed to it and caring about it when I did blow up on the Vine App. And I would say like, up until, like 20, say 15, 16, that’s when I really started taking it seriously because, with that audience comes a lot of people that look up to you and get the courage to message you about their serious issues. So there’s been a lot of times where I’ve gotten messages from people that were suicidal, and they got issues at home with their parents, and they just aren’t motivated and don’t know what to do with their lives. And that happens with everybody, but not everybody has the courage to come out, or to talk about it or have anybody to those thoughts with anybody. So they come to me, and I open that message and it’s like a long paragraph. I’m just like, “Whoa!” I’ve never experienced anything like this. So reading messages like that over the years, it’s really become my obligation, in my opinion, to put on my my best face and make sure that I’m carrying myself well, because people actually really do look up to me. I didn’t ask to be a role model when I started Vine and got all these followers, but that’s what it’s come to be. So I’m taking that responsibility, and whatever I can do to help anybody, push forward, just that one day, the one extra step, then I’m all for that. And in 2018, it really propelled me because I got reached out to by a couple of guys out in Los Angeles, who were creating this meditation app, this platform, and they were looking for voice actors to be the talent reading the scripts. And these scripts are deep. It’s not your where you’re sitting kumbaya and they’re going, “Humm.” But there are sessions where you do like take a breath, ’cause meditation’s all about your breathing. But a lot of the sessions on this app that I started working on are real gut punching and just real stuff. We’re not beating around the bush with this stuff, It’s real content. So when I’m performing them into the microphone, and I’m playing them back listening to them, it hits me and it’s real. So if you ever download Trill and listen to a session, that’s real emotion because I don’t read these, I do it. And I don’t read them beforehand, because I don’t them to come off as acting, I wanna read it in real time, so people can get the real feel of what we’re trying to say. And the topics range from getting good sleep, making sure you’re your own boss, fighting through suicidal thoughts, just every every topic you can think imaginable. Like dealing with an interview, going into a big game, a big test, there’s just sessions for everything and we’re pumping out a lot of content. But back to the origin of these guys reach out to me and they’re looking for voice talent for this app. And it was crazy because the way they found me was from a recent video that I had posted about the title was, “F Racism.” And I was going on a long, I think it was like a two minute rant about something that I think these kids kidnapped somebody and they kidnapped a handicapped person, and they beat him up and I went on a rant about it, and I put it on YouTube. And these guys loved the way that I delivered that message like from the heart. And they said they had interviewed a bunch of celebrities to be voice talent for this app, but nobody was, nobody fit the job, nobody fit what they were looking for, to perform what they were going for. And when they told me that I was like, “Wow.” I was really meant for this role model in the meditation game, so just doing these sessions over the past three years, say two or three years, it’s really been great to share these and I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people saying that it’s helped them so day by day, we gotta take this because there’s just so many things out here that can like put us down, get us depressed, get in a little funk and we gotta have the strength to get out of it, because if we don’t then we’re in a rabid depression. That’s not the route we’re trying to go down.
  • How do you personally deal with that with yourself? How do you get yourself out of the ruts? And how do you keep yourself motivated? And how do you continue to push yourself forward personally?
  • So I’m not one to come out and talk about my own issues with other people. I’m lucky enough to be able to fight through all of that, by myself. I’m just the type of dude that likes to be in my own head and just block everybody out. So there will be days, I don’t talk about this, but there will be days where I’m just not in the mood to do a single thing. And as a creator, you always got to be active, with all the much competition out here, how much content is out here, the drive to stay relevant, but there’s just some days where you’re just like, “Nah, enough, I’m burnt out.” So to get out of that, I’ll turn off my phone, I won’t go on social media, I’ll read, I’ll do a bunch of other things that just keep me off my phone, keep me out of what’s going on in the world, because I’ll just be in a funk scrolling through social media, and I hate that feeling. And it doesn’t happen often, thank God. I would say it happens like once a week, maybe once every two weeks. But when I feel, I try to think of something that’s gonna put my mind on something productive, or something that I’m passionate about, so I can go full on at that. Maybe I’ll go for a walk in the park. I’ve done this, I’ve taken a book to a park, left my phone at home, and just brought in nature and just felt the breeze and the sun and that’s things we take for granted, we take that for granted so much, like just going outside and sitting and just being in your own head, and just like appreciating the beauty of nature. And I feel like just simple things like that are ways for people to come out of whatever they’re in because just a lot of things out here that people are upset about just don’t matter. So if we can just change-
  • I think what you’re trying to say is if we can just change where we put our energy and change where we put our attention.
  • Yeah, we just change where we put our energy and our attention and like we can get out of these funks. But they come on at so many people like so often, and I think social media is like the main reason for that. I think a lot of people are just basing their lives off of the internet and thinking that they’re in a place where, or they’re behind in life and stuff like that, and it’s just not true, because it’s just, life is a grind. It takes you years to get to where you wanna be. And a lot of people don’t even know where they wanna be. I’m 27 and I don’t even know what I’m trying to do out here, I’m just making content around what I’m passionate about, And it’s been leading me in the right direction for years.
  • Right. This is the conversation that I’ve wanted to have with somebody like you just about social media and about, because people see content, they see you posting all the time and doing this, this and that, but you have a level of authenticity that not a lot people have. And when you’re as authentic as you are as a person and content creator, sometimes you don’t feel like creating, sometimes you don’t feel like being active. And to me, there’s nothing wrong with that. And I think for other influencers and entrepreneurs and content creators that are watching this, because they’re all our audiences, I think this is a really, really important conversation to have just about how, how you deal with the constant pressure to always have to create content.
  • So I know I said that being a content creator, there’s always pressure, but I’ve kinda tried to alleviate that pressure because there shouldn’t be any pressure, you shouldn’t have to live, as a content creator always wondering about when to post next. It should come naturally. I always use Vine as a reference for myself because that’s, when I was on Vine, I was at like peak happiness, before I even got any following. I was in college, I had no worries. I downloaded this random app. And I was doing these videos for fun because I liked it, and I enjoyed it, and I thought they were funny, and they made me happy. So I always take myself back to those days, when I was just creating because I was having fun with it. I didn’t wake up and think about who I’m trying to make laugh today. I woke up, if something that I experienced that morning or saw or listened to gave me an idea, then I created it. And that’s how I’ve been trying to create my content for the remainder of those years after Vine fell off, on YouTube, Instagram, all the other platforms. I don’t try to overthink my content. Because if you overthink you fall behind, and when you overthink, you’re gonna start losing that confidence in yourself to be creative. So you just gotta take it back a little bit. If you’re having trouble coming up with content, take it back a little bit.
  • Yeah, I think this is also somewhere where I would love to get into, just because, and this isn’t because you’re a really good friend of mine. Like, this is just me being like frank and real. Me and Big C talks about this all the time, even my other friends. I have your post notifications on, because every time you post-
  • Same.
  • I know it’s gonna be valuable. Like whether it’s gonna make me laugh, whether it’s, like you do ads for brands, and I get excited to watch those ads. You do you do something for Old Spice, or you do something for, like there’s a couple of other brands that you work with where like, the content is just so good. And like, again, that goes to my point of me always saying that, “Eric Dunn will always just be authentic.” Like, I feel like there’s a lot of learning lessons in that for people that are watching this, not only from a mental perspective, but from a, “I’m a content creator, “there’s so many content creators in the universe, how can I?” Just ’cause it’s not about like some stuff gets like tons of views and tons of this and tons of that, but not the same. And so how do you, and there may not be a formula for this, maybe it’s just who you are, you’ve already talked about a little bit, but what would be some things that you could tell content creators or other people watching this mentally and just process-wise, how to stay true to you and how to stay true to your creation of content?
  • Well, it starts off with not trying to force things. I mean, there’s a goal for everybody right now to go viral, everybody wants to go viral. But nobody understands the consequences with going viral. There’s a 50/50 to everything. And what I mean by that is you can go viral, you can have a million viewed like video, whatever, it’s what everyone looks at. They see the M and they’re like, “Wow, this video got a million views.” But now let’s say it’s you, let’s say your video gets a million views for the first time in your content creating life, you finally hit a million views, you’re gonna have 50% people who are laughing, 50% people who are hating on you, because they’re gonna go look at other videos you posted, find something picky, and then they’re gonna comment about it because that’s what the internet is. I saw a tweet from somebody yesterday. This girl was like, one of her videos on TikTok had just went viral. And she was like, she said something along the lines of, “One of my videos finally went viral,” or “I thought I wanted to be viral, but I just can’t. “I can’t take the hate.” I guess she had a viral video and she got a bunch of hate comments. So this is the best advice I can give people, people who are content creators now, people who are just starting out, you need to revolve something around your passion. And I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times, but it’s so true. Like when you’re creating content around something that you enjoy, then it’s just gonna be that much easier to deal with people who are hating on you because you know what you’re creating is true to yourself and that you like it, so you’re gonna be like, “Who is this guy trying to talk to me about my dream?” And like when you have failures, and you’re creating something around your passion, but you have failures like we all experience, then it’s just gonna be 10 times easier to come up from those failures, you’re not gonna get as in a deep depression as you would try and fit in with everyone else that’s showing flashy things as jewelry, cars. But all that stuff doesn’t matter. All that matters is being true to yourself, creating content that you’re passionate about, creating a community around that. If you have 20 followers, 1,000, 1,500, whatever it is, you gotta make sure that you treat those people like consumers, you got to treat them with respect, and you got to make sure that they keep coming back, ’cause they’re your grassroots following. you got to treat them like friends, ’cause those are the people that are gonna be around when you get to a million, when you get to 5 million. So if you have that little community that you start with, and they keep riding with you until you hit a million, then people are gonna know that you’ve been true to yourself all these years. So I got people, I signed up on this platform called Community, the one where people are giving out this community number. And it took me 11 weeks, I was on the waiting list, but I’m finally in it. And I blasted it out on Snapchat, and my podcast platforms and I’m getting a lot of messages from people that say, “Yo, man, this is dope what you’re doing for your fans.” Most of them are saying, “Yo, I’ve been a fan since 2013, “loved your vines, they got me through a lot of things. “They’ve inspired me.” All this sort of stuff. So and like I said, back when I was creating on Vine, I was doing it because I was having fun. And people watching, they can feel that energy. People know when you love what you’re doing, and they know when you’re flaunting stuff. So it’s never been an issue for me personally. Because getting into this game, it’s always been about having fun, doing stuff that I like, and because I downloaded Vine and I nobody on the internet, I was never into YouTube personalities. I was brand new to the internet pretty much, I didn’t follow any personalities and I just created content based on what I like to do. So that’s why a lot of people, even myself, call myself the godfather of Vine, may be a little narcissistic, but I don’t care. I was like one of the first 10 people to hit a million.
  • It’s true.
  • One of the first 10 people that hit a million.
  • Let’s visit that a little bit ’cause you were the first, and I don’t know if anybody’s had any insight to this, like maybe this will be the platform to do it, this will be cool, this is why we’re going Off The Cuff, be like, I remember when I saw that Vine the first time, the running through white people neighborhoods with my shirt off.
  • Yeah.
  • Tell me the story about that. Where were we you like, when that hit and you were like, “Oh snap! I’m going viral on the new platform.” What was that like? And then like how did you, ’cause you took that wave and you rode that wave, what was that experience like?
  • Yeah, that’s one of those moments where you’re like, I remember where I was, what I was doing. And can’t say that about many others. That one in particular, I know exactly what I was doing. So my mom, it was Summer. I had just finished spring semester at FAU, and I was back home for the Summer. And my mom was bringing in some groceries and I went outside to help her. And there was a trending hashtag on Twitter. I mean, a Vine that said #AFactAboutMe, So I was like, “Cool, let me make a video with it.” So that’s the first thing that came to my head, a fact about me, it was just some something stupid. I looked down the road, saw a street, I was like, “Hmm, I like running through “white peoples neighbors with my shirt off.” It was just something stupid. I didn’t even think about it really. I just saw that hashtag, and that’s the first thing that came to my mind. Because I grew up in this predominantly white neighborhood. And we know the stereotypes about black people in a white neighborhood. So I was like, “I like running through “white people neighborhoods with my shirt off, “I’m gonna steal your stuff.” Posted it, didn’t think nothing about it. And that goes back to when we were talking about, not thinking about content, just doing stuff off the cuff, spontaneous, just having fun with it. That’s what I was doing, I was just having fun. Saw a hashtag participating in the trends of the app. Next thing you know, the rest of the day I was chilling. The next day, the next morning, I get a text from one of my friends. He says, “Yo, your video is on iFunny.” If you don’t know what iFunny is, I could barely tell you, ’cause the app was like so popular, but I didn’t even know what it was. When he told me it was on iFunny, because like I said, when I downloaded Vine, other than YouTube and MySpace, I hadn’t really been on social media like that. So he told me it was on iFunny, so what the heck is iFunny? And I go download it, and I see my video like on the front page or whatever with a bunch of comments and likes. And throughout that entire Summer I just kept making videos, I came up with the Jerome character that summer. And I don’t really exactly remember the timeline. I don’t remember if the Jerome video took off first or was it the running through white people neighborhoods video, but that running through white people neighborhoods video got put on YouTube by another account, and it got 2 million views on YouTube. And I was like, “Hold up, man.” So a company reached out to me, and I was like one of the first people to sign with this company, it’s called Collab Creators. They’ve signed like over, I don’t even know how many people they got now, but they’ve signed like all your favorite creators, some on Collab, on YouTube. So Collab reached out to me, and they were like, “Hey, we wanna get your YouTube channel, “put your Vines on it, so you can start “collecting this revenue from “people that are re-posting your videos.” And that’s really where first money started coming in for the internet, it was from Collab. Now they’ve expanded, they do major brand deals, they got me to the Super Bowl last year. I’ve been with Collab since then. So, they’ve been real with me this whole time. They’ve been true. But yeah, Collab Creators, real ones out there in LA. But saw that video, I started collecting revenue from that video. Then Jerome came along, and I did a bunch of Vines with Jerome, ’cause I used to wake up every day with ideas in my head already. I wouldn’t think about them, I’d just have ideas. Like my Vine brain was like this. Like I always had a stupid video to do every day, sometimes six a day. So I did a bunch of Jerome videos in my front lawn, and I did a compilation of them, Collab did a compilation of them, put it on YouTube. The next day, it’s at the front page of Reddit. And that video had like 1.5 million. Yeah, after those two videos took off, I would go through the comments, and like on the white people neighborhoods video, I went to the comments, and like most of them were like, “Yo, why is this video only six seconds?” Which is why me personally, I know, I was like one of the founding fathers of the app, because nobody knows this story that I’m telling.
  • Right, and that’s my next question. Because so many people and again, this is like a mental wellness and like social thing. Like there’s so many people that try to do things but they never have that moment where they’re like, “Yo, I’m really good at this, I’m cut for this.” What is that like when you get that validation, when it’s like “Yo, I’m funny, naturally.” How does that validation, how’s that able to inform, ’cause at least for me, with so many things that I do, a lot of times I second guess myself, which I know we all do.
  • Right.
  • It’s so hard as someone who is an entertainer and someone that’s funny, like when you get that validation, ’cause it’s the same thing. We get in our heads a lot. I know a lot of content creators and people that put out content and they just delete it, ’cause it didn’t get a certain amount of engagement or like whatever.
  • Right.
  • But on the flip side of that, it’s the same thing like when you get that validation. What does that do for your confidence or psyche? Maybe it doesn’t do anything but what did it do for you?
  • Yeah, for me, it didn’t really do anything for me, to get all those people that would laugh at my stuff. I liked it. But it didn’t make me feel any type of way. I was just happy that people thought this stuff that I was making was as funny as I thought it was. Because making all those videos, I didn’t post anything that didn’t make me laugh first. I don’t post things expecting a certain amount of likes, and then delete it. I post it, if I like it, I think it’s funny, it’s staying up on the platform, whether it gets likes comments or not, ’cause that’s just the confidence that I have in the work that I put out. If people don’t see it, if it doesn’t get a certain amount of likes, comments, whatever, I don’t care, just if there’s a few people who do laugh at it, I only need one person to laugh at it, If they do, then I know it’s funny. If all the comments are hate, or like, “Why would you post this?” Then I know I messed up. But I usually don’t have that problem. You know what I’m saying? I had that Mamba mentality, that Jordan mentality, when I made a Vine and I post it, ’cause like I said, I was at the forefront of the app. I knew anything I posted was gonna shoot to the top of the popular page or be like a top 10 video on the page. So right when I posted it, I knew that thing was gonna blow up because I’d be dying at the videos before I posted them. I wouldn’t post any forced content. Everything that I made was something silly, something goofy, something that was funny, just showed my personality, it was who I was.
  • Right.
  • So like I said, people saw that in my content, they knew that what I was making was me. So I think that’s what helps people relate to me more and be like, “Man, this dude’s really cool and funny.” So, I never got in my own head. I was always like, “If this doesn’t make me laugh, “I can’t share this to other people.” ‘Cause I want people to laugh at the end of the day, that’s the goal.
  • That’s a huge learning lesson, ’cause I think so many people in social media nowadays create content with thinking what other people are gonna respond to it with, and if you’re transparent, and if you have a certain brand of like comedy and entertainment, then what makes you laugh and what you think is good is the type of comedy and entertainment that you are, and what you’re trying to project onto your audience. And if they hold on to it, then that means that you’re their cup of tea, and if not, then like whatever, but-
  • Yeah, and don’t get me wrong. There’s been a lot of times where, well, mostly after Vine, there’s been a lot of times, I think it was mostly when I had to transition to the longer form content on YouTube, Instagram, up to a minute, when I had to do videos up to a minute, that’s where it got really challenging. That’s where I started not sharing as much of the ideas that I had. Because after I put them together and edited them, and it was like, “I don’t know about this one.” It was really hard to adjust from six seconds to like, even 30, up to 30, a minute, three minutes. There’s a lot, if you go to my YouTube channel from like, 2013, 2014, 2015, a lot of those videos are crazy, because when I had to transition to longer form content, it was a tough transition. So I got a little bit out of the groove, because I wasn’t comfortable making longer content yet, where I was on Vine, and it just came to me so easily.
  • How did you overcome that?
  • Honestly, I don’t think I did. Honestly, I don’t think I did. Because to this day, I still struggle with the long form content. The six seconds was like what made me and I’ve been tryna adjust to creating a lot of, like the most that I’m comfortable doing is up to a minute, still, to 2020 today, the most I’m comfortable doing is up to a minute. And that’s just who I am. Unless I’m doing something like the NFL blogs that I did last season, obviously, those got to be longer than a minute. So when I’m creating content like that, then of course I can do something longer. So I did adjust to it. It was just had to be revolved around what I enjoyed. But the comedy skits, people always ask me, “Oh, Eric, why didn’t you move to LA? “Why don’t you drop out of college, move to LA? Why didn’t yo go to LA after college?” And it’s ’cause deep down people thought I wanted to be an actor, they thought I wanted to be this huge personality, entertainment, and I felt like I was already there. And I didn’t have a passion to be this Hollywood actor like so many other people on Vine did. That wasn’t my goal. That’s why I stayed. I stayed in college because, one, I spent a lot of money and wanted to finish my degree, ’cause you can’t take education away from me. And I still look at that degree and I’m proud of it to this day because FAU is what made me, it’s what made me who I am today. And if I had dropped everything and left to go to LA with no plan, no goal, who knows what my life would have turned out to be? But I’m doing just fine today. And now today, I know what I enjoy. I know I love football. I know I love sports. I’m doing voice acting. I’m hoping that is what will take me to LA next because it took me some years of experimenting and finding myself ’cause when I graduated, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Because it damn sure wasn’t acting. ‘Cause I had done a lot of acting before, I wasn’t new to it, I just didn’t enjoy it. It was fun to be on set, but I couldn’t see myself doing a career being on set, doing multimillion dollar motion pictures. That’s just not what I saw my doing. But when I started that Jaguars series last year, traveling to as many games as I could, Home and Away, I felt alive, I felt free, because not only was I going to football games that I enjoyed, my fans were there too. Fans that loved sports, fans that been watching my sports content since Vine, they’re still there at the games that I’m going to saying, “Yo, can I get a picture?” Telling me like they’ve been telling me on the Community platform that, “I’ve been following you for years, love the Jag stuff,” all this stuff, and I’m just like, “This is what I need to be doing.” Surrounding myself around sports, so that’s kinda where my direction is going now. Not sure where in the near future, but I know like I’m in a good place right now. As you saw me host the NFL pre-draft party that the Jags had on their IG Live, and that took a few years but it’s a grind out here.
  • I hope that this is currently on Eric’s page and Jaguars people, I hope that you are watching this from a fan that is watching. I think he did a tremendous job. I think that there’s tremendous potential. I think that just seeing you in that element was awesome ’cause I feel like it was like seeing the, not so much so the maturation, but just like someone that’s as brilliant as you being able to step into different things and do different things. For example, someone like you, when I think about you, I think about SNL, I think about-
  • Oh, I love sketch comedy.
  • When you think about just comedic brilliance, short, to the point impressions, stuff like that, are you one of those people that lives more so in the future, in terms of like, “I’m gonna always look “and think about kinda where I wanna get or whatever.” Or are you one of those people that really tries to dominate the present, or both?
  • Bro, I’m all present, I’m 100% present. The reason being is mostly because of self help books that I’ve read, because I would have never thought that way if I didn’t start reading books. The first one was ‘The Power of Now’. It’s a very spiritual book. That’s the one I started with. Got the books over there, they’re in a little pile. I just finished ‘Shoe Dog’. That’s not really about staying in the present.
  • It’s a good one.
  • But podcasts as well. There’s a couple podcasts that I listened to. But all these stuff that I’ve been consuming, it’s keeping me focused on the goals at hand. Oh, can I get the book? I gotta get the book. I gotta show you all this book. This book is really good.
  • I see there’s a teddy bear in the background. Hello teddy bear.
  • There is. There’s a teddy bear. ‘Stick With It’, a scientifically proven process for changing a life for good. And one of the key points in that book that made me focus on the present was setting step ladders for goals. So instead of like this massive goal up here, have like small goals that you reach. And then ultimately you’ll get to that main goal. So I took that philosophy and applied it to paying off credit debt, ’cause that was messing with me mentally. Wanna talk about mental health, credit debt was messing with my mind ever since I got outta college. Because when I got outta college, it took me like two years until I started making better money than I did on Vine. ‘Cause after six months, you start paying student loan debt. And then I had all these credit cards that I had accumulated while in college. Obviously, I went to college in South Florida, so it’s party after party, going to Miami, bottle service, but I wasn’t living that type of life where I’m like, “Aay, I’m at the bottle service,” posting it on Instagram and all that. No, I just was in college and making money from Vine so I loved doing that with my boys on Vine. And I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now, but I would pay off the cards obviously. But like I said before, I was in a place where I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do next when I graduated, and I wasn’t making a lot of money, I had to use my cards to travel to make things happen. I was just tryna put my life in the correct direction, so I would travel a lot to New York City, to LA, I would take a lot of meetings, I’d be spending a lot of money on food, but at the same time, my income wasn’t that high. So these bills racked up to like the thousands in credit debt. So it just took me a lot of reading, a lot of thinking about, “What am I doing here?” And then you can’t do nothing with debt. You need a high credit score to do a lot of great things in finance, and I started realizing that and these past six months, after reading all these books, and formulating a plan, I set goals for each of those cards, and I paid all of them off as of like last week, and now I’m focused on creating content and saving up money, so I can do a lot more things, and take those Jags trips, and make those connections when I go to these different cities and that was holding me back, believe it or not. It was a lot of trips that I didn’t take because of that. There’s a lot of things I didn’t do because of that debt because it was just driving me crazy. And I didn’t wanna do anything except think of a way of how I was gonna pay all this down ’cause it’s burdening when you got all that on your. So I’m glad that’s over with but that’s just one thing people gotta, they gotta attack. They gotta attack it quick, because you can’t be out here. That’s one thing going back to live in the present. You can’t be thinking about your future when you’re in the present with all this debt. If you have debt then you have no money because your net worth is negative. So I’m always thinking about the present because I don’t know what email I’m gonna get two months from now, or three months from now, I couldn’t have told you that I would be at the Super Bowl back in January. I got hit up the night before saying, “Hey, we got you a ticket.” That’s why stay in the present. I can’t predict anything. I can’t put myself, I can never drive myself to think about the future. Unless it’s saving up for retirement, then that aspect, of course. That, I’m thinking about the future ’cause when I get to a certain age I need money to live out my old age. But if we’re talking about career path, talking about relationships, you can’t think about the future like that. You have no idea who you’re gonna meet out here and what that’s gonna lead to. So I stay present, and I just focus on today. Oh, and you know what I’m about to do tomorrow, besides work out.
  • You got a gym, or are you working out at home?
  • Well, I’ll be real honest with you, after we did our live stream workout, fell off a little bit. I got into a-
  • Let me, this is the other thing I wanted to talk about really quick. Like, you’re my down-averse account. Like you’re very passionate about, you did a hell of a transformation, and this is actually what I wanted to end with because I think this is something that a lot of people don’t know about you. Yeah, they may follow the my down-averse account, but I literally watch your transformation and you lose all that weight. I’ve watched your face slim down, it was incredible, talk about that ’cause I mean, that’s not easy, to do what you did.
  • Yeah, so you guys actually inspired me to get off my ass and start losing that weight ’cause over the years, I had always, in college like 26, I was real buff, I moved into this new apartment, and they had a great gym, and I would always use it. But after college, all that stuff that I just talked about, with the debt, the finance, and all that, I just didn’t have it in my mind to wanna work out, I was thinking about all this other negative stuff. But once I turned that around, if you’re following the timeline here, started working out May of last year, so it’s been a year since I got that membership, because I’ve been reading these books and doing all this self help stuff since 2016. So, it took me like three years to get my mind right. And then I was like, “You know what? “I’m seeing all this stuff that 1AND1’s posting, I know I can look good. Let me stop playing and get in the gym. I’m 6’5, I was 6’5, 280, I had this football build, I have football genetics. My dad played football. I can look like a god out here, so
  • You would look like Miles, what’s his name?
  • Miles Garry, yeah. Always told myself that, but never took any action. And I don’t remember what drove me to finally get that gym membership. But I think I just got tired of feeling groggy and looking plump the way I did in videos, ’cause I’m always out here on video and I can’t be looking like that. I can’t be looking like a pair out here, you know? And also, ’cause I was doing a lot of modeling stuff. I’m signed with like one of the top modeling agencies in the world.
  • Yeah, you’re a model, I forgot about that. I forgot to mention that at the beginning.
  • Yeah, I’m a big and tall model. I forgot about that too, ’cause of this Rona stuff, I ain’t got a gig in a while, but I’m big and tall and they got like a waist minimum that you need to have. I was like, “Waist minimum? “Screw that, I’m about to work out, “I’m still gonna be big and tall “even if I lose my waist a little bit.” So I just said whatever to that and I got in the gym and I started putting in that work. And after like, a month, I didn’t think about it, woke up every morning six, took my pre-workout, got to the gym, walk home from the gym. I’d be back at like 10 in the morning, and I carried on with my day and that was my routine, even during football season, I would still be in the gym next morning, ’cause I loved it. I loved going in there and sweating and walking home. I just loved it because I saw the transformation, and I felt good, and it felt good to share that on Instagram. And then how I started this, after our IG Live workout, that was after eight months of this consistent working out, so I killed Cory’s workout. He killed me a little bit. I was really heavy at the end, those burpees ain’t easy when you got a fan above you, but after that I work out I fell off a little. But the gym opened up last week on Monday. So this week, I’ve been getting my schedule back. So I’ve been trying to wake up early. I’ve been going to the park, hitting cardio, doing ABS this week, and then next week I’m about to be in the gym and back on this routine because I love the way I was feeling back then.
  • Yeah.
  • It kept my mind right.
  • Yeah, talk about what that did for you mentally?
  • It just gave me a whole new confidence, man. Working out bro, if you’re listening to this and you ain’t worked out consistently, do it. You about to have, I can’t even explain it, it’s euphoric, the feeling that you get working out consistently. Your whole body, first of all, you feel great, because I remember I’d be breathing heavy just sitting down like this before I started working out, working out, never had that problem. Breathing better, eating better. It’s always about the diet though. That was the hardest part, as it always is. But just lifting those weights, doing that cardio, walking home after working out in the sun, taking my shirt off, waving to people driving by, I was confident as hell man. It did a lot for me this past year. That’s why I’ve been so eager to get back into the gym. So one in one, you were a big part in getting me in there ’cause I had never had a gym membership in my life before last year, except when going to the gym in college because I’m paying this tuition, of course I’m gonna use all their amenities. But before even in college, I mostly played basketball, I didn’t even lift, didn’t start lifting till I moved into that apartment complex. But afterwards, I said, “Whatever, college is over, “I’m gonna see what I’m gonna do.” But started drinking a lot more and not working out, I didn’t feel good. So I dug deep down and got my membership and started feeling good. So I can’t wait to get back in there again. Does a lot for you, appreciate it.
  • Yeah, no, I mean, that’s the thing, man. You don’t have to be a gym rat. You don’t got to be in there six, seven days a week, you just got to start, if it’s one day, if it’s 20. I mean, that’s why even with our live workout stuff, it’s just amazing to see, just 20 to 30 minutes, even when we’re not able to have a gym. A lot of what being active does for you goes far beyond the physical, it’s a mental thing. And it’s just amazing to hear and it was so amazing to hear that from you because outside in, I just see the transformation. I just saw it, I was like “Wow, he lost so much weight.” Like you had a different glow about you, it was just different and it was so amazing to watch. And what’s always interesting to me is like, what was that switch? What was that thing that happened were you like, “All right, I’m just gonna do it.” And then it’s painful at the beginning-
  • Yeah, it’s horrible at the beginning.
  • It’s Horrible.
  • Like the first week or two in a gym, after the workout, I was a little confident ’cause I was taking the mirror pic ’cause you feel good after that first workout. But then it’s funny ’cause when you start working out after not being active, you think magically you’re gonna be this jacked person after three days. So it gets discouraging that first week. But you just got to keep pushing, stay in that groove. And next thing you know, you’ve been in the gym for six months and you’ve lost 20 pounds and seeing that, I had never seen that on my body before ’cause I’d always been this chunky kid this chubby kid, so my muscles-
  • we literally got the same, We’re like, our pictures as children, we look the exact same
  • Exact same bro. We had the dreads, we had the glasses
  • I wanna tell our video edited to, I hope it’s on the screen right now, where these two picture are on the screen because it is, it’s crazy man. I think a good way is this conversation has been awesome, bro. I’ve even learned, even more about you and your journey and stuff and, we obviously know about each other ’cause we’re close friends, but this has been awesome.
  • But we don’t talk that deep.
  • Yeah, right. What, I think, you’ve given a lot of insight about consecration and how to stay authentic, you’ve given insight about how to essentially persevere and have the mindset. So there’s a lot of people that talk a lot of game and this, this and that, blah, blah, blah. You made a transformation, you had a goal that you wanted to reach as far as wellness and your body is concerned, and you got there, and it wasn’t easy. It was hard, it was painful. You had to go outside of your comfort zone. So for people watching this that are maybe, scared to take that leap because they know it’s gonna hurt or they may not think that what’s on the other end is worth it. What would be like a few tips that you would give people to just start that process?
  • Well, you gotta want it, man. You gotta want it, you can’t be scared of that. On the other side of fear is, What’s that phrase? On the other side of fears is, I see it all the time.
  • Yeah, it’s on the other side of fears is…
  • It’s something, I know you’ve heard it. Will Smith says it all the time, but-
  • Yeah, what’s on the other side, I think Will Smith said it. It’s like what’s on the other side of fear is like your hopes and dreams, something along that.
  • Yeah, something like that. But, sometimes it just takes time. Like I said, it took me a few years until I was at that point where I was like, “Alright, I’m finally gonna do this.” And I got another friend who’s in a group chat with us on Snapchat and he’s been wanting to lose weight but he’s always eating fast food, always at What-A-Burger. And one of the guys in there finally made a workout plan for him and he started working out today. So sometimes you can’t motivate yourself, sometimes you need like a good squad around you, a good circle around you to push you forward. I think that’s so important, because a lot of people just can’t get out of their own heads, and if you’ve got those people around you that are building you up and pushing you and telling you what’s on that other side of of what you wanna be, then I think that’s the best way that’s gonna get you going, you got to have a circle around you because you can’t do anything out here just strictly by yourself. You always got to have some real people in your corner. And I’m sure like everybody out there is surrounded by a lot of people who don’t have the best interests out for them. And it’s easy to find those people, you know? Easy to seek those people out, and you got to kick them to the corner, man. We can’t have that negativity around us. You got to keep that circle around you that’s gonna push you, that’s gonna get in your ass and tell you, “Yo, you’ve been saying this for two weeks “when are you gonna finally do it?” You need those type of people to push you because that’s what gets people going, that tough love, people need to hear that, and that’s what Trill’s all about. It’s all about that tough love ’cause I don’t think I’m about that soft stuff. People got to hear the truth and if people aren’t telling the truth, ’cause they got to hear it from other people, and those people got to be your close friends, you can’t hear that stuff from some random, you gotta hear it from your close friends. So hey, get out there and start it, ’cause you hear all these testimonies, it’s worth it. And you’re gonna find out for yourself once you finally get over that hump.
  • That’s real, thank you for the time brother. This has been amazing, man. It’s been awesome insight on your journey and learning more about what I think makes you so great, man. So, thank you for taking the time to hop on Off The Cuff with me and go off the cuff, man. Thank you for supporting our brand and our platform, it means the world to Big C and I. And everybody go download Trill, that’s an awesome thing, man. We’re gonna come out with another episode soon with my boy Jeff Coby about like mindfulness and meditation, and it like goes right into that. So it’s good stuff, Eric Dunn, thank you man. I appreciate the time brother.
  • Thank you for having me on, man. There’s some stories and thoughts that I’ve said on here that I don’t think I’ve got the opportunity to tell anybody so I’m glad to have this content on video and to be able to share with people because I don’t usually get into my feelings too much on Twitter like I’ve been on here, so I appreciate it.
  • Hey man that’s just about, vulnerability is a strength, if you do it the right way.
  • Damn right, man. Looking forward to the final product, man. Thanks again.
  • Awesome. Can’t wait for the audience to see it. Thank you, bro, appreciate it man.
  • Take care.
  • Peace.
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