Meet the talent manager helping Netflix reality stars turn their 15 minutes of fame into diversified influencer careers

  • Jeff Duncan is the CEO of Ingenuity Live, a talent management firm that manages clients like the Netflix reality show stars Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey from "Too Hot to Handle," and "Tiger King" star Dillon Passage.
  • Duncan's main focus is moving talent known for one medium, like a Netflix reality TV show, to other areas like TikTok or YouTube.
  • Duncan spoke with Business Insider about the company's talent strategy, from diversifying business to collaborating with other influencers. 
  • Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.

A new wave of influencers rose to fame this year after reality shows like Netflix's "Too Hot to Handle," "Love is Blind," and "Tiger King."

And manager Jeff Duncan is working to turn their 15 minutes of fame into long-lasting influencer careers. 

Duncan, who is based in Vancouver, manages reality stars Francesca Farago (4.8 million Instagram followers) and Harry Jowsey (3.8 million followers) from "Too Hot to Handle," and "Tiger King" star Dillon Passage (Joe Exotic's husband with 131,000 followers), among others through his talent management firm, Ingenuity Live. He is also the CEO of the events software company, MeetingMax.

Duncan's main focus is moving talent known for one medium, like a Netflix reality TV show, to other areas like TikTok or YouTube. 

Jowsey was Duncan's first client and they began working together in 2018, after Jowsey appeared in and won the reality show "Heartbreak Island," (similar to "Too Hot to Handle") that aired in Australia and New Zealand. 

Since appearing on those shows, Jowsey has shifted his focus to social media.

Duncan's firm helped Jowsey plan a vision for what he wanted to accomplish in the next three years.

"Once we have the annual plan we reverse engineer that first year down into quarters and think about what we need to do in the next 90 days in order to be on track for the next year," Duncan said. 

They are now in year two of Jowsey's plan, and are focused on looking into podcasting, new TV show opportunities, more subscription content, and working with global brands. 

"Instagram is where he came from but setting the stage just prior to his Netflix launch was key," Duncan said of Jowsey. "Immediately moving onto TikTok and seeding it with content – launching a YouTube channel with relevant footage, and continuing concepts like 'Love Doctor Fridays' and 'Confession Corner Monday's' as seen weekly on his Instagram to drive engagement and bridge followers from one platform to the next."

Duncan's firm helps Jowsey set up larger business ventures and run them, like setting up manufacturing for his sunglasses line.

Here are some key points about Jowsey's influencer business and how it has developed:

  • He has over 3 million followers on both Instagram and TikTok.
  • Popular TikTok stars like Chase Hudson (25 million followers) and Nick Austin (9 million followers) from The Hype House have filmed several videos with Jowsey, among dozens of other influencers. 
  • Jowsey set up a Cameo account and is now charging $75 per video shout-out.
  • He has become a Fashion Nova partner, and has posted several other brand sponsorships on Instagram. 
  • He launched an eyewear company, Kensington Sunglasses, with influencer Kristian Barbarich and Duncan said his company helps them operate it. 

Similarly, to make sure Passage is known beyond being the Tiger King's husband, Duncan is working with him on a clothing line and other businesses for him to launch in the next few months. For instance, Duncan's firm has been helping him develop his own subscription website with behind-the-scenes footage of his life, and is looking to help him monetize his Instagram by creating a "close friends" subscription, where followers can pay to see more content from him. 

"We can handle the complexity of business in the world of the influencer so they can focus on what they do best: creation," Duncan said.

Some serious boardroom business 😇 with @francescafarago 😘

A post shared byJeff Duncan (@jefftduncan) on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:10pm PDT

A messy break-up makes business more complicated

But sometimes, a wrench gets thrown into long-term plans and Duncan has to adapt the strategy.

For instance, after "Too Hot to Handle" ended, much of Jowsey's brand centered around his relationship with Farago, which soon turned into a messy break-up.

Jowsey said on YouTuber Logan Paul's podcast in July that he was considering taking legal action against Farago, alleging damage to his brand and image after he lost followers on Instagram when she spoke out against him. Farago has since hired a lawyer who is not associated with Ingenuity Live and by the end of October, Ingenuity Live will no longer be managing Farago, Duncan said. 

"If you have a company of any size there's going to be personality disputes," Duncan said. "There's going to be people in relationships or formerly in personal relationships and we are just adults about it. At the end of the day, we require a high level of trust and respect for our people and we expect the same from them. That's just a part of life and unfortunately life would be so much simpler if we didn't have conflict, but conflict does exist."

Read more about managers and agents in the influencer industry on Business Insider:

  • YouTube managers reveal the secret details of their jobs working with influencers, from dealing with hackers and breakups to locating rare animals

  • The top 19 talent managers and agents for TikTok influencers who are helping build the careers of a new generation of digital stars

  • We built the first-ever interactive database of the top managers and agents for YouTube creators, Instagram influencers, and TikTok stars

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