AN MTV star has claimed that being a successful influencer is just as difficult as brain surgery.
Tor’i Brooks, 30, believes that making money online is “just as difficult, if not more” than any academic pursuit – including medicine.
Speaking to Jam Prime, he said it’s a “common misconception” that people think “taking a few selfies” will make influencers millions.
Brooks said: “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
In fact, he argues that to “constantly come up with content…is incredibly difficult”.
He added: “So in terms of workload, quality and cognitive demand, I would put succeeding as an influencer up there with any academic pursuit including surgery.
“Some people might laugh at that, but then they’ve never had to stand out from the crowd in an incredibly competitive marketplace.”
Tor’i – who grew up in Michigan and now lives in LA – competed in the 2015 USA Track and Field Championships after he graduated from Davenport University with a marketing degree in 2016.
He has also played basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters and is a member of Chris Brown’s team in Crew League, a four-on-four basketball competition featuring numerous other stars.
After overcoming injury and not making the cut for the basketball team one year in high school, Brooks decided in 2018 to combine his love for sports and philanthropy.
He established his non-profit organization “ Beyond an Athlete” – which aims to educate student-athletes while preparing them for a future potentially outside of being a professional sportsperson.
Tor’i – who starred in the inaugural season of Ex on the Beach – runs all of this alongside his marketing brand Bionic which was coined after his nickname.
“You are the controller of your own destiny – it’s all in your mind,” he explained.
“If your mindset is you want to quit and give up, then you’re probably going to quit and give up.
“But if you’re determined, and you’re persistent enough, you can achieve any goal in your life.”
He explained he became an influencer “as a byproduct” of being an athlete, model, and entrepreneur.
And, knowing the effect his posts have on impressionable young people, he says he has taken a “socially responsible” approach.
“I am a person of influence but I take a different approach from the traditional influencer,” he explained.
“I am very socially responsible and I want to pass on a bigger message to more people. For me, it is about being creative and positive, not just promoting products that can make me money.
“I feel like a lot of influencers are people who are just throwing darts at the wall – many don’t have a mission or know what they want to accomplish.
“They just want to be in the spotlight and make money.
“Their MO seems to be to capture the eyes of audiences so they can monetize whatever they are trying to sell.
“That is the pinnacle of it and in my eyes, this isn’t right.
“Sadly, a lot of influencers will cash in any way they can – even if the products are untested or unproven.
“They should be called up on this but social media can be hard to regulate – especially when you have people live streaming or constantly posting.”
Tor’i – who earned the nickname “Bionic” after recovering from a devastating knee injury in college – says this perception of influencers is why he gets “frustrated” with the term.
He believes that being in the public eye gives them a “responsibility to steer people in the right direction”.
“But people are thinking about making a quick buck,” he added.
“I use social media to further my business in the realms of advertising and marketing and show people what I do day-to-day in sports and create content along the way.”