Today, Josh Richards is the depiction of social media success. In his 21 young years, Josh has witnessed and has played a part in the evolution of social media as we know it. Since the now defunct Musical.ly app, Josh remained strong building content to see its rise in success to what is now TikTok. Josh successfully achieved hitting his goal of gaining followers from an early age, and now, the social media guru has matched the success of TikTok, holding strong with 26 million followers on that platform alone.
It’s without a doubt that Josh has entertained many for years. 8 years since his first post on Musical.ly, Josh Richards is one of those personalities that embody what it is to be an influencer mixed with the spirit of an entrepreneur. Today, not only is he excelling on social platforms, but he founded CrossCheck, “a media company built by GenZ for GenZ”, and is currently exploring being in front of the camera as an actor, starring in Kristoffer Borgli new movie for A24 opposite Noah Centineo and award-winning entertainment veteran Nicholas Cage.
Did we mention Josh has killer looks and style? It’s no wonder Josh is this month’s BELLO Young Hollywood cover!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN SOCIAL MEDIA, AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A CREATOR?
Back when I was 13 years old my sister put me in one of her videos on the app Musical.ly and that video went viral! I went on to create my own account and make my own content. I slowly started making goals for myself like “hitting 10k followers by that summer” and I drafted my full plan. I started posting 5 videos a day as well as going LIVE for 4 hours a day, encouraging people to Like & Subscribe to me. During my LIVE’s my sister would go in and follow everyone back that was subscribing to me, from there my following evolved over time and I was nearly at 700k followers. I then began networking and meeting other creators online, attending social media events, and even went on tour. Shortly after I surpassed 1 Million followers, moved to LA, and formed the content collective, Sway House. In regards to inspiration. Honestly I love telling stories. Social media is just the immediate outlet I have at my disposal to distribute my content.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE, AND HOW HAS IT IMPACTED YOUR CAREER?
Thus far my biggest achievements have to be, for starters launching my production company CrossCheck – which we see as a media company built by GenZ for GenZ. We’re a company built off the backs of the GenZ community and in a town where so much of Hollywood is crafted by those above the age of 35, CrossCheck Studios is here to help bridge the age gap. Our Amazon deal is a true testament to that exact ethos. Being able to say that I’m one of the first Gen-Z talents to have a major studio deal is mind-blowing for me and I’m incredibly grateful to Amazon for believing in us.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU FACED A MAJOR OBSTACLE IN YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
As a creator in the entertainment world, it can be very hard to find a safe space that allows you to surround yourself with people you trust. Being in this industry as a young teen, you meet a lot of characters that don’t always have your best interest and see a means to make a quick buck at your expense. I live by the idea that “everything happens for a reason” and I have no regrets, but you HAVE to surround yourself with people you trust. I’m thankful that I know now who my ride or dies are, and can count on them for anything.
YOU’VE BEEN NAMED AS ONE OF THE HIGHEST-EARNING TIKTOK STAR BY FORBES MULTIPLE TIME. WHAT DO YOU THINK SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER CREATORS IN THE SPACE?
It can be really easy to become obsessive with numbers and likes. You have to be willing to take a chance and invest in yourself. For me, I’ve always been willing to take risks on social media and I don’t shy away from having to pivot. You have to remember your audience is always evolving and growing, you have to evolve with them. I’m very fortunate to have a platform, and with that comes responsibility. I love not only entertaining but bringing knowledge and introducing them to things I’m getting into such as financial literacy and more.
YOU’RE ALSO AN ENTREPRENEUR AND HAVE INVESTED IN VARIOUS COMPANIES. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A POTENTIAL INVESTMENT, AND HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH COMPANIES TO BACK?
When looking at a company, I always ask myself, “would I use this?”, does this solve something or can people identify with the company. I’m also a firm believer in investing in people but let’s not forget I’m only 21! However – the great thing about the founders I’ve invested in, everyone leaves their ego at the door, not everyone knows everything.
AS SOMEONE WITH A LARGE SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING, HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING AUTHENTIC WITH YOUR AUDIENCE WHILE ALSO MAINTAINING YOUR PRIVACY AND PERSONAL LIFE?
Listen, that’s a hard one. You have to accept the fact that this is what you asked for and that your life is on display. When it comes to my life, I have to be willing to accept I won’t always be able to have secrets. You have to be okay with things being revealed. I stay true to my character both on and offline.
YOU’VE EXPANDED YOUR CAREER INTO ACTING AND HOSTING. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THESE NEW VENTURES AND DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT?
Most recently I was fortunate enough to be cast in Kris Borgli’s new movie for A24. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but it’s a really cool exploration of fame in todays day and what the next frontier of advertising will be… People’s dreams. Kris assembled such a stellar cast and to get to be amongst such killer performers is a real honor. Noah Centineo and I play “dream influencers” in the film and there’s one scene where we’re essentially incepting Nic Cage’s sleep. It’s such a trip. The experience has definitely helped me up my acting game.
YOU’VE BEEN RECOGNIZED AS A CULTURE PIONEER AND AN INFLUENCER IN THE WORLD OF VENTURE CAPITAL./ HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR WORK HAS IMPACTED THE INDUSTRY, AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN THE FUTURE?
When I started investing at 18/19 there were a lot of people that doubted me at the beginning, but I loved being the underdog, it just added to my story. Being able to prove people wrong is something that I thrive off of. I live for a good “WTF moment.” and a big portion of the things I set out to do, we’re constantly asking ourselves – OK but what’s the big WTF moment that’s going to draw everyone in.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING CONTENT CREATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS LOOKING TO MAKE AN AME FOR THEMSELVES IN TODAY’S DIGITAL LANDSCAPE.
If you want to create content, you have to get in the habit of just doing it. It’s so easy to get discouraged by numbers but it’s more important that you love the content you’re putting out. Keep your head down – don’t focus on everyone else, just start by pressing the record button on the camera and see what happens. We become so focused on getting “there” and not being “there” already that we can forget that literally half the fun is the process. If you can’t find pleasure in the process, then ultimately you’ll always be distracted by the wrong things. Remember that it’s not just about waiting for inspiration to strike – it’s about creating the inspiration yourself.
Full digital preview of BELLO Young Hollywood with Josh Richards HERE. Order your print copy HERE.
Photography GAGE FOSTER @
Creative Direction ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC @alekandsteph
Styling FIONA SKYE @ Grooming GENEVIEVE GARNER @
Assistant Photograph AARON OQUENDO @ Interview ED SOLORZANO @edsolo87
Location + Production MAISON PRIVEE X BELLO MEDIA GROUP @maisonpriveepr_la @bellomediagroup
Special thanx BRIANA HERNANDEZ