Andrew "King Bach" Bachelor is ready to conquer the entertainment industry. The Toronto native burst onto social media dominating Vine -- the now discontinued micro-blogging platform as its most followed person. With a whopping 16.2 million followers on Vine as well as an immense platform across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, King Bach is arguably social media's biggest star. Now, the 29-year-old has set his sights on the film world. Though Bach has a production company -- Bach Enterprises it’s the work in front of the camera that has constantly inspired his genius. “That's always what I wanted to do,” Bach explained to me over the phone one fall afternoon. “When I was a kid, I saw the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. I didn't know what it was called that Jim Carrey was doing, but I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do that.’ I looked up to people like Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, D.L. Hughley, Bernie Mac, Richard Pryor -- all the legends."
When Bach was studying in college and then taking courses at New York Film Academy – he realized to reach his audience quickest he had to understand social media and make it work for him. “I don't think it's what I gravitated towards; I think it was more of what was relevant," he explained. “That's why I started doing videos on there because I wanted people to see it. I do have a film crew that I went to film school with, but every platform requires different equipment. For instance, for Vine, even if I wanted to shoot on the Alexa ARRI or the red camera, I wasn't able to because you couldn't upload at that time. YouTube was different. If you ever see any of my Youtube clips, you'll see that the production value on that is extremely high. Those same clips on my YouTube page could be placed on TV or in a movie theater, and people wouldn't notice a difference in quality. I would do that just to challenge myself to be a real artist and creator. When it was time for me to make silly videos on Vine or Instagram, I used my phone because it's quick. When people are on their phone, they're not really paying attention to the production value. They just want a quick blast, to get in and get out.”
Social media paved the way for King Bach's appearances in TV series like The Mindy Project and Black Jesus as well as film roles like Fifty Shades of Black. Now, with his new comedy, Where's the Money – Bach is getting the opportunity to work with some of his idols -- Mike Epps, Terry Crews and Method Man. In the film, King Bach stars as Del, a guy who must pledge a white frat to recover some money. For Bach, it was a dream come true. “It was crazy,” he told me laughing as he reflected on his experience. “I learned so much working with Mike Epps. I learned so much working with Terry Crews and Method Man. I have a whole new respect for the game just from working with these legends. It's a humbling experience. It's great to know that my transition from the social media space to the traditional space is going smoothly. If I get to work with these guys and I can hold my own and really pull through with the movie, that means I've got a bright future.”
Working on Where's the Money was way more than just a job for Bach. The Flordia State University alum also discovered a lot about himself. “I learned that I'm very disciplined," he affirmed. “If I put my mind to something, I can do it. I went on a cleanse while I was filming the movie, just eating right and sleeping the right amount of hours at night, and everything like that. That's not what I normally do, but for this movie, I wanted to have a clean body and have full energy. I wanted to be aware. I wanted to be attentive. I was able to accomplish that.”
For those of us on the outside looking in, it may seem like King Bach's success all happened at once. In reality, it was years of Bach putting his head down – grinding and making sure his work got out there. “I don't really notice it,” he explained. “Everything happens so gradually. If you have a child or a puppy, it may not look like the puppy or child has grown, but to someone who leaves you for a year and comes back, they're like, 'Wow, look how big you've gotten since I've seen you last.' So it's only from the outside-in that it looks ridiculous, crazy, or overnight."
King Bach’s focus isn’t only on entertainment. To honor his grandparents, Bach along with his sister Christina Bachelor launched the RuJohn Foundation. The Foundation provides meals, gifts, and school supplies to schools and families throughout Jamaica and cities in the United States. “It's gotten way bigger than I imagined it would ever become, “ Bach told me. “I started it in 2003 as a high school project. We went down to Jamacia and just gave one school two computers and some notebooks, notepads, pens, paper, and things like that. That was it. Every year we just went back, and it got bigger, bigger, and bigger. Then I started hitting up my NBA, and NFL friends, actor friends, musicians, and we started going down every year and really putting out workshops and teaching kids that they can achieve what they set their mind to.”
Though King Bach’s career is soaring – he’s only just begun. His goal he told me – is to be the biggest movie star in the world. “I always used to say that I want the career that Will Smith has, but everyone's path is different, “ he explained. “You just have to accept what God gives you and go the way that you're destined to go. It doesn't matter how I get there; I just know I'll get there.”
Where's the Money will have a limited theatrical run on October 20 before going to Digital HD on October 24.
Aramide A Tinubu is a film critic and entertainment writer. As a journalist, her work has been published in EBONY, JET, ESSENCE, Bustle, The Daily Mail, IndieWire and Blavity. She wrote her Master’s thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can find her reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, read her blog at: www.chocolategirlinthecity.com or tweet her @midnightrami