If we’ve learned anything from social media it’s that it’s a great vehicle for both pranks and social experiments. Sometimes these are one and the same, and occasionally the folks who design them end up rich and famous for reasons that are obscure.
That’s definitely the case for Juan Gonzalez, who has amassed a net worth of $3 million plying his trade. It’s been a strange journey for sure, so let’s check out the various steps that led to his success on YouTube.
Gonzalez was born in Cancun, Mexico in 1993, but he keeps much of his early family background murky by choice. His family moved back to Kansas when he was four, then returned to Mexico when Gonzalez started high school. He is the only boy in a family of six sisters.
Once he got his high school diploma, Gonzalez made another unlikely move, heading to North Dakota to create a life for himself. He ended up doing drywall and working in construction. Then he spent some time working in oil fields before YouTube fame came calling.
Gonzalez conducted his first experiment as a YouTuber in 2014, when he accidentally “dropped” a $100 bill in a number of public locations, specifically a mall and a parking lot.
His sister Shania filmed their reactions, which ranged from pointing out that he’d dropped the cash to engineering a variety of strategies to scoop up the bill once he was sure they were gone.
The video was successful, so Gonzalez did more. Each one got more recognition, to the point where he was eventually able to quit his job and move to Tempe, Arizona. Arizona State University provides a fertile ground for his experiments and pranks.
An Epic Transition
Gonzalez branded his channel “ThatWasEpic,” and eventually he broke his approach down into three sections- giveaways, pranks and social experiments. To get an idea of his approach, one of his most-viewed videos is titled “Cutting People’s Headphones, Then Giving Them Airpods.”
High art it’s not, but the self-explanatory title is definitely entertaining. Once you’ve landed in the land of Eric Andre and other pranksters, a gimmick can go a long way. This is the case with the hilarious YouTuber.
The Dating Game
Given the obvious possibilities that are inherent in his videos, you might think that Gonzalez might end up dating one of his female subjects. He actually tried this once, with very unsatisfactory results.
Gonzalez learned very quickly that it wasn’t a good way to find true love, and he reached the conclusion that it was “inappropriate and unprofessional.” Throughout his YouTube career, Juan has mostly been in relationships but he is now single.
He was engaged to his partner Nora for three and half years but split up in 2021. Every picture of them was deleted from his social media accounts. Juan obviously wants to keep this part of his life private which is understandable.