- TikTok star Josh Richards has amassed 40 million followers since first rising to fame at age 14.
- Richards is diversifying by investing in startups, running a content studio, and launching products.
- He gave Insider a rare glimpse into a busy day of meetings and podcasting at his Encino, California home.
For Josh Richards, one of TikTok’s biggest stars, there is no typical day, although he’s usually booked solid with hours of meetings, shooting content for social media, and networking over dinner.
The 19-year-old Canadian influencer, who rose to fame at 14 and now has nearly 40 million followers across TikTok and other platforms, was a member of Sway House, the LA content crib once occupied by six social media stars who became known as much for their partying lifestyle as for their prolific posts.
But since leaving Sway House in February, Richards has focused on expanding his reach through partnerships with companies like Logitech, getting his lifestyle beverage Ani Energy on more store shelves, and building out CrossCheck Studios, a Gen Z-focused content studio he founded in partnership with Mark Wahlberg. His team, meanwhile, is moving into new offices in Burbank.
Richards and fellow Sway House alums Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck in April also cofounded the $15 million VC fund Animal Capital, pouring money into more than 24 startups, including rewards app Lolli, a cookie dough venture called Deux Foods, and WonderFi, a trading platform.
Richards’ concerted push to diversify is about shoring up his future. Even with 40 million followers clocking his every move on their smartphones (25.5 million on TikTok, plus millions on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Triller), fame can be all too fleeting, he acknowledges.
“I think it’s smart to just keep an eye on your social media numbers, your progression, and where they’re going,” Richards said. “But what we’re doing on the entrepreneurial side is about setting me up in a longevity play, and it really does take away a lot of the stressors.”
Insider spent most of Tuesday with Richards — starting bright and early and scheduled to shadow him until around 2 p.m. — at his Encino, California home, a sprawling two-floor Tuscan contemporary property in a gated community, where he offered a glimpse into one of his busier days.
He was up before 6 a.m. to help mark WonderFi’s trading debut
Although he usually rises around 8:00 a.m., Richards was up early to ring the opening bell at NEO, the Canadian stock exchange where WonderFi was making its public trading debut. Because of COVID-19 concerns, Richards did the honor via, parked in an AKRacing gamer’s chair from the comfort of his bedroom den, where he conducts most virtual meetings and records his “BFFs” podcast.
“[WonderFi] is about really having these younger people feel like they are empowered to be able to go and make their own decisions, invest properly, and have the access to learn about it — and nothing’s being hidden from them,” Richards said. “They’re not going to get screwed in five years because they invest in some shady cryptocurrency that’s called, like, ‘Titcoin.'”
WonderFi’s stock spiked 85% within moments its debut.
“We just made $500,000 in 30 seconds!” said Richards’ manager, Michael Gruen.
He did a live TV segment about WonderFi at 7:30
Richards appeared on Trader TV to discuss WonderFi’s big day. He usually receives talking points from his team before a media appearance to help him prepare, but that wasn’t the case this time.
“This is where things get interesting,” Richards said. “Gotta wing it, baby!”
He riffed for several minutes, reiterating many of the points he made in his opening remarks for the NEO exchange. The appearance went smoothly.
At 8:30, he recorded a podcast with his Siberian Husky, Buddy, at his side
Richards changed outfits, donning a pale pink “BFFs”-branded hoodie, sweats, and sneakers, and finishing off the look with two silver chains.
“This is where things get crazy!” he said.
Richards was setting up his bedroom den to tape the latest episode of the “BFFs” podcast, which he began recording in October 2020 with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. The podcast has been billed as freewheeling commentary on “everything from dominating TikTok in L.A. to running a media empire in NYC.”
This go-round, Richards’ in-person guest was to be his fellow TikTok star and buddy Bryce Hall. Hall overslept, however, and chimed in via Zoom instead (as did Portnoy).
Richards was frustrated with Hall’s laziness but rolled with it, slowly petting his blue-eyed Siberian Husky, Buddy, who climbed into the empty chair next to him.
“You’ll just have to be my guest today, huh?” Richards said.
With Richards on headphones, Insider could hear only his side of the conversation, but the topics included TikTok star Addison Rae’s recent acting debut in‘s “He’s All That” and TikTok videos in which a girl stole Richards’ hat at an event.
“It’s like a Grade 2 flirt: You punch the girl in the arm-type shit or gum in the hair,” said Richards.
He took a big Hollywood meeting at 11 a.m.
Richards was particularly excited about the morning’s meeting with Legendary Entertainment. For the last two months, he and his camp had made it their mission to meet with Hollywood executives, directors, and casting directors for potential acting and production opportunities. Richards has also been taking acting classes and auditioning up to four times a week for different roles.
“It’s important to me — the reaction of ‘Holy shit, was that just Josh Richards that played that role?'” Richards said. “I want to be able to go into something like a Mad Max-type role that is just out of this world — it’s nothing like you’ve seen me doing just on a day-to-day basis.”
At 11:30 it was time for a team meeting to set the schedule for the weeks ahead
Richards assembled with Gruen and several other members of his team around the dining table to go over scheduling for the next several weeks. Gruen, who rarely misses a meeting, now has to delegate meetings to others on the team. Richards’ manager had severely injured his hand several days ago punching a wall and will require surgery. (He declined to specify what set him off.) This means Gruen will be largely out of commission as he recovers.
Gruen pulled Richards away at 12:45 for some one-on-one time, and they decamped to the first-floor study for a conversation that went on for about half an hour.
A little after 1 p.m., Richards peaced out
Once their confab wrapped, Richards exited, dashing up the stairs to the second floor, and Gruen disappeared. Neither were seen for the rest of the afternoon, and Gruen, I was told, was “unavailable.”
Richards’ next two meetings were postponed, and a member of his camp indicated that his schedule was now clear of meetings for the rest of the afternoon, with him set to depart the house for two events later in the day.
Puzzled, I asked whether I should stay or go, as I was scheduled for one more hour with the TikTok star.
Had Richards and his manager just pulled the Gen Z equivalent of the “Irish Goodbye”?
An assistant told me I could do as I pleased. Scratching my head, I took off.
At 2:30 he was set to have a meeting about a confidential documentary project
Richards had spent some time earlier in the day mapping out his afternoon and evening plans for me. He and Gruen were scheduled to drive out to a meeting about possibly developing a confidential documentary series project. The theme, Richards told me, would surprise his fans.
“We’re going after the types of targets, like legendary people, that no one would expect,” he said.
At 2:38 p.m. he graciously apologized for his early exit
As I recorded my impressions from the morning, a note landed in my inbox from Richards, thanking me for joining him for the day and apologizing for our time being cut short.
“With Michael’s hand injury, subsequent calendar adjustments for today, and focus on the new [Burbank] office space, our schedule was slightly more in flux than anticipated,” Richards wrote. Gruen also sent a personal apology.
Dinner at 7 p.m. with a hot young director
Richards was to dine with director Angel Manuel Soto (“Charm City Kings”) at Craig’s, a classic showbiz power dining spot in West Hollywood that’s also popular with creators like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, JoJo Siwa, and Chase Hudson (aka “LilHuddy”). There was no formal agenda for the meal with Soto, whose next project is a film adaptation of DC Comics’ “Blue Beetle.”
“We don’t know what could come out of it,” Richards told me. “When you come with no request, you get to know them and then they decide if they want to work with you.”
By 9:30, Richards would be chilling at home with a show like ‘The Simpsons’ or ‘Family Guy’
Monday through Thursday evenings for Richards are relatively mellow, he said. Some Mondays, he goes out to play hockey. (An avid hockey fan, the TikTok star also serves as special advisor for the NHL and has a framed jersey of Wayne Gretzky’s hanging on a wall downstairs.)
But he expected this Tuesday night to play out like many of his weeknights — winding down watching episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” or playing video games.
“‘Family Guy’ has just been that show I’ve watched the last three years, almost every single day — I love that show,” Richards said. “It’s a pretty chill thing.”