The past few years, we’ve seen an extreme evolution in social media. The digital space has become an area for people to express themselves and build their own brand no matter what it might be. The prerequisites in years passed to have a successful career have been updated, and anyone at any age can gain an audience—if they are hungry enough for success.
Take 18-year-old Eitan Bernath. The young entertainer already has a 4M+ digital footprint, garnered 1 billion views across his platforms in the last year alone, and has even secured a spot on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ as her Principal Culinary Correspondent. The recipe for these achievements according to Bernath, equals hard work, a clear head and a hankering for achieving your own dreams.
Bernath sat down with Metro to discuss his career, goals for the future and more.
Can you tell me a bit about how you began to build your brand and why you wanted to do this?
Though I don’t look like it because I have the metabolism of a racehorse, I am always thinking about eating and cooking food. Ever since I’ve been little I’ve loved eating and it’s always been my favorite activity. When I was 8 or 9, I started to really love watching Food Network and cooking shows and food documentaries—I really just fell [more] in love with food. I would ask my mom, can we make this beer-battered onion ring burger with guac that Guy Fieri made on TV? She said I don’t really know how to do that, why don’t you try? So, I got in the kitchen and I just started cooking and I really loved the fact that I could cook what I was craving. I always joke that I have pregnancy cravings even though it’s physically impossible, just when I get a craving, I will stop whatever I’m doing to get that food item.
The second part of the kitchen that I love is the whole creative aspect—it’s definitely an outlet. So, it kind of started to be my thing. What turned my passion into the birth of my career though: When I turned 11, I competed on the first kid’s episode of ‘Chopped’ on the Food Network. At the time, cooking was just a hobby and I auditioned just because I heard that they were looking for kids and lo and behold I got on the episode. From there, I started a food blog and an Instagram page, I started doing cooking demonstrations across the country and fell in love with educating people about food and entertaining other people. That’s really where it all started.
How did you go from Tik Tok to becoming a correspondent on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ and having access to huge celebrities?
I’ve always had massive goals, and for me, it’s really been about how do I get there and what is the work that needs to be done? So ever since I was really young, I’ve always loved working and producing. I joke that I’m a workaholic and even on vacation I have to schedule an hour of time to do work or I get jittery. Obviously, there are things that I have under control, but I generally don’t think so much [regarding] luck. I don’t like to do anything random, everything is very calculated, so even if its one little Tik Tok or this or that, it’s all part of the larger picture.
Doing television has been a really big goal of mine [as well.] Obviously, the digital and social media side of entertainment now more than ever is the most important part, but so is the traditional forms of media. With Drew [Barrymore], that honestly was just that her daughters introduced her to me on Tik Tok and then she became a fan of mine. We started interacting with each other on social media and she asked me to be on her show for one episode, then shortly after that I signed a contract with them to be her principal culinary contributor on the show.
What about your cookbook, is this something that you have in the works?
There’s nothing officially announced as of now, but it’s definitely a big goal of mine.
What advice would you have for others who are starting out with their own brand?
The best advice I’ve ever received and what I really try to live by: You never really want to let both sides of the extremes in terms of feedback get to your head. Never listen to the extremely positive feedback and then, of course, never listen to the extreme negative. The reason I say this is because I think they both can really get to your head and if you listen too much or pay too much attention to the people that tell you that you’re awesome, you can become arrogant and just get a really big head. Then, on the contrary, if you listen to the negative feedback and let that get to you, it can be discouraging. So I think it’s about being confident in yourself, knowing why you’re doing it.
When you expose yourself in the public eye or do anything in front of an audience of people, there are going to be naysayers. I think that it’s important to really accept and know that you should do things to make yourself happy and not other people. I don’t recommend going into this profession if you’re trying to get people to like you, you really have to be happy with what you’re doing and accept that it’s impossible to make everyone happy. I try really hard to not let either get to my head, at the end of the day I’m a normal 18 year old.
What are some moments so far from your career that stick out to you?
Definitely when I interviewed Gordon Ramsey alongside Drew on an episode a few months ago. I was just over the moon. People ask me all of the time if I get nervous, and a lot of times I don’t—being on camera is my comfortable and happy place. But I would say there was 15 seconds when being counted in there that I was [nervous.] But, I was also just mostly excited. Gordon is one of the biggest legends if not the biggest legend in the food industry. That was really one of the big highlights for me, being next to those two.
Looking into the future, what are hoping to achieve?
I’m really hoping to work more in the television space. I think that I’ve really figured out the social media side and what I need to do to grow there, and I really love doing television and entertaining people in that way. So it’s really expanding more into that and other traditional forms of media. For me, it’s trying to break more barriers that “social media stars” have yet to break into.
Catch Eitan Bernath on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show,’ and to learn more information visit, eitanbernath.com