January 28, 2022


The View On Cooking

How a 19-year-old orphan with a drug routine produced tens of millions on TikTok

8 min read

“I require to make a TikTok online video, but to do it you will require to lie on the floor… Elevate your hand who is all set to do it,” suggests Danya Milokhin, a 19-year-old guy in a pink shirt and an Adidas cap, at a session at the St. Petersburg Worldwide Economic Discussion board (SPIEF), the country’s major enterprise forum, which has Russian President Vladimir Putin among its speakers and wherever an entrance ticket this yr charge pretty much a single million rubles ($13,830).

Everyone raises their hand, such as the advertising director of Russia’s greatest financial institution Sber, a vice-president at Aliexpress in Russia and a previous presidential candidate. A few of seconds later on, individuals in jackets and shirts are lying on the floor of the meeting home, some with their legs raised and resting on the chairs. Milokhin is lying down on the desk. Dozens of cameras are filming the proceedings, which glimpse totally out of character for an function like that.

“Somewhere at a critical event” 

Milokhin is one particular of the most common TikTok bloggers in Russia he currently has 12.9 million followers. According to Forbes, he would make 2 million rubles a thirty day period (approx. $28,000). In 2020, he received GQ’s ‘Discovery of the Year’ award. He posts videos with dances, his songs, jokes and difficulties. The extra shocking, the much better. At the St. Petersburg economic forum, immediately after the session and filming his TikTok video clip, he fled from journalists expressing: “I need to have to pee.” Some have been outraged by the really fact of his visual appeal at these kinds of an function: “This is some kind of surrealism!” “The boy turned famed not for his do the job, but for his trashy reputation on social media.”

Not this sort of a long time ago, Milokhin himself could not envision these attractiveness. Two decades in the past, he was doing the job as a waiter in Anapa in southern Russia, shoplifting “for fun” and spending all his income on prescription drugs.

Troubled teenager 

Among the ages of 3 and 13, Danya Milokhin lived in an orphanage in Orenburg, with each other with his brother Ilya. Their mother experienced introduced them there just after divorcing her husband simply because of his alcohol habit and determining that she would not be ready to increase two youngsters on her very own. Danya does not like reminiscing about all those 10 a long time of his existence. Distressing recollections include things like beatings and not being permitted to try to eat exterior food occasions. “In the initially times after I was taken from the orphanage, it was unconventional not to be beaten for getting a very poor quality at faculty. At the orphanage, anyone was beaten, that was aspect of the educating course of action. They conquer us in the encounter, slapped us. A teacher could choose a stick or a skipping rope and lash you twice – so that it would not be very recognizable,” Danya recalled in an interview on the Pushka YouTube channel.

Business people Dmitry and Yelena Tyulenev took custody of the Milokhin brothers. They now experienced 5 kids of their possess. The two brothers moved into their household near Orenburg and, a yr later on, the household moved to Anapa, closer to the sea. But issues had been not quick. Danya was a hard teenager: he refused to go to college, started to consume and smoke and did not always appear home at night time. The Tyulenevs frequently obtained visits from the police. The main lead to of conflicts was that Danya did not want to study.

“I did not want to do something apart from generating funds online. They did not permit me. And I didn’t want to review, it didn’t do the job.” Danya claims that, by way of a compromise, he entered a specialized college to practice as a vehicle mechanic and moved from the household property to a hall of home. Away from his foster parents, he began to shoplift chocolate bars, chewing gum and other treats from supermarkets for exciting and when he was caught, he lied that he experienced very little to try to eat. His foster dad and mom did deliver him meat and cereals, but Danya was as well lazy to cook dinner.

At 16, he started off utilizing medicine and telling anyone that he would a person day become a blogger. He set up an account on VKontakte and commenced posting all the things: a photograph from a supermarket the place he is sitting down in a trolley loaded with fast noodles, or a selfie with a bare torso. He obtained tattoos and dyed his hair blonde, trying to get to entice followers with his appearance. By the age of 17, he garnered 2,000 subscribers and begun an Instagram account, the place “he started to cheat folks for cash: offering promoting and then not doing it and buying banned things [with the proceeds]”, he admitted. Later, in an interview, when questioned “So it turns out that you deceived folks just in get to have enjoyment,” he replied: “So it does.”

In addition to his social media action, Milokhin sold balloons, handed out leaflets, but did not keep any where for prolonged, expressing he “got bored”. In the summertime of 2019, Dmitry Tyulenev organized for him to get his initial severe occupation, as a waiter in a cafe, but, two months later, Danya intentionally obtained fired. He needed to spend far more time with his good friends. It was then that he established up a TikTok account, publishing “everything that arrived to mind” there. His films have been a achievement with viewers: he grimaced at the digicam, trolled other TikTok bloggers and lip-synced tunes.

“My foster father instructed me a small top secret: views are product. I considered it. So, just about every evening, I would write on a piece of paper: I am the most well-liked boy in the world, I am the most stunning, folks like me, I have a good deal of buddies,” Danya says. His dream was to go to Moscow. As before long as he came of age, he obtained the 200,000 rubles (approx. $2,800) from the state that orphans are entitled to, used the dollars on a new cellular phone and a ticket to Moscow and lower off all ties with his spouse and children, which includes his brother Ilya.

Russia’s leading crush 

“I set anything on the line. Both it would perform out, or, no make any difference how it may perhaps seem, there was no issue in living,” Milokhin says today about his move. It did get the job done out, as consumers preferred his approach to content material. By December 2019, he presently had 700,000 followers on TikTok and 150,000 on Instagram. His acceptance was even further spurred by a frank video clip interview, in which he talked about his troubled childhood and which was viewed extra than 6 million occasions, as well as by his flirting with the topic of bisexuality (Danya claims he is heterosexual, but the impression of possessing alleged associations with other males is drawing further notice to him). “I have a crush on you,” teenagers, equally women and boys, compose to him in comments.

Then Milokhin received an invitation from Yaroslav Andreyev, the founder of the WildJam promoting agency, which specializes in functioning with bloggers. He was invited to sign up for Russia’s very first collective of TikTok written content creators, Dream Home, an equal of the Hoopla Home project in the United states of america. In it, a number of TikTok influences live jointly, film content material for their have accounts and for the “house” account, which boosts their audience figures. Danya, collectively with one more companion, have been in demand of deciding on people for the property and creating written content. At initial, Andreyev admitted, he anticipated the undertaking to be reduction-creating for a calendar year, on the other hand, it started out to produce a income in six months’ time.

In 2020, during Russia’s two-thirty day period lockdown, Milokhin came up with the strategy of recording a humorous track titled: ‘I’m at home’. Its traces: “Guess wherever I am? I’m at home” referred to the self-isolation routine imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The song was written in a day and a brief excerpt from it went viral, as customers ended up recording 1.3 million TikTok video clips with it. Milokhin took the next stage and released a video of the song, which now has far more than 28 million sights on YouTube.

By that time, Milokhin states, he had previously provided up medicines: “I experienced an overdose. Following that, I could not rest generally, the audio ‘mmm’ held taking part in in my head all the time. I completely misplaced it. It worried me.”

“You do realize that with your standing as a drug addict, massive models will not contact you,” he was asked in the exact interview on the Pushka channel. “So what? If some do not want to touch me, many others will,” he replied and quickly proved to be proper. Right after the results of his new music video clip, he was approached by massive advertisers, such as PepsiCo, Honor, Huawei and other significant brands. He has also grow to be a person of the faces of Sber.

“It is not at all shocking that they want an influencer like Danya Milokhin. He does not include anything special to the giant’s brand as this sort of. But Sber is hence sending a concept: appear, absolutely everyone is with us, young people and elderly females alike, we are in all places, we are for everyone,” suggests Anton Bulanov, an skilled with the Competence Growth Centre for Internet marketing at the Better University of Economics.

Milokhin far too thinks that having a multi-million audience driving him, he can healthy into any context and any company. Now he is developing a musical profession, at the identical time overtly stating that to become a singer, a person does not want to be able to sing. “What for? I want to sing, but I’m also lazy to shell out time understanding how to do it. With Car-Tune, you can tweak nearly anything.”

He describes himself as follows: “I am not a skilled in just about anything – apart from for character. I’m a professional in character.” A short while ago Milokhin, at the age of 19, acquired a Maybach for 10 million rubles (approx. $137,000) and released 21 tracks – solo and collaborations with famous hip-hop performers and bloggers.

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