‘Nev’ (pronounced ‘neeev’) Schulman, born Yaniv Schulman, is an American TV host, producer, photographer and actor. He rose to fame with his documentary film ‘Catfish.’ He was born and raised in New York, US. He joined the ‘Sarah Lawrence College’ to study dance and photography, but was expelled after a controversial incident. His photographs have appeared in several well-known magazines. He founded a film and photography production company along with his filmmaker-actor brother and another friend. His brother and partner filmed Schulman’s involvement in an online relationship and subsequently, it became a reality thriller film, ‘Catfish.’ This documentary received wide critical acclaim and led to the MTV series ‘Catfish: The TV Show.’ Schulman is the executive producer and co-host of this show, wherein he acts as a moderator, uniting online couples who haven’t met in person. He has written a book, ‘In Real Life: Love, Lies and Identity in the Digital World,’ which speaks about the risks of social media. He is also the co-founder and an active member of ‘Leave Out Violence.’
Childhood & Early Life
Schulman was born on September 26, 1984, in New York City, New York, US. In Hebrew ‘Yaniv’ means ‘He’ll prosper.’ He belongs to a mixed ethnicity (German-Jewish, Polish-Jewish, Russian-Jewish, and Romanian-Jewish). His elder brother, Ariel Schulman, is a known actor and film-maker.
Schulman learnt dancing for 5 years. From his 5th grade through high school, he danced with a performing arts company called the ‘National Dance Institute.’ From 2004 to 2006, he attended the ‘Sarah Lawrence College’ to study dance and photography. In April 2006, he was expelled from the college following a controversial incident of assaulting a female student. Later, he issued a statement that he had not realized that she was a female and had hit out in self-defense. Schulman’s mother, an influential alumna of ‘Sarah Lawrence College,’ tried to persuade the college to allow him to continue, but he was not taken back.
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He started his professional life as a ballet photographer. He also filmed ‘Bar Mitzwah’ videos in New York City. In 2004, he co-founded ‘Young Leadership Committee for Youth Organization: Leave Out Violence.’ The same year he began photographing the New York ballet community. His photographs have been published in noted publications, including ‘The New York Time,’ ‘Vogue,’ the ‘New York Magazine,’ ‘New York Sun Dance Magazine,’ ‘Lucky,’ among others.
He founded a film production company along with his brother Ariel and a friend, in 2003.
In late 2007, his brother Ariel and another partner, Henry Joost, began filming Nev Schulman’s online life. They found a thrilling story unfolding which led to a reality thriller film. The riveting story highlights the love and deception in an online relationship. The film depicts how Schulman met a girl online and fell in love with her, only to discover later that she was not what she claimed to be.
In 2007, Schulman received an email from Abby, an 8-year-old fan of his photography. Slowly he developed a bond with Abby and her mother, Angela Wesselman, and romance grew between him and Abby’s elder sister, Megan. This online romantic relationship developed over the next 6 months. Family pictures and friends’ list of the ‘Facebook’ account appeared legitimate and genuine, but Schulman’s mother was worried so she called up Angela to ensure that everything was proper and legitimate. Schulman’s brother and partner began recording the interesting proceedings. They soon found that some of the things did not fit correctly. So the three men visited the small town in Michigan and finally the shocking reality behind this online relationship was revealed. Appalled and hurt by his experience, Schulman now works against online deceptions.
This documentary thriller ‘Catfish,’ which was filmed on Schulman’s real life experiences, was premiered at 2010’s ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ The executive producer of the film is Brett Ratner and it was produced by academy award nominated filmmaker Andrew Jarecki. This documentary film received critical acclaim.
The success of the film was taken further with the MTV series ‘Catfish: The TV Show.’ Along with his co-host, Max Joseph, Nev Schulman delves into the ‘online-only’ relationships of young people and their first time real life encounters. This reality-based TV series deals with the complexities of dating in the digital world and endeavors to help people discover the truth about online dating. Schulman is also the executive producer of the show. He and Max Joseph offer online dating advice to couples who have fallen in love online but have never met. This show, which was premiered on November 12, 2012, has proved very successful and continues its popular run till date.
Schulman appeared in the 2009 show ‘Daddy Long Legs.’ He also featured in ‘Elle’ on June 25, 2013.
Schulman’s book, ‘In Real Life: Love, Lies and Identity in the digital Age’ was published on September 2, 2014. It is based on his online experiences and other relevant observations. The phenomenon of ‘Catfish’ is defined and explained as – A person who ‘pretends to be someone who they are not, using ‘Facebook’ or other social media creates false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.’ It shouldn’t be considered as an insignificant phenomenon as Schulman has revealed that ‘Facebook’ admits that 83 million ‘Facebook’ profiles (8.7 percent of all profiles) are fake. His book is not only about ‘catfishing,’ but also advices how to explore the internet and manage digital identity. His book is a valuable contribution to the society, especially in today’s digital world with its risks of social media. Schulman offers positive steps to make off-line lives more meaningful than the on-line ones and advices to cut down on smart phones and internet and spend more time meeting face-to-face.
Schulman is married and has a daughter. He met his wife, Laura Perlongo, through social media platform Instagram. In May, 2016 Schulman and Perlongo announced that they were expecting their first child, a baby girl. They got engaged on May 26, 2016. They welcomed their daughter, Cleo James, on October 21, 2016. Schulman and Laura Perlongo got married on July 22, 2017, in the back garden of his father’s home at East Hampton, New York.
Schulman presently resides with his wife and daughter, in Los Angeles.
When he was 16, he rode a bicycle from Paris to Barcelona on a teen tour. He hopes to live in Paris someday.
He has a lower back tattoo, which he regrets having now.
He used to enjoy remote control cars.