He is neither famous nor infamous but is certainly “unfamously” famous or famously “unfamous”. Meet social media star 19 year old Tez Mengestu. His selfies and photographs on Instagram, one-liners on twitter or six-second video clips on Vine have managed to attract nearly a million followers across social networking sites in a short span of about two years. Most of his die hard admirers are girls in the 10-18 age group who not only account for nearly 15 percent of the world’s population but also directly or indirectly influence consumption and purchase decisions for a vast range of products from cars to cosmetics. This is what makes people like Tez important to all kinds of marketers and entrepreneurs. He is at best a model, comedian or aspiring film and radio personality and at worst somebody who does not seem to have any particular talent except an ability to relate to his fans through his presence on social media. He is yet to have a Wikipedia page and very little is known of him except that he regularly tweets and uploads video clips of his antics or photographs of him in funny poses or with exaggerated facial expressions.
The Meteoric Rise To Stardom
Tez Mengestu is a close friend of the Grier brothers Nash and Hayes, two of the most popular personalities on Vine having a combined fan base of 12 million. Though not fully confirmed, some reports suggest that Tez, Nash and Hayes went to the same Charlotte Mecklenberg School in the Davidson-Charlotte area in North Carolina. With Tez often posting photographs and videos of himself with Nash, who is the most followed personality on Vine, and commenting on Nash’s activities and whereabouts, he too has become well-known. Tez himself has a following of nearly 400,000 followers on Instagram where fans find his photographs and videos “hilarious”. Tez has become popular enough on social media networks to get invited on a 18 city tour of social media stars organized by DigiTour, an event management company and successor of MagCon (short for Meet and Greet Convention), a company that is credited with producing the world’s first show of social media stars. The tour organized in the spring and summer of 2015 showcased seven social media stars among whom Tez was the only person of colour. The tour managed to rake in revenues of about $20 million. In the same year, Tez was featured in another DigiTour of several Latin American countries. Tez is managed by 26MGMT which specializes in helping social media celebrities to crossover into mainstream entertainment.
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What Makes Tez Mengestu So Special
Tez is primarily known for videos of his antics on Instagram which admirers find amusing and attractive. According to DigiTour’s 30-year-old CEO Meridith Valiando Rojas, the main talent of social media stars such as Tez is their ability to relate to their audience. “They’re the coolest people you know, and they happen to have 5 million friends,” says Rojas. Mengestu’s popularity on Instagram has also begun to fetch him modeling assignments. Modeling scout Nikki Sheldon explains that these days when brands are searching for models they look for people who have high visibility and following on social media networks. Hence, although Tez is not much of a performer – he neither sings, dances nor does anything noteworthy at all – youngsters, especially girls, find him “cool to hang out with” and befriend him on social media channels. While most people would be totally at a loss to figure out what they must say or do on social media to attract fans, people like Tez have the uncanny ability to know how to be “cool”. That’s what makes him special.
Apart from being famously unfamous or unfamously famous as a social media personality with a large fan base, little else is known about Tez. He is, however, an aspiring film and radio personality and is keen to take up an acting career in Hollywood.
Behind The Curtains
Tez, by his own admission, is of Ethiopian origin. His parents seem to be happily married and probably migrated to the United States after the outbreak of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War and the passing of the Diversity Visa Programme under the Immigration Act of 1990. However, Tez himself has been born and brought up entirely in the United States and is an all American boy. He doesn’t seem to be dating anyone although social media stars such as Tez would lose much of their appeal and fans if they announce a steady relationship. He has a sister named Alicia who is two years younger than him. She too is into modelling and has done assignments for the Italian fashion house Moschino.