If you’re on Instagram, chances are that you’ve seen Amanda Cerny. Originally known for her massive following on the social media platform Vine, she has exploded on YouTube and Instagram, where she has over 19 million followers, because of her popular comedy videos.
She’s more than just a funny girl who looks good on camera, though. An extremely savvy entrepreneur, she’s build her own multimillion-dollar business through brand deals with companies like Paramount Pictures, Tinder, and Guess Jeans and will continue to grow her empire with her upcoming lines of supplements and merch.
Heavily involved in charity work, she frequently travels to areas affected by natural disasters, like Haiti and Puerto Rico.
Amanda recently got into a conversation with Forbes’s tom Ward. Here is the Q&A below:
Tom Ward: Let’s take it back to the beginning. You were going to Florida State and studying business. What were your goals at the time?
Amanda Cerny: I wanted to be in the CIA. (Laughs.) My mom has done Taekwondo her whole life. and has had some special jobs, so I was like, “That’s the coolest thing ever! I want to be like my mom.” That was my goal, but then I got some opportunities out in LA so I decided to stay in the entertainment space.
Ward: Before you moved to LA, you did Playboy. Once you did that you got some exposure and some money, which was great, but was that a challenge? Were you just a Playboy model? Was it tough to go from that to traditional acting roles? Trying to get management, those kinds of things.
Cerny: So, it was so random. I was at Florida State and the opportunity I got was to test to be a Playboy centerfold. I was like, “This is so cool. Drew Barrymore was in Playboy. Some of the biggest people were in the magazine, so that’s really cool.” I’ve never been to California before. I was nervous at first (to be naked on set) but then I realized that everyone there had been doing it for like 50 years. They were the most professional ever.
Ward: Isn’t it crazy, with all the stuff going on in Hollywood right now? Every day there’s a new sexual harassment thing, yet the people at Playboy were the most professional and the least creepy?
Cerny: (Laughs.) Yeah, you never hear anything about them. I think that’s why he (Hugh Hefner) was in business for so long. Because he treated people right. But like you said, Hollywood loves stereotyping people and putting them in a box, so they were like, “You’re a Playmate. That’s what you are.” So, it had the opposite effect of what I thought it’d have, like getting me more into acting. So I said, “I’m still going to do acting; I’m just going to do my own stuff.” And it worked out for me because people were actually enjoying my content of comedy videos.
Ward: So when you came out to LA were you laser-focused like, “I’m going to give this a shot for six months. I’m focused on social media.” Or was it, “I’m focused on acting.”
Cerny: For me it was acting because I didn’t know social media was a thing then. I was like, “It’s a great platform, a case study, to say people like my content. So it could be a good case study when I go to the agents.” And it wasn’t for like another year and a half, until I really started doing it.
Ward: And then Vine comes along.
Cerny: Yes, Vine! So, I started Vine because I wanted to do more YouTube. And my friend Jimmy Tatro, who does a lot of YouTube stuff and has a show on Netflix now — I’m so proud of him — I reached out to him, and said, “Jimmy if you ever need any actors for any of your stuff, just reach out to me.” But he was going to New Orleans to film 22 Jump Street, so he was like, “There’s this new app Vine. You should check it out.” I was like, “OK this is making six-second comedy skits. This is great!”
Ward: Just saying that out loud sounds ludicrous. Like, “Here’s six seconds, make somebody laugh! Go!”
Cerny: (Laughs.) And people wonder why Vine has so much slapstick in it.
Ward: Yeah, you don’t have a lot of time to set up a joke.
Cerny: No! (Laughs.) You just have to punch somebody at the end of it, and hope somebody laughs.
Ward: What made you think you were funny or have enough faith in your skills? I mean you don’t come from a comedy background, or anything like that. What made you say, “I’m going to make people laugh in six seconds.” Why even comedy? Why not style or fashion?
Cerny: You have to stick with what you enjoy and what you’re good at. So me doing beauty vlogs all the time, I would feel fake doing it because that’s not me. With comedy, I was always surrounded by comedians and joking around. And I loved writing. Writing skits and sketches and stuff.
Ward: What advice do you have for aspiring YouTubers out there?
Cerny: I think it’s choosing your circle. For me, it was so beneficial to have so many characters to choose from when I was making my videos. If you’re trying to do comedy or short-term videos, find a videographer who’s trying to get into the space so you don’t have to self teach yourself everything. If you try to do everything yourself, the quality of your content isn’t going to be that great. Find people to collaborate with who have expertise in a certain area, that way your content is high quality. Because nowadays there’s so much content out there that you need to make something that stands out, that’s unique.
Amanda Cerny has been judged by people around the World as the Sexiest Instagrammer + Youtuber and there is no reason I want to question the decision. She is just too beautiful.
Here are a few more pictures of the gorgeous Diva: