rob-eades

The Influence Room Podcast- Changing the dialogue Rob Eades: Actor, Chef and Presenter

Posted on Jan 21, 2020 5:11:51 PM

This week, our guest on the podcast is actor, chef and presenter, Rob Eades, also known online as the Lean Student Chef. We chat to him about his love of food, but also his passion for acting and how he balances the two.


Overview

With no prior experience in cooking, Rob started his foodie journey when he became a ski chalet chef out in France. However, his love for acting began as a young boy watching the stage. Therefore, with a job waiting for him in investment banking after university, he realised he actually wanted to pursue his passion and go straight to drama school. 

It was at this stage Rob began blogging about food, creating recipes that were budget friendly and that could easily slot into a typical student lifestyle. The blog then crossed over onto Instagram content on his now known channel, the Lean Student Chef. Rob explains how his original idea behind the Lean Chef came from getting reduced food from the shop, and creating recipes that cost less than £2. This then evolved with him creating healthy recipes, as well as bringing in fitness workouts that can be done anytime and anywhere.

With his love and passion for acting being at the forefront of his career path, doing both TV series’ and shows, he looks to focus on his acting career in the future. Nonetheless, in the next coming year he looks to create new recipes and hopes to release a cookbook. This was sparked by the recent release of his ebook publication that was in support of a chosen charity closed to him, Football Beyond Borders. Within just two weeks it raised an amazing three grand.

Five quick takeaways:

  1. The power of the Instagram platform is incredible if its used in the right way.
  2. If you're going to make a genuine, credible career in social media, you need longevity. Therefore, as much as it would be so easy to say yes to everything, you have to consider the impact in the long term.
  3. To be a successful content creator you have to be passionate about what you are creating. If you are not enjoying it or passionate about it, people are not going to buy into it. 
  4. When an opportunity arises say yes and worry about it later. If you give it a go and it goes wrong, you will still be in the same position if you didn't give it a go.
  5.  You don’t need a mass audience to have mass success. 

 

If you enjoyed this episode and don’t want to miss the rest of the series, you can follow The Influence Room Podcast on Spotify and Apple iTunes podcasts.


 

Full audio transcription

- Bronagh

Hello, and welcome to The Influence Room podcast, the show that explores all angles on the spectrum of influence. This week, our guest is actor, chef and presenter, Rob Eades, also known online as the Lean Student Chef. Rob started his foodie journey whilst at Nottingham University. He'd recently picked up some experience as a ski chalet chef, and with his newfound skill set, began blogging about food, creating recipes that were budget friendly and that could easily slot into a typical student lifestyle. The blog then crossed over onto Instagram content on his now known channel, the Lean Student Chef.

In this episode, we spoke to Rob about his love of food, but also his passion for acting and how he balances the two. We also spoke about Rob's recent ebook publication and how he has woven in a brilliant initiative to raise money for his chosen charity, Football Beyond Borders. Hope you enjoy.

Also, if you're not aware already, this podcast is produced by Entale, and you can head over now to check out all of the behind the scenes content and links to any articles that we talk about in the interview.

Okay, thanks for listening guys. I hope you've tbeen enjoying the podcast so far. We were just talking there, I think we've done eight episodes now, and we've had such a broad range of guests, and now we've got another brilliant guest, Rob Eades. Am I pronouncing your surname right? Eades?

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah, Eades, yeah. Even with the Northern Ireland accent, it still sounds right.

- Bronagh

Well, with my accent, things always come out a bit funny. Thanks so much for coming in today, Rob.

- Rob Eades

It's okay.

- Bronagh

I just want to dig into your career because I feel like you're very multifaceted, so I want to touch on a few things that you've worked on in the past and what you're working on now. So I'd love to just kick off with a bit about where you grew up, what your interests were growing up.

- Rob Eades

Yeah. So I grew up in Kent, in ... Well, actually ... Did you?

- Milly

I'm from Kent.

- Rob Eades

Oh, really?

- Milly

How did we not know this?

- Rob Eades

Small world. It's about to get weirder.

- Milly

Oh, no.

- Rob Eades

So I lived in Belgium from about three till about six, and then I actually lived in Belfast, in Holywood. And then I moved back to Kent, to Sevenoaks. And then I went to school in that area, and then my dad moved to Tumbridge Wells, my mom moved up to Nottinghamshire when I was about probably 17. So, yeah, my childhood was all around Kent. I-

- Bronagh

What was it like moving around a lot?

- Rob Eades

To be honest, when we were moving countries, I was pretty young, so I don't think it really impacts you that much. I mean, I probably was sad to leave school friends and then, yeah, met some new ones.

- Milly

Got over it in two days.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. Then I came and made better friends, so I didn't care at all.

- Milly

Hopefully, they're not listening.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. To all of those fallen friends over the years. Yeah, so I went to school in Tumbridge, in Kent, and then when I was from 11 till about, let's be realistic, 18, all I cared about really was rugby. So I was playing a lot of sport and that was great, and I also started getting into acting when I was 13, 14, and started doing some classes up in London and I used to literally love it. On Fridays, we'd go up. My housemate, who's also probably my best, best mate.

- Milly

Aww shout out.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, a little shout out to Elliot Jenks. Yeah, we used to go up to these classes on a Friday together, and that's how the acting started, and, yeah, that's what developed. Did a couple of things when I was younger, and then I went to university at Nottingham and did a business management degree. And then ... Such a weird convoluted story of my life. And then came back down to London and I had a job in investment banking at RBS and then didn't actually start it, and went to drama school.

So then I went straight to drama school after uni, did that for 18 months, which took me to about two years ago, which is crazy, and that's when I started my Instagram, as I was finishing drama school. Which is, for those who don't follow me on Instagram, which'll probably be most of you, it's a food and fitness Instagram called Lean Student Chef, and I do healthy recipes that are affordable, so they all cost less than £2 to make, and they're easy to make. And then the workouts are all workouts you can do any place, any time.

So the theory behind it is trying to make a healthy lifestyle accessible to everyone because that's what I have kind of done ever since I went to uni myself, so I've always wondered why it's this big, unattainable beast that seems impossible to crack, when it's actually ... Well, I think it's actually a bit easier than everyone makes it out to be. And I think, funnily enough, the whole industry of fitness and diets and all of that relies on it being really difficult to do because then people do it for a while and then they're like, "I can't keep this up," and then they put on weight again and then they start the next diet, and, yeah, I think, eventually, maybe we'll be able to crack that, but ...

- Bronagh

Yeah. We touched on that a little bit last week. In the podcast, we were talking about how the food industry kind of in celebrity or talent world, it had always been a celebrity chef who maybe was Michelin star and it was very aspirational. I think what social media has done for a lot of industries is made it a lot more relatable.

- Rob Eades

Completely.

- Bronagh

Within the beauty industry, you started to get people who were makeup artists in shop counters, that they started doing tutorials, or in fashion, it wasn't necessarily socialites and movie stars, it was people who just love fashion who could share imagery and that sort of thing, and I think ... Well, to counteract that point though, what Jamie Oliver did when he first started out was he was that relatable person in food and recipes didn't have to be set in stone. He said, "Oh, I like to add a bit of this, bit of that," boom, put it in the pan, and I think that is what is really nice about how food has evolved, that it has become a lot more of a relatable hobby. A lot more people are getting into it and they now realize you don't have to spend an absolute fortune to get into cooking. So to start with food, who were your inspirations growing up? What got you into cooking?

- Rob Eades

That's a good question. I mean, weirdly, the story of how I got into cooking is it was an accident, really. So I basically went to visit a friend who was doing a ski season in France, and I was there for about five days, and I was like, "I want to stay here. I want to find a job," because it was great and it's a pretty cool life. So I started looking for bar work and, potentially, chalet hosting and things like that, just cleaning or whatever, literally whatever I could get. And then a chef left one of the chalets really suddenly, like one morning she just got up and was like, "I don't want to be here anymore," and left.

- Bronagh

Bad hangover.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, literally. It might well have been. She wasn't enjoying it. And then that company were looking for a chef, and my friend came in, I remember it was probably 7 AM, so he had just got up to do breakfast, and things spread around resorts so quickly, it's a little bubble. And he was like, "Oh, someone from Alpine Elements is looking for a chef, you should do it." And I was like, "Mate, I can't cook," and when I say I can't cook, I couldn't cook anything. I could do beans on toast. I couldn't-

- Milly

Strong.

- Rob Eades

... cook at all.

- Milly

That's a staple.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. Boy, was I good at beans on toast. And, yeah, anyway, so she came round to the chalet where I was ... I was literally sleeping on the floor next to their bunk beds, so it was horrible.

- Milly

Cozy.

- Rob Eades

And I was like, "Either I need to get a job or I'm going home ASAP." And, yeah, she came in and was like, "Yeah, do you reckon you could start today?" And I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, course. Yeah, sounds good." And then she was like, "Have you-

- Bronagh

Did they check any qualifications or anything?

- Rob Eades

Literally, she was like, "You got any experience?" And I made up that my auntie had a ... No, that my step mom had a catering company and that I'd worked with her a few times. She was like, "Oh, perfect, great. Well let's do a trial shift this evening." I was like, "Yeah, great, cool. See you later." And she left and I was like, "Oh, my God, what have I done?"

- Milly

The realisation of actually having to cook.

- Rob Eades

Literally, I was like ... And Charlie was like, "You'll be fine." I was like, "Charlie, I can't cook, and nor can you." And he was like, "Yeah, I know. This is so funny."

- Bronagh

Oh, God.

Rob Eades: And, yeah, so I went that evening, and she did everything. I chopped up some carrots, did a bit of peeling, which-

- Bronagh

Sous chef.

- Rob Eades

Yeah. Even that was tricky. And, literally, I was chopping onions, and I remember streaming, and I was thinking, "Is this because I don't ... Is this an obvious sign-

- Bronagh

Am I doing it wrong?

- Rob Eades

... that I don't cook? I don't know what's happening here."

- Milly

You really didn't know about cooking.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, it was horrible. It was horrible. And then, yeah, so the whole thing went wonderfully because she did everything. She was like, "I thought you were great. Can you start in the morning?" And I was like, "Yeah, perfect. Can't wait. Great." And then so I had my little room that came with the job, and then they give you a ski pass and all of that sorted. The money's absolutely abysmal. I think it was 80 euros a week.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Milly

Oh, my goodness.

- Rob Eades

And it's a lot of hours. Anyway, and then next morning, I got up, did breakfast, which was fine, like I just put sausages in the oven, fried some bacon, things like that, and then the first meal, I can't remember what it was, it was some sort of chicken meal. Luckily, my first week, the guests were probably about my age now, so they were 25 or so, and I was 18. They were 25 or so, and they were all, I think, probably worked in the city and they were there just to have a bit of a piss up and just have fun, which made my life so much easier.

But the first meal I cooked was this chicken dish, and it was chicken breast, and I can't quite remember what I did with it, but I baked it in the oven for about 50 minutes, so it was seriously dry.

- Bronagh

Oh, God.

- Rob Eades

Honestly. So I had a bite of it and I was like, "Oh, my God, I can't eat this. What am I going to do?" So I just soaked everything in sauce, served it to them. They were battered by the time they were eating anyway because it took me so long. It took me 50 minutes to do chicken breasts. And they literally wolfed it down. They were like, "That was great," and I was like, "Yeah, yeah, great." And I actually ordered pizza. I vividly remember being like, "I need to eat some food and I can't eat this."

But then from the get go, my dishwasher didn't work, so I was, A, couldn't cook, B, my dishwasher wasn't working. So after about five days, I called my dad in tears, and I was like, "I need to come home. I'm so out of my depth." And he was like, "Well what you going to do if you come home?" And I was like, "Okay, I'll stay." And then over the next month or so, I gradually started picking it up and piecing it together, and, yeah, I was there for five months. So that's how I learnt to cook, weirdly.

- Milly

And the rest is history.

- Rob Eades

And the rest is history, as they say, yeah.

- Bronagh

Well, that's it. I think you'd rather ... For another guest that we had, Rose Gallagher, I was listening to her podcast today, and she said, "You'd rather something be done than it be perfect," because I think, quite often, people have this expectation that everything needs to be perfect, but in careers, you just have to start somewhere and you're not going to be perfect, and when you haven't gone that really traditional route in a job, and I don't think traditional really works anymore. Everyone has their own unique spin on things, especially in cooking. It's a lot about confidence, and, actually, if your food is mega, mega perfect, then that's what's going to put off because then they think-

- Rob Eades

Completely, because it's not attainable.

-Milly

I can't do it.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. It's weird, it's weird the way that ... I was quite lucky to have that experience because the rest of my life's been very much say yes and then worry about it later, which just opens so many doors because you just take everything on, and then there's no ... I don't get the feeling of, "Oh, my God, what if it goes wrong?" because what if it goes wrong? Then what? You've lost nothing. You're at a point where-

- Milly

At least you tried.

- Rob Eades

Exactly. You gave it a go, and if you hadn't have given it a go, you'd be at the same point anyway if you get it wrong. So that's, yeah, I mean, that's for the rest of everything I do. So I do a lot of presenting stuff, obviously acting stuff, the Instagram, I've got a couple of businesses. It's all been very much like, "Do you want to give this a go?" "Yeah, all right, let's do it," and then see what happens. And some things fail, and it's obviously disappointing, but you dust yourself, you're like, "All right, next thing." Yeah.

- Bronagh

Yeah, fail quickly. That's a Google thing. They say, "Just fail quickly."

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly.

- Milly

And then you get over it.

- Bronagh

Exactly.

- Rob Eades

Exactly.

- Bronagh

So tell me a little bit about acting. How did you get into it? Was there someone in your family that advised you or ...

- Rob Eades

Not really, no. It was just like-

- Bronagh

It was a natural instinct.

- Rob Eades

We did a little bit at school, and I remember, weirdly, I don't really know ... I wonder what come of him, but there was a guy at my school ... There were actually a couple of guys. There was guy in the year above called Taylor, who did, oh, I can't remember. He did a comedy show on BBC1.

- Bronagh

Okay.

- Milly

Casual.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah. And it was really big. He doesn't actually anymore, he does production stuff. But I remember seeing it and being like, "Oh, that's pretty sick. I'd love to do that." And then there was a guy a few years above who played Albert in the original War Horse at the National.

- Bronagh

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Amazing.

- Milly

Oh, yeah.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, which is insane, and we went to see it at school-

- Milly

So did I.

- Rob Eades

... and I remember being blown away. Really? Yeah.

- Milly

Yeah. Nuts.

- Rob Eades

I think loads of people did.

- Milly

Probably from our area.

- Rob Eades

Probably, yeah. I think loads of people did, says Rob from Kent. Yeah, and I remember being away and just thinking, "Oh, God, I would love to do that." So I think actually, yeah, watching the stage stuff was what made me think, "Oh, I'd love to do this." And then, yeah, I just thought, "How do I get into it?" But I suppose, looking at it then, I was probably 14 and I just googled acting classes, acting agents, messaged loads of people. Eventually, went to this class and then got an agent through that. Yeah, so maybe I kind of had that in me a little bit from a young age of just like, "Right, well let's just try that and see what happens."

Yeah, and then it was go, go, go with that, had loads of auditions and stuff. I did a little series for CBBC when I was about 17, and then sacked that all off, had a gap year, went to university, and then finished university. It's so odd, isn't it, the way life takes you on these sort of journeys. And then I finished university, and because when you're at university you're in the bubble there where's it's like get a good grad job, that's the dream. 

I remember getting the job at RBS and being like, "Yes, this is the best day of my life." And then I was away, I think, in the summer, traveling somewhere, and I got back and I was like, "Oh, my God, do I want to go and work at RBS for the rest of my life? I don't think I do." And then it was like, "Okay, well maybe I'll just do this two year grad scheme and then see what's going on afterwards." Then I was like, "As soon as I'm in it, I'll be stuck in that bubble again." So, yeah, then I went straight to drama school. Best thing I've ever done. It was honestly amazing. And, yeah, and here I am.

- Bronagh

And so you feel that you're ... I mean, I know you're probably going to say yes, but do you feel that your acting experience, and you're still an actor now, but do you feel that that amplifies your social media and being able to kind of switch it on, in quotation marks?

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah, maybe. It's interesting, actually. I can't remember, I did a podcast quite recently and we were talking about that, about how much of it is actually me, and I like to look at it and think, "Yeah, it's all completely me," but it's not, realistically, because, I don't know, if I'm having a bad day or I'm feeling down or whatever, it's rare that I'll just put on my story, "Oh, hi everyone. I'm feeling really down today, actually." Because a part of it is it's entertainment for people. That's part of what it is. And I love that because it means that even if I'm down in the dumps, I can be like, "All right, come on, cheer up. Do a little story, let everyone know what you're up to. Create some content, whatever it may be, and get on with life."

It's a weird juxtaposition between being honest and real, and still being entertaining because it's not ... I mean, maybe it's just me, but I don't want to sit and watch people's stories if they're moaning and whinging. It's just boring.

- Milly

Well, I was going to say, because their own lives are ... Like, they might be having a down day. They don't need to see that you're having a down day as well, but then it's your life, so there has to be that balance of the reality that I am a human, not a person on Instagram.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, completely. Yeah, and that-

- Milly

That doesn't exist.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, and that's a really important thing to get across, which is really difficult to get across, is that no one's life is perfect and this whole Instagram world is so ... It's literally the top 2% of that person's life is what they're sharing with you at any one time, and you can guarantee the other 98% has loads of highs, but loads of lows and loads of things that they're insecure about, and they stress about, and they worry about, probably for no real reason, and, yeah, it's the same for everyone.

- Bronagh

What place did social media have in your life growing up?

- Rob Eades

Not that much really, I don't think.

- Bronagh

No.

- Rob Eades

Well, like Facebook, I think everyone probably had, if you got 100 likes on a photo on Facebook, you'd be like, "Get in. This photo's gone down a storm."

- Milly

Nailed it.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, and you'd be like, to your mates, "God, your photos doing terribly." From 15 or whatever. So I suppose you do have that element of social justification and, yeah, a longing for it, but it wasn't anywhere near, obviously ... Well, obviously, it wasn't anywhere near what it is now for me.

- Bronagh

Yeah. Well, what was the turning point? Was it a conscious decision you made to use it as part of a business venture, or was it more a hobby?

- Rob Eades

Yeah, it was more a hobby, for sure. I was actually living with a friend when I'd just started at drama ... No, no. Oh, maybe it was when I just started drama school that I started the Instagram. Must have been. Yeah, so it was January a few years ago, two years ago. Yeah, anyway. No, it can't have been. No, that's right, yeah, because I was living at home in Tumbridge Wells and commuting to drama school, and then I moved in with a friend who lived in Clapham for a bit, and he was doing job applications. He's in advertising, and he was doing job applications and I was cooking for us every day, and he was like, "Oh, you should do an Instagram with your recipes," because at time, from what it started was we'd just go to Sainsbury's at 3:30, which is when the reduced food comes out, and pick out whatever and then I'd cook with it. Because it was like I could pretty much, whatever was there, I'd be like, "Okay, I can do something with it."

So that was the original thing, was getting reduced food and then creating recipes that cost less than £2, and then it quickly became evident that that's all well and good, but people can't copy that because you never know what's going to be reduced.

- Milly

Oh, yeah, I didn't even think about that bit.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. So people were messaging me like, "Yeah, this is a great recipe, but then lamb chops normally cost £5." I was like, "Yeah, but I got them for 99p." And they're like-

- Milly

So keep an eye out.

- Rob Eades

... "Yeah, well, that's great for you, but I don't know why you're sharing." I was like, "That's a really good point." So, yeah, then I started doing it with just other food. And then I started posting the recipes and it just took off a bit really. And then, suddenly, you get brands being like, "Oh, do you want to work on this thing?" or, "Do you want to work on that thing?" And I actually fell foul to ... When I first started getting offers from brands, I was just like taking everything, because it's like, "Oh, my God, as if they're offering me £200 to-

- Milly

Freebies.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. At the time you're like, "Oh, amazing," and then you start to realise that, actually, suddenly it's become ... "This isn't what I wanted it to be and this is just suddenly loads of brands on my page," which hit the page for at least a few months. My interaction went down and I was like, "What's going on here?" And then when you step back and think, "Oh, okay, people really don't want to see all of this crap that I'm posting," and now it's got back to ... Well, it got back to what it originally was meant to be a while ago now.

And then the fitness side came into it ... I was always doing fitness stuff on it, but never really doing workout videos, which I started doing recently and they're going down really well, which is so nice. It's crazy how it's such an amazing, lovely tool, Instagram and Facebook, and all of the press and parenting and everything screams, "It's dangerous. Don't use it. Don't do stuff with it."

Weirdly, I just did an ebook. So really sadly, my little cousin was killed in Bolivia earlier this summer, in June, and since then, my auntie's been supporting a charity called Football Beyond Borders, which they basically help kids who are potentially at risk of getting booted out of education because they're not motivated to be at school and they're not doing anything that they're enjoying. So it tries to give them another angle to look at things from, whether that's football, or whether that's, I don't know, creating fashion pieces or listening to otherwise successful people from their area, whatever it may be.

So my auntie's been supporting that, so I thought I'd do a little charity ebook to go along with the start of Freshers' week. Freddie was due to go to Leeds. And so I released this ebook about two weeks ago, and it's raised three grand in two weeks-

- Bronagh

Amazing.

- Milly

Wow.

- Rob Eades

... which is amazing, and, for me, because it gives me goosebumps even saying it now.

- Milly

I've got them now, too.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, it's insane, and it's like this whole platform, the power of it is incredible if it's-

- Milly

Used in the right way.

- Rob Eades

If it's used in the right way. And people are humans at the end of it, at the end of the day, and human nature is actually, can be pretty nice and can be pretty standout and helpful. The amount of people that have messaged me lovely, lovely things, over the last few weeks especially, that have been just so warming and like, "Oh, that's so worth doing," and, "This is so nice." And, obviously, you do have people that message every now and again being like, "I don't know why you've done that," and, "This is rubbish," but it's got to be water off a duck's back really if you're in a lucky position like I am and there's however many thousands of people that follow you, and there's always going to be the odd bad apple trying to spoil the bunch.

But, yeah, I love it. It's such a useful, powerful tool.

- Milly

Yeah.

- Bronagh

Well, I think it's about taking a step back because I think sometimes people do things far too quickly, like our generation, we want everything now, everything needs to be convenient, everything needs to be free, everything needs ... I think we're at a danger of massively devaluing what people have to offer. I mean, the brilliant thing about social media was that it opened up information, we know so much more now, but then there's also this tendency where then people are so quick to rip things apart, and when you've got a mass audience and when you have thousands of followers, you have to remember you've got a responsibility. Everything you put out there is going to be either criticised or you're going to get positive feedback, and it's about just taking a step back sometimes, take a breath.

As I said before, not everything we do is perfect, and everybody is kind of learning in public. Because this is the thing, when you've got a big social media following, you might not necessarily be an expert in that field, but you remind that person who's reading your feed or looking at your images, you remind them of them. I'm always shocked at how quickly people do criticise people on social media. And I don't know whether that's just, again, because it's just so easy. It's like the keyboard warrior syndrome.

- Rob Eades

Completely, yeah.

- Milly

It's behind something, isn't it? So there's that barrier of not having to worry about them ... A lot of time, I feel like it's jealously though because they could have done that, but they didn't hit at the right time or whatever it is.

- Rob Eades

Exactly. I think that's the sad truth of it. A lot of it's, people trolling and that kind of thing, it's jealously or to cry out for attention, which in it's own way is actually quite ... And it's weird, but I kind of feel for people that are doing that because I'm like, well what have you got going on in your life that means that-

- Bronagh

You want to bring other people down?

- Rob Eades

Yeah, you want to just attack people and just sit behind a keyboard, and you're clearly not that happy with what's going on for you. But you're right though, there's a responsibility there that, it goes way above me, that you get 16 year old YouTubers with 10 million subscribers, and no one teaches you how to deal with that.

- Bronagh

No.

- Rob Eades

No way. And suddenly you get brands being like, "Okay, there's 400 grand to do a video about us," and if I'm 16 and someone offered me 400 grand to do something, I'm going to do it, no matter what it is.

- Bronagh

Well, that's it. I mean, a big part of it comes down to education, so I think that they're going to have to teach this to kids in school. They're going to have to teach them the power of social media, but, equally, the dangers around social media. And I do think that is happening more and more, and I know that there's people ... I'm pretty sure that CBBC or BBC Children, whatever, they're going to put in place this app that's going to be in children's phones.

- Rob Eades

Really good.

- Milly

Oh, great.

- Bronagh

Which is great because it'll hopefully stop bullying and access to dangerous information or whatever. But I think adults as well, we know we're not ... We don't know everything, and-

- Milly

We like to think we do.

- Bronagh

Yeah. Well, that's it.

- Rob Eades

Speak for yourself.

- Bronagh

But, I mean, I've worked in the industry now for, I'd say, about seven years, and I remember there was this explosion at one point where people were getting paid shit loads of money for these brand partnerships, and, as you said earlier, I mean, you're like, "Yeah, yeah, bring it on. Let's do this, let's do this." But if you're going to make a genuine, credible career in social media, you need longevity, and so as much as it would be so easy to say yes to everything, you have to consider, "Okay, how is this going to impact me long term?" I mean, trust is everything in social media, so if you start to just become a walking billboard, your audience are going to lose interest.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah, because you've got to still offer value, which also goes back to the ... I was thinking earlier, when we were talking about young people, there's this thing at the moment, young people want to be influencers. They don't even want to actors and singers, they want to be YouTubers and influencers, and the funny thing about influencing it's weird the way there's this stigma attached to the word, which I don't think there should be because you get people promoting Boombod or whatever it may be, which Instagram's actually just clamped down on, which is amazing. That's the first time it's-

- Milly

Thank goodness.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, thank God. It's the first time Instagram, well, to my knowledge, have actually taken some responsibility for what's on the platform because they're the only ones that can affect it anyway.

- Milly

They have to.

- Rob Eades

But, anyway, that's a can of worms that I don't want to go down.

- Bronagh

A whole other podcast.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah. Clearly doesn't bother me. Yeah, yeah, so for kids wanting to be a YouTuber or wanting to be an Instagramer, people that have a big following and create content that people enjoy is that they started doing something that, at the time, was like, "I'm interested in this. Maybe I'm quite good at this. And I'm just going to create some content about it." And then they got a load of followers because they were passionate about what they were doing in the first place. And now, if you go into this game and think, "I want to be a YouTuber," it's the wrong way round and it can never work. It's got to be like, "Okay, I've got a passion for," I don't know, let's say, "Football tricks, like keepy uppies, and I can do amazing stuff, and I practice, and I practice, and I practice, I'm so good at it," then people want to see that you can do that because that's what's entertaining.

- Milly

It's also their passion, so then it comes across as a passion, rather than a way to get famous.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. And then you can create the content for the first two years when no one's looking at you and no one cares what you're doing, and then, yeah, maybe it'll take off and then, suddenly, you're creating content that you would have created anyway, and you were passionate about and you enjoyed doing. But if you're trying to kid yourself and do something you're not passionate about, there's no way that people are going to buy into it.

- Bronagh

No.

- Bronagh

Do you have someone in your life that's like a sounding board or someone you get advice from in terms of your social media career?

- Rob Eades

Yeah, a few people. I mean, my girlfriend's good because she's got more followers than me. She's sort of-

- Bronagh

Competition.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, she's got more followers than me.

- Milly

"I'm the better influencer."

- Rob Eades

It's really depressing. No, she is a fashion designer, so her page took off because she was just doing fashion, which she loves, and-

- Bronagh

And her designs are beautiful.

- Rob Eades

Yeah.

- Bronagh

I've seen them.

- Rob Eades

They are beautiful, yeah, yeah. She's incredible. And, yeah, so I put a lot of stuff past her. My manager's great, which is another odd thing in this world of when you speak to brands, they're like, "Yeah, but I don't really want to speak to managers because they're difficult," mine's great. She's so on the ball. She's so quick to be like, "No, don't do that. It's a waste of time. This'll be good for your page." And things outside of my page. For me, presenting stuff or a recipe book, that kind of thing, she's so onboard with and pushes me with, and helps me with, even though that's not necessarily something that'll go through my management company. Which is massive because if she was someone that was pushing me just to take money and do things, I probably would because it's like you don't know what the right thing to do is, ever really. And especially because the majority of my time I work on my businesses, really, not my Instagram.

- Bronagh

What are your businesses?

- Rob Eades

That's a good question. So I've got a digital marketing agency, and then, recently, I've started working on ... So my uncle has glasses cases, he makes glass cases, which are made of aerospace grade aluminum, and they're forged and they're beautiful. It's called Ayres London. Little shout out there. Yeah, it's called Ayres London-

- Bronagh

Got to get that in.

- Rob Eades

... check it out. So I'm helping him with that, particularly more so since Freddie died, so it's quite a nice way to expend some energy into family and help them do that. Yeah, so they're my main things, and then, obviously, presenting stuff, acting stuff. I'm doing a show at the moment, which is on-

- Milly

Is that The Museum?

- Rob Eades

Museum Pieces.

- Milly

Museum Pieces, that's it, yeah.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, Museum Pieces, which is on all week this week. I think it's actually ... There might be some tickets left tonight, but I think, otherwise, it's sold out, so there's no point me plugging that one, which is great, but then that means, obviously, I'm learning lines, I'm rehearsing, and I do a lot of travel with work and without work, so it just means that time wise, I don't have time to really manage myself in a way.

- Bronagh

I was going to say, how are you prioritising everything? Do you have something that's your main passion point, or are you very multi hyphenate?

- Rob Eades

Mmm, it's a good question. It literally varies from day to day, like one day, I'll wake up and be like, "I really want to do some food content." One day, I'll wake up and be like, "I really want to do some more acting stuff." So, yeah, it varies, which I love. I don't think I could really ... Well, now that I have this life of literally every single day, like this morning I'm on a podcast, and then probably go to the gym, and then I might do a recipe, I don't know. Every day is different really, which I love. So, I mean, if there was one thing that I'd be like, "Okay, that's the thing I want to do for the rest of my life," it'd be acting, 100%. That's my passion, that's what I love and what I get the most out of, mentally, for myself.

- Bronagh

When you go into auditions now, do they ask you about your social media?

- Rob Eades

That's a good question.

- Bronagh

Like, I wonder, because I know that in modeling particularly, social media has become really, really important. Is it the same in acting?

- Rob Eades

Then it's a double edged ... A double, what's the word? Not double-

- Milly

Edged sword?

- Rob Eades

... edged sword. Two birds with one stone.

- Milly

Oh, yeah.

- Bronagh

Exactly.

- Rob Eades

More than a double edged sword.

- Milly

Yeah, I was going to say.

- Rob Eades

Two completely opposite phrases there. Yeah, for modeling because it's like, okay, you do a shoot, they add the content, and then you can post the content on your Instagram. For ... It's a good question. For presenting stuff, some of the stuff I get and do is partially as a result of my following because it means I can post something at the end of it with the finished content, whether that's going on social or for, I don't know, I just did something for British Airways. So for them, it's like, "Great, okay, I can come and do this little travel documentary on wherever it was ... I don't know why I'm saying that as if I don't know where I was, in Italy. And then I'll post it on my Instagram.

Acting stuff, I mean, I don't know what producers look at or think about, but in the casting room, you'd never be asked about it.

- Bronagh

Okay.

- Rob Eades

But, weirdly, so for the acting stuff, it means that because I enjoy everything else I'm doing, I go into the casting room and I'm excited about it. I'm not thinking, "I really, really need to get this, please," because if I don't get it, I'm like, "Okay, cool, I'll go back to doing all the other stuff I enjoy doing," which does make the whole of that acting game a lot easier to handle because it's a tough one.

92% of actors are unemployed at any one time, so if you want to be an actor, it generally means that you're not going to work very much, which, if you're working in a pub or you're ... I don't know, some people might enjoy working in a pub. I'm not saying that's a bad job to do, but I'm saying it can probably be pretty grueling at times, and then when you get an audition for the next Netflix series, and you go into the room and you're like, "Please get this. My life will be so much better if I get this," it probably puts so much pressure on you that in that casting room you're not as good as you probably could be. So I'm lucky to have that. Having said that, I haven't got the next big Netflix series yet, so ...

- Milly

Stay tuned everyone.

- Rob Eades

So, yeah, stay tuned. So any producers from Netflix out there, I'm yours.

- Bronagh

No, I remember seeing a deck once from a big TV conference, and I think Netflix, they basically did an experiment where everyone who was in the cast had a massive social media following, just so they could test is this the way forward? Is this the way ... Because I mean, Netflix, whilst they've absolutely catapulted into ...

- Milly

Stratosphere.

- Rob Eades

Stratosphere.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Milly

Snap.

- Rob Eades

Jinx.

- Bronagh

Even, I think, they still struggle. They're still trying to compete with everybody else, and so, I mean, I think there is a danger there that they're so algorithm driven, that then talent almost becomes second chair, whereas a business like BBC, it's always talent first and you just hope that-

- Rob Eades

Yeah, it's old school in the extreme.

- Bronagh

But it's the same with social media. People went from thinking that you need mass audience to have mass success, and you don't, because I think trying to appeal to a mass market constantly, you're just going on ...

- Rob Eades

Yeah.

- Milly

Sometimes micro is way more important because that-

- Rob Eades

Completely. And spreading it across more people that have a different range of followers.

- Milly

But they're engaged as well because a lot of the big people, like as much as Kylie Jenner has millions of followers, her audience aren't there to shop her stuff because most of it's unobtainable anyway.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Milly

But they're not that engaged with what's she actually doing.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, it's unrelatable.

- Milly

Yeah, exactly.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, true. It's an interesting one. I think as well, for Netflix, or Sky Atlantic, there's so much content being created now. If you look at ads everywhere there's a new, "This is the big new series," literally every week. It's insane.

- Bronagh

Yeah, their outgoings must be ...

- Rob Eades

Insane.

- Milly

I don't want to know.

- Bronagh

Sickening.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, literally.

- Milly

Don't want to know.

- Rob Eades

I've got quite lucky in that I've kind of got in with Now TV and Sky, so when they have premieres of dramas, I tend to get invited, which obviously for me as an actor, I'm like, "This is the best thing ever."

- Bronagh

Amazing.

- Rob Eades

Literally. I met Dame Helen Mirren the other day.

- Bronagh

Aww.

- Rob Eades

But, yeah, I mean, I don't know what the numbers are behind it, but for them, if you think how big their advertising budgets are and you see it everywhere, the actor doesn't need to have a million followers on Instagram because there's going to be 50 million people seeing it anywhere on their ads, their TV ads, their Instagram ads, it's everywhere. On buses, everywhere. Catherine the Great is a good example. I've seen it everywhere. It's on in the middle of primetime TV, bang, there's another advert for it. But then, yeah, I mean, for people making smaller films, and short films, and lower budget things, it makes complete sense to hire someone that can help you promote it really.

- Bronagh

I almost feel it's, from a talent perspective, it's like you can't live and die by your social media. You have to exist in real life. You have to exist offline. And it's the same for brands. Don't expect that by working with one content creator that that's your whole ad campaign. And you've seen it happen before, I mean, I have, behind the scenes where a publisher will give someone a six figure deal for a book and then be like, "Right, they're just going to promote it on their feeds and we're going sell loads of copies."

- Rob Eades

And then it flops.

- Bronagh

And it flops because that has to be one part of the pie and for a talent. I do think we are coming full circle. I think for a while everyone thought, "Right, I want to be an influencer. That's all I'm going to do. I'm just going to have a massive social media following and I'm going to make loads of money." It's like that needs to be one part of your career because-

- Rob Eades

That has to be as a result of something.

- Milly

Yeah.

- Bronagh

Yeah. You can't ... It's not a sustainable model to live off brand deals. You could maybe do that for a year and then, again, your audience drop off.

- Rob Eades

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

- Bronagh

Holly Willoughby, to use her as an example, she'll have great brand partnerships because she's on This Morning every morning.

- Rob Eades

Every morning, yeah, and she's just amazing.

- Bronagh

Well, yeah.

- Milly

Yeah, right? We love you.

- Bronagh

I think it's good to be active on social media and use it for the good that it can offer. Again, I think what you've done with your ebook is amazing, and I think ... And that's something that we try and do at The Influence Room as well, we try to put impact into a lot of our campaigns because it's one of the best platforms to spread a charitable message. But, yeah, I think for anyone who wants to get into the influencer game, it's using social media for what it is, but also existing as a real person, with real passions and real ...

- Rob Eades

I also think everyone ... It sounds like a ... On my side of the fence is very aware of that. Instagram's only going to last a certain amount of time, and that could be 10 years, it could be three years, I don't know. There might be something that comes along that suddenly blows it out of the water. And everyone's very aware of having, "Okay, so this why people follow me on Instagram. How can I make that solid in the real world?" And you see with verification, it's like getting a blue tick, you have to have a mainstream thing that you're, A, in media for, B, popular for, that means you're verified by Instagram as, okay, this person is a talent outside of Instagram, or Twitter or whatever it may be. And, yeah, in terms of longevity of career, I mean, what it is, is an incredible platform to open doors. I mean, for example-

- Bronagh

It's a conversation starter.

- Rob Eades

It's a conversation starter, and you meet people that there's no way you'd ever ... At this Catherine the Great thing, I had a chat with Cameron Roach, who's the head of drama at Sky. So as an actor, me saying that, there's actors out there listening who'd be like, "As if you got to meet him and have a chat with him," and it was irrelevant of my acting that I got to meet him and have a chat with him, but it opens doors. It's insane the sort of things I've got to do. I often will be pinching myself where I am. Even sat chatting on a podcast about me, I'm like, "It's me. It's not that interesting."

- Milly

I'm just content.

- Rob Eades

Well, exactly. Why am I here really? But it's crazy the amount of things you get to do and experiences you get to do outside of your Instagram, and it's about taking those opportunities and making them last that means you have a longevity of career outside of what you're doing on Instagram.

- Bronagh

What are your goals for 2020? What do you have coming up?

- Milly

That's a big question.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah. I really want to get a recipe book out. It's odd, this ebook has sort of served as bit of a water tester for me.

- Milly

Like a tester.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. A litmus test to see whether there's a sort of appetite for me to do a book. And that's another thing that's come off the back of it. Loads of people have messaged me these incredible things, like, "When are you going to get a book out? When are you going to get a book out?" And then I've had a couple of chats with publishers, which are great, exciting. I kind of want it to be fitness and food though, so I need to actually put together my pitch date for it, and I've met a couple of incredibly helpful people who've given me really good advice about it, particularly Ben Lebus, who runs-

- Bronagh

Oh.

- Rob Eades

... MOB Kitchen.

- Bronagh

Yeah.

- Rob Eades

Is he coming on, or ...

- Milly

He's not, but we've got an event with him.

- Bronagh

We've got an event with him in a few weeks.

- Milly

Oh, really?

- Bronagh

You should come.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

- Milly

Yeah, for his veggie cookbook.

- Rob Eades

Right, yeah. He's such a good bloke. Literally, he's been so, so good to me and helpful to me, and also helped me promote the ebook.

- Milly

Oh, great.

- Rob Eades

And his page is just incredible.

- Milly

Oh, yeah.

- Rob Eades

It's incredible. I love it.

- Milly

Makes me hungry.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, literally. We were chatting about that. I was like, "Mate, I'm running out of recipes." He was like, "Oh, God, me too." But, yeah, his content's amazing. But, yeah, where was I going with that?

 - Bronagh

So you've got, hopefully, book next year.

- Rob Eades

Hopefully book next year. I'd love to do a book next year. Presenting stuff's picking up, which is great. I just did something for BBC Food, which was amazing, which I'll be posting over the next week, and they've started posting on their page. This presenting thing for British Airways, amazing. I want to do more of that, for sure. And then the ongoing thing's always the acting. It's like, okay, all these other things are great, and they are great and it's not me going, "Oh, yeah, that's great, but …” They're great. I love them, and I'd love for them to keep going on and get bigger and grow. And, hopefully, yeah, I'll get some acting stuff. It's exciting.

- Bronagh

It's really exciting.

- Milly

Amazing.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, I never really stop and think, "Okay, next year ... And I think, also ... Sorry, it's going off on a tangent. I'm really bad at stopping and thinking, "Okay, where was I a year ago? Where have I come to from a year ago?" And that's why Facebook Memories or Instagram things will come up and be like, "This was your post a year ago," I'm like, "Jesus Christ, that feels like an age ago, and how much has changed since then and how much positive stuff has happened? How far has life come since then?" And I think, probably, in a year's time, I'll probably have the same thing. I'll look back and be like, "Oh, my God, as if I managed to do this, and this, and this."

And it's easy to sit down and be like, "Oh, I'm not doing enough. Why haven't I got a book out yet? Why am I not presenting BBC Breakfast?" I don't know, it's easy to compare yourself with what other people are doing. Or Ben's a great example. We have been chatting since he started MOB Kitchen and I started Lean Student Chef, so he had, probably, 2000 followers and I had, probably, about 200. And I remember he messaged me and was like, "Do you want to do one of our recipes and we'll do one of yours?" I was like, "Yeah, great, cool." And obviously his page is huge. He's exploded. He's had three books. He's smashing it on the food front. 

And it'd be easy for me to go, "Oh, my God, he's doing all this stuff. Why am I not doing that? Why am I not doing that?" But we're actually really different. He's all about the food. He creates incredible, incredible food. Mine's more about fitness, food, lifestyle. It's not quite as immediately selling itself to doing a recipe book from the get go. I do other stuff. I do presenting stuff, I do my businesses, whatever. So it'd be easy for me to compare myself with him and think, "Oh, my God, he's doing all this stuff," but you're actually better comparing yourself with you and being like, "Okay, where was I a year ago? Where have got to now?" with everything I'm trying to do. Yeah, so, yeah, 2020.

- Bronagh

Well, yeah. I mean, I guess that is another down, well, a negative of social media, is we do compare ourselves to lots of other people and we live in an age that is moving faster than ever. And I was actually chatting to my boyfriend last night about this. I think I'm trying to write things down more because it's actually like you ... Because we live in such a fast paced environment, you almost need to take every day with, "What have I achieved today?"

- Rob Eades

Yeah. And it sounds cringy in a way, but it's nice. It's nice to look back and be like ... Funnily, I kept a diary when I was traveling in South America, and looking back on it, I'm like, "I'm so glad I wrote these things these down." And also, I'm the same, I write everything down in a notebook, rather than just notes on my phone. I think because then it's concrete and you actually do ... Because you flick through it to find what you're doing today, and you're like, "Oh, yeah, I remember doing that. Oh, yeah, oh, I forgot about that. Oh, I'm going to pick up on that." And it's important to have those little flag posts of things you've been doing.

- Bronagh

Yeah, a little pat on the back.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah. It is, yeah.

- Milly

I love a good notebook and a pen.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- Milly

Old school.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly.

- Bronagh

So to wrap up, can you tell all our listeners, one, can we still buy your ebook and where?

- Rob Eades

Yeah. So it's on my ... In my bio, there's a link for the Just Giving page, and then if you donate ... It's a minium donation of £2, so basically it's costing you £2, unless you're very generous and want to donate some more, which I'm sure you all are.

- Milly

Please do.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. So the link's in my thing, and it's 20 of my favorite recipes. All of them cost less than £2 to make and they're very easy to make. And, yeah, all proceeds go to Football Beyond Borders. So go get that. And my Instagram is @leanstudentchef, which is pretty self explanatory.

- Milly

I have one question.

- Rob Eades

Yeah?

- Milly

What is your ultimate favorite recipe?

- Rob Eades

To be honest, it's probably, I did a sort of Mexican brunch hash the other day, which is haloumi, potatoes, cumin, paprika, onions and then two fried eggs on top.

- Bronagh

Oh, yum.

- Milly

I mean, that sounds incredible.

- Rob Eades

Yeah. I mean, it was good. I was a bit hungover and, boy, was it good.

- Milly

Oh, perfect hangover food.

- Bronagh

Sorted you right out.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly. That's in the book by the way.

- Milly

So go get it.

- Rob Eades

Yeah, exactly.

- Bronagh

Well, Rob, you've been such a joy to chat to.

- Rob Eades

Thank you for having me.

- Bronagh

Really enjoying everything that you're doing, and I think you're a real inspiration to lots of people out there, so, yeah, thank you for coming on the podcast.

- Rob Eades

Thank you very much for having me both of you.

- Milly

Thank you.

- Rob Eades

Bye.

- Milly

Bye.

- Bronagh

Thank you so much for listening to The Influence Room podcast. If you want to learn more about the site, you can follow us on Instagram @theinfluenceroom, and check out our website and become a member, if you're not already. We are really excited to hear about what you're doing, what you're passionate about, the stories you want to tell, and become part of the Contra Economy.

 

 

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