How much would you pay for a personal message from “Chocolate Rain” singer Tay Zonday? What about a video mash note from former *NSYNC member Lance Bass? Or from Bella Thorne, Omarion, Drake Bell or Pres. Trump’s second ex-wife Marla Maples? If the answer is $20 — or $350 for former NFL star Terrell Owens — then Cameo is the thing for you. The site, profiled in The New York Times on Wednesday (Aug. 1), has been offering celeb-hungry fans the chance to pay for a personalized message from their favorite faded pop star, viral video flash-in-the-pan, athlete, reality TV figure. And Dennis Rodman.
The site was founded several years ago by former LinkedIn account exec Steven Galanis, along with co-founder/former Microsoft engineer Devon Townsend and producer/NFL agent Martin Blencowe. The range of stars (many of which are B-, C- and Z-list) available for this unique twist on a paid appearance ranges from Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky ($20) to gossip blogger Perez Hilton ($25.25), “Friday” singer Rebecca Black ($30), Jackass‘ Bam Margera ($40), Real Housewives‘ Gizelle Bryant ($45), YouTuber Todrick Hall ($50), Harry Potter star Tom Felton ($100), Bass ($125), YouTuber Jake Paul ($200) and ex-Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee ($250), among many others; click here to see the full list.
The setup is pretty easy: You pick the celebrity you want to hear from and fill out a form that asks who the video is for, provide your phone number and email and instructions for what you want the star to say, and he or she promises to respond within a few days. The “personalized video shoutouts” are part of Cameo’s stated mission to “create the most authentic and memorable fan experiences in the world,” whether it’s a birthday wish, a roast of your pal’s fantasy team, hype for an upcoming event or just a simple “hello” from a familiar face.
The celebs can, of course, turn down the opportunity if the request is too “confusing, difficult, or not in line with an athlete’s or influencer’s image.” As noted by the Times, some Cameo video-makers are better than others, with singer Ryan Cabrera coming off as somewhat awkward and stiff in his beachfront messages, while Paul’s shaky bar mitzvah and “chase your dream” shouts capture his over-caffeinated persona. RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jaymes Mansfield nails it, though, by channeling Marilyn Monroe for a sweet “Happy Birthday” clip and putting plenty of attitude and signature squeaks into her effort.