By Sammy Jaye
You probably have seen Josh Sadowski, known as LaughwithJosh on TikTok, and his wide-ranging content from comedy sketches to showcasing his musical talents.. In this very special interview, the 247 met with Josh at VidCon and got a peek into the reality of being an influencer: the good, the bad and the ugly.
The247: How has your VidCon been so far?
Josh Sadowski: This is actually my second VidCon. I came here in 2019. It was so much fun. This year feels really calm, but extremely enjoyable. I feel like the community's growing. There's a lot of networking opportunities. So it's been a lot of fun.
The247: The adrenaline here at VidCon is palpable, especially since it’s the first VidCon in three years. What was the anticipation like for you leading up to this event?
Josh Sadowski: In 2019, I was really stressed just about safety in general, and I think 2019, there was a lot of chaos, and a lot of people. 2022 just feels really calm and organized. I feel like everyone's having a good time. There hasn't been any drama that I’m aware of.
The247: Being a content creator is a full-time job and balancing being in your young twenties, having a full-time job and keeping your mental sanity in check with social media is tough. How do you deal with that balance?
Josh Sadowski: It has been something that has taken a while to figure out, for sure…Mental health has been something I've spoken about pretty often, because I took a year and a half off and I'm very open about it. I partied and networked for an entire year in LA and I had never been to parties before. I was originally from Maryland and lived in Missouri most of my life. And I feel like I got trapped in this cycle of not feeling like I had time to myself, and now I feel like it's such a perfect balance, because I'm building out my team and I'm learning to hand off a lot of the responsibilities and giving myself time to be able to decompress, to be able to meditate, to be able to go to the gym, to be able to have a healthy diet, to be able to take a second to take a little breather when I need to, you know what I mean?
The247: Self care is so important.
Josh Sadowski: I feel like my advice to others who are dealing with finding balance and wanting to take a break is, you can take a break for your mental health, but also remember the importance of having to let go of some of the responsibilities and trusting other people to do things for you. If that's getting an agent, a manager, hiring a team, an assistant, whatever you need to help you succeed and expand, then you can do that and you have to have that faith. It's a learning process. Everything's a learning process.
The247: You've also been creating music, what has that experience been like for you?
Josh Sadowski: it has been the most therapeutic thing in the world. It's been amazing. I've always been a writer. I would write poetry when I was a little kid and just had fun with it. My mom is actually an opera singer, and she's been in ministry since she moved to the United States from Merida Yukatán Mexico. I'm half Latino as well, and I grew up with a musical family, but I forgot when I was doing social media too what my passion was. I wanted to use social media to express myself and be able to get to a point to make music, but then I got trapped in it. And I think that's another thing too, people forget what their true passion is.
The247: What do you love about collaboration?
Josh Sadowski: What I love about collaboration, especially in music, is getting to hear someone else's perspective on how to tell a story. I feel like everybody's creative in their own way and everybody has their own talents, and I feel like, especially in music, I might have a way I want to tell the story, but someone else, they have their own authentic way of expressing themselves, and it doesn't always match up, but it's still fun…And everybody respects each other enough to know we can work on a project, we can work on that project for four hours, and might never be released, but we're exercising our brain and our muscles and having fun and inspiring each other.
The247: I think that's the beauty of collaboration. Social media can be so isolating if you're doing it just yourself, but there's something so wonderful about being able to work with others.
Josh Sadowski: I feel like also having that external motivation, it's very inspiring.
The247: Amazing. What's the best piece of advice you've received that sticks with you?
Josh Sadowski: The best piece of advice that I've received. That is a tough question.I would have to say, actually, staying true. My parents always used to say this to me and I feel like I've been hearing it more and more from different mentors, is trusting your thoughts. Trusting the power of your thoughts, embracing your ideas, your creativity, and your talent, and letting it flourish and working on building that. You can trust other people's opinions, but trusting your gut and trusting what makes you happy and what makes you feel like you're growing and you're excited about, trusting that is always going to push you through because you're channeling that energy to succeed and be creative.
The247: Something that's so interesting about being here at VidCon is that so many people have such different definitions of success. How do you personally define success?
Josh Sadowski: Success is when you don't have to be a different version of yourself. Not just in person or at events or on your socials, when you can authentically express yourself. I feel like success is defined by the peace that you have at heart. Obviously you need money to succeed and numbers reflect a lot. We live in a world, especially on social media, where we're constantly validated by numbers and what's brought in. But at the end of the day, your happiness matters, and also that you're investing in your audience too. You feel like they're happy because you're being authentic.
The247: What would you say the most difficult part about being a creator is that isn't talked about, that you've found in your personal experience?
Josh Sadowski: I would say being a creator in general, I think it's definitely evolving and finding those channels, like going into the music or changing up my content after you get comfortable with something. It's really scary, but again, that leap of faith and you have to. Those risks I took back in 2019 and 2020 helped me get so far, and then I stopped taking those risks and I got comfortable. I think feeling uncomfortable but feeling inspired when you're uncomfortable is a good thing.
The247: Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. That's what I say.
Josh Sadowski: Exactly. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. And so I feel like that. One thing I will say in LA though, is if you're in the entertainment industry and you're moving to LA, if you're ready to take that risk, you've saved up your money, and you're ready to network do not get trapped in the partying and the drug abuse. I feel like a lot of people don't talk about it. It's actually an insane issue.
The247: Let's talk about it.
Josh Sadowski: Walking into a party where you're at a $35 million mansion in the Hills, there's a whole bunch of adults, there's also a whole bunch of teenage girls and boys, and everybody's using and abusing different substances, really bad ones, constantly. And a lot of these kids don't have family to protect them. They just moved out to LA. They're being manipulated by many... I've seen many managers, agents, and individuals. That's also why I started a company with my friend, Owen. Owen told me about this passion project and we're creating this safe environment for people to be safe from the drug abuse and the sexual harassment that goes on in the industry.
The247: What you guys are doing is amazing.
Josh Sadowski: And I feel like a lot of people don't realize it actually is so prevalent. It's really sad and worse now than it ever has been. …Back in the old Hollywood days you were either making it to the top or you were pretty much at the top, I feel. It was entertainment, music, and film. Now in social media, there's so many different niches and categories, and there's also thousands of people every single week coming to LA, moving to LA, chasing their dream or their passion on social media, so you have so many more people that are getting exposed to this constantly, because there's also so much more money that's easily accessible through brand campaigns and monetization. So it's so easy to go down that path when you don't have the right people around you.
The247: For people who are going through substance abuse or struggling to get themselves help, do you have any advice for those people?
Josh Sadowski: If you’re struggling with substance abuse, there are resources that can help. And remember you’re not alone. try to surround yourself with friends that are supportive and want to see you grow and heal and don’t want to tear you down.
The247: And support you and want you to be the best version of yourself.
Josh Sadowski: Exactly, when you're with your friends and you feel like you're receiving and giving energy instead of feeling drained. I feel like that's the problem, people get so trapped while they're at all these social events, they're at all these parties, all these shallow interactions, and you lose your energy. And when you lose your energy, you lose your creativity and you lose your peace of mind... My anxiety got so much worse when I moved to LA. So much worse, and it's just now getting better. My advice is staying true to yourself and listening to your voice and surrounding yourself with the right people, because you become who you hang out with.
The247: Trust your gut too.
Josh Sadowski: Trust your gut. Your gut is not wrong…Fulfill your purpose, follow that passion…I feel like I've found so much peace and happiness in the past couple months, it's unbelievable. And I feel like I've just been sharing that with so many friends who are really struggling. And then having those deep conversations with people and connecting with people. If you feel like you're also in an amazing place, share that with people in your community, because people are hurting. The creator community, it's very hard. A lot of people think it's an easy industry. It's not. Especially if you're doing it full time and you're trying to grow your audience and expand your brand. It is not easy. It's 24/7.
The247: I appreciate you talking about this part, because this is stuff that isn't discussed.
Josh Sadowski: Nobody talks about it.
The247: Thank you for putting this message out there and hopefully it can reach some people and people can relate to what you're talking about. And thank you for just sharing your story with me.
Josh Sadowski: Of course. And thank you for having me on. I always love having these conversations. And again, if anyone, like I said earlier, my name's Josh Sadowski, if someone literally wants to DM me, if they're struggling, need help, I'm here. That's another thing too, don't feel afraid to have these conversations. Be open.