How To Become A Social Media Star: Adam Waheed Shares His Secrets

Adam WaheedPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

Photography: Storm Santos
Styling- Veronica Graye

Adam Waheed is one of the top influencers in America right now, who has used his social media platform to do good — for both himself and the world at large. His timely new film,Tribes, is the first of its kind to feature every type of race and gender… and is already acquiring Oscar buzz.

In Tribes, a timely and comedic short film in which he stars and produced, chronicles three guys of different ethnicities who rob a train car. Its overall message is that despite our differences, we are all more alike at heart than we realize.  The film has made the rounds in the festival circuit achieving great acclaim; it was an official selection for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Sonoma International Film Festival amongst others, and won Best Short Film at Just For Laughs- Eat My Shorts.

But Waheed’s success didn’t happen overnight — not by a long shot. After finding himself repeatedly being typecast due to the lack of roles available for people of color, he took matters into his own hands, and started producing his own content on social media, and has since become one of the most successful to do so. In just a little over 2 years, he has accumulated over 1 billion views across his platforms, and has gone on to become a national spokesperson for Instagram, Old Spice and T-Mobile.  

Philanthropy is also a tremendous part of his work. In February of this year he traveled to Bali, in partnership with Karmgawa, and unveiled a new school for underprivileged children see here. He was able to finance the school by encouraging his followers to donate — and beautiful and very modern way to capitalize on his digital footprint and pave the way for a better world.
Adam WaheedPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

As an actor you found that you were typecast, and provided with limited opportunity so you began creating your own content online. How has this transformed you as a performer?

It forced me to expand my creativity, and showed me that I had many more abilities and skills than just solely acting.

A strong digital footprint is essential these days… How did you grow such a large following and what advice do you have for others who are looking to increase their own following?

For me, it came down to consistency and creativity. I would advise others to just start by going for it instead of waiting for the perfect time to do it. Also, be passionate about what you’re creating or else you will burn out.

Your content has acquired over 1 billion views across all of your platforms. How did you accomplish that? Is there a unique algorithm or an inside tip for maximizing viewership or engagement when it comes to social media?

The viewership and engagement I’ve acquire was achieved through setting a standard of making each one of my videos better than the last. There isn’t necessarily any algorithm or tips/tricks. For me, it really just comes down to passion and consistency.

Adam WaheedPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

Your short film “TRIBES” has achieved great success in the festival circuit, and is timely considering all that is going on in our world. What can you tell us about it?

The biggest message to takeaway from TRIBES is unity. No matter how you separate people based upon age, gender, race, and ethnicity, we are all connected. This is what makes us humans and allows us to understand all that we have in common.

“TRIBES” is already getting Oscar buzz… How does that make you feel considering your unique journey?

It makes me feel really happy because it shows me that my story can inspire other people like myself, who were in a similar position or faced limitations when they started off.

Adam WaheedPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

Do you think Hollywood has changed or made any progress towards being more inclusive?

I think Hollywood is moving in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

How has the digital shift impacted you as an actor? Why should key Hollywood execs pay attention to your following and your content on social media?

I feel like it has given me an opportunity to reach out to a much broader audience. Hollywood execs should pay attention because I’ve garnered and engaged an audience who expect premium content. The fact I can deliver that on such a limited scale goes to show how much of a greater impact I can make on a larger scale in traditional Hollywood.

As an actor, who are you most influenced or impacted by?

One of the people who has always inspired me and is in a similar career path is Adam Sandler.

Adam WaheedPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

You used Instagram to raise money for a school in Bali. How did you go about doing this?

I collaborated with a friend of mine named Timothy Sykes and Bali Children’s Project. We were able to use my platform to raise money to build and sustain an elementary school for 195 kids in Bali, Indonesia

Do you have plans to give back in other philanthropic ways?

Yes, I plan on building thousands of more schools across the world. Education is the most important thing, and it is our responsibility to give less fortunate kids the same basic opportunities we have available here in America.

Adam WaheedPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and what would you wish to impart on your younger self knowing what you know now?

I would tell my younger self to not delay, and just go for the things I want to do. I would often wait for a perfect moment, and I would make excuses that led to procrastination. I wish I would have never made excuses. There’s never a perfect time to begin something… The best thing to do is to just jump into the fire and figure it out along the way.

What’s next for Adam Waheed in 2021?

To achieve my goals of being the biggest comedic actor, director, and writer in Hollywood.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Having the ability to reach millions of people with my content every day… It’s so rewarding to be able to have a positive impact on people’s moods.