GoTrend Interviews: Brad Jay!

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Exclusive Interview with Presenter, Model, Ambassador and many other phenomenal titles, Brad Jay, sits down with us and answers a few questions about himself.

By: Sahl-Ahmed Karim (@Sahl_Karim)

While waiting in the reception area of the Clubhouse for Brad Jay, I noticed him arriving as well an energetic elderly lady who had noticed his arrival too, who whispered to her friend “There’s the face of this Estate”

Sipping on a skinny cappuccino on the Clubhouse balcony at the breathtaking Eagle Canyon Estate, Down-to-earth Brad Jay dressed in black denim pants that is neatly tucked into a caramel high top boot with a plain tan coloured t-shirt and a black & grey leather jacket, with a James Dean inspired hairstyle, answers some of our questions.

The questions ranged from Brad’s full name, to achievements, to his hobbies and interests, to his education and experiences, to his personal goals and future aspirations.

We began the interview with asking Brad Jay what is his full name, laughingly Brad says that there is a reason why his name is called “Brad Jay”, it is his media name and nobody know his full name! Mysterious much! Brad goes onto saying that is easier to pronounce and it happened because of Television. Explaining how Brad Jay came about, he tells us that Jay is his second name, so it is Brad Jay and then his surname but his surname had fallen away once he had started with TV and once the newspapers started writing about him, it was just Brad Jay and since then it has just being Brad Jay.Screenshot_2014-08-10-02-45-21-1

We went onto asking Brad about his hobbies and interests, when Brad has free time, which is very seldom, Brad likes to enjoy wakeboarding at his holiday home which is situated on the Vaal River. One of Brad’s true passions is fitness and gym training and he trains as much as he can and considers being really lucky to have it as his full-time job so that it does not feel like work at all to him. Besides, hosting a television show, he absolutely loves training, he loves the health industry, he loves anything that has to do with something outdoors, anything strenuous such as urbanathlons and warrior races. Brad along with some friends and fellow celebrities will be participating in this year’s Warrior Race which is scheduled to take place in September at the Hartebeesport Dam. All the best Brad!

The next part of the interview had my jaw dropped and envious of Brad, i ask him about his achievements and in all honesty, i think that i might have found my mentor! So what are Brad Jay’s greatest Achievements? Brad Jay was South Africa’s youngest radio presenter who started out and had his own radio show at the age of fifteen years old. Obviously, he was still in school and had his own show on which he had interviewed a few celebrities, coming back from school, in his school uniform and being on radio hosting a four hour radio show every Friday night, basically that is where he had started, that is where his love for the entertainment industry had started too. Brad’s father had started the first radio station in South Africa, Springbok radio, and the radio station was underneath their house which was in Auckland Park near the SABC studios, Brad goes onto saying “I literally was born into the media industry, however when my dad was behind the scenes as a producer I was in front wanting to be involved with entertainment.” Basically, he had grown up in his father’s footsteps which lead him to the entertainment field. Brad had to finish his studies, not university studies but rather his school studies, adjusting himself in his seat, Brad proudly admits “well, my parents were like it is all good and well with the radio show but you got to get an education behind you so I had finished school and then from there it transitioned to television and that is when I became a television presenter.”

IMG_20140810_050919_edit-1Brad had studied at the University of Johannesburg and graduated with a marketing degree and thereafter went on to studying personal fitness training and exercise science and qualified as a personal fitness trainer and health & wellness trainer. In addition, Brad has done a lot of qualifications in television and media studies so that would be able to enhance his presenting skills. With a serious tone in his voice, Brad mentions “I just knew that it was a good idea to have an education or something behind you which you could add to your CV in order to better your career and your future.”

Moreover Brad believes that by having a degree it teaches you a different way of thinking so he thought that a marketing degree would suit him best because even though he did not want to work for a corporate company, he thought that he could brand himself as a brand in South Africa because he knows being a model here is very different to overseas, Brad further goes onto saying “it is not likeNew York, Milan or Paris where you are on the ramp and you get recognized from a Calvin Klein billboard, the market is not like that here in South Africa and I knew that from a young age and that encouraged me to be tough-skinned. Also, I realized that you have to become a brand in this country and at the end of the day it is “Me (Pty) Ltd” and by having a marketing degree, I essentially marketed myself throughout the years on social media and through various sponsors. “

After falling in love with fitness and health, Brad had realized that it was his passion and decided to study personal training and take it further and that is when it had all dawned upon him that he has got a marketing degree so why not start his own company? That is when the magic had sparked, and that was the inception of Brad Jays Elite Fitness (BJEF) (Pty.) Ltd and from there Brad had registered his own company which was about a year ago. Essentially, BJEF is a personal fitness training service which is offered to a wide and high clientele, like a lot of Brad’s celebrity friends and residents of the breathtaking Eagle Canyon Estate. With a sudden spark in Brad’s eyes, Brad exclaims “I love the fitness industry so much and it is definitely something which I really enjoy and live for daily, if you see my Instagram pictures you will notice that most of my pictures of myself are half-naked and that is because I promote my lifestyle as a fitness trainer and that is part of my image which is aligned with my brand.” GoTrendSA will testify to that statement at any point in human existence!

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Having promoted himself on social networks and Television, Brad Jay had become a star amongst stars and this was when various sponsors had approached him. One of these amazing sponsors is Dranged which is a clothing label based in South Africa, Brad was approached with the offer of being the company’s ambassador and you might wonder how this happened? Well, Brad was spotted on Instagram during a nationwide search for an ambassador, it was mirror “selfie” of himself wearing Dranged gear which had won him the spot …so taking “selfies” do pay off sometime or the other, as I grab my phone and click away! Brad considers this to be a founding moment in his career and the beginning of sponsorships for himself.

Coincidentally, while admiring Brad’s natural dark auburn hair, Brad tells us about another fantastic, friendly and brilliant sponsor, Pulse Salon, an intimate boutique hair salon which is a host to many other celebrities too. Brad has a contract with the salon to never cut his hair but that does not bother Brad at all as he proudly regards his hair to be a big part of his brand and image, with a slight swift of his styled hair, Brad energetically explains “I want my hair to be unique and different and not the usual styles, I am aiming for a James Dean inspired hairstyle!”, you’re almost there Brad!

Being known for his marvelous physique and well maintained abs, Brad gives us a small bicep flex and goes onto telling us about another sponsor, Cipla, with whom Brad has just renewed another year of being the brand’s ambassador. According to Brad, Cipla aims to appeal to a whole model market for providing legal and natural supplements and this where Brad plays a major role.Screenshot_2014-08-10-02-44-58-1

By now, I was already stunned and sitting in awe while envying this phenomenal being!

Furthermore, Brad strongly believes that hard work and commitment always pays off and that that might be one of his greatest achievements, being able to commit to hard work. Ultimately, Brad states “one of my greatest achievements is being recognized as Brad Jay and the owner of BJEF, and knowing that it was not just given to me but the fact that I had started it all from scratch, all on my own, followed my dream and especially since a lot of people had told me that it was not possible because we live in a society where it is about who you know and not what you know, I have proven to them that this is surely not the case but rather it is about your passion and commitment. I believe that if Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson can do it then so can we do it. Many of times people do not go the extra step as they worry about other people’s opinions might be about them.” Although Brad was bullied at a young age, that did not stop him from being responsible, pursuing his career and working hard towards his goals. To the bullies, take a seat, I’ll get the popcorn and slush, better things are coming for Brad Jay!

Moreover, Brad is the only child and is really close to his parents, he mentions that he has no time for relationships as he wishes to value every moment with his parents while they are still around, his parents have instilled a variety of good manners in him and have always taught him not to worry about other people’s opinions, he bashfully says “we are the three musketeers!” in addition, having these good principles and morals, Brad has become a role model to some people who truly look up to him, I know I do! Physical achievements such as being on television and radio and so on do not cloud his pride and joy of having personal achievements such as being…himself!

Having been awe struck with Brad’s achievements and wondering how many pages does it take to write up his curriculum vitae, it was time to find out what makes up a day in the life of Brad Jay. With a slight sigh, Brad mentions that this is such a common question to him (Do you blame us?!). Basically, an average day for Brad comprises of gym and fitness training, filming, doing modelling shoots, meeting with sponsors and last but not least, family time! Brad makes sure to mention that he enjoys spontaneous and dimensional days as he is definitely not a fan of monotony! Go Brad!

Brad takes a brave step and openly admits “I cannot stand celebrities, especially South African celebrities, I am going to be honest here, I do not believe in celebrities in South Africa, I believe in it overseas, I believe in the Justin Bieber’s and Kim Kardashian’s but in South Africa I just believe that there are certain celebrities that have just achieved so well and have marketed themselves so well and are considered to be a celebrity but for me, I do not do this to be recognized or to be known as a celebrity but if people think of me in that way, it is fine. I do this to lay out a solid foundation for my career so that one day I can be comfortable in creating a legacy and one of my dreams is to create a chain of BJEF franchises across South Africa and to start like a mini Virgin Active and have a gym in each city of South Africa.”

Being a presenter for Elite TV and having an interest for health & fitness, Brad presents the fitness segments of the show which is more of a reality documentary series of which Cipla sponsors a portion of the show. Brad considers this to be the best at what he is and leaves celebrity interviews to his fellow presenters. Bullies, I might need that popcorn and slush back!

Moving onto asking Brad about three people that he admires, Brad instantly replies “I highly admire my parents, they are everything to me, I admire the Lord because I am who I am because of him, I am saved, and I am born again! Whatever your religion or belief is, we all have one commonalty which is that there has to be a higher being or a higher power and once we realize this our lives change for the better, so the Lord plays a big role in my life and I do not drink any alcohol although I host events on Saturday nights at the club KONG , I literally have bar tabs opened but I do not touch any alcohol and I do not smoke, this is just a way of life that I have chosen for myself as I cannot promote healthy living if I am drinking and people see me out of my mind and I strongly believe that a true role model or an ambassador really lives their brand and not because they have to but because they want to and that’s just me. I do not like the taste of alcohol; I do not like what it does to your skin the next morning especially if it is self-inflicted. The only time I will have a drink is on a special occasion or a very important day for me. Going back to people that I admire, my parents, the Lord and the late Nelson Mandela, I do not consider him as a celebrity but I honestly do consider him as an Angel that was sent here to change the perception of…the entire world! He is a world famous name and I think that what he had went through is such a valuable lesson, whether you are white or black, it does not matter what colour you are, what race you are, I think that if somebody cannot see what Madiba did not only for South Africa but the rest of the world then they cannot see much!”

Other than entertainment and fitness training, Brad is often involved at St. Laurens children haven where he gives back and host Golf days for the children at the estate. However, with a busy schedule, he is unable to do more but with an enthusiastic smile Brad says “I want to give back way more to the community and be more hands-on which is more respectful to the receiving person and not just let my PR take care of it”. In regards to communication, Brad firmly states that “I like to do a lot of things on my own as my PR manager can only do so much but I prefer to get direct bookings, to go through with things on my own, be more hands-one because it is more respectful to the person than to just pass them onto my PR, it shows them that you are not higher than anyone else and that we all are human beings. I want them to know that I will message you back and that I will take your calls.”

Being inspirational and enthusiastic about fitness and health, there has got to be a large dose of inspiration that Brad has , I mean I can barely get my gym instructor to remember that I attend gym thrice a year and that too I bring cake to gym on one of those days…we all celebrate in different ways! I ask him about how he remains inspired and what challenges has he faced. In terms of inspiration, the answer was quite simple; Brad believes that if he does not look good, he does not feel good! He goes onto suggesting that each of us need to find our own motivation and in that way we will be able to achieve our goals. Personally for Brad, it is part of his look, his job, his brand and the fact that he is his own billboard and if he does not maintain that good look, he will not get any clients or look good on Television. One of the quotes which Brad lives by as well as uses on his new show is “Abs is not everything, it is the only thing!” Now I get why taking cake to gym is a bad idea! Brad also believes that he should be able to take off his shirt at any time and still have amazing abs and a great physique. Back to earth ladies!

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Amongst some of the challenges that Brad has had to face, the main challenge for him was probably the fact that people were saying things about him that hurt him initially or that was not true but as mentioned, he had to get over it from a very young age. Brad realized that with every ten people complimenting me, there is that one person hating on him. The hating went to such an extent that an Instagram account was created to hate on his hair! Seriously people? It was then when some of Brad’s celebrity friends told him that “ if people go out of their way to make such accounts of you then just know that you have made it in the industry because people will not be jealous or hate on you if they do not find you intimidating or gorgeous .” shrugging his shoulders, Brads says “first they laugh and then they copy and that is how it has been my whole life but that has been the biggest blessing because it has taught me to accept compliments and still be who I am and at the same time accept insults and not let them get me down like the way they used to in the past!” furthermore Brad offers some advice to future entertainers, he says “do not take anything personally because if you do, that is when you do not succeed.”

“Once you realize your purpose in life and accept it, no one or anything can get you down” – Brad Jay.

One cannot imagine what was going through my mind at this point of the interview, was I really interviewing this phenomenal being or was I on candid camera?

Moving onto a lighter hearted topic, fan encounters for Brad have been endless (again, do you blame us?!) but one that comes to Brad’s mind is one of which had happened recently at the YOU SPECTACULAR awards evening. A fan had come running down the red carpet towards Brad and excitedly asked him if he was thee Brad Jay and once Brad had confirmed his thought. The young gentleman went into frenzy and explained how much of an inspiration and motivation Brad has been to him and how much Brad has encouraged him to be himself, for Brad this was the most amazing thing because you never know how much you mean and impact someone’s life without knowing it. Another thing that makes Brad just so amazing when compared to other celebrities, Brad takes time out to personally reply to almost every Instagram or Twitter mention or comment that is made on his picture/s and for me, personally, that shows a lot to someone and how much they value the people that support them. Brad believes that celebrities are only famous because of their fans and the support that their fans give and this is one of the main reasons why Brad appreciates and acknowledges his fans.

Before concluding this interview with the remarkable Brad Jay, I had two questions left, one of which was what does the tattoo “saved” on his right bicep symbolize? With a wide grin and slight laugh, Brad explains that when he is a club and a pretty lady walks by, he flexes his arm and goes “saved” … talk about unique pick-up lines! On a serious note, Brad explains that he is a born-again Christian and believes that he has been saved by the Lord and has accepted him as his savior, and this is what his tattoo symbolizes. Voluntarily, Brad shows me another tattoo on his left arm with the number twenty-six in Roman numerals (XXVI), the reason for this meaningful tattoo is that it is his birth date, his mother’s birth date and his parents anniversary, Brad will always consider the number twenty-six to be symbolic and not regret it later in life, “it’s not like I’ve got a tattoo of Casper the friendly ghost and then later in life think that I never should have gotten this tattoo because I hate him now but that does not mean that other peoples tattoos are any lesser than mines.”

And to conclude the interview I asked Brad, if there was one memory that he could hold onto forever, which memory would it be and how would he like to be remembered? Brad calmly states that he would love to live everyday as it comes as everyday is a new memory for him, live in the moment and not hold onto the past because if that is what one does, one misses the beauty of the present moment. With a gloomy smile and focused eyes, Brad states “I would like to be remembered as a legacy, as an influential person, a unique trendsetter that never worried about the opinions of others, a person who stood for what he believed in, a person who was always himself no matter what came his way because as Dr. Seuss coins the quote “those that mind do not matter and those who matter do not mind.”

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Brad ends off the interview by sharing a quote that he enjoys and can truly relate to as a person, “I tried being normal once and it was the worst two minutes of my life” and believe it or not, “I am here to stay!”

“The minute you worry about other people’s opinions, you limit your potential” – Brad Jay.

“You are essentially and ultimately freed once you embrace yourself” – Brad Jay.

“The minute you try not to be yourself is the same minute you imprison yourself” – Brad Jay

On a personal level, Brad Jay has exceeded all my expectations! I have never met another celebrity who has voluntarily sat down and shared so much about themselves on so many levels. I consider Brad Jay to be phenomenal, inspirational, influential, motivational and most of all humble! I challenge anyone to come forward if they have met a celebrity for the first time who has actually gotten up from their chair and come over to your side of the table just to show you things on their Instagram account or maybe the fact that he calls the lovely waiter “chommie” or even maybe the fact that he suggested taking pictures together and of the surroundings, I could go on talking about Brad Jay but that would just be putting some celebrities to shame! Brad Jay portrays what a true celebrity and also an average being should be and how they should carry out themselves. Lastly, I admire the way Brad Jay stresses and emphasises on the importance of being yourself, that no matter what happens…always be true to yourself and embrace yourself as yourself!

The GoTrendSA team had given some gifts to Brad as a token of appreciation and because he is simply amazing, one of these gifts was a Twilight novel and Brad wanted to know if there was a reason behind it to which we promised to mention in this article. The reason behind giving the novel to Brad is, firstly, Brad is like Carlisle Cullen; he sticks to his beliefs, even if the world is against them and respects the world’s beliefs even if he is against them. Secondly, he has Alice Cullen’s dynamic personality; thirdly, he has Edward Cullen’s confidence by allowing people to make their own choices and allowing them to be who they want to be and most importantly to be themselves. Lastly, we feel that you have better abs than Jacob and we want you to know it too!

From the GoTrendSA team, we wish Brad Jay everything of the best for the future!

Random Facts about Brad Jay:

  • Phobia: Sharks
  • Favourite colour: Neutral colours such as black, white and grey.
  • Favourite sport: Tennis
  • Favourite Country or City: South Africa, “local is lekker”
  • Favourite Food: Protein Shakes
  • Things that make you smile? : Giving back and knowing that I made someone smile
  • Things that make upset or make you angry? : Fake people…yeah fake people!
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