A few days ago, controversial body builder and social media star Rich Piana, known as @1dayumay passed away. The story about this picture I took with him is that even though it was just taken three months ago, I had no idea who he was. I dragged my friend Mike to come downtown with me to the @toprosupershow, a well known fitness industry weekend event in Toronto. To be honest, I actually wanted to meet a fitness model which I did and also to just walk around the expo and check out the surroundings.
“Whatever It Takes” was his mantra.
Rich Piana’s booth generated the most amount of fan fare interest. Now if you see this guy from the outside, he’s extremely large looking and he’s tatted up to the gulls. He had quite the presence. I was like “Mike, who is this guy?.” He was like “You paid for my entrance and dragged me out to this and you have no idea who this guy is? Even I know who he is!” Lol. You should have seen the line up for this guy, well over a thousand plus people that weekend wanted to meet him, take pictures with him, sign merchandise and pick his brains about the fitness industry. So for just about an hour or so, I too lined up and had a brief chat with him.
You only get once chance to make a first impression.
What I recall about meeting him that day, was that he had a personality behind that big frame of his. And the reason why the line ups were so long for him was because he actually took the time to meet and talk to each person who wanted to see him. That is a sign of someone who know’s their self worth and what an influence they are to the public. When I got home, I Google’d more about who he was and what was the hype about him. The real appeal that I witnessed about Rich was his transparency and sincerity when interacting with the people. Yes, he previously admitted to steroid use and yes there was probably an addiction or desire to achieve a certain size in his physique. But what’s amazing about him is that while he did not hold back in his transgressions, it was his open honesty with his audience that was his true major appeal. He eventually became one of the most profitable bodybuilding stars in the industry while growing his brand through social media.
Although I just met him briefly, I witnessed what a larger than life personality he was. He meant a lot to so many aspiring people in the fitness industry. It’s very easy to judge a book by its cover. But in Rich Piana’s case, I couldn’t do that to this man. You only get once chance to make a first impression and he did that with me. Rest In Peace Rich. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family, your GF @c_no5 and the @5percentnutrition team.
Social Media King
Rich Piana’s consistent promotion of his businesses on social media helped grow his name and brand in just a few short years. You can relive some of his work through his popular YouTube channel. Check out some interesting Sysomos stats during the week of his death on August 25, 2017.