We met social media personality and now reality-show star Hayes Grier when he was visiting Manhattan recently. He stars in his own show “Top Grier.”
Tell us about your new show.
It’s not a scripted show, it’s a reality show. It’s like the opposite of “Freakish” [the 2016 Hulu series]. It’s about my family and I moving to a new farm in North Carolina. We do a whole bunch of crazy stuff. It’s like really weird and stuff people probably wouldn’t do.
Why did you want a TV show?
Really, why not? As I kid I used to think how cool it would be to have your own TV show. God blessed me with it so it was like “Boom!”
What is the best and worst thing to learn about yourself when you go on social media?
The worst thing was my dirt bike crash. I woke up in the hospital, had needles in my arm. I was saying, “get me out of here.”
How do you like being the main character in “Hollywood Days with Hayes”?
The main character? I never really thought about that. The main character in a book — that’s crazy. I’m never a big book reader. The book is about kind of a fictional movie that I’m filming. It’s about this girl named Violet, who has a big crush on me. She just goes on a wild adventure. The book’s a printed version of the app. I worked with this brand called Episode and we collaborated and made this game. The game is actually like an interactive version of the book. You can really put yourself into the book with the game.
Do you go to public school or are you home-schooled?
Do you get good grades?
No, I never got good grades. Nash [his brother] always got good grades. My parents were always, “Nash gets straight A’s and you can’t even make honor roll.” School is not my thing.
Why don’t you go by your first name Benjamin?
I don’t know. Would you call me Benjamin? That’s too long. My dog’s name is Zan, a one syllable thing. Hayes is like “Hi Hayes.” Just Hayes. Benjamin is too long.
What advice do you have for teens today?
I would say never limit yourself to one thing because never in a million years did I expect to be doing what I’m doing now, like sitting here doing an interview. Five years ago I was like the shiest kid you ever met. I would never talk to anybody. And now I’m literally doing interviews. You never know where life’s going to take you.
With all the stuff you have done, is it hard to be creative?
Yeah, because once you do a certain idea you just can’t go and do it again. You can, but it’s like, why do it twice? You want to make that one time the best time. I’m trying to become a bigger tree, branch out more. Make my ideas in different ways that I haven’t made before. I just did my first show and now I want to try and do a movie. I want to try all new things and new ways to make content.
How do you feel about being the youngest person on “Dancing With the Stars”?
I was the youngest male. Willow Shields from “The Hunger Games,” she was actually the youngest person. That was just so insane, that whole experience. It’s still blowing my mind right now thinking I did that. I made some lifelong friends from that and it was an interesting experience I’ll never forget.
How did you hear of and start using Vine?
I have this really weird older sibling, his name is Nash and he . . . me and Nash got along like brothers, obviously, but we definitely had a different set of friends. All his friends were making Vine videos and stuff while my friends didn’t like the whole technology scene. We liked going to the lake and riding dirt bikes. Once I saw and expanded my mind a little more . . . all that changed.
How do you feel about Vine being shut down?
Awful. So many creators came from that platform. It really changed the game. I don’t know, I’m just sad to see the first thing I started on be shut down. They could have just left it there. It’s cool. We’re going to make something new and keep going with it.
How do you deal with being famous? Is there a downside to it?
I wouldn’t call myself famous. I don’t think I’m famous at all yet. Downsides are like before I had followers on social media, I used Twitter and Instagram and was so connected with everybody in my hometown. And that was it. Once I got followers that made it kind of hard to keep in touch with people. Some things aren’t always as private as you want them to be. Going places and people taking pictures of you, obviously it’s cool but people stepping over that line and try and see you doing something.
What famous person do you admire the most?
James Franco. I would definitely want to be a lot like him. I feel like he’s mastered his art for sure. I would want to get to that level one day.