PETS

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Loni Ed­wards, whose New York-based Dog Agency rep­re­sents more than 100 In­sta­gram an­i­mal stars, from At­ti­cus the hedge­hog

(113,000 fol­low­ers) to Tuna Melts My Heart the Chi­wee­nie dog (1.9 mil­lion).

Own­ers of In­sta-fa­mous pets with a mil­lion fol­low­ers or more can make “as much as $10,000 to

$15,000” per spon­sored post, says Ed­wards, a Har­vard law school grad­u­ate and for­mer lawyer.

Peo­ple are usu­ally blind­sided when their pets go vi­ral, and Ed­wards helps turn In­sta­gram ac­counts into busi­nesses.

“These peo­ple usu­ally have full-time jobs and don’t have time to man­age their pet ac­counts or re­spond to fan mail or look at con­tract law,” Ed­wards says. “We help them grow their brand, match them with com­pa­nies, get them travel per­mits if needed. We’re ba­si­cally mak­ing sure they’re not sign­ing all their rights away.”

Ed­wards says her agency doesn’t rep­re­sent pets with fewer than

50,000 fol­low­ers. With that so­cial-me­dia clout, pet celebri­ties start lur­ing ev­ery­thing from ad­ver­tis­ers to book and mer­chan­dis­ing deals. A good ex­am­ple is Grumpy Cat, whose furry scowl launched thou­sands of in­ter­net memes and spawned books, mo­bile video games and even a Christ­mas movie, she says.

“The best pet ac­counts have some­thing unique or eye-catch­ing. It’s all about peo­ple tag­ging their friends and shar­ing the con­tent, and that’s how it goes vi­ral,” Ed­wards says.

Liv­ing with Diddy and Yeti Kong

Liv­ing with two mon­keys can be de­mand­ing for Ka­tia and Crown, 31, but they won’t deny hav­ing Diddy and Yeti Kong has been lu­cra­tive, help­ing them af­ford their 43rd-floor penthouse apart­ment over­look­ing Bis­cayne Bay in Mi­ami’s Edge­wa­ter neigh­bor­hood.

Paint­ings of the mon­keys, mailed to the cou­ple by Diddy and Yeti Kong’s In­sta­gram fans, dec­o­rate their sun­lit apart­ment. Yeti, at 2 1⁄2 inches tall, is the calmer of the two, and can usu­ally be found snooz­ing in­side her plush, Yeti and Diddy Kong, two In­sta­gram-fa­mous mar­moset mon­keys with a mil­lion fol­low­ers. They live in a lux­ury penthouse apart­ment in MI­ami with their owner, Gabriella Ka­tia, a 26-year-old pro­fes­sional model.

— Gabriella Ka­tia

pink, egg-shaped pet bed. Diddy is the “cra­zier and wilder” one, Ka­tia says. Dur­ing a reporter’s re­cent visit to their home, Diddy bounded from a sofa arm to a top­i­ary tree branch and back. Yeti, wary of new faces, lin­gered by Crown’s side.

“Dids! Dids!” Crown said, cluck­ing his tongue to get Diddy Kong’s at­ten­tion. The mar­moset ig­nored him and leaped onto a sofa cush­ion. “They do this a lot,” Crown said with a laugh.

It was Crown, not Ka­tia, who wanted an ex­otic pet. When the cou­ple found Diddy Kong at a Fort Laud­erdale an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary, he was sick with pneu­mo­nia, which had al­ready killed his four broth­ers and sis­ters. They nursed him back to health, and started feed­ing him a diet of nuts and or­ganic fruit.

“One of my fa­vorite things to do for Diddy Kong is meal-prep for him,” Ka­tia said, slic­ing into wa­ter­melon and ki­wano, a spiky ex­otic fruit, on the kitchen counter. Diddy Kong chirped and leaped onto Ka­tia’s shoul­der.

Both mar­mosets awaken at 7 a.m., and then it’s con­stant pam­per­ing through­out the day, says Ka­tia, who takes Diddy Kong shop­ping for meals at Yel­low Green Farmer’s Mar­ket in Hol­ly­wood.

While Ka­tia is no In­sta­gram slouch with 33,300 fol­low­ers, she’s no match against a pair of palm-size mar­mosets. “I was in Publix re­cently, and some­one asked me if I was Diddy Kong’s mom,” she re­calls with a laugh. At model­ing gigs such as Mi­ami Swim Week, Ka­tia is of­ten asked to walk the run­ways with Diddy Kong on her shoul­der.

Why does Ka­tia think

Diddy Kong has so many fans? “Peo­ple love to watch pets get­ting pam­pered,” she says. “We get a lot of en­gage­ment when Diddy takes baths and eats those lit­tle or­ganic foods I make. That’s the kind of vibe that makes him spe­cial, not just cute.”

Kiko the Lit­tle Frenchie

A 4-year-old “diva queen” with an all-pink wardrobe is how Sandi Magder de­scribes Kiko the Lit­tle Frenchie, her French bull­dog with 72,200 fol­low­ers.

Magder hardly ex­pected Kiko to go vi­ral when she posted a video of her bull­dog dashing around an Aven­tura park wear­ing a pink hoodie and denim skirt. Manny the Frenchie (1.1 mil­lion fol­low­ers) and other In­sta­gram-fa­mous French bull­dogs be­gan shar­ing the post, and Kiko be­came an overnight hit, Magder says.

“She’s a real ham for the cam­era, and every­one loves to see her rest­ing bitch face,” says Magder, 42, de­scrib­ing Kiko’s ev­er­p­re­sent scowl. “She al­ways looks like she hates what she’s wear­ing, es­pe­cially when I get her some­thing to eat.”

On In­sta­gram, Kiko, the runt of a lit­ter of French bull­dogs Magder bought from a breeder in 2014, can

be spot­ted at Mi­ami Mar­lins base­ball games, cos­tumed in pink tu­tus at the park and tear­ing into “pup­cakes” — Magder’s word for dog-friendly cup­cakes — with Magder’s other pets, Maaya, a 1-year-old Frenchie and Suki, a 9-year-old West High­land White Ter­rier.

“I call her a D-list celebrity,” says Magder, a foren­sic ac­coun­tant who calls her­self Kiko’s “mo­mager” (or mom-man­ager). She fre­quently hosts “Frenchie mee­tups” on her page, which al­low Kiko’s fan base to meet her in per­son at lo­cal parks.

Once Kiko’s In­sta­gram fol­low­ers climbed to 15,000, Magder says dog-bou­tique com­pa­nies reached out and sent free swag to Kiko, such as har­nesses and dog bones. Magder says she only ac­cepts free prod­ucts, but says her full-time job pre­vents her from time-con­sum­ing spon­sored posts, which re­quire con­tracts.

“I want the ac­count to feel or­ganic, and not just like Kiko’s a walk­ing bill­board,” Magder says. “Even with cloth­ing, we won’t ac­cept any­thing that isn’t pink, be­cause that’s Kiko’s brand.”

Remix the dog

With his sun­glasses, shaggy hip­ster beard and stylish but­ton-down vests, Remix is like the ca­nine equiv­a­lent of a glo­be­trot­ting DJ, a hir­sute pu­pabout-town.

That’s the minia­ture schnau­zer’s life­style on In­sta­gram, where 123,000 fol­low­ers watch the rov­ing dog ride Ves­pas in Is­rael, pose un­der the Brook­lyn Bridge and eat dough­nuts in Wyn­wood. Remix’s owner is 32-year-old Chris Ha, a mar­ket­ing rep for a Mi­ami rum com­pany who trav­els “ev­ery­where” for his job and de­scribes his dog as a “grumpy old-man hip­ster.”

Ha adopted Remix in Toronto and couldn’t help post­ing photos of the ca­nine wear­ing mul­ti­col­ored shirts. Fash­ion mag­a­zines reached out af­ter a photo of Remix dressed as a DJ in a blue hoodie and sun­glasses went vi­ral, and soon af­ter, Remix ap­peared in Elle, Glam­our and the men’s fash­ion mag­a­zine Mr. Porter. Remix is rep­re­sented by the Dog Agency, which helps match brands with the schnau­zer’s style.

“I just imag­ine him as my weird room­mate liv­ing the Mi­ami life, and he just hap­pens to be a snappy dresser with sun­glasses and cheesy flirty lines,” Ha, 32, says with a laugh.

The runt of the lit­ter, Remix is prone to the oc­ca­sional grumpy streak, but re­mains a so­cial but­ter­fly at heart, Ha says. Over the past six months, Remix has ap­peared in 15 spon­sored posts on In­sta­gram. There he is at Brim­stone in Do­ral, pos­ing with a cock­tail brunch. For his fifth birth­day, he got a Shake Shack­branded dog bone. Oceana Bal Har­bour even hired Remix as a paid model for its new lux­ury con­dos on A1A.

And his eye-catch­ing out­fits and ac­ces­sories? Dog bou­tiques ship him free ap­parel, no ques­tions asked, in the hope Remix will wear it and crack a pick-up line (“gurl, are you Net­flix? Cuz I could watch you for hours”).

“When you get to [Remix’s fol­lower] size, you have to pay at­ten­tion to it as a busi­ness,” says Ha, who says he is paid about $1,000 to $2,000 per spon­sored post.

“If he didn’t love hu­mans more than dogs, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be do­ing this as much,” Ha says. “But he’s so lov­able and feeds off every­one’s at­ten­tion.”

“Peo­ple love to watch pets get­ting pam­pered. We get a lot of en­gage­ment when Diddy takes baths and eats those lit­tle or­ganic foods I make. That’s the kind of vibe that makes him spe­cial, not just cute.”

SU­SAN STOCKER/SUN SEN­TINEL

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