JC Caylen Talks The Reality House, Tixxo, Kian Lawley, & ‘Rigged’ TCAs
Look out, Chris Harrison and Julie Chen. There are new reality TV hosts coming to steal your jobs. JK — ABC and CBS don’t really get JC Caylen and Kian Lawley‘s target demo, so their Big Brother-esque competition series is all on YouTube. We talked to JC at Vidcon 2019 a few days before Last Youtuber To Leave The House, Wins $25,000 AKA The Reality House premiered on the video platform and a few days after his Tixxo clothing line dropped — perfect timing, right?
JC gave us some BTS secrets about The Reality House, talked about the inspiration behind Tixxo, his friendship with longtime collaborator Kian… and threw some shade at the Teen Choice Awards. JC’s always been one of the bad boys of YouTube (though he personally referred to himself as an antisocial “homebody” when we were chatting… I don’t buy it) and speaking his mind is part of the appeal.
“We made everyone sign [a non-disclosure agreement]. We invited 13 YouTubers, we rented an Airbnb, and then we wanted to do like a Big Brother-style competition. So we did voting and eliminations and, when it came down to three people, then we did like a huge final challenge in the morning. There was one winner from that who won 25K,” JC claimed.
But we’d talked to Ricky Dillon the day before, and he spilled the tea that when he participated in one of his former Our 2nd Life crew’s competition shows (“Last YouTuber to Leave The Box Wins $10K”), the contestants all split the prize. So we had to ask if this time, there were real stakes for a competition show we’d spend every Friday watching for at least six weeks. We don’t need any “everyone’s a winner” stuff.
“We told them no splitting the first time too, right? But then there’s really no way of keeping that away from them, I guess, because they can all agree to leave the box or have a winner. Later on, the [contestants on “Last To Leave The Box…”] split the money up without our knowledge, you know? But we made it so that they couldn’t split the money this time around because of the whole the way it works. So there was no split; there was one winner who earned it.”
You expect there to be some drama between the housemates (in the first episode alone, which aired last Friday, Trisha Paytas started some sh*t with Dom DeAngelis who she claimed was rude to her when he was drunk on a night out. She also slammed David Dobrik, who wasn’t even there). But what you don’t expect is major production drama that Kian and JC had to confront when the homeowner of the Airbnb they were staying in threatened to kick them out of the house.
“It was [Jenn McCallister]’s birthday, so we bumped a little bit of music at midnight and sang her happy birthday. The neighbors, I guess, ended up calling him saying ‘Hey we heard music’ even though the rule was no music past 10. The neighbors were completely on watch, I think. So the guy was like ‘Yeah, yeah, you guys gotta get out’ … We paid so much money for it, you know. So we told him, ‘No, no, no, we’re so sorry. Like we’re businessmen, too. Please keep us. This is a huge production that we are doing,’ and he finally said yes to let us stay,” JC explained. “But we got to give him some — how do you say — ‘insurance’ to make sure that we don’t party again.” (There does seem to be a lot of drinking on episode one, BTW.)
Luckily, there wasn’t much drama between Kian and JC as they filmed The Reality Housee. “[There are] not a lot of disagreements [when filming with Kian]. I feel like I’m usually right; He would say otherwise if he were here but he knows that mostly I’m the one who’s kind of staying on top of a lot of things. He trusts my judgment a lot, so sometimes whatever I say kind of goes,” he explained. “We’re both on the same wavelength. It’s hard to explain. When you have the same mindset about work, he’s right there with me — when I’m low as far as work goes and want to relax he pushes me, and vice versa. Plus he’s a good friend. I mean he can be a mess sometimes and like hella annoying other than that, he’s great.”
You know a friendship is solid when you can call someone “hella annoying” and know that no one’s gonna take it any type of way. “Our relationship is so different. I see him as a brother and like you know, with family, you’re obviously there for them when times are tough but when it comes down to like simple ‘goodbye’s or’ hello’s, it’s nothing. It’s like a brother bond.”
As we said, this new series with Kian isn’t the only new endeavor JC is embarking on. A newly-minted YouTuber-turned-fashion-designer, JC recently released Tixxo, a clothing brand.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for years and years,” he said. “I remember tweeting about it like four years ago and being like, ‘one day I’m going to release clothing that I actually really want to wear,’ because I’ve done merch for so long and it’s all right but it’s not really [fashion]. There’s a higher thing that I wanted to accomplish with Tixxo.”
Side note: maybe this tweet?
new merch just dropped!
all designs made by me.
just wanted to make shit
i would wear as well.
— jc (@jccaylen) December 1, 2017
“I was talking to [a friend] Lisa, about names and we were on Rodeo Drive, she was driving me back, and I was talking about the names ‘Gucci’ and ‘Fendi’ — not that I’m comparing that at all to what I want to do because Tixxo’s more streetwear — but they’re all two syllables. I asked, ‘where do people get these names?’ and Lisa said, ‘Oh, they’re last names,” he said. “I was thinking [about] my last name, my last name is Castillo even though my alias online is Caylen, that’s my middle name, but my last name is Castillo. So I took Castillo, and you can already hear it probably, but I took the ‘Cas’ out and then I left ‘Tillo.’ I just replaced the L’s with X’s. Two syllables. Like everything else, so it kind of flows.”
When asked (thanks to a fan-submitted question on Twitter), whether he’d ever quit YouTuber he basically said “anything’s possible” but probably not. “It’s hard to say if I’ll ever leave YouTube because you don’t know where it’s going to go,” JC explained. “YouTube has changed so much already and so you never know where it’s gonna go and what it’s gonna be in the next couple of years. My content changed so much since even last year and it’s going to change more after [Last YouTuber To Leave The House]. We haven’t done anything like this. So who knows what it’s gonna be like in 2020 or whatever. I think we’re gonna stay here. We’re gonna stick to YouTube for as long as we can; I don’t see us going anywhere for a while.”
Just in the knick of time before our interview concluded, JC made sure to ask the fans to vote for him for the Teen Choice Awards while simultaneously throwing major shade at the FOX awards show, just like Bella Thorne did last summer. “Vote for us for the TCAs, even though they’re probably rigged… David Dobrik‘s probably gonna win… We haven’t been invited, it’s rigged. I’m gonna tweet about it.”
Still waiting on that tweet, JC. I *guess* he’s been busy with other things.
You can check out episode one of The Reality House below!