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Yonathan Elias

Source: Marc-Anthony Lewis / Marc-Anthony Lewis

Yonathan Elias has a master’s degree, but when T.I.’s sons sent him on a mission to fetch their food, he obliged because he’s a hustler. T.I.’s competition show The Grand Hustle seeks to find the hardest, most efficient worker out a group of 16 individuals vying for a 6-figure salary. Yonathan is one of those hopefuls.

We caught up with the young entrepreneur, who has many hustles of his own including a popular podcast.

HB: How did you land a spot on The Grand Hustle?

Yonathan: I had to complete an online application that literally took me three hours to complete. I almost gave up about two or three times. After I submit that, I got an email requesting a Skype interview because I made it to the second round. I then received a call saying that the producers loved me, but they want me for the second season, unless someone didn’t pass their background check. Must of been my lucky day because someone didn’t pass and they flew me to ATL for my final interview in front of the camera. I was locked in a hotel for five days and couldn’t go out because they didn’t want any of the cast to see each other. The last day was approaching and producers came into my room saying congratulations. Pack your stuff, we are moving you to the mansion!

HB: What was it like finding out you would be sequestered?

Yonathan: The thought of weeks and months of no phone, no social media, no reading, no seeing or even talking to friends and family, was nerve-wrecking. This was the longest I’ve ever gone without a phone, but I have to say, it was refreshing. I don’t think I would do it on my own, but it was cool to clear my mind of a lot of the BS we see and hear in this world.

HB: How did you feel when you realized you had a fellow friend, Krystal Garner, in the house?

Yonathan: When KG walked through that door, my initial thought was “Hell Yeah, someone I know!” Then I immediately thought, “Oh damn. We are about to be targeted!” I knew that people would think we would form an alliance, but what the viewers don’t understand is, that’s two verses 14. That doesn’t sound like a win to me. So as happy as I was to see a familiar face, I also knew we would have to work 10 times harder and also have our guards up.

HB: You made some funny faces on the show, did you realize you were doing it?

Yonathan: Watching the show and seeing these faces I’m making makes me understand why people always tell me that I can’t hide my emotions. I’m not going to lie, I even laughed at some of my reactions because I honestly never realized my face was so damn animated. Now this has me self-conscious about how I react to someone I don’t like but don’t want them to know.

HB: What was the hardest challenge?

Yonathan: I’m not one who backs down easily. I’m not used to dealing with individuals I don’t like. I’ve taken anger management because I grew up fighting. I was picked on as a child well into my teenage years, so I have a lot of anger built up and whenever someone ever tried it, it ended with them being bloody. I gave up that side of my life, but a certain bird in the house, named George, is poking the beast out of hibernation and he will soon find out that I’m not one to eff with!

HB: How has your life changed since?

Yonathan: Man! All I can do is smile. I’ve been getting hit up for interviews, being sent scripts, getting emails to collaborate on projects. It’s amazing why reality TV can do for you. Even though everyone always said I was made for reality Tv, I always said I would never do it because of how editing can manipulate you, but I have to commend BET for showing the real Yonathan. Everything you see is me 100%. No extras or fakes added.

HB: What’s next?

Yonathan: I told y’all I’m a multimedia mogul in the making. I wrote a script called “Bruk’s Brothers” which is basically a guy version of Sex in the City and Girlfriends. I’ve got a well-known EP and director with a cast that includes some of the greats that you currently see on TV. I’ll be shooting the pilot in LA and then pitching it to different networks. My email has some amazing scripts that have been sent to me, for some projects I am considering to act in. Then I’m also going to start a Boots and Hat line that I may even collab with my fellow Cast mate, Javi, on. Currently in the works of getting a pretty dope TV hosting gig as well! I just want to keep the momentum going and let the viewers know, I’m so much more than a reality star!

Watch The Grand Hustle on BET every Thursday night.


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What It’s Like Competing To Work For T.I., According To Grand Hustler Yonathan Elias  was originally published on