‘Model-Preneur’ Brandon Espiritu’s Approach to the Fitness Business

‘Model-Preneur’ Brandon Espiritu’s Approach to the Fitness Business


From being homeless to building one of the best personal brands online, Brandon Espiritu proves that he’s more than what meets the eye

In a world populated with aspiring influencers, Brandon Espiritu rises to the challenge by making his name known as an international model, actor, entrepreneur, and fitness coach. This Guam-born half-Filipino’s journey to the top is far from over, but getting to this point hasn’t been the easiest.

Born and raised in Guam for 18 years, Brandon was primarily raised by his lola, Filipino dad, and mom who’s Chamorro, Dutch, and Irish. He moved to Hawaii in 2012, finished college in 2016, and went corporate shortly after. Notably, he had developed his business-savviness as a sophomore when he started a clothing line and grew it into an e-commerce business for about four years. However, he was soon let go from the corporate world because he wasn’t taking care of himself, which resulted in homelessness.

“I was always drinking all the time, I [kind of] wasn’t taking care of myself, and I wasn’t prioritizing myself. I soon got let go from that world and I was actually homeless for about a year. So, I was hopping couches for a whole year, and at that time, I was so broke. I remember when I looked at my bank account and it was laughable. I had $172 and I was living in Hawaii, and the only way I could’ve made it was because of the people who allowed me to stay on their couches for that year,” he shared.

Within that year, Brandon worked to get his feet off the ground by serving tables and bartending. He then got his big break when a customer offered to get him connected to an agent because she said he looked like he could model. From there, he received a call from that agency, got signed, and was flown to L.A. to work as a model with Nomad Management. Following that, he got signed in Seattle with Heffner Management, in Bangkok with WM Management, and then in the Philippines with Prima Stella Management. 

Then, in the midst of modeling for campaigns, the pandemic hit, which made him fly back to Hawaii. Like many others during the lockdown, Brandon turned to fitness in an effort to be productive. He credited his friend and fitness TikToker Elika Bang for training with him and showing him the way in terms of making a business out of fitness. “I don’t want to just workout—I want to make this thing my life because I just fell in love with it. I wanted to just workout all the time,” he said. With that inspiration in mind, he began posting fitness content online, but didn’t gain the engagements he wanted at first because his followers were used to his modeling content.

Brandon was in Arizona when he felt discouraged by his view count, but his girlfriend encouraged him to keep working on it. Sure enough, he pushed through and finally went viral in 2021, which rocketed his follower count on Instagram. That year, he also got two brand deals and a sponsorship from a protein supplement company.

When Brandon reached his goal of turning his fitness content into a business, he didn’t stop there. He later created his own app to upload his training content and then began taking up clients to personally train as well. “So, I literally took what I said and I made it my reality. I made this fitness business,” he says of his success. Not only that, but during this upward trend in his life, he became the first male model from Guam to walk for Miami Swim Week in 2022, and then he got signed in New York City with Bicoastal Management.

Brandon adds that his being a model helps with his business since there’s an allure to being trained by a model. He says his approach to choosing clients and making a workout plan for them comes in two parts: assessing their reason and their abilities. “I really love taking people up and prioritizing people who just want to change because maybe they have some deep trauma they want to get over [or] maybe they just feel so bad about themselves when they look in the mirror that they want to change that around or they want to change the perspective on [themselves],” he explains.

And apart from creating his app, getting paid by clients, and helping people out through fitness, he shared that he’s also proud of receiving his Yoga Sculpt Certification. With a background in teaching the discipline, he mentioned that he’ll be teaching Yoga Sculpt when he returns to Hawaii in January. This form of yoga is a mixture of yoga, pilates, and weightlifting to ultimately reduce fat and build muscle. 

When talking pragmatically about where’s at now, Brandon emphasizes that fitness was his “lightbulb” because it’s what will put food on the table for him and his loved ones for the next five to 10 years. And while he received encouragement externally, his inspiration to succeed and to build his brand comes from himself. All his experiences from having a clothing line to taking up photography and marketing after college ties into who he is today. Now, he knows how to put out fires and manage the back-end and front-end of his business, which is now himself.

In line with that, Brandon says that his vision for the next year is to build an archetype of his own personal brand. He plans to add more layers by inserting style and motivational content, as well as to specifically talk to men about how to become better, more self-caring men. “Other than that, taking all those layers to build my brand up to become one of the best personal brands that you can see online in the content-making space,” he adds.

Brandon ends his exclusive interview with MEGA Man with this sentiment on success: “We get this view of what success is from what society feeds us. We compare ourselves a lot to other people, and that’s very detrimental to us. To compare is just a dark rabbit hole that doesn’t lead you to anywhere good. My definition of success is not if you’re doing better than the person next to you—it’s if the person 10 years ago can look into who you are now, and say ‘man, I’m very proud of who [I’ve] become.’ That’s true success.”

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