Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Happened to Nev Schulman of Catfish?

BACK IN 2010 I BECAME intrigued about the whole Catfish story. Catfish was the documentary film directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, involving Nev, being filmed by his brother and friend. Nev builds a romantic relationship with a young woman on the social networking website Facebook. The film really got people talking -- was it real or a hoax -- and has even inspired the MTV reality TV series, Catfish: The TV Show.

A few months ago I was thinking about Nev Schulman (yes real name is Yaniv) when I noticed that MTV made a reality show based on his story and the movie.

Well, as if Jonathan Reiss heard me thinking about what Schulman was up to, he sat down and interviewed him. The full interview has been published on the Tablet Magazine website as "Nev Schulman, Nebbish-in-Chief of the Social Media Daisy Chain: The original ‘Catfish’ victim, fooled in front of millions, uses his pain to help all the lonely people."

In the interview, Reiss explains the back story of how the whole Catfish fiasco even started:

Schulman got a job filming a ballet workshop taught by Benjamin Millepied (Black Swan choreographer, Natalie Portman husband). To make ends meet he took work as a bar mitzvah videographer, too. Now he needed a work space, although still “just a bar mitzvah videographer,” as he told me. However, he’d had one recent coup: A photo he’d taken of a ballet performance was published in the New York Sun. The moment came and went. Then, in the strangest possible way, it came again.

Yaniv "Nev" Schulman from Catfish
Yaniv "Nev" Schulman from Catfish

One day Schulman received an email from an 8-year-old girl named Abby, from Ishpemig, Michigan. This email would set into motion the chain of events that made him famous, the one that gave birth to Catfish.

The first email Abby sent was a quick introduction, containing some compliments on Nev’s photographs and a request for a critique on some of her paintings. Schulman obliged, looking at some of her watercolors and drawings pictured in her MySpace profile listed as “AbbyLovesBallet.” Her work was impressive for an 8-year-old, and he told her so. Then he received an email from Abby’s mother, checking to make sure that her daughter wasn’t “bothering him” and apologizing if that was the case. Soon after, he received another message from Abby asking permission to paint the photograph that had been published in the newspaper.

Soon Schulman was regularly chatting online with Abby and her mother, Angela.

[Continue reading Jonathan Reiss's interview with Nev Schulman here]