Who are Cameo’s most requested TV stars? From the 90 Day Fiancé’s Big Ed to Lindsay Lohan, see who rakes in the most cash from personalised video messages in 2021

Cameo’s TV stars, including RHONY’s Luann De Lesseps, Lindsay Lohan and RHONY’s Sonja Morgan. Photos: @countessluann; @lindsaylohan; @sonjatmorgan/Instagram

On Cameo, one-time American Idol hopeful William Hung still bangs. So does reality TV star Big Ed and the Seinfeld Soup Nazi.

The app that connects the famous and their fans with personalised messages has shared a ranking of the most popular small-screen celebrities, and the list may surprise you. Reality personas like Luann De Lesseps (The Real Housewives of New York City), Sandra Diaz-Twine (Survivor) and Captain Lee (Below Deck) are popular, and so is Bull star Michael Weatherly, Lindsay Lohan and comedian Andy Dick.

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Cameo, created by Martin Blencowe, CEO Steven Galanis and Devon Townsend, launched in 2017 and is valued at US$1 billion. It offers customers recorded video messages, video chats and direct messages with their favourite actors, musicians, comics, reality stars, sports figures, political personalities, content creators and even famous animals.

Cameo makes money by taking a 25 per cent commission from each celebrity’s sale, which ranges from the pricey (Shark Tank businessman Kevin O’Leary charges US$1,500) to the affordable (former Bachelor villain Courtney Robertson can be booked for US$20).

Sonja Morgan. Photo: @sonjatmorgan/Instagram

The company initially focused on athletes, but one of Bravo’s Real Housewives opened Galanis’ eyes to the opportunity that awaited in genre of reality TV.

“Midway through the first summer, we started onboarding the first television talent, and Sonja Morgan [from The Real Housewives of New York City] was probably one of the most important,” Galanis says. “People started writing to us and saying, ‘Hey, we want [RHONY cast members] Luann. We want Bethenny. We want Ramona.

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“We just found immediately once Sonja got on, that reality TV was going to be a big vertical, and at the same time we started doing really well with people from The Bachelor and Bachelorette. And they didn’t have to be the Bachelor; they didn’t have to be the Bachelorette. It could have been anyone that had a memorable moment on the show and had fans.”


Popularity on the platform has more to do with memorability than acclaim.

“There isn’t a massive correlation between fame and how well you do on Cameo,” Galanis says, pointing out that actor Brian Baumgartner (who played Kevin Malone, the hulking, awkward colleague on NBC’s The Office) and comedian Gilbert Gottfried are among 2020’s top revenue generators, besting other talent “who you would probably say are objectively more famous than them”.

To register on the app, talents must have 25,000 Instagram followers or be part of a noteworthy show or sports team.


Ed Brown, known as “Big Ed” on TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé franchise, tops the list of TV personas with the most videos in 2020. Galanis says Brown has shot thousands and attributes Brown’s success to the modest cost (US$69) and the quality he’s turning out. “If you can give a good-quality product for under US$100, these videos are replacing birthday dinners. They’re replacing buying a bottle wine for somebody.”

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In 2020, Cameo delivered around 1.3 million videos – more than in its first three years combined – and raked in about US$100 million in total sales, marking explosive growth, according to the app’s year-end report. About 150 personalities were earning at least US$100,000 a year by the end of 2020, Cameo says.

Kate Flannery. Photo: @therealkateflannery/Instagram

Office alum Kate Flannery lands at No 18 on the list of TV stars who filmed the most videos last year. She says that amid the pandemic, she recorded a slew of wedding and graduation messages. In her videos, “there’s always a nod” to her Office character Meredith Palmer, a lush once hit by a car driven by Steve Carell’s Michael Scott.

While Cameo has been an outlet for divorce reveals (both real and faux), Flannery says she won’t record break-up videos. She will, however, try to help mend relationships, even if it makes her feel uneasy.

“I don’t always know the situation. I’m like, ‘Uh-oh, is this a good idea?’” she says, playfully. “I don’t know what happened, but I’m always rooting for love.”

Carson Kressley. Photo: @carsonkressley/Instagram

RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Carson Kressley (No 12 on last year’s list) has made a break-up video. “I don’t know exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect [of], ‘Hi, it’s Carson Kressley. I’ve got some good news: you’re getting a message from me, and I’ve got some bad news: so-and-so wants to break up with you. How dare they?’ I tried to make it as light as I possibly could.”

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When Kressley joined Cameo in October 2018, he was drawn to the novelty and the opportunity to make some cash.

“I love new, fun apps. So I thought, ‘Let’s give it a whirl,’” he says. “It wound up being really fun, and a great way to engage with fans,” he adds. “And in fact, I did make meaningful income as well, so it’s been really great in every regard.” (Kressley says he has made more than 5,000 videos and currently charges US$69 a pop, which translates to nearly US$260,000 after commissions.)

Galanis says Cameo helps to create income across the industry, even for those currently unemployed (or underemployed).

“The oldest meme in Hollywood is the out-of- work actor or actress that’s waiting tables or bartending between gigs,” he says. “We’re really helping talent get paid to become more famous and more beloved.”

Cameo’s most requested TV celebrities in 2021 (until July 31):

1. Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), US$159

2. Josh Sussman (Glee, Wizards of Waverly Place), US$50

3. James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), US$50

4. Brian Baumgartner (The Office), US$195

5. Ty Olsson (Wynonna Earp, Supernatural), US$50

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6. Ray Abruzzo (The Sopranos, The Practice), US$99

7. Ed Brown, aka “Big Ed” (90 Day Fiancé), US$69

8. Ryan Ochoa (iCarly), US$99

9. Andy Buckley (Odd Mom Out, The Office), US$199

10. Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), US$150

11. Bennett Kirschner (Married at First Sight), US$45

12. Sandra Diaz Twine (Survivor), US$60

13. Alex Hooper (America’s Got Talent), US$40

14. Jesse McCartney (Young & Hungry, Summerland), US$200

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15. Michael Weatherly (Bull, NCIS), US$149

16. Lindsay Lohan (Sick Note, Liz & Dick), US$375

17. Luis Moncada (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad), US$99

18. Martin Kove (Cobra Kai), US$245

19. Jay Jackson (Scandal, Parks and Recreation), US$69

20. Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy, Cruel Summer)

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  • The app – where fans can pay for videos from their fave celebrities – first focused on athletes, but soon found reality TV stars like RHOBH cast members raked in millions
  • Kate Flannery (NBC’s The Office) recorded wedding messages amid the pandemic in 2020, while RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Carson Kressley has even done break-up videos