The New American Dream: MrBeast Pays Off Your Debt


A woman in a blue tracksuit is on the floor of a bright asylum-like room, stretching in a pigeon yoga pose when she turns to the stranger she plans to live with for 100 days. “What are you going to do with this money?” she asks. The two contestants in MrBeast’s newest video, Suzie Taylor and Bailey Stanfield, have been cohabitating for nearly 3 weeks at this point, isolated from the rest of the world. They only eat canned food, and all they have to entertain themselves is a deck of cards that they made themselves.

Key Takeaway

Americans are participating in extreme challenges to pay off their debts, as showcased in MrBeast’s videos, reflecting the financial struggles faced by many.

MrBeast’s Expensive Stunts

“I was probably going to pay a lot on the house,” Bailey replies. He’s sitting in his bed, where he’s made a canopy with a sheet to keep the light out, since the bright lights never turn off. Stacks of dollar bills lie atop his canopy, and he’s surrounded by fifteen more briefcases filled with money, which he will only get if he can stick this out for another few months. “I want to pay off my parents’ debt,” Suzie says. “That would be like, my ideal world.”

Taylor and Stanfield successfully completed the challenge, winning $185,000 each. But what’s intriguing about their reality TV-like experience is that this trade-off has become a new normal on social media. If you agree to suffer for content, you might just be able to pay off your parents’ debt.

The Allure of Financial Relief

The most successful YouTuber in the world, MrBeast is known for his expensive stunts. Four years ago, this meant paying people $10,000 to eat a ghost pepper, giving someone $100,000 to spend in one hour, or offering a stranger $100,000 to quit their job. With each video, MrBeast’s challenges have become a bit more diabolical, pushing contestants’ physical and mental fortitude to their limits.

Now, starring in one of his videos means surviving in a locked room with a stranger for over three months, or living in a grocery store. A twenty-five-year-old named Jimmy Donaldson, MrBeast must constantly up the ante in every video to keep his massive audience entertained.

One of the one hundred contestants in a video called “Last To Leave Circle Wins $500,000” cried when she earned a consolation prize of a few thousand dollars. “This is going to change my life,” she said tearfully. “I’m going to take a lot of this to pay my bills.”

The American Dream Reinvented

The situation is oddly reminiscent of “Squid Game,” the Netflix series about 456 contestants who are so deeply in debt that they agree to fight to the death for the chance to win millions of dollars, all while the wealthy elite watch for sport. Of course, the contestants on Netflix or in MrBeast videos are participating voluntarily and are not in mortal danger.

Still, we’re living in a country where the total amount of student debt has almost tripled in the last 15 years to over $1.77 trillion dollars. If getting sick can render you bankrupt, why not live inside a grocery store for 45 days if it could eliminate your financial burdens?

The Rise of Content Creators

One of the two contestants who just won $185,000 for living in a barren room with a stranger for 100 days, Suzie Taylor is using this exposure to jumpstart her career as a content creator. Now that 78 million YouTube viewers (and counting) have watched her get pushed to her psychological limits for cash, she’s reinvesting her winnings into becoming a content creator herself.

Taylor’s strategy is lowkey genius. According to the Wayback Machine, she had 300 subscribers in April. On Sunday, December 17, the day after she and MrBeast posted their videos, Taylor had around 12,000 subscribers, and on Wednesday, December 20, she’s broken 100,000. So, if Taylor can keep her subscribers engaged beyond her fifteen minutes of fame, she won’t just have won $185,000 from MrBeast. She’ll have made a downpayment on a whole new career.


MrBeast’s ‘Real Life Squid Game’ and the price of viral stunts

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