Move over Grumpy Cat, there’s a new favorite pet ripping up the digital landscape these days. Out with the old, in with the new! Social media can be a fickle mistress sometimes, particularly when it comes to our four-legged furry creatures. Enter stage left . . .
As the story goes, Sam Carrell, owner and self-titled ‘mom-ager' [think Kris Jenner & the Kardashians] rescued a Papillon/Maltese mix from a Long Island animal shelter when she was just a pup. Naming her ‘Tinkerbelle’ and trying to break this one-pound ball of fur out of her shyness, Carrell would walk his dog regularly on the streets of Manhattan.
What came next is truly a ‘rags to riches’ story.
“One woman [she met on the street] … pulled out a card. ‘I’m an animal agent and I want to work with your dog,'” remembers Carrell. After that fateful day and a theatrical audition (including a hot dog test to prove [her] concentration), Tinkerbelle was ‘ready for her close-up, as the new face of a massive Ralph Lauren campaign. An actress herself, Carrell saw Tinkerbelle’s potential right away -- cha-ching!
“Once I saw how Tinkerbelle reacted on set and how cooperative she was, I said, ‘I think this is why the two of us are together,’” says Carrell.
Cash Cow . . . erh, Cash Dog!
From the lights, the cameras, and the action, the jobs just kept coming. Including photos shoots and modeling contracts, Tinkerbelle even played Chowsy in an off-Broadway production of Gypsy. Her career snowballed and with the help of a stylist, the @tinkerbellethedog Instagram account was created. Today with over 118,000 followers on the account, she can garner as much as $1000 for a single post.
For a four to six month contract, it’s been reported that Tinkerbelle can pocket between $4,000 and $6,000. If they want her for an appearance, that could be an additional $1,000, plus expenses.
When all is said and done, Tinkerbelle made some serious bones last year. Not exactly a millionaire just yet, “Tinkerbelle's annual gross in 2016 [a short year] was about $20,000,” says Carrell.
It takes a village . . .
Branding, traveling, negotiating contracts and just answering the daily onslaught of emails and requests is mostly handled by Carrell (who also owns the Leggz Dance Studio in Rockville Centre, NY. ), but Tinkerbelle’s team also includes three agents, a social media manager, hair stylist and red carpet fashion designers — so the ladies [dog and mom-ager] definitely have some hefty expenses to addresss as well.
“Every day I wake up and say pinch me, is this real? It’s a whirlwind, it’s nonstop but it’s amazing and it’s great and it just gives me such happiness, and she’s happy doing it,” says Carrell.
Walking the Dog
In 2017, Tinkerbelle has already booked a major gig with Universal for a viral “A Dogs Purpose” campaign and is prepping to for a cat-walk [or should we say dog-walk] during the Rookie USA Kids Rock runway show. Now a Broadway and runway vet, this social media diva will also be attending 10 shows this week and, like high-fashion models, she's getting use to changing her outfits regularly. It's a heck of a dog-life for this young stylish pooch, don't you think?