The internet sensation now makes his money in three ways – fans donate to him through his TikTok livestreams and he’s paid to promote products on his channels.
As a creator, YouTube also pays him a percentage of the number of views he gets on the platform.
TikTok is yet to introduce this in Australia, although TikTokers in the US are paid directly through the company the same way a YouTuber would.
As well as TikTok, Mr Hodgkinson has amassed 184,000 followers on Instagram and 1.05 million followers on YouTube.
“I’ve never had a proper job,” he said.
Ash can do all sorts of card tricks.Source:Supplied
Ash Hodgkinson, started out as a busker, then became a stage performer, and now he caters mostly to an online audience.Source:Supplied
The teenager is going to buy a house in Sydney, and is splitting costs with his older brother, who makes a full-time wage as an engineer.
“We went to the bank. Since my job is so obscure and so new, they were unsure,” he said.
“We went to one house viewing. (It) wasn’t quite what we were looking for.
“We hit the pause button when lockdown hit.”
However, they plan to buy a house once things settle down in the NSW capital.
Mr Hodgkinson wouldn’t say exactly how much he earned.
“It pays the bills, it’s a good income for a 19-year-old,” was all he would say.
For a benchmark, the average price of a Sydney property will hit $1.24 million by December, according to CoreLogic figures.
Ash is making more money than his peers who did better than him in their final exam.Source:Supplied
Ash’s online audience continued to grow during 2020.Source:Supplied
Mr Hodgkinson went to a private school in Sydney’s north but struggled to fit in because of his outside-the-box talents and his lack of interest in academia.
“At the school they were focused on academic stuff,” he recalled.
“(But I always knew) magic is going to be my thing.”
He remembers going to a school career counsellor on a briefing about his future, and telling the man what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“I went in there with a list of options: first option was magician, second actor, third was a TV presenter.
“None were academic.”
Because of relentless bullying, Mr Hodgkinson said there were times when he decided he was going to end his magic career.
“All you want to do is fit in. It was quite hard. I tried to quit magic but it was just so deep.”
Mr Hodgkinson moved to a performing arts school for his final years of education.
Mr Hodgkinson said he went into the Higher School Certificate (HSC) – NSW’s final year exam – with “reasonably low expectations” and was unsure whether he would finish school.
“My mum wanted me to stick school out, and get the certificate,” he added.
Eventually, he received an ATAR in the 60s.
His final mark was not helped by the fact that his TikTok account started to blow up while he was midway through his HSC exams.
“During the two weeks of the exams … (I) went from zero to a million followers,” Mr Hodgkinson said.
“I don’t think my emotions had ever been so high.
“I would post a video, do a live stream, study, do the exam, come home and do another video.”
It took about a year for him to get noticed, with him first creating his TikTok account in 2018, when he was in Year 11.
He remembers that he did an optical illusion video that went viral.
Mr Hodgkinson lives at home with his family while he saves up for a house.
“I’ve saved all of it (the money),” he said.
“A lot of it hasn’t really hit me mentally.
“I’m still living in my mindset of making $50 from busking along the street.”
He also studied for a year at drama school NIDA, turning his dreams of becoming an actor into reality.
Last year, he flew to Broken Hill in regional NSW to film a TV show, after scoring a role on RFDS, a new drama series that will premiere later this year.
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