As a student in Barcelona, I’m enrolled in many fascinating classes that are very different from my courses at the University of Michigan. In one of these classes, entitled “Journalism 2.0: Communication & Blogging in the 21st Century” we had a guest speaker named Valentí Sanjuan last Wednesday.
Valentí is a digital influencer, creative director, and sportsman. He currently travels the world as he engages in ultra-resistance sports and adventure, documenting every step of the way through YouTube. Valentí’s YouTube channel has almost 138,600 subscribers, and is filled with awe-inspiring videos of himself completing Ironmans, Ultramans, and engaging in a multitude of other athletic endeavors.
While speaking with our class, Valentí showed us a documentary of him and his sister competing in an Ultraman in Hawaii, which is posted on his YouTube channel. I found this video fascinating, mainly due to the fact that Valentí and his sister were able to run 52.4 miles, bike 261.4 miles, and swim 6.2 miles in three days, while keeping a smile on their faces (and living to tell the tale).
Valentí’s Ironman Documentary
As an influencer, Valentí has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others, due to his authority and knowledge in the world of extreme sports and competitions. He has gained sponsorship from various brands, and is featured in unique promos for companies and goods that align with his personal branding. Additionally, Valentí remains current with his followers through not only frequently updating his YouTube account, but also his Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.
In this Instagram post, Valentí promotes himself as an extreme athlete, as he tells his followers about the athletic challenge he is about to partake in
Valentí is heavily involved in giving back to others, which he merges with his love of sports. In class, he played an amazing video that captured himself running alongside a physically handicapped woman in a wheelchair, for the entirety of a marathon. When asked about this experience, Valentí explained that by opening this young woman’s eyes to the experience a marathon provides, Valentí was able to open his own, and see how humorous and vivacious this young woman is.
Although Valentí is now living out his dream as he does what he loves while traveling around the world, it took time, effort, and dedication for him to get here. Valentí had many professional roles prior to this, and he used to host a television show called Visto lo visto. Despite the fact that he laughed while watching himself on the show in class, Valentí admitted that hosting the show wasn’t his passion, and the live audience proved difficult to control while filming. During his professional life, Valentí faced difficulties when he lost his job, as well as personal hardship, when he lost his mother. Despite this,Valentí soldiered on, using these challenges and hardships to motivate him, as he chased his dream to become his own brand.
Now, Valentí runs races to honor those important to him, such as his mother, and is engaged in various initiatives aimed at helping the less fortunate. According to Valentí , he has three bosses. The first being himself, as he has built a brand around his unique lifestyle and endeavors. The second being his sponsors, who grant him the necessary funding to allow him to continue doing what he loves. The third, and most important, however, are his followers. As discussed in class, Valentí wouldn’t have been able to build himself as a brand or online influencer without his followers, and he strives to entertain, amaze, and inspire them everyday.
As a last question, a student in our class asked Valentí if he has a mantra that keeps him going. Upon receiving this question, he smiled to himself, and explained that one day we will all be dead, and a mortician will be shaving our faces. This, he said, is why it is so important to live life to the fullest and make everyday count.