Benjamin “Benny” Trent is a UK-based influencer whose goal is to make the world a happier place, one smile at a time. Producing entertaining content using the name SanGoMan, Benny’s TikTok account has grown to over 767,000 followers over the last two years and he has worked with well-known global companies such as NordVPN. You can follow Benny on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to name a few.
What inspired you to start your comedy TikTok channel?
Well, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I think the thing that pushed me in the direction of actually doing something was the pandemic, because all of a sudden we were locked in with nothing to do. Obviously where I’m from in the UK, there’s very much a pub culture here. So I mean, that’s literally part of our society is going out and meeting friends and things like that. All of a sudden, we had everything taken away. Well, everybody did globally, didn’t they?
So all of a sudden I had to find something to do to fill in the time, really. I work a lot with kids and they were like, “Oh, you should do TikTok, you’d be really good at it.” I was like, “No, that’s that weird dance app that kids do.” But then I think probably everyone over 30 ended up getting it. It’s just the perfect platform because I enjoy performing and entertaining. I enjoy the editing process and the filming. So to have these short, sharp videos that you could just throw out there, it just became a hobby. To see views coming in in real time, it became quite addictive, really. So it became a regular part of my day and now I’m stuck with it, I suppose. So, yeah.
You have a background in entertainment too, as a singer and a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you got into the entertainment industry?
I’ve always had an attraction to the stage or to an audience. I remember even my first role as a kid was a polar bear in the school Christmas play. I still remember the lines to this day of what I had to say. Ever since then, it was just a buzz of being live on stage. I used to love doing theater and once I left school, I did a BTEC National diploma in Performing Arts where I could pursue that. Then I started traveling and I went to Camp America and I ended up getting addicted to travel and I wanted to do something that worked with young people like it did at Camp America. I ended up going more into the field of hospitality and outdoor education with kids and stuff. But that spark of wanting to be on stage never left me. Even at holiday camps and summer camps, if you’re telling a story around the campfire or leading a song, you’re performing in front of an audience and I find that very natural.
It doesn’t intimidate me at all. So I find it a very natural space when I’m in an audience and TikTok and what I’m trying to do now is grow my YouTube and my Instagram is just to keep that going. I’d like to explore it and maybe introduce maybe a bit more travel vlogging or something because that’s another passion of mine to see if I can sneak that into my content. But the algorithm of these things, especially TikTok, the moment you try and do something new, it sort of freaks out and you don’t get any. So you have to stick with it and be patient and take a low views for a while and then eventually it gets used to it. So yeah, I think there’s always been a spark to performance as part of my character. It’s something I just enjoy and I just try to keep it fun and just like a fun side hobby, I suppose.
Your love of travel is well-documented. How do you structure your average day so you can travel, create content, and maybe have a little bit of downtime on the side? How do you structure your average day?
Oh, it’s the reason I never have any money – travel. I’ll impulsively suddenly book a flight to Estonia or something because living in the UK, you can fly to Spain for £10 because everything’s so close by. Over in the States, of course you’ve got an ocean either side and then a whole of Canada one way and Latin and South America the other so it’s much more easy for us because we’re so closer to everything to be able to travel. That’s another thing because I love being busy.
I don’t know if I’m secretly ADHD or something. I don’t think so, but it’s like I get itchy feet very quick and very easy. I tend to get bored. I suppose that’s why I like going down to the pub because when you do that, you’re having a great time. When does somebody not have a great time when they have a drink or two? Even if I’m on my own, I’m very chatty. I’ll meet people around me and I’ve built up a big network of people that I know just from around town from propping the bar up now and again and just meeting people. I think that whole the meeting people, especially when I’m traveling, that’s probably something that’s definitely come from that spark through performing and things like that, just because you’re not shy, I suppose.
You collaborated with a brand called Scentcraft and you have your own scent called SanGo Scent. Can you tell us about it?
That was something really random. They approached me and reached out and they find influencers. You just build a scent and I tried to make mine really light and silly, just to incorporate the smiles and laughter and trying to keep everything light. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that this is only available to people in the United States at the moment. They’ve not yet branched out across Europe or the UK and literally 20% of my followers are from the US and 80% are from the UK and Europe. They’re the ones that can’t buy it. That’s just the people that live there. The people that could possibly buy it are probably I don’t know, 10% less than. There’s a cost of living crisis so it was good. I’ll advertise it out and I think there’s been a couple of sales, but until it’s expanded to 80% of where my audience is, then I’m not really expecting much of it.
I mean, they’re great at what they do. It’s a high quality product. Now, and again, that’s something that has been a nice side hustle, I suppose, just bring a little bit of extra money in. Not enough to live on, but it helps with a month’s rent or something if you do a video for a brand. For example, I did one with NordVPN, and they gave me a nice amount, which paid for rent for a month, for a couple of months actually. So stuff like that has been a nice thing. But then I had a vape company approach me and that for me, it doesn’t sit right because many of my followers are young and I just don’t think my content suits a vaping brand and I don’t even do it myself. I think if you were to do something you don’t believe in, that’s when you become a sellout. Morally that just didn’t feel comfortable to do that. So happy to help as many people out as I can, but there’s a line.
What are some short-term goals for this year?
I know I’m at times an extroverted sort of personality, but I’ve also got this introvert side that’s a massive procrastinator. I’ll put things off and there’s a lot of things I’d like. I mean, I love performing, so I’d like to maybe find a way where I can work presenting-wise on TV because I like being busy and I know it’s long hours. I’m good at working long hours. Like I said, when you’ve worked with kids in holiday camps, you’re awake sometimes 18 hours a day. So it’s like, why are we doing this again? But yeah, that’s something where I’d like to push onto and get into a little more presenting. I’ve recently joined a couple of extra agencies where I can work as a support actor, so that could be fun.
So I think I want to base myself in the UK because I work for TUI usually as contract work, and if I’m sent away to Greece for six months, I’m sort of stuck there. I can’t just fly back from Greece to the UK to film something for a day or two. So I think being in the UK provides me with a lot more freedom of movement. So that’s really what I want to do in 2023 is maybe just get a little bit more exposure and take a chance, maybe send a show reel out to a few casting agencies and just see what happens. So I think that’s what I want to do is rather than waiting for something to fall into my lap, is to actually push a little bit and go out and throw my name out a little bit there because you never know. You might get somebody back that say, “Come in and have a chat.”
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the co-host of the Influencer Spotlight series.