Dave’s new supercar show, Yianni: Supercar Customiser, kicks off later this week.
Ahead of the show’s launch, Yianni spoke to us about about wrapping cars, his Hollywood cameo and being smart on YouTube.
Tell us about the show. What can we expect?
The show is pretty much the goings on at [my company] Yiannimize. A car will turn up with a customer, I'll meet the customer [and] find out about what car they have and what they're looking to have done. We'll get the car into the workshop… and then we'll wrap the vehicle. It's not [always] as simple as that because things do go wrong in my workshop. We work to very very tight deadlines. Because my client base is very very high end, people want things done yesterday. [You’ll also see us] do a smaller job or you might get me going out to a big car event where I'll see some fans. Maybe ordering a brand new car from Lambourgini. That is pretty much what happens in the show. We were just lucky to get the [McLaren] P1s in, the Pagani Huayra which are like £1m, £2m cars.
How did this happen? How did you get into wrapping cars?
I started doing football players' cars. Back in the day footballers or celebrities had a big social media following and I didn’t. Everyone used to tag me: 'Yianni's done my car...', so I started building up my social media quite quickly. I was famous among famous people. [I did] a [football] player called Bacary Sagna – he’s still my best friend today. I wrapped his Range Rover in white. We put a body kit and a sound system in it. Next thing I know [footballer] William Gallas rings me. I do his car. He gives me John Terry. John Terry gives me Didier Drogba. I then do JLS' car. JLS have a Christmas party and One Direction are there. I then do Harry from One Direction's car. It just snowballed. For me, YouTube is massive. It's not as crazy as it was. It was a lot easier to get followers back in the day. People are doing crazy things on YouTube now to get views, and they film absolutely everything.
Your channel has over one million subscribers on YouTube. Why make the move to TV?
[People asked] 'why don’t you have a TV show'. We don't work on the run of the mill [cars] like the Fords or the Peugeots. We wrap Lamborghinis, Ferraris, hypercars! I was approached about 4-5 years ago [about making a TV show]. I went and had a meeting with UKTV but it wasn't right at the time. We stayed in contact. Then 4 years later… it's at Dave. Dave is a car channel. I was really happy. What I really liked about this [was] when they wanted to do my show, [they didn’t] want it scripted. I must have been approached about seven or eight times to do a show, but they all wanted it scripted. I’m not gonna do it scripted. I think it's so fake. I think the audience will see it. They just let me do my thing.
You’re kicking off 2018 with a bang – but 2017 wasn’t bad! I saw you had a part in Pixar’s Cars 3?
That was unbelievable. I would have paid to be in Cars 3, let alone be paid to do that job. They sent me to Vegas. I did a roadtrip with three other YouTubers and then I went to Pixar studios to record my part! It's unbelievable! Some of the things that I am getting to do are not real. I’ve got two boys [and] I took them to the premiere and they watched the movie. For them to say 'Daddy was in Cars 3' is fantastic for me. It makes me very very proud.
YouTubers have been getting into trouble with misjudged and unacceptable content. How do you make sure you don't?
I think it's difficult when you're a young person that you can put something on your social media and it can really go wrong. Whereas I'm a mature gentleman, I try and think before I put anything on social media and I try and keep myself very brand friendly. I never swear on my videos. You'll never see anything sex related or anything controversial. I make sure that I am brand friendly to everyone.
Are you excited to watch yourself on your own TV show?
It's going to be really surreal. Yesterday on Sky the [programme guide] comes up a week before the show so I click through to my show and I clicked info and my name comes up. Obviously I series-linked that! That was quite surreal. For them to call it Yianni: Supercar Customiser, because my name is not common - it's not Darren or David or Paul! It's massive for me. I appreciate the opportunity that everyone has offered me and I hope I have delivered 20 fantastic shows!
Answers have been edited for clarity and length