Daniel Macdonald, a 2020 finance grad from the University of Arizona, moved from Tucson to Dallas, TX, in September for a job. After three weeks, Daniel Macdonald, completely new to Texas and the culture, started roaming around the city. He found a ritzy area where he saw Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys, and Aston Martins. He says he had no idea how many luxury cars varoomed down the roadways of Dallas. But he decided to put into action an idea he had had for a long while — simply asking people, “What do you do for a living?” and filming their answers for TikTok.
The answers varied, but as you might imagine, a lot of these folk work in real estate, investment, and tech. Most of them are telling the truth. It’s easy to believe that the guy in the Maserati Ghibli S 04 works for Chanel, the owner of the Aston Martin Vantage is a lawyer, and the laughing man in the Bentley Continental GT does have a rich father-in-law. Several people said they sold drugs … and you’re inclined to think they’re joking, but then there was that one guy in the Lamborghini Huracan who could have been telling the truth. The woman in the Mercedes-Benz G Class, who said, “I smuggle drugs across the border. I just can’t tell you about it, or I will be taken away,” was most likely lying, but she’s a good liar. The white-bearded man with the gusty laugh in the Aston Martin DBII, who said, “I sell Roto-Rooters,” was most definitely lying. But that old dude in the Rolls Royce Wraith driven by a stern red-haired woman might have actually been telling the truth when he put his hand to the side of his mouth, saying, “Steal,” as red hair quickly drove away.
It’s fascinating. And addictive. TikTokers love it. Daniel Macdonald, who hadn’t even given TikTok that much thought before, suddenly had a million followers. Today, he has 2.6 million, and some of his single TikToks are viewed more than 40 million times.
Macdonald had found the hunting ground for the luxury class and their fabulous rides: Highland Park Village, America’s first self-contained shopping center, self-described as offering “revered fashion and lifestyle boutiques to exquisite dining and impeccable service.”
“It was wild,” says Macdonald. “People thought I was in LA. I had no idea there was this kind of wealth here.”
Granted, Macdonald is only 23 and was born long after J.R. was shot, but there was that remake of Dallas in 2012.
The TikToks went viral. Internet potentate Zach King started following him. And actor Tanner Fox. And the Dobre Twins, who have 26.5 million fans.
Daniel Macdonald was in TikTok nirvana. But then three followers that didn’t please him — Highland Park Village police — kicked him out.
“I was basically banned for life,” says Macdonald, “for like five years.” And that is life in the TikTok world.
“I called them and tried to set up a meeting, but they said there was nothing I could do about it.”
Macdonald says that 95 percent of the people were “really nice” to him, and he got permission to post their videos, even the woman who said that she crosses the border to smuggle drugs, even the woman who says she dates rappers for a living, even the couple who didn’t answer what they did for a living but said, “We were just talking about you. That’s hilarious.”
The roofing and real estate guy in the Ferrari 488 Spider said, “Are you that dude from TikTok? I follow you.”
Maybe somebody implicated themselves. Maybe too many people were following Macdonald, and Highland Park Village didn’t want more TikTokkers to descend like locusts upon the lifestyle boutiques and exquisite dining. But more likely, this ballsy kid with an iPhone and curiosity just pissed off the wrong person.
Highland Parkers, don’t you know that Daniel Macdonald is just the host of the millennial version of What’s My Line?
Macdonald is not deterred. He’s looking for new locales, hooking up with people he’s met through the videos, and scouting out luxury-car shows. He’s also in the process of creating longer videos for YouTube about people who worked their way up from nothing to the luxury class.
By day, Macdonald works for a financial firm in Dallas with plans to become a broker in the next few years. In the meantime, brands are noticing him, but he does not want to dilute his own brand. Maybe he will meet the right person in one of those Mercedes or Audis — or one day be the person driving them.
Follow Daniel Macdonald on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube: @itsdanielmac