Cameo App Offers PLL Athletes Another Way to Connect With Fans


Imagine walking into the kitchen on your birthday. Whatever adult is in charge hands you their phone and tells you that you have a message.

You think maybe it’s a text from Uncle Jesse or a voice mail from Aunt Vivian, but when you look at the phone, you see the face of your favorite Premier Lacrosse League player. You press the play button, and that superstar starts a personalized message.

Years ago, this scenario would be a pipe dream, but many lacrosse fans of all ages are living this experience thanks to a number of PLL players on an app called Cameo.

“Every time I make one, it feels good knowing I’m sending someone a nice graduation gift or birthday gift,” Archers attackman Marcus Holman said. “Some of the feedback I’ve gotten has been cool. It’s a fun little hobby to interact with fans.”

Cameo was founded in 2017 by Steven Galanis, Devon Townsend and Martin Blencowe. In an interview with Refinery29, Galanis said the idea came from the realization that “selfies were the new autograph,” adding, “This is a way for the talent to have a Comic Con in the palm of their hands.”

When a celebrity joins Cameo, he, she or they set a price that users can pay for a video message. With the video request, the user sends the celebrity a short message detailing who the message is for, what the message is for (for example a birthday, a congratulations or a pep talk) and maybe a little information about the receiver of the gift. The celebrity then has seven days to record and upload the video to Cameo.

In a list published by Forbes on March 9, 2021, Cameo ranked as the 49th best startup employer in America, and the previously mentioned article on Refinery29 — published April 15, 2020 — said there are over 30,000 celebrities on the site. A number of PLL players such as Holman, Rob Pannell and Ryan Brown, as well as women’s lacrosse personalities and now NCAA players thanks to the NIL ruling are some of the celebrities to choose from.

The players were asked to be a part of the site in a variety of ways, but they all agreed it has been a rewarding way to connect with fans.

“I really like it. It’s an amazing platform,” Chaos attackman Bryce Wasserman said. “It’s very fulfilling because its personalized. You’re not speaking at a camp or a big crowd, and you don’t know who’s listening or an interview with me and you that maybe a kid is reading.

“It’s fun for me because it’s super personal. That person will have that quote as long as they want it.”

While the process of sending a video message that’s only a couple minutes long sounds easy, making it personal and meaningful takes some practice.

“It’s something I’ve had to get better at,” Chaos defensive midfielder Mark Glicini said. “From the [PLL] social media team to RJ Kaminski, they make it more normal having a camera in front of you all the time. At first it was odd, but it’s more normal. You know why you’re doing it. I try to keep in mind what I would want to hear. There’s someone in this community that reached out and wants a video. It shows they care. The least I can do is all I can to inspire.”

“You press the request, and it pops up, and a button comes up and says, ‘Record Cameo,’” Wasserman said. “In the beginning, you deny a couple recordings [you make] saying it doesn’t sound good. More or less, now it’s one take. You get a feel for it, and it’s pretty easy and a lot of fun.”

Some athletes go beyond the requirements to make sure the message is as memorable as possible.

“I message the person back to get more information to make it more personable. I don’t want it to be just, ‘Hey. What’s up? Bye,’” Archers attackman Will Manny said. “I try to relate a story. I try to keep, in a way, a humble mindset to whoever it is. If they made the ‘A’ team to continue to work. If they got cut from a team, I got cut from the best team in the world, Team USA. There are so many things I like to relate to the kids or whoever is requesting it. That’s more important than just saying, ‘What’s up?’”

Professional lacrosse players are known for their positive interactions with fans after games. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, no fans were allowed in attendance during the quarantined 2020 Championship Series, and in 2021, although the fans are back, postgame autographs are still not allowed.

Cameo has been a nice way for the participating players to still provide memories for their fans. It also is beneficial to keep in touch with fans after the PLL leaves a city as part of the touring model or a city the league hasn’t traveled to yet.

“I like the consistency of it in the fact you can stay in touch with fans even after you’re gone,” Glicini said. “I cannot stress how much I can remember picking up the stick in fifth grade and being struck by lightning. It’s important for me to keep in mind those fifth graders because you set an example for them. It’s one of the blessings of social media and Cameo. They can reach out and have a short connection that, even though the PLL isn’t going to stick around because it’s a tour-based model, they can still connect with you.”

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