The hit reality show about competitive bidders seeking treasure troves in abandoned storage lockers is back for the ninth season. The success of Storage Wars also stems from its eclectic cast of charismatic buyers, including fan favourites Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz.
The owners of Now and Then Second Hand Store may not be the most experienced or possess the deepest pockets in the game, but the tenacious competitors bring on enough attitude to be a match for the Storage Wars veterans.
With their business and family on the line at every auction, every bid is crucial for the couple. In the show, Jarrod is aggressive, some say reckless, risk-taker while Brandi is often seen as the voice of reason and cracking the financial whip to keep their fiscal risk to a minimum. The result is a wonderful chalk and cheese dynamic often seen in male-female relationships on screen, as the feisty pair argues on many topics including the storage units they had purchased. But together they are a formidable pair on the show and definitely a force to be reckoned with.
The reality star couple recently made an appearance at the History Con in Manila, Philippines and we caught up with them to find out more about the latest season of Storage Wars, the secret behind their success and what they really think about the show antagonist Dave Hester.
Catch Storage Wars Season 9 on HISTORY (StarHub TV Channel 401), Tuesdays at 9pm.
TT: HOW WAS HISTORY CON? HOW DO YOU BOTH FIND ASIA SO FAR?
BRANDI: History Con was amazing. It was very exciting, the fact there were so many people there. And those fans were so much fun.
JARROD: Just how receptive they were to us and all the shows on History was like…. I have been to a lot of conventions but that was like so much energy.
BRANDI: It was overwhelming.
JARROD: People were so excited. It was like being Mick Jagger. It was crazy. We were up there and they were just like “JARROD!!!”
BRANDI: We ‘ve got a lot of fans in the Philippines.
JARROD: On the flip side of that, people who drive there are insane. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t know how people aren’t crashing into each other and getting out of the cars and beating each other up too. It blows my mind. I drive in LA traffic all the time and I can never make it in the Philippines.
TT: TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT THE LATEST SEASON AND WHAT WE CAN EXPECT.
BRANDI: There’re a lot of conflicts, some really exciting interesting finds, and a brutal fight.
JARROD: I can tell you that because we’ve come so far and it’s season 9, everybody’s a bit smarter, everybody’s a bit better at what they do, determining value. You are going to see a lot more fierce competition. We are all better buyers now.
TT: STORAGE WARS IS NOW IN ITS NINE SEASON. DID YOU EVER IMAGINE IT WOULD COME THIS FAR?
BRANDI: No, not in a million years. No.
JARROD: Never in my lifetime. When they originally approached me and asked me if I wanted to be part of it, we talked about it obviously. I was like, look, even if nothing comes out of this, even if it is one season and goes away, it’s free advertising for the store. We might as well try to take advantage of it. We aren’t getting any money for it. I mean, it was basically like charity, but it was free advertising so we took a chance on it and it turned into a monster.
BRANDI: it was literally an overnight success. We were in Las Vegas shooting and we all watched it in the bar as the cast.
JARROD: And then we have 6.30am call time the next day.
BRANDI: The next day, people knew who we were.
JARROD: They would recognize us on the street. It was so surreal.
BRANDI: It was bizarre.
TT: THAT’S HOW YOU GUYS MAKE IT TO NINE SEASONS AND HOPEFULLY YOU WILL BE BACK FOR THE TENTH . SO MAYBE TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT ONE OF YOUR UNIQUE OR EXPENSIVE FINDS ON STORAGE WARS.
BRANDI: Well, I can’t remember what season it was. There was one unit that Jarrod did not want me to bid on and I know this from personal experience that I hate it when he does that. But I couldn’t resist. There was a horse head in there.
TT: HORSE HEAD???!!!
BRANDI: No, no, no (not an actual horse head)
JARROD: (laughs) We were there for the whole time… Hang on a minute, a horse head, I am out, I am out.
BRANDI: It was made of gold leaf. And it was worth quite a bit of money. Now, here’s the gruesome part. They put these outside the restaurants that serve horse meat.
JARROD: It ‘s similar, like a barber’s pole, you put it in front of your restaurant which means you have good quality horse meat.
BRANDI: I don’t know about good quality, just horse meat nonetheless. Anyway, it was worth a lot of money, which was in a way very redeeming for me, very exciting.
JARROD: Brandi sure enjoys winning.
BRANDI: I do. As do Jarrod. As does anyone. It didn’t look like much but it was worth quite a bit. So that won.
TT: BRANDI:1. JARROD: 0. SO HOW WAS IT LIKE WORKING ON A SUCCESSFUL REALITY SHOW LIKE STORAGE WARS AND RUNNING A STORE AND FASHION LABEL AT THE SAME TIME? HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME AND BALANCE IT ALL?
BRANDI: We don’t sleep. We are vampires.
JARROD: I was going to say we don’t work very hard. No?
BRANDI: (laughs) It is true, It’s true.
JARROD: We pretty much just phone it in. I don’t know, we just make time. Put a priority list together and get through as many things done as you can in a day. And then go to sleep. Wake up and do it again. That’s all you can do.
TT: DO YOU SEE YOUR KIDS IN THIS LINE OF WORK?
BRANDI: I do not. I want more for them. They are smart good kids. I don’t want them to this backbreaking work.
JARROD: There are definitely redeeming traits that I would like to pass onto them but it is not necessary my industry. It is my ability to work with people, my ability to access value quickly, stuff like that.
TT: THEY CAN GO TO OTHER INDUSTRIES.
JARROD: Right. It is universal, you know. I wasn’t in the storage buying industry for my whole life. I sold other things. I did other stuff. But It was all of those other things that has helped me in this which I like that. I already told him and he was like, what do you mean, my first job is going to be in this shop. I was like, no, it’s not. That would not be your first job. You are not going to work in this shop. I want you to do what you going to do, be what you are going to be. Don’t follow my footsteps. It’s hard work.
TT: HOW DID YOU GUYS FEEL ABOUT DAVE HESTER? WILL WE SEE BARRY WEISS ON STORAGE WARS AGAIN?
BRANDI: You know, As far as Barry goes, I am not sure what his plans are. You can never tell with him. He’s kind of all over the place. As far as Dave Hester goes, I am not a fan.
JARROD: I would say honestly, I think people who watched the show disliked him more than we do. And I can tell you in person he’s 10 times worse than he is on the show. He’s horrible. He’s so bad that you feel…
BRANDI: That you feel sorry for him.
JARROD: Yeah. It takes a long of energy not to like somebody. But if you just let him be, he ruins things and then it backlashes right back on him within a matter of time. So if you just don’t get involved and watch it, you will see him fail and everything just comes back on him. It’s almost like gratifying itself not to be involved . Because if I got to really hate Dave, that means I have got to put in thought into Dave.
BRANDI: Put in some energy….
JARROD: and it’s not worth it.
TT: SO MAYBE YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT A FUNNY THING THAT HAD HAPPENED ON STORAGE WARS.
JARROD: I thought we are still talking about Dave… (laughs) I was just going to say, although I like Dave at arm’s length, on occasion, he does get into my space and definitely, in that moment, I won’t give him a pass. I am not saying I am turning the other cheek, I just won’t put in the energy. Don’t get caught in the mess.
BRANDI: You seem like you are putting in a lot of energy…
JARROD: if you watch the show, you know Brandi is pretty confrontational. She doesn’t let a lot of stuff slide.
BRANDI: I don’t. As far as funny goes, I believe there are a lot of funny moments on the show. I can’t even pinpoint one. A lot of Bogart images are coming to mind.
JARROD: Oh my God, Bogart leaned on this table one time, a dining table one time and the whole table collapsed….
BRANDI: All the legs came out. He just lay down on the ground.
JARROD: I didn’t even realize until I came around the corner and I was like “Bogart, why are you down and out?” That was definitely funny.
TT: A PERSONAL QUESTION, HOW DID YOU GUYS BOTH MEET? WAS IT LOVE AT THE FIRST SIGHT?
BRANDI: It was not love at one sight.
JARROD: For her it was.
BRANDI: (laughs) We worked together, that’s how we met. Eventually, Jarrod broke the wall and we ‘ve been together ever since.
TT: ANY PARTING WORDS FOR YOUR STORAGE WARS FANS?
BRANDI: Stay in school.
JARROD: For us, in our lives, we have been so far down and so far up that our messages are like no matter how it gets, as long as you work hard, you never know something good would come out of it. We had no idea this is going to be the outcome of us, buying other people’s stuff.
BRANDI: And making money out of it.
JARROD: That’s it. Look at us now. We started with 300 bucks and this is where we made it so far.