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The Profile: The mega-rich who want to live forever & TikTok’s fast food stars
This edition of The Profile features Margot Robbie, Tobias Reichmuth, Christina Applegate, and more.
Good morning, friends!
This is my favorite time of year because it’s all about reflection. You get to look back on the year that’s passed and create goals for the year ahead.
As I thought about 2022, it struck me that it’s been one of the most personally challenging (writing a book, figuring out how to take care of a new baby, and a whole host of other things). But strangely, it’s also been one of the best. I’ve never been so happy or so fulfilled.
And then it clicked. Over the last week, I’ve been researching ice diver Johanna Nordblad. Nordblad is an extreme athlete who holds the Guinness World record for a 103-meter (338 feet) horizontal swim under 60-centimeter thick ice. It took her 2 minutes and 42 seconds to get from one ice hole to another. She did it in a single breath.
During her attempt to break the world record, Nordblad confronted challenge after challenge. Whether it was health issues or the COVID pandemic that closed all training pools, it took her two years to attempt her record-breaking swim.
But through it all, she knew that she could get through hard things — one breath at a time.
Before she dove in for her swim, she laid on top of a yoga mat next to the ice hole and did a deep breathing exercise to get her mind and body right.
And then slowly, calmly, and one stroke at a time, she shattered the men's and women’s official (and unofficial) records.
In the documentary I watched, she says two sentences that ring true as I reflect on the things I’ve done over the last year:
“Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we should not try to achieve it,” she says. “This is the only way we can learn something new about ourselves.”
Because in the end, I believe those are all ingredients for a fulfilling life: Developing skills to overcome the challenges that will inevitably pop up on the path to our goals.
And if you pay close attention, you might just learn a new thing about yourself in the process.
THE PROFILE DOSSIER: On Wednesday, premium members received The Profile Dossier, a comprehensive deep-dive on a prominent individual. It featured Anthony Bourdain, the world’s most beloved chef. Become a premium member, and read it below.
— The mega-rich who want to live forever [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— TikTok’s fast-food stars
— The DEA’s most corrupt agent
— The Australian actress who conquered Hollywood
— The actor who vanished
— The actress dealing with a life-altering diagnosis
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The mega-rich who want to live forever: Do you want to live forever? Tobias Reichmuth co-founded Maximon, an organization that supports longevity biotech companies, with his friend and longtime collaborator Marc Bernegger in 2020. Reichmuth’s company is investing 100 million Swiss francs (around $106 million) over the next four and a half years. Reichmuth has a personal goal of living to the age of 120. He eats a largely plant-based diet, gets plenty of exercise, and practices intermittent fasting. This profile explores the question: Can billions of investor money offer a concrete path to evidence-based life extension for all? (MIT Technology Review)
“If you buy a yacht, you can always get a bigger yacht; if you buy a plane, you can always get a bigger plane. But the [extent to which] your life is changing with more money is actually very minimal.”
TikTok’s fast-food stars: The pandemic created ideal conditions for making videos at work. With fewer customers in stores, employees faced less scrutiny as they wrapped cameras around their necks and recorded themselves making food. About three million Americans work in the fast-food industry, but, for the more than third of American adults who eat fast food every day, these chains are both exceedingly familiar and shrouded in mystique. Here’s how TikTok minted a new kind of social media star. (The New Yorker)
“My job should be making this content.”
The DEA’s most corrupt agent: José Irizarry accepts that he’s known as the most corrupt agent in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration history, admitting he “became another man” in conspiring with Colombian cartels to build a lavish lifestyle of expensive sports cars, Tiffany jewels and paramours around the world. It all started because of a crushing realization that there’s nothing DEA agents can do to make a dent in the drug war anyway. (Associated Press)
“There’s so much dope leaving Colombia. And there’s so much money. We know we’re not making a difference.”
The Australian actress who conquered Hollywood: Margot Robbie got Hollywood’s attention with a breakout performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, and has built a career that suggests what a modern movie star can be. She’s a no-bullshit actor and producer who bounces between blockbusters and dark indies, even if she’s still a little uncomfortable with the spotlight. Here’s how Robbie studies her characters before every film. (Vanity Fair)
“Whenever I’m trying to make a character, I have to figure out their childhood. I can justify anything they do later in life if I just figure that out.”
The actor who vanished: Brendan Fraser was an actor who was a fixture of the biggest movies of the 1990s and early 2000s, the star of School Ties and Encino Man and Looney Tunes: Back in Action. And then he disappeared from Hollywood. Now, in a spectacular comeback, he’s an Oscar favorite— and a man reckoning in real life with the kind of comeback you only see in the movies. (GQ)
“I like people feeling like they’re getting to know me again. Because we’ve all grown a little older together.”
The actress dealing with a life-altering diagnosis: Over several years, the tingling and numbness in actress Christina Applegate’s extremities grew worse. And in the summer of 2021, on set for the third and final season of “Dead to Me,” she received a diagnosis. She had multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that disrupts communication between the brain and body. Production shut down for about five months as she began treatment, but she was determined to finish the story. She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done. (The New York Times)
“This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am.”