Hitting Bottom at the Top: Darren Prince
The story of sports and celebrity agent, Darren Prince, is one you don’t hear every day. By the time he was 16, Darren was already making six figures, and at age 20, he sold his company for $1 million. If that wasn’t enough, he then started his own talent agency that went ahead to represent some of the biggest names in the sports and entertainment industry – from Magic Johnson, to Muhammad Ali, to Hulk Hogan, Pamela Anderson, Chevy Chase, Carmen Electra, and the list goes on and on.
By every right, he’s achieved it all, fame, fortune, and applause. But even at the helm of it all, if you ask him what his most significant achievement in life is, he’ll tell you it’s his decision to stay clean and become a recovering addict from his opioid addiction.
Darren Prince is now a global advocate for addiction and recovery and one of the world’s most sought-after speakers on addiction recovery and mental health.
His latest book, Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top, is aimed at sharing his story, from how he got into drugs, to how he managed to keep his businesses together, what inspired his recovery and how to help other people struggling with addiction.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Give us a little background about yourself…
Darren Prince: I started a baseball card company when I was 14 years old, which became a multi-million-dollar business in the mid-1980s. I had all the ‘exterior’ success everyone thinks; a great family, friends, and fantastic childhood. But from a young age, I was labeled as ‘learning disabled’ and told that there are things I couldn’t do, so I used my business to prove everybody wrong. But it really didn’t get in touch with my feelings and my inner self and so I was always looking for an outside ‘fix,’ and this led to my 24 years of Opiate addiction.
Darren Prince: I got what I like to call my ‘God moment’, on July 2nd, 2008, when I found my recovery, spirituality, and sobriety and ultimately found my real self. This allowed me to love myself from the inside and then spread that light to the world, which is what I’m doing now – and that means more to me than anything I’ve accomplished as an agent.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Representing some of the world’s most famous faces, from Pamela Anderson, Chevy Chase, Charlie Sheen, to Dennis Rodman, Hulk Hogan, Magic Johnson…to name a few…The heart of who you are is an entrepreneur. You started as a sports card selling kid from Jersey and rose to the upper echelons of world-famous celebrity management…
Beverly Hills Magazine: What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
Darren Prince: For me, the concept of entrepreneurship was instilled to me at quite a young age. My dad was my mentor, he saw that I had the talent for managing people with special talent, and I think that even when I started my own agency, Prince Marketing Group, I realized this as well, but thought that I needed to have a substance in my system to blend in and fit in with everybody. But to do it now, and to do it successfully, I’ve understood that there are going to be some tough times, and I really need to have a solid footing to get through the craziness of the business.
Darren Prince: And it’s not all me, I have an incredible team of agents and two amazing assistants who work for me. It takes a team effort to find ways to reinvent the business and to keep our clients relevant, topical, and global icons worldwide.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Darren Prince: Actually, the past three months and a half have been quite challenging for us. We’ve had to reinvent our agency because as it is, very few companies are now investing in commercials or hosting live speaking engagements. So, we’ve started the Prince Digital Group, which really focuses on representing the brands now. Whether a brand wants a celebrity involved or not, we’re able to use our platform, connections, and resources to get a brand out there using social media influencers, some celebrities, and publicists who can get their message out there. For us, we’re leveraging on our 25-26 years of experience in marketing to help brands.
Beverly Hills Magazine: The most rewarding?
Darren Prince: Most of the celebrities we’ve worked the likes of Hulk Hogan, Magic Johnson, and many others have made a legacy for themselves, and being part of their journey is not only motivating, but also very rewarding.
Beverly Hills Magazine: In your new book, AIMING HIGH, you disclose the behind the scenes of your life as a Sports & Hollywood Celebrity Agent…The money, the fame, you share it all….but you also tell your story of a hidden drug addiction that began as a child. Why are you openly telling your story now?
Darren Prince: You know, I got the idea about the book about a year and a half ago, and I just knew it was the right. My dad always wanted me to write a book about the business, and he was so proud about my spiritual sober journey, so when I got to hold his hand and say goodbye the night before he passed away, I had a beautiful moment by his bedside, and I understood that that moment was going to elevate me. So, I want other people to know that no matter what happens in life, we can recover, we can stay recovered, and we can feel the moment and live every minute of it.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What do you hope readers will gain from your personal disclosure?
Darren Prince: I’m obsessively involved in mental health recoveries, breakthroughs, and really whatever I can do to help people because I have been there. I know what it’s like being in depths of hell, living a secret. So I want to know that there are other ways out there that you can do things, and come out of what seems like the darkest time of your life, and come out shining the brightest of all lights.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How do you balance your professional and personal life?
Darren Prince: Well, I try to remain humble and hopeful. I’m also part of a 12-step fellowship that I believe is ego-crushing. I don’t listen to people who think I’m a super-agent, because that’s not me. To me, if somebody asks who Darren Prince is, “I’m a recovering drug addict one day at a time, looking to give this gift to people so they can find their true and real self, and stop living a lie.” So, as long as I remember that first, I know that I have arrived, and I have developed my self-esteem for the first time in my life. It doesn’t have anything to do with the celebrity life, but I’m grateful that I have the platform to be a voice to help people across the world.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How do you take care of your spiritual self?
Darren Prince: I believe that the more you give, the more you receive, and when you’re giving without expecting something in return, then God can’t help but bless you to keep being a blessing to others.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So true…It truly is more blessed to give, than to receive. If you had to give a piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs out there, what would it be?
Darren Prince: Addiction for successful business owners is usually harder because you have so many people around you, and none of them believe that it’s possible. But it’s incredibly possible. And the bigger issue is your ego – nobody wants to go to Rehab. But now, you can do the recovery from the comfort and privacy of your home, with the right nurses, doctors and round the clock care. I’m actually an advisor to Elite Home Detox. That’s exactly what they do. They are helping to change and save so many lives in the privacy and comfort of people’s homes. Recovery is also more than just staying clean and getting your mind right. It’s what you do to stay in the path and evolve one day at a time to your higher self and continue that journey. We have to remember that life is one day at a time.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is “success” to you? DEFINE success.
Darren Prince: To me, success is personal. I believe that my platform has given me the ability to touch a life and change a life. That’s success, and that’s what I want my legacy to be. When I see the look of desperation in the eyes of someone and through my words from my higher power to give them that gift of desperation at that moment and to see them slowly regain the power of choice in their life, that’s success.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Do you believe you are living your God-ordained Destiny and doing what God created you to do?
Darren Prince: I believe I found my calling. I always thought that it was about the agency, but now I know that it can’t always be about me and my professional success. I think that there’s a lot more that comes from personal success – in helping others.
Beverly Hills Magazine: If God granted you one wish, what would you wish for?
Darren Prince: One more fishing trip with my dad.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where can I readers go to find more information about you, or book, and/or your company?
Darren Prince: So, my speaking engagements will all be on zoom. They can follow me on Instagram, and if anybody is interested in books, all we need is your address, we’re shipping out hundreds of hardcover books. They can also find me on my website. Also, If anyone wants advice or some tidbits on how to succeed in the entertainment industry, I’m only one phone call away.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add or share before we close?
Darren Prince: For anyone that’s struggling or if you know somebody struggling, just know that strength comes when you have that willingness. I go by the 5A’s Attitude, Adjustment, Action, Acceptance, and Accountability. Once you put this into your heart and soul, everything will slowly fall into place.
You can find Darren Prince’s book, Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top, on Amazon, and read more about his journey.
(Photography by Mathilda Tennysdotter)
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