When it comes to reality shows, History and A&E have learned that people who don’t want the game show aspect or Big Brother or Survivor, nor the drama of Real Housewives of Wherever, will watch if there are dollar bills attached to the show.
This formula was proven when Pawn Stars became a runaway hit. It spun off a ton of shows, but none did nearly as well because while it’s cool to see cars fixed and antiques restored, it’s not as relatable as the dream of finding something in the attic, bringing it to the pawn shop, and walking away with money in your pocket.
While there have been 101 pawn shop copiers since then, the producers of Storage Wars took the "visiting the pawn shop" concept and simply moved the concept of finding something in the attic to finding something in an abandoned storage locker. When that one special item is discovered, it's brought to the expert who appraises it, and therein lies the “make a buck” aspect that clearly appeals to the audience.
Money alone won’t bring in viewers, so despite the “reality,” the people cast on the show have to be real-life characters, and among the most durable fixtures of Storage Wars have been Brandi Passante and her common-law husband, Jarrod Schulz. Most guys watching are probably the “everyman” Jarrod portrays, but not all can claim to have a person at their side as beautiful and business savvy as Brandi. The duo come off as conservative on the show, but you know there’s a wild side there somewhere, and with that in mind, we present 15 Photos of Brandi from Storage Wars her Husband Jarod Doesn’t Want You To See.
15 She won a lawsuit against an adult website company
OK, she technically won, but when you're only awarded $750 because the judge doesn’t find reason to give more for damages, are you really a winner? That’s 3/10,000ths of the $2.5 million she was seeking, but yes, technically, the judgment was in her favor. A guy named Hunter Moore, who has a bit of sketchy past with pornography websites, posted what he claimed was a video featuring Brandi, but after authorities investigated, it was found to all be a setup, with an actress who looked like Brandi pretending to be her in hope of getting website subscriptions. So, if you’re on a website and see a claim that Brandi has posed nude or is in a sex tape, you can just assume it’s this garbage that's still making its way around the Internet years later.
14 She’s not good at keeping business ventures going
Brandi and Jarrod were called the “Young Guns” when the show started, but now that they're far closer to 40 than 30, the name doesn’t seem to make as much sense. The label should perhaps be changed to “Failed Business Owners” since even with all of the publicity of Storage Wars, they can’t seem to keep one of their second-hand stores open. Their Now and Then Thrift Shop, which was featured multiple times on the show and was located in Orange, California, closed in 2016. A second location in Long Beach went belly-up even faster, being open and closed within a couple of seasons. It’s not just their stores, either. Producers spun off the duo on their own show “Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job,” and that stinker lasted only one season. This couple is entertaining in short bursts as part of a larger cast, but nobody really wants to see them play home with their kids. That’s the kind of thing we escape from to watch Storage Wars in the first place.
13 Keeping it casual for almost two decades
Despite the fact they’re not married, Brandi and Jarrod have been together for nearly 20 years at this point. It’s probably easier to stay together when you have a big contract from a basic cable channel, but we have a feeling long after the storage container craze is over, these two will still be a couple somewhere in Southern California. They both met when they were working for the same carpet cleaning company in 1999. Their first business together wasn’t recycling other people’s crap. They actually opened a mortgage business together, but when that didn’t do as well as they’d hoped, Jarrod’s aunt suggested to the duo that they try their hand at the storage auction game. She knew her stuff since she owned her own storage facility. Hopefully, she gets a cut of their Storage Wars contract these days.
12 Wasn’t originally going to be on the show
Producers of Storage Wars were just interested in Jarrod when they began shooting. On one of the first days of production, according to a story the couple told on a podcast in early 2017 to hype the 10th season of Storage Wars, the crew was in their Now & Then Store in Orange, California to shoot some footage of Jarrod. Brandi was there, working at the front of the shop, interacting with customers and looking camera-friendly. When the producers approached Jarrod about including Brandi in that day’s shoot, he said, “Do you think she wore that dress for nothing??!!” We couldn’t imagine what Storage Wars would be like if it didn't have the common sense and beauty of Brandi. We love the fact they added more female blood with Mary Padian, but Brandi is always going to be the first lady of Storage Wars.
11 The “sidekick” who made it to Season 10
Jarrod and Brandi weren’t the only duo whom people liked to tune into and see on Storage Wars for the first nine seasons. Darrell Sheets, who goes by “The Gambler” nickname in the opening credits of the show always had his son, Brandon, by his side. Much like the way Brandi is the voice of reason for Jarrod, “Brando” -- as his dad calls him -- often had to talk his father off of a bad deal or speak up when money was being left on the table. The two are known for the biggest “get” in the show’s history, over $300,000 worth of art in a locker that cost less than $4,000. Whatever Brandon was getting for appearing in every episode was apparently too much because before the tenth season started airing in mid-2017, he Tweeted that he wasn’t going to be appearing anymore because of budget cuts.
10 She’s got more than it looks like
Brandi and Jarrod like to appear as the typical couple just struggling to make ends meet and be their own bosses. The true American Dream story is what’s happening for them behind the scenes, because they’re now both multi-millionaires according to multiple sources, and continue to see their net worth expand. In 2012, she was estimated to be worth $975,000, but that popped to $1.5 million in 2014, and most estimate she’s worth in the $2 million range today. Jarrod is usually quoted at a similar income level to his quasi-wife. Any couple would want $4 million, but they’re hardly the richest on the show. Darrell Sheets is estimated at $5 million, and eccentric Barry Weiss is worth around $10 million, having made his money early in life in the wholesale produce industry. Seeing how much money they all have, it seems ridiculous that they’re fighting over $10 extra on a storage locker.
9 Here’s how we think it works
On the show, they’d have you believe that these rag-tag characters show up to a storage auction they read about in the newspaper with about $1,000 in their pocket, and they hope to turn a profit. Now, we can talk about appearance fees, the fact almost nobody else bids, and all kinds of inconsistencies, but what's most interesting is the charge from some that producers plant items. Technically, that would be illegal. A storage locker in California can only go up for bid if the rent hasn't been paid after a 30-day grace period. During that time, nobody, including the renter, can enter the locker. However, the way around this, and the way to not actually be “planting” items is for the producers to rent a locker in May, fill it with junk and one or two good items for the bid winner to find, and then stop paying their locker fee. Come July or August, that locker can legally be auctioned. We don’t know if this is how they do it, but it’s the only way we could think they could get specific items onto the show without breaking the law or lying about how they do things.
8 Brandi doesn’t own the clothing company
Despite the fact he dresses like he’s ready for middle school gym class, there’s a method to the madness of Jarrod Schulz on Storage Wars. Brandi always looks professional and probably sports a spring or summer dress better than 98% of the women on television today. For someone who clearly cares about how she looks, why does she let her partner look like the guy from the bar who goes home alone at the end of the night? Because he owns the company that makes the clothes. Jarrod started Outlaw Apparel with a buddy in 2002 because they didn’t want to wear the same brands everyone else did. The friends opened a website and got a huge boost when one of the owners started appearing on television every week in his own gear. Despite having a women’s section on their website, we’ve not seen Brandi wearing any of the company’s clothes. She's said in the past that it’s Jarrod’s thing and that she just tries to make sure he doesn’t do anything too crazy with his side venture.
7 Know when to say when
While plenty of fans of Storage Wars know Jarrod ran afoul of the police on drug charges in the mid-1990s prior to meeting Brandi, fewer know that Brandi herself has been in hot water with the cops in the past. In May 2007, she was pulled over for swerving her car and was deemed by police officers to be intoxicated. Instead of fighting the charge, Brandi admitted her guilt that October and was sentenced to mandatory attendance at a First Offender Alcohol Program that lasts three months and had to pay $390 in fines. That’s a far cry better than the 16 months her partner had to spend in prison shortly before they hooked up but still a stupid thing to do. While some have posted fake mug shots of Brandi online, it doesn’t appear the real thing is floating around out there.
6 Ladies from the Lone Star State
Despite the fact Storage Wars takes place in Southern California, the two female leads (we’re not counting auctioneer Laura Dotson of “Don’t forget to pay the lady!” fame -- she’s not a bidder and disappears five minutes into every show) were both born in Texas. Brandi was born May 16, 1980 in Harris, Texas but doesn’t sport an accent because she’s spent the last 20 years of her life in California. It’s a little more obvious that Mary Padian, who's only been with the show for the last few seasons, is straight out of the Lone Star State. Producers actually met her there when they tried to spin-off the show and create Storage Wars Texas. The number of shows that producers have tried to milk from Storage Wars is vast, and there isn’t a winner in the bunch. Thankfully, they recognized that Mary had a spark that would translate to the original show and signed her up. While not the best of friends, Twitter makes it seem like the two get along well behind the scenes.
5 So what if it’s fixed?
We talked earlier about how there are people who claim that producers put items in the lockers before they're auctioned on the show to make for better episodes. The official line from A&E is that there's no chicanery whatsoever and will only go on record saying, "There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.” Producers haven’t said much more, but executive producer Thom Beers said the lockers are looked at before production starts and most are passed over because there's nothing good in them. So much for the lock on the outside of the gate. Interestingly, when asked about the prospect of producers planting items, Brandi has gone on the record saying that she’s all for it if it makes for a better show and earns Jarrod and her more money. We can see her logic, and if we find out the show is rigged for sure, we don’t think we’re going to lose any sleep.
4 Was he talking about Jarrod and Brandi?
Back in late 2012, Dave Hester -- known as the guy who yells “Yuuuuuup!” whenever he's bidding -- sued the production company, Original Productions, and A&E. It’s unclear if he was just after a hefty settlement or thought it would lead to something bigger for him, but Hester charged that Storage Wars producers were giving money to people on the show who didn’t have the kind of funds they’d need to bid on certain lockers to help drive the price up. He believed the show was covered by the same Communications Act of 1934 which was used to run crooked game shows off of television. Hester felt the show involved intellectual skills and was a contest. An argument could be made that they play it off like there’s a winner based on who had the biggest profit, but judges didn’t see things the same way and threw his suit out, ordering Hester to pay the cable channel’s legal fees. He settled with the company, which included him returning to the show, and neither side talks about the issue. We’ve got to think he must be talking about Jarrod and Brandi since he used the word “them,” describing other people on Storage Wars.
3 Yeah, but the eighth one will be a success
We’ve briefly mentioned that Brandi and Jarrod had their own show and that Mary came to Storage Wars from a version that was filmed in Texas, but you probably don’t realize just how many shows have been spun-off, all of them to almost no success. The first spin-off was Storage Wars Texas, and it ran three seasons, followed by Storage Wars New York. That only went two seasons. The next wasn’t shown in America, but had the same result, as Storage Wars Canada lasted only two seasons. Miami was the only other place a spin-off with the Storage Wars format was used. Barry Weiss has had two spin-off shows and the aforementioned Brandi & Jerrod: Married to the Job. Despite teasing a wedding in the first season finale, it never returned and only eight episodes were ever completed. So, the question remains, is it that people don’t like the Storage Wars characters on different shows, or don’t like the Storage Wars concept anywhere but California?
2 None of Your Business
While the other cast members of Storage Wars show up at network events and can occasionally be seen by the Southern California paparazzi, Brandi has done a very good job keeping her private life just that -- private. Despite the spin-off show that introduced the world to their son and daughter, Brandi makes sure the family keeps a low profile and controls all of the information coming in and out of the Passante-Schulz household. She does maintain a couple of social media accounts, aside from the “official” ones run by Storage Wars producers. She has a Twitter but posts only once or twice a month to her 171,000 followers. Over on Instagram, she’s got 60,500 followers. We wonder if she ever throws it in Jarrod’s face that he only had 134K on Twitter and 19,600 on Instagram. She’s certainly easier on the eyes.
1 Not the Business Model to Follow
Considering that their two stores closed, and that was with the promotion of a national television show that’s been on for years behind them, it’s probably safe to guess that without Storage Wars, Brandi and Jarrod wouldn't still be in the storage locker business. After the initial success of the show, there was an explosion of interest in the business/hobby across the country, but as most weekend warriors discovered, you almost always get what you pay for... or less. At real storage auctions, producers aren't planting items, and just because you say, “That’s a $20 bill right there, this is worth $10, and here’s something worth $35,” it doesn’t mean you’ll ever get that kind of money for it. When you buy a storage locker, you have to clean everything out of it... not just the stuff you like. Most of the stuff is destined for the garbage. You can hope for a successful yard sale at best for the rest. There are much easier ways to spend your time if you’re looking to make money. And most importantly, there usually aren’t sexy ladies like Brandi at real storage locker auctions.