I first met 23-year-old Gold Teeth God, born Ian Marks, in high school. Marks was svelte, his perma-stoned Mizrahi Jewish features usually hiding behind wide sunglasses. He walked, talked, and acted like Malibu's Most Wanted in real life—the kind of pajama pant–wearing semi-literate you find balls deep in a bag of Sour Patch Kids courtside at the Staples Center. I didn't pay him much attention.
Years later, though, I can't help but notice what he's made of himself. Marks, reborn as the Gold Teeth God, is a celebrity jeweler with nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram, hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales, his own reality TV series on Russell Simmons's YouTube channel, and plans to spread his own informal belief system.
Gold Teeth God has it figured out now—the swagger, the daily breakfasts at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the expense accounts, the watches, and the whips to prove it. His signature item is a 14-carat gold Xanax bar. And although he no longer does the impressions himself, his grills—uppers, lowers, and fangs—worn by Tyrese Gibson, Christy Mack, the late A$AP Yams, and even Kylie Jenner, attest to his rising six-pointed star.
I called him up to find out about his 17-month-old jewelry startup, the baby baths he took in Evian water, and what his new religion is all about.
VICE: Hey, Gold Teeth God. How's your day going?
Gold Teeth God: It's pretty good, actually. I've been getting a shitload of direct messages because I'm buying people souls because I don't have one. I'm a god, so I just want to be like a normal person; I just have to buy people's souls. People have been letting them go for a pretty cheap price, so I'm doing well.
What's the going rate for a soul these days?
Some people are selling them for less than a G. Girls offered them to me for free—Ah, I can't even talk, I've got my teeth in. Let me take this out. [Removes grill]
I'm also looking for underprivileged kids to adopt so I could swag them out and shit, and I'm giving them Jordans. I've been telling everybody on Instagram, "Listen, if you can prove that you're the most underprivileged kid here, I'm going to adopt you."
That's pretty generous.
Yeah, that's what gods do. I'm going to turn a poor kid into a god. They have to prove on Instagram that they're poor. Poor kids shouldn't even have an Instagram though—their friends should be tagging them.
I'm going to ask everyone to do a video where those kids are crying like on those infomercials, like those 1-800 numbers, remember those? One of those I'm going to adopt.
What else you up to?
I'm getting a store on Hollywood and Cahuenga, which is right next to Supperclub LA. I'm opening it with Taz Arnold and Bailey Roberts from the company Ti$a so it's going to be Ti$a's store, but I'm going to have a little section. It's going to be crazy.
I also started this cult called the Young Jewish Mafia. Pretty much the Young Jewish Mafia has to live the God lifestyle. The God lifestyle is: I offer you free weed, free money, free jewelry, women, free bitches, and food. The god is the best, I do the best at everything. I'm the Jewish Father Theresa. I'm like the hot Oprah.
The cult stuff isn't a religious thing, is it?
No, it's not a religion at all. It's like for people who want to be balling and then do other dope shit too and fuck bad bitches. That's just it, like having fun. Don't fucking go to school and be an idiot, fucking join the god's cult and do whatever you wanted to do in life and fucking succeed.
Religions and cults say stuff like that too.
Dude, I'm going to hold sermons at my new store—my new store is 20,000 square feet—I'm going to stand on top of the stairs with a microphone and just talk shit. Be like, "Listen my children, your girlfriend's a whore. When you figure this out you'll live a better life." Funny-ass shit.
I'll be like, "Listen, you don't fucking wear fucking shitty white diamonds because you're going to look like a douche, and don't wear them if you can't afford them." I'm going to tell everyone everything. You want to be a god? You can listen to my sermon.
OK, go back in time with me. How did this start?
I was at my friend Victory's house, and his family is in the music business. We were hanging out with Juicy J, and Johnny Dang came through and sold them a piece with diamonds, and some diamond teeth, and all this stuff. I was sitting there and I was like, Yo, if Johnny Dang can do this, I could do it too. I went and found an impression kit, and then I just started blasting all my friends. I'm a pretty smart kid so I understood the internet. I used all the networking that I had to get celebrities to buy from me. Now I'm selling chains to royals from Saudi Arabia.
Was it something you had to learn or did you just play it by ear?
I don't think anyone could do it if they weren't me, but I had no prior jewelry experience. None of my family is in the jewelry business, but also God came and talked to me and he was like, "Listen, I'm getting tired so you're going to have to take over."
Plus, I wasn't going to work—I was just going to smoke and do whatever I wanted. I was Gold Teeth God back when I was Ian. When I was little my mom would bathe me in Evian water—a huge tub of Evian water. I was a fucking god. That's not even a joke.
You were actually bathed in Evian water?
Swear to God.
That's insane. OK, walk me through an average day in your life.
I wake up. I check out how my website did online. There's usually a lot to take care of, so I have the assistant tell the intern what to do. They just run around dropping off teeth and taking impressions, and I'll go meet up with my customers, have lunch with them, and smoke.
I just I go meet up with whatever rapper I'm meeting up with, whether it's Riff Raff or Juicy J, or Little Debbie recently, or Fredo Santana or Chief Keef, since they've been out in LA recently. I'm just bouncing around picking up cash all over LA.
Do you stick out, since you're a young white Jewish kid selling jewelry?
I don't know. I think I get along with everyone pretty well. I have all the diamonds and shit so they all want to fuck with me.
Every person I meet up with I like stick my hands in their mouth. I've stuck my hands in everybody's mouth. In a way, it's kind of disgusting. I really don't fuck with it so that's why I have the interns and people doing that shit now.
"I'm the Jewish Father Theresa. I'm like the hot Oprah."
How big is the operation now?
Well, it's only been around for a year. I guess it's big enough to have internships and interns and I'm getting a bunch of jewelry and watches and shit so I'm doing well. It went from something that was a joke and something laughed about to like, I'm shitting on everyone.
It seems like your Instagram is half people who are stoked and half people who want to kill you. Can you talk to me about the haters?
Actually, I love the haters. They're fucking awesome. They say some really funny shit. Some of them are just mad because they're a little religious, and then some of them get mad because they wish they could do stuff that I do, like I jump on cop cars and don't get in trouble. I'm expressing on Instagram the lifestyle that everyone wants to live: disposable money, cars, chains. I'm living the life, bro.
Young Chop was just on your reality show, can you tell me about that?
Yeah, Young Chop was on my web series. He bought some golden Xanax for him and all his homies.
I hear you have an excellent process for finding interns and assistants.
Oh, yeah. I let posts out on the internet and I just get 50 resumes or more every time I do it. I just have a list of crazy people that are all hooking up with me and smoke and roll my blunts and get my coffee and do a whole bunch of stuff like that. Then I have a real assistant who's the backbone of my assistant who handles everything because really I'm just out here having fun. If you ask me to swipe a card I'll swipe your card but I'm not going to get all your information and all that shit so she has to do that. I'm just like regularly doing whatever pleases me.
Can you tell me about what you've learned through this process so far?
I've learned that if you really believe in yourself, you can literally do whatever you want. If you think it's going to happen, it will happen.
That's pretty inspiring.
I mean it's not like do whatever you want. Like, I did something that crazy, but I just understood what I was doing. If you understand what you're doing, and execute it correctly, you'll have good results.
What would you tell the kids who want to get into the game?
To come up with a hit piece of jewelry and hopefully you know the correct people to make it happen.
So like, the American dream?
Nope. It's all god shit.