A journalist was assigned to write a profile on Jay Shetty. It turned into an investigation.

For years, I have seen errant jabs from unverified accounts on social media taking aim at new-age self-help guru, Jay Shetty. I largely paid little attention at the time, but now I’m thinking… maybe, I should have?

Last year, journalist John McDermott was assigned to write a profile on Shetty, 36, for Esquire magazine. As he started researching the monk-turned-mouthpiece, McDermott realised the piece was turning into an investigation, as he found a large number of holes in Shetty’s backstory. 

The Esquire profile never ran, and a feature was later published in The Guardian, begging the question: is Jay Shetty a modern-day self-help deity or is he just another influencer who has duped us all?

Who is Jay Shetty?

Jay Shetty was born in London to immigrant parents from Yemen and India. 

After growing up in the suburb of Barnet in North London, he graduated from the Cass Business School at the University of London before diverting his path to become a monk. He then started making YouTube videos in 2016 — spouting divine musings about purpose and following a meaningful path.

As his popularity grew online, Shetty found a niche slice of the pop psychology movement, whereby people wanted self-help delivered in a more modern fashion. He captured attention with his YouTube videos, TikTok presence and books, Live Like A Monk and 8 Rules Of Love.

His traction has garnered him worldwide fans, sold-out shows, a podcast, talk show appearances, invitations to the White House, awards and big, big money.

Jay Shetty World Tour: Love Rules in New York in 2023. Image: Getty.