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(Pocket-lint) - Can't think of a gift for your dad? Here's an idea: Just ask his favourite football coach to send him a happy birthday video. All you need to do is use the Cameo app - it lets average people hire athletes, actors, and all kinds of celebrities to create personal video messages for any occasion or holiday.

For example, you can hire Florida Gators coach Steve Spurrier to congratulate your kid for winning their game, or you can hire Nick Lachey from 98 degrees to sing your partner a love song, or you can get Snoop Dogg to rap for your friend. Heck, even Carole Baskin from Netflix's Tiger King is on Cameo. Thousands of stars and influencers are available, but their videos come at a cost. Some are as cheap as $1, but we've seen others priced at $299. Cameo gives celebrities a way to earn extra income, and it puts fans directly in touch with stars they love.

Here's how Cameo works.

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What is Cameo?

Cameo is a US-based platform for celebrities and everyday people. It's available as a website and a mobile app for Android and iOS users. It's free to join - either as talent or as a user - but if you want to use the app to direct message a star or request a video from them, you have to pay up. Talent on Cameo can be athletes, musicians, actors, YouTubers, TikTokers, directors, anyone famous basically.

And they set their own prices within the app.

When you find someone on Cameo, there are two options available: Personal use or For Business. Everyone has different pricing, and some celebrities only offer certain videos. For instance, Lindsay Lohan charges $500 for personal and $5,000 for business. Brian Baumgartner from The Office charges $225 for personal and $2,500 for business. Profiles usually have example video requests to view. But, in general, personal requests are personalized videos for you or someone else. Business requests are engaging video content for your company, customers, or employees.

Some talent also offers Cameo Calls (1-on-1 video calls) with their own price tag.

When looking at a talent's profile on Cameo, you will see their bio, their best Cameos, their average response time, and a review score out of 5 stars (plus you can read reviews). You can also join the talent's fan club for free from their profile to skip the line and get your request prioritised, access previous Cameos, and be the first to know about price drops.

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How does Cameo work?

Sign up

If you want to use Cameo, the first thing you need to do is join. You can do this from the Cameo website or the mobile app.. It is free to join and use Cameo - the only thing that costs money is booking requests. Speaking of talent, if you want to join Cameo as a celebrity, you have to apply here.

Cameo will get back to you within 72 hours.

Edit your profile

Don't forget you can spice up your Cameo profile. You can add a profile picture, birthdate, Twitter handle, and make videos public for others to see (or private, if you wish). You can do all this from the Cameo website dashboard or the Profile page (Cameo icon in the navigation bar) in the Cameo mobile app. You can also view your account activity in the Cameo mobile app - just look for the bell icon.

Find talent

On the Cameo website, the homepage shows you featured talent as well as a search bar you can use to enter celebrity names and find talent. In the Cameo mobile app, the Search page (magnifying glass icon in the navigation bar) also shows you featured talent and talent by categories as well as a search bar.

Request a Cameo

So, let's say you've found a celebrity you wish to contact, such as Ray Lewis. On his profile, you will see a button that says Book Now with a price. Currently, the NFL hall of famer charges $330 for personal videos. Once you hit the Book Now button, you have to choose whether it's for yourself or a friend. You'll then be asked questions about the occasion, pronouns, instructions, etc.

Cameo accepts direct payment via credit card. US residents using iOS can also purchase "Cameo credits" to store in their account to use on videos later. Once the request has been submitted, the Cameo talent has seven days to accept or deny the project. If accepted, the celebrity will record the video and Cameo will send a link to the video to the phone numbers and email addresses listed with the request. The video can be downloaded and shared. If the talent doesn't fulfill the request within a week, Cameo said all charges will be restored to your wallet.

Join a Fan Club

You can join a celebrity's fan club for free from their profile. Just tap the Fan Club button and then you'll be able to skip the line to get your request prioritised, access all their previous Cameos, and be the first to know about price drops. Cameo said more perks are coming to fan clubs, too.

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How much does it cost for a Cameo video?

The price (USD) will vary, as it is set individually by each celebrity. You can view how much requests cost on their profile. If they are available, you will see pink Book Now buttons to start a transaction with them. If they are not available, their profile will say they have paused requests. You might also see the option to request a call with talent. This is usually the most expensive option.

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How do you make purchases?

When you are ready to hire talent, log in to your account, click the Book Now button, fill out the request form, and submit it. Cameo accepts AMEX, Mastercard, VISA, PayPal on the web. The Cameo mobile app also accepts your digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay. Cameo even accepts Affirm financing.

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Which celebrities are on Cameo?

The list of talent on Cameo is constantly growing, but here are a few standouts we noticed as of January 2021:

Want to know more?

Check out Cameo's Help hub if you have more questions.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.