One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Well, it’s no surprise that Storage Wars has been hugely popular since its debut on A&E in 2010 and maintained its popularity up until 2019. The reality T.V. show had its share of interesting characters, like Don and Laura Dotson and Brandi Passante. But I would like to take this opportunity to shine a light on one of the younger and genetically-blessed (aka pretty) stars of the show – Mary Padian.
Among the fun and colorful cast, Mary was the one many viewers just fell in love with. She was known as “The Junkster” who first appeared in the original Storage Wars and became a regular on the show’s Texas spinoff. The bubbly brunette has earned quite the fan following. Let it be known that she’s as successful as she is beautiful. The now 39-year-old is a real self-starter.
Here are some lesser-known facts about Mary Padian.
Mary is a born and raised Texan, but her family ancestry is a little more colorful. Her father, John Padian, from an Irish family, while her mother, Teresa Padian, is Lebanese. Mary enjoyed a happy family life when she was growing up in Dallas, but her parents divorced in 2009. Her father operated a junkyard when she was growing up, which set the stage for her future career.
As a young girl, Mary would rummage through all the junk at her dad’s junkyard and salvage any items that she could either refurbish, revamp, or turn into art. That, along with her love of garage sales, turned her into a real thrifty girl at a young age. The quirky, fun-loving young woman has always been a free spirit who can find the beauty in other people’s junk.
You might find it hard to search and find anything online about Mary Padian’s personal love life. And that’s because the clearly wise 39-year-old chooses to keep her dating history a matter of her own business. There was one hint of a relationship that occurred on an episode of Storage Wars: Texas, when she introduced some tall, handsome, blonde guy to the crew.
Mary gushed onscreen about how she thought she would find love in California, of all places, but it was in Texas was where she met this beau. Mary seemed to really like the dude, too. She referred to him as her “perfect man” on that episode and even got defensive when her co-star, Rene, made a comment about his age. The guy is younger than Mary, but not much is known about this mysterious man who is apparently named Dylan.
Mary went to university and graduated with a degree in photojournalism. After finishing her studies, she did an internship at D Magazine. It was there that she really delved into her artistic side as she got to rummage through old junk and learn the ropes of appraising and selling vintage items. She was then offered a position with Architectural Digest as Assistant Editor in New York City.
But big city life wasn’t Mary’s cup of tea, and she missed her rural Texan roots. In 2010, she went back to Texas and kicked off her entrepreneurial career with her shop. During this time, she met Moe Prigoff, someone who taught her about storage unit auctions. Moe was already a part of Storage Wars and helped her get her foot in the door. It didn’t take long for her to make a guest appearance on the show.
But when the editor of Architectural Digest retired in 2010, Padian moved back to Texas and used what she learned to open up her own shop of antique and refurbished furniture. She told herself that she would run the business for two years, and if she didn’t make money, or get “worn out,” she would simply close it down.
And two days after she eventually decided to close it down, a woman came into the shop that changed her life. “A producer walked in on a break from filming down the street, which I didn’t know at the time,” Mary said. “She just came in, and she didn’t say who she was.” Mary didn’t realize at the time that this would be a life-changing moment.
The woman said to Mary: “Do you pick all this stuff out?” And Mary said about this moment: “And, you know, I was thinking, ‘Yeah, take it all away because I’m going to close.’ And then she came back the next day, and she said, ‘You know, actually, I’m a producer filming a show down the street.'” The woman then asked Padian to do a “how-to” for the show’s website.
“I just thought that was it, but it turned out that was my interview,” Mary said. “I guess it’s because she knew that if she had asked me to be on a reality show, I would have been like, ‘Yeah, right.’ Then I was on the Storage Wars: Texas show. I kept my store open then, and then the Texas show ended, and they asked me to come to California. I said, ‘Why not?’ and so I’m out here now. That’s kind of it in a nutshell.”
Mary has become one real refurbishing goddess. Mary monetized her expertise as a buyer and reseller and created a shop of her very own. The shop is appropriately named Mary’s Finds, and it offers a collection of vintage and refurbished collector’s items. A lot of those items were found in the storage lockers that were featured on Storage Wars.
The online shop has all kinds of trinkets, toys, appraised items, and a big collection of Coca-Cola paraphernalia. Thanks to her large fan base, Mary also offers autographed photos of herself, which people are eager to get their hands on. I mean, can you blame them? The ‘Junkster’ definitely has a knack for promoting herself and boosting her career.
Even though her parents divorced in 2009, Mary has remained a family-oriented woman and maintained close relationships with both of her parents. She has a younger brother, Luke, and a shocking amount of cousins – 42 to be exact. And those are first cousins! Her large family is one of the biggest reasons she never really made it in the big city.
The Dallas darling needs to be close to her roots to feel anchored and secure. And who can blame her? Her family routinely gets together for parties at the Padian family home. Despite Mary’s hectic schedule of professional duties, she always makes time for those who are closest to her – like a true Texan!
Mary is clearly talented and creative and has an artistic soul. Not only does she have an eye for finding treasure in the trash, but she can also turn otherwise basic items into a work of art. Moe Prigoff was something of a mentor to her and was immediately impressed by her abilities from the beginning. When they met, he just knew that she would be a natural when it came to auctions. And she didn’t disappoint.
With her free-spirited personality and the motivation to be the best she can be, Mary brings a genuine wonder to the trade. One time, she made a billiard table that didn’t even have a fabric surface. But despite the cool and creative design, the project was a bust because the balls couldn’t properly roll on the surface. Sometimes art and physics don’t go together!
One of Mary’s former co-stars was Jenny Grumbles, the pretty blonde auctioneer who also appeared in Storage Wars: Texas. The California native has a background very similar to Mary’s. Also, an artist at heart, she spends most of her time painting. Jenny also owns a store that sells vintage and refurbished goods.
And Jenny’s success as a T.V. personality, artist, and entrepreneur earned her a nice living. Her net worth is $400,000, which is actually $200,000 less than Mary’s, which is estimated at $600,000. Jenny’s store, by the way, is in Dallas and offers an eclectic mix of old and new items. The shop offers visual treats to people who are looking to furnish an apartment or home.
Being on a hit T.V. show that’s broadcasted in many countries can make it easy to get a little frazzled. But luckily for Mary, she has found a way to keep her quirkiness and silliness and doesn’t let the fame get to her head. Have you seen the video that surfaced on YouTube in 2016? In the clip, Mary and her co-star Brandi Passante (who you’ll learn about if you keep scrolling) read aloud some nasty tweets about them.
The ladies had a good laugh reading them out loud, basically giving the finger to all the criticism and haters out there. They were great sports and showed just how well they could handle the pressures that celebrity life brings. It’s always refreshing to see celebs as real people with authentic personalities.
In an interview with The Mystery Men, Mary Padian talked about how the popularity of Storage Wars has created a flood of people trying to “make it big” in the junk-buying industry. Since the concept of storage-buying wasn’t very well known before the show came on T.V., amateurs have been taking a chance at the trade in the hopes of making a quick buck.
But it’s not as easy as it looks, folks. Having background experience is essential. Knowing the difference between regular junk and real treasure doesn’t come without years of exposure to occurring trends. Knowing what’s being sought after is the key, and those with experience are bound to make better profits and returns. Mary definitely knows the tricks of the trade.
After Storage Wars: Texas was no longer in production, Mary moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the original Storage Wars set. Since Season 5, she was a main fixture of the show. Due to its popularity, it got renewed for the 11th season in 2018. Since the show started, it rose to become the most-watched show on A&E ever.
In 2011, the premiere of the second season had a whopping 5.1 million live viewers. People simply loved to see other people’s junk! Mary’s relocation to sunny L.A. facilitated filming and also helped to increase her level of fame and fortune at the time. Being in California is totally a place where people get a greater sense of stardom and exposure, that’s for sure.
On a famous episode of Storage Wars, the enthusiastic Mary used the phrase “razzle-dazzle” to describe an item that she had just refurbished from boring to spectacular. The expression quickly caught on, and the Internet was full of this phrase, with memes and videos on YouTube surfacing. Yes, there’s even a YouTube video where the “razzle-dazzle” moment is replayed 250 times on the same reel.
Quite entertaining, I guess you can say! It’s no secret that Mary has a childlike essence about her. She likes to talk in a half-baby voice, and she’s basically the first one to go into play mode on the show. Her youthful energy is what keeps her fans hooked. Hands down, she’s the most free-spirited soul on the show!
Not only did her dad, John, teach her the tricks of the junkyard trade, but he also instilled in the young girl a deep love and appreciation of family values. John Padian is a proud papa. Seeing his daughter make it big by doing what they each love – their shared passion – is something very endearing. Mary doesn’t hide her adoration for her father.
Her Instagram is full of photos of her and her dad, always happy and smiling. When they’re living in separate states, they need to make an effort to see each other, but it’s important to them. Mary would fly her dad out to California for visits, and she goes to Texas as often as her schedule permits.
Mary is a real down-to-Earth and even self-proclaimed tomboy. On TV, you hardly ever see her with any makeup on. She has a natural kind of beauty that really personifies the whole “girl next door” vibe. Thanks to her beautiful features, she’s a dream come true for makeup artists. She has posted photos on her social media sites with makeup and hair done.
And for her massive following, it’s fun and refreshing for them to see her like this! She would caption these photos, saying that she doesn’t even recognize herself when she’s all dolled up. Despite her love for all things country, she has an inner goddess that sometimes likes to come out and play. And why not?
Despite the cancelation of the Texas Storage Wars spinoff, Padian was so well-received by producers that they, in true upcycle style, asked her to pick up and move her life out to California to join the mothership of Storage Wars as a featured buyer. She wasn’t on every episode, but was still a part of the production, appearing up until 2019 when it was canceled.
While Mary’s brick-and-mortar store in Texas that got her the T.V. job is no longer operating, she’s still in the upcycling business. She now has an online version of the business under the same name. As of 2019, Padian returned to Texas, bouncing between Dallas and Austin. She represents a charity close to her heart called Ubuntu Life.
Ubuntu Life is a non-profit that sells fair-trade crafts made by women in Kenya. The charity helps raise money to operate a specialty clinic for children in the country with neurological issues. It also provides the mothers making the crafts with sustainable long-term jobs. Her activism is featured on Mary’s Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Mary also recently introduced a product of her own called “Joy Bracelets” that she helped design for the project in Kenya, and all proceeds go to the charity. It’s refreshing to see a reality television show so devoted to taking using her fame to give back in all the right ways. Even if Storage Wars never comes back, Mary will never be forgotten.
Mary spoke about her time on the show in several interviews. “The stuff we’ve found in storage lockers is crazy,” she said. “It’s crazy what people keep and what’s important to them. That’s the most interesting thing to me. Like this one lady had a shelf that she had built, and it had all these urns of all her pets and her ex-husbands.”
One of the most unusual things Mary discovered was a ceramic grenade from the Byzantine Empire. “I found out that when they would throw the grenade, it would break and cause a fire. You couldn’t put out the fire with water. Nothing would make the fire go out… and so to this day, they still haven’t been able to replicate whatever the substance is they used inside there.”
Padian also spoke about the time on the show when she found a pair of 18th-century camel saddles from Asia. “Those are cool and are worth $3,000 for the pair, but it’s hard to sell them because who needs camel saddles? It’s cool, but what the heck do you do with them?” She has a point! But the most heartfelt treasure Mary found involved an old trunk.
“In this one unit, there was all this World War II stuff in this old, old trunk,” Mary recalled. “It even had a pack of Kool cigarettes that had never been opened, a little harmonica, all these Bibles, and it was full of like 1,000 letters that he wrote to his wife every day. Every single one started out with, ‘My dearest sweet.’ I stayed up one night and was reading some of these. It was so sweet of a romance. I mean, I love that stuff.”
Based on her Instagram posts, Mary has no shortage of friends. Despite life in L.A. and access to Hollywood stars, she’s kept her relationships with her close friends. She makes sure to make enough time to support them during their special moments, like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and accomplishments. Mary doesn’t let any fame get in the way of friendship.
It’s really nice to see a rising star stay true to her roots. Mary is the perfect mix of success and homegrown class. The starlet calls herself a “hopeless romantic” and generally enjoys living a happy and simple life. One of her besties, by the way, is someone you probably recognize. Her former co-star and fellow junkyard goddess…
Mary, after all, loves to post to her Instagram account using the hashtag #storagewars. Mary and Brandi have been good friends since they began filming together. Brandi Passante is one of the better known (and adored) ladies of Storage Wars. She’s the longtime other-half of a fellow cast member, Jarrod Schulz. The couple has two children together.
Brandi Passante also has her own show called ‘Brandi and Jarrod: Married to the Job.’ She is a businesswoman and runs a secondhand store with her partner Jarrod. Passante became famous when she took part in Storage Wars, just hoping to buy some storage units for their thrift store. She and her husband were very good at it and ended up opening another shop.
Brandi Passante was born on May 16th, 1980, in Harris, Texas. When it comes to her private life, there isn’t a lot of information out there. She doesn’t like to speak about that kind of stuff with the public or media. She moved to California at some point in her life. Even though we know when she still says “y’all” when speaking.
Passante wanted to become a chef when she was younger. She didn’t have any plans to go into reality T.V. Schulz’s mother gave her the advice that it took for her to decide to get into the T.V. business, and it paid off. She appeared on T.V. a few years before Storage Wars when she was on Rachael Ray in 2006.
Brandi Passante is a mother of two, and currently, her relationship status is up in the air. We will get more into that later on, though. She is a great mom and keeps her kids’ life more private. She spends a lot of time playing with them and making fun treats. Before starting on Storage Wars, she was a proud stay at home mom to her kids.
In an interview in 2013, she said, “I think I’m a better parent because I work,” Brandi says. “I used to be a stay at home mom, and it was very difficult for me. I love my kids, but I felt alienated and depressed when I didn’t have a career, so I think I’m a better parent because I work. I’m happier because of it.”
So, what is her secret for being a mom with a successful career? Brandy explained that they don’t have a lot of family members close by and usually relied on neighbors and friends of Jarrod to help out when they were first starting out. Brandi said, “If there’s a formula, I haven’t figured it out yet!”
“Now we can afford to hire some help,” she said towards the end of her time with Storage Wars. “I work all the time, so I need someone to assist with the day-to-day stuff, but I do try to make time for the kids. In fact, we are going to Universal Studios in a few days. Oh – also, I rely heavily on caffeine to make it through the day!” So, I guess we have our answer to the question: caffeine.
The first job that Brandi Passante ever had was as a carpet cleaner in 1999. This was when she met her partner, Jarrod Schulz. The two ended up opening their first business called ‘Now and Then,’ a thrift shop in Orange, California. After she took Schulz’s mother’s advice, she started appearing on Storage Wars, trying to buy some useful stuff for her shop at good prices.
The show would auction storage locker items from people who didn’t pay their rent for at least three months. After hearing this, the show feels a bit sad, and you kind of feel bad for the people who owned it before. But Passante was great at it and was famous by the end of the show. The show led to some great opportunities for her, like opening a second location of ‘Now and Then’ and starring in their own reality T.V. show.
Brandi suffers from motion sickness, along with a huge percentage of the world. Passante even gets motion sickness during simple road traveling. This is called kinetosis, and it happens when your sensory organs send mixed signals, which cause the people to be nauseous or dizzy. It’s hard for a reality T.V. star-like Passante.
A lot of the show consists of her sitting in a car traveling and doing interviews. She has had kinetosis for years but has never had to take such long road trips before. She usually takes the backseat but warns everyone not to sit near her. If I were her, I would want to sit in the front seat, close my eyes, and not do interviews in the car.
Escalaphobia is a common fear, and it affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. One of the most useful inventions is an escalator, making it easier to go up and down floors without having to put the time and energy into steps. However, it isn’t for Brandi. She suffers from escalaphobia (fear of escalators). Some experts say that it can come from already having a fear of heights.
This was brought up in an interview, and Passante mentioned she must “hold my breath every time I am on one.” She went as far as to tell us that the reason behind her fear is that she thinks that the escalator will eat her toes. That does make a bit of sense, though. I think of that whenever I see a repairman fixing an escalator with the panels open.
There was a rumor going around, and photos spread that Brandi used to work as a stripper at different clubs and bars. She was asked in an interview about her personal life, and she said something that made me feel like this is definitely a rumor, and there was no way she would have done it with her personality type.
She said, “This may come as a surprise to some people, but I’m actually a very shy person. I even get anxiety when I have to go out to the store or to the gas station because I’m afraid of people approaching me. I was even shy as a child.” I don’t know about you, but I think this is just a crazy rumor.
A lot of times, parents want their kids to follow in their footsteps with business ventures. They want to show their kids how things work and experience it live. It’s like building an empire within the family, involving them to engrave these things in their brains for when they own the company. But that isn’t the case for Brandi.
She was asked in an interview about having her two children follow in her and Jarrod’s footsteps taking over the business when they are older, and she responded, “Lord, I hope not!” according to inquirer.net. Schulz agrees with her and doesn’t think the kids should be in such a tough industry. They want their children to create their own path and not follow in their footsteps.
Even though she was very focused on being a reality T.V. star and the thrift shop business with Jarrod, she makes sure to get out and have a good time. She is an ambitious, career-oriented woman and loves what she does. It helps that she is good at it also. But this isn’t the only thing that’s on her mind.
Passante likes to collect little bits of random information and has a ton of fun facts stored away in her brain. She said once that all the fun information is mostly useless and irrelevant to real-life situations, but it can come in handy. Not only can it come in handy when there are awkward silences in conversations or dead air at a dinner party, but it can also win a few rounds of trivia at a local bar.
Brandi Passante is an Italian woman who loves cooking. She wanted to be a chef when she was growing up. Of course, you can see that this has changed, but she still thinks that in another life, she could have been a chef. Passante is Sicilian, basically making her an expert at cooking a variety of recipes, including chicken stroganoff.
She also makes chicken a lot in her soups and potpies. Jarrod Schulz loves that Passante can cook. He loves even more that she introduced him to new dishes that became favorites. Schulz commented that he used to eat to live, but when he met Brandi, things changed. She served him delicious meals, and he appreciates and enjoys each one of them.
Before Storage Wars, Brandi didn’t know anything about storage unit auctions. Since she started, though, she really proved that she’s a value to her team. She had to learn a lot since the show started, but she picked up on things really quickly. Before the show, when Jarrod was unemployed, he began to go to auctions.
His aunt managed a storage facility, and that’s how he got introduced. He was in Harbor City at an auction one day when Storage Wars approached him and asked him to be in the show. The show didn’t know about Passante yet, so they first gave the spot to Jarrod. But we all know how that turned out in the end…
Jarrod Schulz was approached to be on Storage Wars while at an auction outbidding other people. The staff came up to him asking to be on the show, and to film him working at his new store, Now and Then, for part of the first episode. Brandi Passante was there as well, and she was walking around helping customers.
Of course, she made sure to show up overdressed and ready. The producers ended up asking Jarrod if they can include Passante in the shots, and he responded, “Do you think she wore that dress for nothing?” Things wouldn’t have been the same if this situation worked out differently. Can you imagine a show with only one of the two on it?
Brandi took someone to court who she never met, but she had a real reason to. Someone staged an adult film and claimed that Passante was the star in it. A man named Hunter Moore distributed and falsified a film and pictures claiming that they were the Storage Wars star. Due to the nature of the crime, it was taken seriously. He was charged with identity theft and security breach, and Passante requested $2.5 million in damages.
While the judge did rule in Passante’s favor, he didn’t agree with what she was asking for. He awarded her with only $750 and made Moore pay her court fees. She successfully got the site shut down and the photos removed, but once it is put out there, it doesn’t go away. It isn’t possible to ever remove something fully that was shared online.
Brandi met Schulz in 1999 at the carpet cleaning company she worked with. Jarrod claims that Brandi was the first one to make a move on him and approached him. Passante, of course, says that this is not how it happened. The couple has been together for about 20 years and has two kids together. However, they are not married.
Schulz proposed to Passante on their spinoff show in 2016, and she even tried on wedding dresses in one of the episodes, but they never ended up getting married. Maybe it was because the show didn’t continue, but they do talk about how they feel that their relationship is strong enough that they don’t need to put a label on it.
Brandi and Jarrod paint a sweet story where they work hard to earn their keep and don’t make any hasty business decisions. Passante is known for keeping things stable and calming down Schulz’s energy. This is all painting a great picture of them, but not everything is as it seems. Before they met, between 1997 and 1999, Jarrod Schulz was arrested for transporting narcotics and possessing a controlled substance, along with a DUI.
He was in state prison, serving a 16-month sentence for those crimes. The couple likes to keep their private life private, but this is something that Passante has accepted and learned to embrace. Everyone has a past, some worse than others. What matters is what you do next in life.
Women usually don’t leave the house without a bit of mascara and maybe some lipstick… at least. I can’t even think about going down the street to the food store to pick up milk without mascara on. Now forget about just women, anyone on T.V. wears make up for the camera, including straight men. It’s just how things are done.
Being a reality T.V. star, you would think that she would be used to wearing more makeup, but she does not wear lipstick and wear very minimal makeup on the rest of her face. She calls her lips “chicken lips” and says that it makes her look ridiculous. So, Passante flaunts her natural beauty, something we all wish that we could do proudly.
Brandi Passante spoke about staying in shape in an interview once. Someone asked her how, and she revealed that Schulz has been watching his cholesterol. Because of this, the two of them have been eating a lot healthier. She said that she also used to do Pilates all the time, waking up at 5 am. But she ended up staying up extra late doing laundry and finishing things around the house that she was exhausted the next day.
Now, she just focuses on eating healthier and staying busy all day as exercise. She admitted, “I try to keep my weight down because the television makes you look heavier. A complete stranger told me last night that I looked bigger on television than I did in person, but I didn’t take it as a compliment!” Well, I think she looks great.
If you have ever watched Storage Wars, I’m sure this question has gone through your mind. Were these items really in that storage unit before they opened it up? Well, you’re not the only one who had that question. Dave Hester, a star on Storage Wars, filed a lawsuit against the show because he believed that the special items found in the units were staged. There is a rumor that Brandi and Jarrod knew about this and that they even encouraged it.
The couple denied doing anything like that. A&E is the company where their show broadcasted, and they put out a statement regarding this on ABC News saying, “There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.” Whether or not the items are staged, fans don’t really seem to care as people kept watching it.
Currently, Brandi Passante’s net worth is approximately $2.5 million. She required most of this from Storage Wars and the rest of it afterward through her secondhand store. She really prepared herself the perfect platform for promoting her businesses and becoming a famous reality star and ended up gaining more fame and money than they ever could have imagined.
She went from working in their secondhand store and built up to running the storage firm successfully. Not only does she earn from her other businesses, but her Brandi Passante store was made popular on her show. This Queen has flawlessly executed her roles as a businesswoman, mother, wife, and celebrity. Passante and Schulz are living luxurious and happy lives together with their two kids.