Who is James B. McDaniel, aka Peppermint Fatty?
HGTV is rounding up everything you need to know about social influencer and HGTV superfan, James B. McDaniel, aka Peppermint Fatty.
On the stage at the Magnolia Silobration in Waco, TX recently, James McDaniel was given the surprise of his life. His friend, Chip Gaines, had invited him to be his VIP guest at the Silobration celebration and in between musical sets, Chip called a confused James on stage. Chip then told the audience what a good friend James had been and then surprised him with a gift of $10,000. Many fans around the world were left wondering: Who is James McDaniel?
James B. McDaniel has always been an engaging, outgoing person. He’s a lover of social media and a passionate fan of mixed martial arts, and even hosts a radio show on the Louisiana-based station Sports Talk 97.7 where he covers MMA and boxing matches.
James began his journey with HGTV when his ex-girlfriend got a job working on the popular show Fixer Upper. He wanted to support her, so he agreed to tune in to the first episode. He instantly fell in love with the show as well as the hosts, Chip and Joanna Gaines. During the episode, James was one of the first Twitter users to use #FixerUpper, and humorously asked what the deal was with Chip’s teeth. His tweet caught the attention of both viewers and Chip and Joanna themselves. To his surprise, Chip responded to his tweet almost immediately, and a friendship began.
Did we just become best friends? @peppermintfatty yep! pic.twitter.com/u5GYrQaYTF— Chip Gaines (@chipgaines) March 29, 2017
As the show progressed through the years, so did James's Twitter presence. Using his background in radio, James has a knack for giving commentary. Fans know James best as Peppermint Fatty, referring to his tongue-in-cheek Twitter and Instagram handle @peppermintfatty. When asked what the meaning behind the name was, he said, “Well, I’m a pretty big guy, so I always like to lead with a joke, to let people know I’m comfortable with myself. The name is a play on the Peanuts character, Peppermint Patty.”
James’s commentary on the show became so popular that he got the attention of some HGTV executives. They noticed the influence he had on passionate Fixer Upper fans, including some fellow live-tweeting friends, the #LiveTweetCrew. The HGTV social team asked him to host an official Fixer Upper after show on the HGTV Facebook page. James has also become a true friend of the Gaines family; they have invited him to a few of their annual “Silobration” parties. Through this friendship, James was also introduced to Ben and Erin Napier, who would go on to host the popular show Home Town. Now, James hosts Home Town viewing parties on social media for fans around the country.
Another of James's passions has been the paranormal. He once hosted his own web-show on Facebook called Haunted Life, and he regularly live tweets during some of Travel Channel's most popular shows. It didn’t take long for the network to notice his passion for the unknown, and he was brought on to help host Facebook Lives during the 10-week series Haunted Live in the Fall of 2018 and acted as the on-air social host.
Travel Channel brought James back again for “Ghostober” 2019 and he was flown to Salem, MA to help host the Facebook Live portion of Haunted Salem: Live and acted as the on-air social host. There, James was able to meet two of his idols, Dave Schrader and Cindy Kaza from The Holzer Files. James said, “They’re basically the rock stars of the paranormal world, so when I got to meet them up in Salem, it was like a dream come true.”
James is also extremely grateful for the opportunities that he’s been given. Before his life changed forever with a single tweet about Chip Gaines’ tooth, James had moved back to his home town. He found out his father had cancer, and had to give up his life and career to move back home and care for his dad. “When all this started with Fixer Upper,” James said, “I had been out of a career for three years, my father had died, and I was just sort of drifting … But then, all this happened, and it put my life in a whole new direction. It’s been a total blessing for me.”