Kelly in the Media

You see him here, you see him there — meet ‘Pablo’, Adelaide’s phantom parker

Cameron England, Business Editor, The Advertiser

July 9, 2016 12:00am


WHO is Pablo?

Is he one half of Adelaide’s world-beating instafamous Bikini Body workout empire?

Or one of Adelaide’s worst parkers getting famous online for all the wrong reasons?

Turns out Tobi Pearce might be both.

Instagram has been lighting up in recent weeks thanks to a community groundswell to identify “Pablo”, the owner of a black $500,000 Lamborghini Huracan which has been spotted demonstrating a fairly lax regard for parking rules, including parking in a disabled parking zone.

Well it would appear that while social media giveth, it also taketh away.

A little investigation has linked “Pablo” to Tobi Pearce — half of the Kayla Itsines bikini body empire, which is apparently raking in the cash on a grand scale based around the sale of her Bikini Body Guides and smartphone app Sweat With Kayla.

Mr Pearce is understood to be the marketing brains behind the businesses, which has brought the pair riches and business accolades.

The Advertiser does have some sympathy — it’s hard parking a $500,000 car which is 1.92m wide in a spot just 2.4m wide — according to Australian car park standards. Especially since the Huracan doesn’t have the famed scissor doors available on the more expensive Aventador model.

The paper stresses it is unclear whether Mr Pearce has a disability parking permit — however his parking practices generally appear to fit firmly in the ‘wherever I want’ category.

The car has been spotted parking across two parking spaces, and at the end of a parking bay clearly outside parking areas.

Mr Pearce refused to speak to The Advertiser to confirm or deny whether he has a disability parking permit or even whether “Pablo” is his car, although the 5.2 litre V10, 602 horsepower supercar was spotted outside his Pearce and Co business yesterday and his Instagram profile features a black Lamborghini. The car, photographed in a disabled parking space.

He has also said on Facebook, “I wanted a coffee real quick’’, in response to a comment saying someone had spotted Pablo giving it some stick on Unley Rd.

Who knows where the “Pablo” name came from? Perhaps it’s an homage to the world’s most famous drug dealer, Pablo Escobar, or the topic of the Kanye West album, Life of Pablo. We may never know, as Mr Pearce will not return calls.

Pearce, 24, and Itsines, 25, have built up a formidable global fitness business, with Itsines having 5.3 million followers on Instagram.

Her 3767 posts document her followers’ fitness successes from following her body transformation program and promote products such as Adidas sneakers.

Their outfit was profiled by business news outlet Bloomberg yesterday, documenting a 4000-person fitness event Itsines led in New York recently and they won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award for the central region last year.

A google search for “Kayla’s Army” — as some of her devotees style themselves — turns up hundreds of photos of women showing off their new-found abs alongside their previous, unfit forms.

Itsines and Pearce were last year locked in a court battle with fellow Adelaide online celebrities Durianrider (Harley Johnstone) and Freelee the Banana Girl (Leanne Ratcliffe) which was settled out of court.

Itsines had asserted the duo defamed her through false claims that her program, The Bikini Body Guide, starves people.

She further asserted they defamed Mr Pearce by claiming he uses steroids.

Court documents accused Ms Ratcliffe and Mr Johnstone of being foul-mouthed parasites who were claiming victim status and trying to encourage cyber-vigilante action against them.

The documents included a copy of Mr Johnstone’s e-book in which he claims he could “retire in 100 countries” on the profits he makes from “pimping her out” on YouTube.

Multiple Facebook pages and parking watchdog sites have shared pictures of Pablo’s parking exploits, including the S**tAdelaide page which tags photos with #lifeofpablo.

Istines and Pearce’s PR representative said Mr Pearce would not be commenting yesterday and he did not respond to an email sent to his marketing firm.

Dignity for Disability MP Kelly Vincent said people should not be judged on the value of their car — there’s no reason someone with a disability wouldn’t be driving a Lamborghini — but whether they were showing a valid disability parking permit.

Ms Kelly has legislation before the parliament which would introduce demerit points for people parking illegally in disabled spots.

“Ultimately it’s about safety,’’ she said.

“Generally speaking, it’s a widespread issue.

“There’s a lot of ignorance about the affect it has. It can be the difference between being able to go shopping, or attend an event, and be involved in your community.’’

Ms Vincent said people might think only using a space for a short time was insignificant, but it could present real hardship for people with a disability.