Jason Gluck Follows His Animal Instincts

After years in the industry, the entertainment dynamo and digital media innovator has refocused his life to serve the needs of rescued animals on his private ranch sanctuary in Jupiter Farms

67
Gluck feeds Cassius (“Cash”) the red kangaroo in his living room. Outside, Cash has a 3,000-square-foot double-entry habitat with ryegrass and bamboo and his very own tiki barn.
Gluck feeds Cassius (“Cash”) the red kangaroo in his living room. Outside, Cash has a 3,000-square-foot double-entry habitat with ryegrass and bamboo and his very own tiki barn.
Photography by Jerry Rabinowitz

Jason Gluck once met the Queen of England during a walk through Buckingham Palace. He chatted with the late Steve Jobs backstage at a Miley Cyrus concert. He helped lead the team that created the musical career of Cyrus and worked alongside country music stars like Jason Aldean, Hunter Hayes, and Cyrus’ dad, Billy Ray. During that period in his life, Gluck was on the road 150 days a year, had no home much of the time, and got very little sleep as he helped shape Hannah Montana, the Disney Channel original series starring a young Miley Cyrus, into one of the most high-profile and valuable brands in the world.

“I worked 20 hours a day, did 18 different people’s jobs, and virtually burned out after more than seven years,” says Gluck, 40, who now lives on 15 acres in Jupiter Farms, where he owns a 9,000-square-foot ranch with a house, barn, studio apartment, large office, and enclosures for his 26 beloved rescue animals. “I met Miley when she was 11 years old and
eager to be a mega superstar. I positioned her and saw the good timing for social media. It was the most unbelievable experience of my life.”

Gluck with his dogs, Uzi and Ryder, in the dining room.
Gluck with his dogs, Uzi and Ryder, in the dining room.

Before he discovered Jupiter Farms and began saving animals, Gluck was a New York–reared boy and a budding entrepreneur. Raised in Scarsdale, he came from a family of achievers. His father, Fred, ran a scholarship program for inner-city kids that helped students get into private boarding schools and obtain top college educations. His mother, Sharon, was a creative and dedicated interior designer—and a major influence on his own work ethic. His brother, Josh, a Harvard graduate and New York University–educated lawyer, is a director and associate general counsel for Facebook in California.

After graduating from high school, Gluck enrolled at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, a decision that would change his life forever. “Nobody went to school in Nashville back then, but now it’s the fastest-growing area in the country,” he says. “I was always entrepreneurial and got involved in the arts scene.” He lived in the artsy Gulch neighborhood, which is located between Music Row and downtown Nashville and filled with urban development projects, music, art, galleries, and record studios. He was more business-oriented, but he liked hanging out with creative people and enjoyed talking to all kinds of personalities, especially older folks who could teach him new things. “I was different in the sense that I enjoyed talking to people’s grandparents,” he says. On the work front, he was just waiting for the right opportunity to arise. “Living in a Gulch loft, I was constantly exposed to music executives like the head of Sony or the Capitol Records marketing manager,” he says. “It was amazing, like a good ol’ boys network.”

Cash sits with Gluck at his grand piano
Cash sits with Gluck at his grand piano

Upon graduating from Vanderbilt in 2004, he met established music manager Stan Moress, who taught him about business, artist management, and how personalities are the leaders of the pack. “Stan encouraged me to be unique and find a niche for the next generation,” says Gluck. “Digital was in its infancy, but I got hired for digital marketing at Yahoo. Soon after, I started my own company called Oz Entertainment utilizing interactive media.” He
secured accounts like Broken Bow Records, Capitol Records, and other big names that had a presence in Nashville and Los Angeles. “I was in the right place at the right time,” he says. “Country music wasn’t that much then, and now it is bigger than other [genres].”

Through his business, he met Miley Cyrus and was immediately impressed with her loving family and her bubbly personality. “She was a superstar with a presence, yet she was so humble and down-to-earth,” he recalls. “She was liked by both kids and grandparents.” Although he kept his name out of the spotlight, Gluck’s media and digital innovation experience landed him as CEO of MileyWorld, a COPPA-compliant social network (meaning it followed a set of privacy rules for children under 13). MileyWorld, which existed from 2005 to 2012, was an entertainment-driven, safe harbor community for tweens to engage with others their age from around the world. Reaching 500,000 subscribers, the platform helped boost Cyrus’ presence online. “It constructed one million social connections for Miley, and we won all kinds of industry accolades and awards,” says Gluck.

Louis the black-and-white ruffed lemur in the breakfast nook
Louis the black-and-white ruffed lemur in the breakfast nook

Despite Gluck’s hard work and move to Los Angeles, after a while Cyrus decided to take a dramatic shift in the approach to her brand—one that wasn’t so focused on the MileyWorld demographic. “She didn’t feel she had the proper respect of her peers,” says Gluck. “There was a stigma against child stars. Many have people skills but encounter trouble growing up in a world when they are not needed anymore.” He stayed on with Cyrus’ transition to RCA Records and new management. But in 2013, his mother got sick, and he decided to move back to Nashville and help take care of her.

After his hectic life in show business and the stress of his mother’s illness, Gluck was looking for a new challenge. He moved into The Mondrian Hotel in South Beach for 18 months while he decided what to do. “I was totally burned out when I visited an animal sanctuary in South Florida one day,” he says. “I met animals living in squalor there. I had never had animals or a real home because of my work, but I soon began keeping two mini pigs and a monkey with me at the hotel.”

Ziggy the zebra
Ziggy the zebra

By the end of that year, he decided living in Florida would be therapeutic for him—and bought his current ranch in Jupiter Farms. “South Beach was nice but not the right fit for me,” he says. “I discovered Jupiter Farms, and it felt right. It was close [to more commercial areas] but far enough away, and I have no close neighbors. I am a member of a community of quirky and eccentric people, total individualists. I am very happy here.”

Soon an abundance of rescue animals started moving onto his property: a zebra from Ringling Brothers, a variety of lemurs from various zoos, goats, sheep, a red kangaroo from a mother who rejected it, a kinkajou, a horse, a monkey, four mini pigs, and four dogs. All in all, there are 26 animals on the ranch, and Gluck takes total care of their well-being. He trains them, feeds them, and gives them medicine when needed—and he loves
every minute of his time with them. “I like to hear the sounds of the lemurs and zebra walking through the pond,” he says. “My whole life now is about animals. I have even created a not-for-profit animal sanctuary, Wilder Mind, where I take no money, photos, or do any breeding.”

Lenny the ring-tailed lemur enjoys the loft within the 2,000-square-foot habitat he shares with Louis.
Lenny the ring-tailed lemur enjoys the loft within the 2,000-square-foot habitat he shares with Louis.

One day, at Maplewood Bagel Market in Jupiter, he met Pat Deshong, president of Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic, and Ranch. He found her to be a special person who has dedicated herself to animal advocacy. She was equally impressed with Gluck, especially after he began to volunteer at Furry Friends and became a member of the board. “Jason is the real deal,” says Deshong. “He walks the walk and talks the animal rescue talk. His big heart shows with all of the animals he has taken into his home. Couple that with his business experience, and he brings a unique skill set to our organization. He has offered us many great ideas.”

Lenny the ring-tailed lemur
Lenny the ring-tailed lemur

These days, Gluck works 60 hours a week for Furry Friends, heading the Shelter to Service Dog Committee and the Ranch Executive Committee, where he manages all projects involved with rehabbing the ranch, making it impact-resistant, and gutting many rehab areas. “I have knowledge of how to do this because I am on a similar property with my own ranch,” he says. He is also building a two-story cat tower (“Catopia”), improving the rescue services, and creating a green care therapy program so young adults with special needs can be around plants and animals—hydroponic farming, he believes, will offer them a lifetime of happiness.

His overall experience with Furry Friends has been wonderful. “I love animals and do as much as I can for them,” he says. “Furry Friends is a group of good people who want to build a better tomorrow for animals. They rely on the good faith of the community and philanthropists.”

Ziggy and Gluck by the lagoon pool (many of the leafy greens on the lanai table come from an organic garden on the property, which also feeds the lemurs).
Ziggy and Gluck by the lagoon pool (many of the leafy greens on the lanai table come from an organic garden on the property, which also feeds the lemurs).

When he’s not at Furry Friends, he also likes to paddleboard, kayak, and have lunch at the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. But it’s the tranquility of his Jupiter Farms home that gives him the most joy. “Animals and nature have given me what is important in life,” he says. “I wake up every day with a smile.” 

Facebook Comments