Beyond the lights of Hollywood, there’s another creative class that’s snagging coveted attention—via voyeuristic bedroom selfies. Instagays—aka gay influencers—might get a bad rap for encouraging #thinspo and #masc4masc bravado, but their online personas are undeniably persuasive to fans and brands.
Max Emerson (@maxisms) is one of a handful of gay social media personalities who have crossed the 1 million-follower threshold on Instagram. In addition to staging expert thirst trap photos, he’s directing a film about sex work that will support homeless LGBTQ youth charities.
Others like Kit Williamson (@kitwilliamson), John Halbach (@johnhalbach), Cheyenne Parker (@thecheyenneparker), and Cassandra James (@cassandrajames_), are using their reach to pursue indie filmmaking, reality TV, and a career in acting, respectively. Then there’s Eduardo Ubanell and Mac Kahey, both huge on YouTube, and Laith Ashley (@laith_ashley), a model and trans activist.
Sure it’s easy to make fun of the Instagays’ shirtless-leaning-on-a-bannister-aesthetic, but for reasons that probably have to do with the way Instagram evolved, that’s just what sells these days. And if you’re working to break into modeling, acting, and directing, you as might as well have some fun along the way.