Unknown Speaker 0:00
I've been following our guests ever since I stole some audio from him to make an Instagram reels. And I actually really am intrigued by his ability to put his art out there as a circus artist, if you don't know what a circus artist is, follow him the official tro. But mostly because he is openly gay and has been very open about calling out homophobia, a version of homophobia that's been going around called queerbaiting. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that in today's episode. So if you are offended by adult language, it there are some themes in here that we will be discussing, that could be sensitive to certain people's ears. So with that, take warning you might want put on some headphones, we do use some language in this episode as well. Or just skip this episode completely. If that's something that makes you uncomfortable, no big whoop. But here it is. This is the official trip
Unknown Speaker 1:10
well, for people who are listening, and maybe don't follow you, and you should follow tro, because it's very entertaining and, and your art, you're you know, you're a circus artist. So it's very artistic, it's beautiful. But then you are very direct, and you call people out. And I just love everything about what you represent. But for those that don't follow you, how do you tell people? This is who I am? This is what I do.
Unknown Speaker 1:38
I think it's that I think it's like, instead of trying to be an influencer or being a certain thing, you've just got to be almost brutally honest. Like, it's social media. So everything's like you have to sell things. You have to oversell, you can't be subtle on social media. You can't be timid, you can't sort of be like, Oh, I hope people may be like it, you've got to be confident, you've got to be over the top, You've almost got to like sell this version of yourself that that's a little bit louder than your reality. Because, I mean, there's millions of profiles on social media. So you can't afford to be like, Oh, I hope somebody likes my stuff. You're going to be like, I've got to sell it. I've got to present it and they're going to like it because I'm confident in what I'm doing. Like, you've got to be a little bit arrogant. I think that's what people don't understand. I mean, all the time, like, like, of all the good comments, I'll get there'll be at least one that like, roll their eyes at me and you just after attention. You're a narcissist. It's kind of like, well, no shit. I'm a performer. Of course, I'm a narcissist. You don't get on a stage in front of hundreds of people. And demand and applause without being a narcissist. It's like, in the same token, like, like, maybe let's stop assuming that being a narcissist is a bad thing. I think narcissistic behaviour is okay, as long as you're not a bad person. Like, you know what I mean? Like, like, it's part of the job, you can't critique a performer and sort of try to dismiss them as being narcissistic or full of themselves. Because if we weren't, we wouldn't sell it. We wouldn't do the job. Like, you have to you have to be overconfident. Like, like, we've all done it as performers. We've all been backstage and we've all felt like absolute shit. Or, you know, we've literally had like, I mean, there's probably performance unknown, you've had something like COVID. So they're run down, they have a fever, they feel like they're gonna throw up. But then then music cue happens, and they're on stage, like, nothing is wrong. Mm hmm. Like, that's what we do. We switch it on, we make it happen. We make the razzle dazzle like all that kind of stuff. So I think I think you have to acknowledge that that yes, you have to be yourself. But it has to be a version of yourself that you can sell. And if you're not confident in if you're doubting it, people know like, it's, it's not gonna work and like you can't half ASA either, like you need to get if you're if you're going to go for something, you need to go for it. I think people are scared to even post things on social media, because there's that fear of like, Oh, what if people don't like it? What do people hate it and they will like, even my most popular videos, there's people that hate it. It's crazy. I'll post a circus video, and there will still be people who will paid on it in some way. And you're like, hi, I don't understand. And you sort of just have to have to be aware that that's sort of how it works. Unfortunately, I'm not saying it's right, but But no matter what you post them or what you do, you're going to get people that will want to argue with you just for the sake of it. So you've got to not be scared of the reaction. And you've got to sort of go that 110% And then I mean, there's a lot of trial and error late like you don't I think people get annoyed that they don't gain all their followers like overnight. And so they get a bit complacent. I I was getting annoyed that I'd never actually gone what I would consider viral. Like I feel like my accounts have always grown quite slow. I've never woken up one morning and being like, Oh wow, I've gain 10,000 followers, that's never happened to me. I've done this like slow grind over like years and years to build up my profiles. And I only just reached a million views on a video, like this week, like, that's my first one graduation tic tock video. Yeah, and it's kind of frustrating because you see someone with like, 30,000 followers and their three pin videos are all in the millions and you're like, oh my god, dammit. And I only just got one to a million. Yeah, the other day. So I feel like my videos have been performing well, but like, I'm not really breaking through that like viral sensation sort of thing. Which I think which I think is is is okay, because I'm not here for like that quick gimmick I want to sustain my audience. So I mean, I not to to critique others, but you do see, maybe they get that 4 million views, they get to the 50,000 followers, but then the rest of their videos only sitting at 3000 4000. So there's a huge discrepancy between. So what that sort of tells me is Yes, that one video did the job, but you got to back it up with consistency. So I'm not I'm not too mad, but just it would have been nice to have a few in the millions like
Unknown Speaker 6:10
it's a lot and you're talking specifically tick tock Correct.
Unknown Speaker 6:14
Yeah, yeah. It's it takes up is is such a volatile platform that I find with Instagram. I'm gonna be able to guess like a range of like, this video is going to get or this photo is going to get between this and this many likes, like you can you can be quite, quite good at guessing. But with tick tock, it's literally like this could get 1000 Or could get a million
Unknown Speaker 6:33
I have no I never know. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 6:35
Yeah, the one that got a million I was like in a hotel room. And I was like, I haven't posted today. I've been banned for five days, and it just came back. So I need to post and I was going through my camera roll being like, Oh, I've got this weird backstage video from when we were rehearsing yesterday. And like, I think I'm in a costume but I'm still wearing a mask. The two dances with me are not in costume. They just in like, everyday clothes. There's no audience, there's someone walking past the frame, like nothing about the video screens like perfect, perfect and curated. Been. It worked like
Unknown Speaker 7:10
Unknown Speaker 7:13
And it's funny because, um, I thought about remaking the video. Like when the stage because we did a tech run. So all the lights are set up. And we had our costumes on and I thought about remaking it and trying to really sort of stage it and planet. But I just thought like, you just kind of like, like maybe it would have done well, but I just feel like it's the original is what really sort of does it and yeah, you just you just don't know, some of the videos that I put the most effort in. Don't always translate to the most reward.
Unknown Speaker 7:44
Yeah. I I find that same thing to be true. But just for those people listening, you are circus artist living in Melbourne, Australia. And I found you because you made an audio I guess on tick tock originally that was like this. It was something like does this ice Am I gay? Or do I just like iced coffee with somebody like that? But that was Yeah. Did you remember that audio?
Unknown Speaker 8:12
Yeah, it was like one of the first videos I did post on Tik Tok. And I, and I'm probably way way down on my profile now. Yeah, but
Unknown Speaker 8:21
I thought that over and then I think found you and then I followed you. And what's really stood out to me is is number one, you're a circus artist. I like I we mentioned before the call was on Broadway and Cirque du Soleil, Paramore and worked with some really incredible circus artists and I do think that there's a there's a community there that people don't really even know much about, you know, on a broader sense that I think that you represent so beautifully and in all the content that you do create but also think is so cool that like I feel very connected to you and you live halfway across the world and a completely different timezone a completely different half of the globe and we've never met so I just think it's really shows the kind of connections that can really happen within social media.
Unknown Speaker 9:15
Well, it's yeah, it's making it personal. Again, it's moving away from being an influencer type and moving into being more of a like personality. So like, like I don't call my like I've got the following potentially that I could you know, start working as an influencer but I just feel like that would not achieve anything that I want to achieve and I would just become, well I just become a sellout. But like Yeah, I think yeah, being having a personality and being a personality is much more of an asset then then being curated and and perfect. Yeah, it's it's definitely moving like social media is changing. It's what it does. It's this can continuously adapting things. So by time you run an algorithm and think you know that the patterns that they've changed. Yeah, like, if someone's like, like social media like coaches, if they're still giving the same information, that was what they taught months ago, their information is going to be outdated. Like, it has it has to change with, with how things sort of are changing. And I am I'm actually glad to see the downfall of influences I, I never really appreciated that, that people were able to literally do the bare minimum and succeed so strongly like, like, it was annoying, because especially in my industry, where I've got, you know, circus artists, actors, singers, dancers, all these sorts of artists and like, their content is better, their product is better. But they're just not performing as well, as someone who's literally sitting there hyper filtered, like just posting selfies that are just repetitive and the same. It's like how, why? Why did this person succeed, and this person didn't. It's frustrating. It was frustrating seeing friends that sometimes arguably more talented than I am not be able to succeed in sort of creating like social media profiles and online sort of personas. But you're like, you've got the talent, and it's all there. Like your product is just not coming across which, yeah, which I mean, frustrating for me to see. So it must have been incredibly frustrating for them. I guess I was lucky that I got in fairly early with social media. And I guess I like I did take advantage of like how you originally built following. So like, like, definitely, like my content has evolved over the years. It's always like, knew what I had to do to get people's attention to start with. And then it's like, once I got their attention. Okay, how do I keep their attention? So I definitely adapted my approach and my tactics. Well, actually, I made I made my original Instagram when I was retired, so I wasn't doing acrobatics. When I first created my Instagram, so my Instagram was completely just like nothing selfies and stuff like that. I was I'm gonna I'm gonna go out there and say, I was one of the original, like, useless the straps of Instagram. I'm gonna say, would it been like back in like, 2000? And like, maybe like, 2014 I think I reached my like, 10,000, which was like a big deal back then. Yeah. Um, yeah, I really feel like there wasn't many. On at that point. Where, like, I was, I wasn't displaying anything, there was no talent, there was no product, it was literally just just the thirst traps on like an iPhone six. And then, and then as as, like, my following grew, there was like, more pressure to like, do more and sort of present more. And that's where I sort of started considering coming back to things like performing things again. And then I sort of started to put more more effort in and make it about more than just just selling a thing. And like, like, I've done like, I've done the odd like product and campaign type thing, but it's not really has never really been the focus, I think.
Unknown Speaker 13:29
Unknown Speaker 13:30
yeah, I mean, if great, if great products and deals come along, like I'm going to jump on board, but that's not my that's not my aim. So I'm not I'm not jumping on board with every sort of gimmick, and offer and discount code that exists.
Unknown Speaker 13:47
Do you think it's different? We're talking a little bit about this, but I'd love to hear you talk to the audience a little bit about the difference in being a content creator in Australia, especially being an openly gay content creator. I don't know culturally, is coming out of the closet in Australia any different than coming out of the closet? In small town America is you know, does it really depend on where you live? I don't really know culturally, you know, how the LGBTQ plus community is supported in Australia so maybe talk a little bit about that and being an open openly gay content creator
Unknown Speaker 14:25
you know, I feel like the conversion between say Sydney and LA and Melbourne in New York is pretty comparable. I feel like like a Sydney to La comparison is pretty close and a Melbourne to New York comparison is pretty close. So I mean, you in generally you're quite you're quite safe like if you're in inner city, Melbourne inner city, Sydney. You can be quite open you can like that. There's not a huge amount of like, hesitancy you know, going out on a Thursday night for example, and you know dressing flammable. Ain't Lee and you know, openly expressing yourself as being queer. In fact, like, you know, places like Melbourne, there's like entire suburbs. And the joke is that the entire suburb is just full of a certain type of people like, like, we've done that whole thing where like gentrification has gone the other way, where it's like, you know, the northern suburbs of Melbourne is sort of the more alternate, sort of more fetish inspired quiz. And then you've got the eastern suburb quiz that are more you're like, you know, fake tan, Botox, gym, queers, then you got your western suburb quiz that are sort of a little bit more of a mix, maybe they're a little more like country inspired. So it's like, we've almost made these little like pockets throughout parts of the city. But then as you move sort of out, it definitely takes quite a turn. So that there's a huge gap between like a metropolitan hub like Melbourne. And like places. Yeah, in the middle of nowhere. I think people forget that. The distance across Australia is the same as LA to New York. Like, do people realise that that?
Unknown Speaker 16:05
I don't think so? I don't think anybody.
Unknown Speaker 16:08
Yeah, so going across Australia is like going across America, like what's in the, the width. So in terms in terms of landmass, Australia is pretty comparable to the United States. But our population density, if you look at like a map, we're pretty much just this edge. And like that edge, like, where we're so spread out all the middle bit, nothing. Absolutely. So So you end up getting these towns where like to get to a town, you leave somewhere, you could drive for several hours and see nothing, and then end up in a town. So these towns are like, completely isolated. And so in terms of like, how they experience different cultures and stuff, it becomes very, very white, very straight, very sort of segmented. So in those sorts of communities, even now, it'd be it'd be such a hard time coming out as being queer or openly expressing being queer. I know like 20 years ago, when I was in one of those towns, it just didn't exist. Like, it wasn't a thing. Yeah. Just it wasn't an option. It wasn't a thing. It didn't exist. And then even in terms of like, I think the only sort of way you could see queer people was like, Queer as Folk on SBS at 1130 on like, a Thursday night, like, it didn't, it literally didn't exist. So yeah, like certainly, like safe spaces in school wasn't a thing. It just it just honestly, it wasn't a thing, just not at all. And then, like, you know, you move to somewhere like Melbourne, and you can finally start getting sort of a glimpse at like, just different people. I think. Yeah, even where I grew up, like having people of colour was rare. Really, like my town would my town was completely white. Yeah, I think we had like, we had an exchange family. And I believe they were from West Africa. And they were like, the family that was of colour. Like it was insanely whitewashed, where I grew up my entire, like schooling years. If I found a school photo to show you of any year in primary school, I don't think there's a person of colour in high school photos. i But then, but then you make the move to Melbourne. And it's it's flipped, we have insane amounts of, of like, like, immigration and stuff. So like, there are certain pockets of Melbourne, where as a white person, you're the minority, not the majority. So that was such a good, like, cultural shift. So me, I moved to Melbourne, just before I turned 18. And it was a huge shift in everything. Like so many like possibilities and like, like stuff was just completely opened up. And like the suburb that I lived in when I was first at uni, has has a huge, like Vietnamese population to the point where like, my local supermarket was a like a wet market. So like, yeah, even that was just this. Yeah, it's a really cool way to like, I know, leave the hometown and stuff like that, and sort of, like start a new part of life and it was dramatically different. So it took like a bit of adjustment and things like that, but it was kind of it was really good. And it was it was really fun to experience other people and other perspectives. I really did enjoy that. Like it took some learning it took some adapting but
Unknown Speaker 19:45
you know, so you never feel like as a content creator, where you live in Australia that there's you're ever putting yourself at risk or like you're in danger of because I feel like there's some countries or people just can't be openly gay content creators. But Australia it seems like it's progressive. If you're if you're comparing New York to Melbourne and LA to Sydney, so do you feel like it's, you know, it's important to be visible as an LGBTQ plus greater and and in Australia?
Unknown Speaker 20:22
Well, yes, but I'm a dude, and why I'm nearly six foot tall and I can benchpress like, enough, you know what I mean? So yeah, me being safe, I'm going to be very clear that just because I can feel safe. I know that not everybody can. So for me to sit here and be like, as an openly queer content creator in Melbourne, you can do what you want? No, I'm not going to say that I can. Because I seek all of the privilege boxes. But one. So the fact that the fact that I'm queer is the only thing that I have against me in terms of how society rates people, because it our society puts everyone in a ladder, and you've got the straight white dude, sitting at the top of the ladder, and everyone else's, at least two or three runs below. That's, that's how it works. Particularly in Australia. If you look at any of our, like, look at our parliament, our parliament is all these like old white dudes. Yeah. And then you've got these trying to creep up, but it's still that is still who runs our country that is still who runs all our major companies. All of our idols like everyone that Australia idolises majority of them are still like, white athletes, old white dudes like that people are creeping up, but it's, it's just taking so much time like, like, we almost need that generation to just leave. So the next sort of in sort of walkthrough, but no modern medicine, we're keeping it alive until the 90s. When, yeah, we need them gone. I think my generation, so I'm in my early 30s now, and I think my generation are waiting for the generation above us to just piss off like, yeah, they're holding on positions into their 70s that they're staying in politics, you know, to the point where it's kind of it's almost a joke, you watch clips of it here and, and they're all these like old white dudes that have to have a nap during like speeches, because then they don't understand relevant policies. They're not they're not quick witted, they're not keeping up. And then you've got these, like, particularly young females coming through politics. And they have to work four times as hard just to be listened to. And then, and then they give these amazing speeches. And they know every detail about the policy they're arguing about, and like, what they're wearing still gets brought up, and they just get dismissed and like spoken over and you're like, Oh, God, that infuriates me so much. Yeah. Um, so yeah, circling back to that, it's like, Yes, I'm pretty safe. Right. But I do take quite a few boxes. That means that, I mean, I'm not really ever scared at a train station at night. But I would never sort of say to people, that you should just be comfortable and be confident all the time, because that's still dangerous. The reality of it is giving people advice of just express yourself, be yourself be comfortable in your own skin. We're not there yet. We can't do that. There's not the assurance that somebody doing that is going to be safe. Yeah. Um, so I don't have a solution for that is the problem. I don't. I can't give people advice that ensures that they can both express themselves openly and be safe. Yeah. And I just Yeah, I want to make that clear that I don't expect everyone to also do it. So I'm not going to judge someone who, who still kind of hides parts of their personality behind closed doors. Because yeah, knowing where I grew up. You would not be safe.
Unknown Speaker 24:04
Yeah, I think that's really important to hear. Yeah. Oh, yeah. So that kind of leads me to, you're on this really awesome mission right now that I really, I don't know what started this mission. But I'm really motivated by this idea of you calling out queer baiters and for people who don't know what Queer Baiting is. Can you explain what that is to us? And maybe someone who doesn't know.
Unknown Speaker 24:31
I'm not sure how I got started on it either. To be honest, just kind of happened. So going back to like the Instagram days, it wasn't uncommon for straight dudes to also appeal to like both audiences, right? I mean, models do it actors do it. In terms of advertising and the modelling industry. That's fine. I think that's what people are confused. I think people are thinking that I'm saying that queerbaiting is any straight person that appeals to a gay audience. So, you know, Calvin Klein models are appealing to gay people, companies like even like, a lot of underwear companies do hire straight and gay models. But in my mind, they're they're doing, they're doing a professional role. Like, that's their job. That's the work. They're they're rocking up to work. They're doing the job delivering the product, they're getting paid. That's their role. So to me, that's not queerbaiting what queerbaiting sort of more relating to is this purposeful kind of deception. And also, they're not just posing and trying to encourage like a gay following. They're using gay themes and gay references to sort of do that. So I mean, the very big common one that gets used is very masculine, presenting straight men, using a lot of like the top, bottom mask FEM kind of themes, and they're really sort of pushing, particularly the idea that a masculine top is the best version of gay, coincidentally, because that's the closest to being straight. So it's very that so it's not the fact that it's a straight man that appeals to a gay audience. That's not queerbaiting. That's the modelling industry. I mean, that's how it works. But in the modelling industry, you see a campaign or a poster, and it's up to you then to interpret whether or not you're attracted to them. But when when you're on social media, and you're using gay hashtags, you're using gay themes. You're making jokes about sort of gay relationships and, and gay sexuality, and queer sexuality that's different. You're sort of stealing themes to really push this like, sort of fake narrative. And what people don't realise is, there's all these profiles. There, they're purposefully making fake profiles as well. So I initially got annoyed, I'm like, Oh, my God, there's a couple of straight dudes, and they're acting gay on social media. This is super annoying. But then when I started actually looking into it, that's when it sort of got a little bit sort of scary for me, because I don't know if people realise this, but so we'll use one. One example, there's an agency called Alpha houseboys. And they call themselves an agency. So basically, what they do is they recruit straight male influences that already have like a little bit of a like following, you know, maybe they have discount codes for pre workout or something, I don't know something. And what they do is they they teach them how to make fake profiles, how to set up their only fans account how to link their only fans account how to set up their fake tic TOCs. They give them the type of videos to make, they give them templates, they give them all these sorts of things. There's even a YouTube series how they tell them how to like, make their fake identities and like, how to do it. I mean, this is it. This is public. Yeah, I found it all there brazen, and they're confident but the audacity of straight white men is that they believe they're on accountable so they're not very good at hiding or covering their own tracks. So like, yeah, yeah, wonder most killers to get caught straight white men, because they're completely hopeless that like, attention to detail. Um, so essentially, what then happens is, we had this agency, let's say the agency has 20 boys working for them, those 20 Boys, or each had four or five accounts, those four or five accounts will just be posting the same, it's the same videos, that's the thing that frustrates me a little bit as well is I don't want to blame victims, right. So my thing has always been target, the queer bait is not the audience. But I'm getting to the point now, where it's like, if you can't see this over and over again, like, we're going to have to be accepting a bit of this responsibility. Because like, you go to one of their profiles, and it's the same video, the whole profile just with a different caption, or they're wearing a different pair of pants. It's, it's, there's no creativity, it's just repeated, then you go to the other profiles, and it's the same, but it's a different dude. So they're following these really boring and repetitive formulas. And all the trends are the same. It's like, you know, dating as a top, oh, I'm too big. Oh, I grew too much. Like it's, it's those tropes that they just keep repeating. And so the fact that audiences are falling for it is is starting to annoy me. So
Unknown Speaker 29:25
I feel like we kind of like, it feels like you might have fell into a black hole, right? It's like the internet. Oh, I can very easily become that, right. It's like, oh, I'm going to call this out. But then you're like, but this has been going this is systemic like this happening for so long.
Unknown Speaker 29:41
Right? There's one that I know that has about 20 profiles. One person has 20 profiles. Yeah, and all the 20 profiles are just repeating the content. So it's just reposting the same videos across 20 profiles. They all linked to the same Instagram the same only fans And then, like your report profiles for impersonation doesn't get taken down your report like a lot of the jokes because they do cross lines of being offensive, they're completely fine. It's, yeah, it just gets really irritating because there's so openly, like breaking sort of the rules and really being unethical with how they're approaching this platform. That it's just frustrating. I feel like the reason they didn't do it on Instagram is because you couldn't really get away with it. But you can get away with on tick tock, I feel like you can. And it just, it just bugs me as well like, like, sort of going back to that sort of audience thing. A lot of people now tag me in their videos, or sort of send me videos being like, Oh, is this person, a queer beta bla bla bla, and I'm getting to the point now where instead of doing like, the work and figuring it out, I just sort of say, well, does this person do anything, but sell you a product? Or does this person do anything but deliver this sort of thing. And my argument is, regardless of the person's sexuality, or whatever, if all they do is sell you their only defence account, then don't fall, you shouldn't be following them. Like, like, I want to see activism, I want to see a talent I want to see, I want to see something I want to see a skill, I don't want to see someone just standing there in a mirror lip synching badly, to some caption about tops and bottoms. Like, that's what it is. Um, yeah. And again, like these accounts, so the reason these accounts are doing so well, is, again, to the part of an agency. And being part of the agency means that when you post a video, several other profiles will instantly like share comment. It's a no Yeah. Yeah. So so they've created this thing. It's the main one is called Alpha house boys. They're based out of Miami, I think they've sent me like so many death threats and threats of legal action. And it's kind of funny. Um, yeah, like, okay, what are you going to sue me for? And actually welcome that court case. But yeah, so So they're doing it. So it's very smart. Yet, from a business perspective, I it works because so the original person that started the agency has their only fans, and then they sign up all these people using referral code. So this person is earning money from everyone else's only fans, as well as charging a commission fee. So last time, I saw the last time I saw the contract that they're bound by, I believe they have to give 20% of their only fans earnings to the agency. And they're required to post a certain amount of videos they're required to, to like other posts that are required to comment on other posts. It's quite strict in terms of what the contract actually entails. And then, and then,
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