We adore Tyler Oakley. No…seriously. We love him. We’ve been watching his videos on YouTube for so long now that we feel like he’s one of our best friends. If you watch his videos, you know what we mean. If you don’t, its time to get with the program. Tyler is endearing, adorable, sweet, stylish, hilarious and nice. In fact…he’s reinvented “nice”. In a world where someone’s lack of good looks would prompt characteristics of being “nice”, Tyler has made being “nice” super, super attractive. But let’s be honest…he’s super attractive too. Whether he’s drooling over Darren Criss, Blaine from Glee, or frolicking through Thailand, the stories and anecdotes in his videos make him an internet phenomenon, or YouTube celebrity(with over 150,000 dedicated subscribers and over 22million video views), who would probably blush and say, “Oh, girl” if complimented. Nonetheless, he is a strong voice of gay youth, making everyone, young or old, wishing they were his close friend.
1. What motivated you to begin making videos on YouTube?
When I was a freshman in college in 2007, I saw a video by a guy named William Sledd… and he was just talking into his camera about his life. I started browsing around and saw that he had tons of videos, and there were other people on YouTube that were also doing what he was doing. I had just gotten my laptop (and it had it’s own webcam built in), and my friends had all moved all around the country to go to their own schools, so I figured, why not keep in touch with them through video-blogging? Back then, I had no intention of having people who didn’t know me watch my videos, and my videos were NOTHING like how they are today.
2. What was the moment you knew you had made it big on YouTube and how long did it take to get there?
I remember seeing I had 100 views on a video, and I knew… I did NOT have 100 friends. From there, it kind of felt like… okay, I guess people are watching, why not put out more stuff for them to enjoy? The first moment I made it “big” on YouTube I’d say is when I got a post-card from The Trevor Project thanking me for a video I made about them. That was a really sweet moment where I realized that what I did on here could make an impact in the real world.
3. What are three opportunities you cherish which have come as a result of your videos?
I’ve gotten so many opportunities from making videos, it’s really hard to pick just three! For starters, I got to meet Lady Gaga, because Perez Hilton was one of my subscribers and gave me a hookup (video here). I also got to co-host The Trevor Project’s red carpet event Trevor Live (video here). One of my absolute favorite things that has come out of my time making YouTube is all the friends I’ve been able to make from the YouTube community – even my best friend that I live with now, we met 5 years ago while making videos together in the dorms while we were in college (video here).
4. What is it like to have a huge gay following and fan base?
It’s an amazing opportunity! I wouldn’t necessarily call it huge, but I think of it as potentially very powerful – in the sense that the people who follow me have the power to change the world – and if I influence them to do something positive for the gay community, they could influence five other people and create a snow-ball effect. It’s a great feeling! Also, the thought of younger gay kids following me is really inspiring, because I didn’t have someone to watch while I was younger. I hope to not necessarily be a role-model, because I do make lots of mistakes… but instead, be an inspiration – to learn from your mistakes and to take charge of your own potential and do something with it.
5. Who are your 5 favorite YouTubers to watch?
I watch so many people! Truly, I probably am subscribed to over 100 people that I regularly watch. It’s weird, but these are like my friends! A few of my favorites include: milesjaiproductions, justaddtommy, dudeneedaeaseonup, italktosnakes, tonjesml
6. What kind of camera and editing software do you use for your videos?
I use a Canon Vixia HF S21 to film, and edit in iMovie.
7. How did your obsession with having your hair look perfect begin?
LOL! Well, starting with 5th grade when I had a bowl cut parted in the middle!
8. What’s a topic too personal to discuss on YouTube? What embarrasses you to talk about?
I don’t think I’d ever talk my sex life… just seems tacky!
9. What do you think are the 3 most profound YouTube videos ever made?
So You Got Dumped – it’s a video I often send to people who ask me for relationship advice. Fairy Doors & Wanderlust – a video I made about my hometown in Michigan as a reminder to myself to always explore. How to Pray the Gay Away – it was a response to my homophobic aunt who posted that she was praying for me on Facebook.
10.What are your 3 favorite videos you’ve made on YouTube?
How to Put on a Condom – was just super silly, fun and goofy. Me & my Boyfriend – it was right after I broke up with a long-term relationship, and EVERYONE was asking questions about it, it was my way of saying, “No, I won’t comment on it, and yes, you will click this video.” My last would have to be a tie for my traveling videos: Taking over Tokyo and Taking over Thailand – I watch them all the time to relive my adventures traveling abroad.
11. What are 3 things we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
I have 12 brothers and sisters, I make the best guacamole in San Francisco, I can rap any Nicki Minaj lyric.
12. If you could only listen to 3 CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?
Born this Way by Lady Gaga, Body Talk by Robyn, All I Ever Wanted by Kelly Clarkson.
13. Have you ever received any fan male or hate male which really changed your perspective on the impact you have through your videos?
I try my hardest to not let hate mail influence me – because anybody can put out hate, it takes a much stronger person to put out themselves. I will say I got some criticism regarding language I used in the past about cultural appropriation and gender/trans issues that made me reconsider my approach to the topics. As far as positivity in fan mail, everything people send me pushes me to continue – I read every fan message and letter I get, and everything encourages me to continue, even when people are sometimes jerks.
14. How do you define sexy? Who is the sexiest celebrity? Where is the sexiest place to kiss? Sexiest YouTuber? Sexiest song?
Sexy to me is the ability to keep me attracted to you while keeping me guessing. I’m currently obsessed with Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on Glee. I got to interview him at Trevor Live and I fell in love, and since then I’ve been obsessed (video here). Sexiest place to kiss would probably be a subtle kiss in public – it tells me that you’re not showy, but you’re also not afraid to be yourself. Sexiest YouTuber would have to be corporalcadet – I’ve had a crush on him for years. Sexiest song? That’s too hard!
15. What are 3 books you would suggest to a stranger?
“I Am Not Myself These Days” by Josh Kilmer Purcell (all time favorite book – funny, sad, heart-warming, inspiring), “Dry” by Augusten Burroughs (gives perspective, makes you reconsider your addictions in your own life), “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (helped me reconsider priorities, death and love).
16. Let’s play murder, marry, fuck: Darren Criss, Neil Patrick Harris and Ricky Martin?
Sorry Neil! I’ve got to murder you. I’m marrying Darren and fucking Ricky!
17. We adore your boyish innocence, but on an adult note, tell us your thoughts about Grindr, gay porn and gay clubs?
I think I’ve got a pretty interesting perspective on this, as I come from a small mid-west town and now live in San Francisco. In Michigan, you could see people in the entire state on Grindr, there were only a few gay bars, and back when I lived there, gay porn was my introduction to what gay sex would be like. Since then, I’ve moved to San Francisco, where the closest person to you on Grindr is 10 feet away, I live between 10 gay bars where I can be picky and choosey, and not only do I see the fantasy in gay porn, I can now meet the stars of it in my local gay bar every weekend. Grindr: it is what you make of it. I’d never hook up with someone off of it, but I have gotten dates from it (I have one this Friday – that’s weird.) No judgment, but I just am scared of the possibilities, which I think is more than justifiable. Gay porn, I don’t really have much of an opinion on… I approve! Gay clubs can get exhausting, as the people in there can sometimes be the most judgmental people around. I’ve luckily gotten into a good group of friends here in San Francisco where we are able to always go to new bars and always have fun – and it’s not all about finding someone to have sex with that night.
18. What do you think is the most important gay issue today and what do you think should be done about it?
I mean, there are tons of gay issues that are important, from gay marriage to adoption rights to work-place discrimination and more… but I think the biggest gay issue is the level of involvement of the gay community to demand change. So many gays think that other gays will take care of it. People don’t march in the streets, they don’t want to miss an episode of Glee. To fix this, people need to realize that they CAN make a change, but no one person can do it alone.
19. What 3 things would you like to have accomplished in the next 10 years?
By the time I’m 33, I want to have met my (first) husband, have a job that doesn’t have to make a difference for the gay community (because full equality will have already been achieved), and be able to look back at tons of adventures in traveling. I’m a pretty simple guy with simple pleasures!
20. What are your three simple luxuries?
Three things that always bring a smile to my face: making guacamole for my friends, getting pedicures with my mom, exploring an airport I’ve never been in.
Be Yourself. Be Fearless. Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!
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*Photographs courtesy of Tyler Oakley
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