If you’re a queer man with an Instagram account, you probably know of (and or follow) Instagram model and influencer Kyle Krieger.
The 34-year-old Instastud gained fame while attempting (and failing) to uphold his vegetarianism on the Discovery show Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls and now he’s all over every WeHo fellas feed. With over 1.2-million followers, Krieger is one of the most famous LGBTQ creators on Instagram, and he sat down with Gay Times to talk about the platform.
In the candid Q&A, Krieger opens up about his life as an Instagram hottie, his battle with addiction and the success of his short film Boyfriend.
Here are three of our favorite moments from the interview:
Gay Times: As one of the most followed LGBTQ activists on Instagram, do you feel pressure to be a spokesperson for the community?
Kyle Krieger: I don’t think I’ve ever felt pressure to be a spokesperson, I think of it as a responsibility. I also realize I’m not the most eloquent person, so I stick to my strengths with photo and video. With some luck and some hard work, I’ve garnered the attention of a lot of eyes online. And look, I get it, I fit the universal type and I fall within the boundaries of the social standard of beauty. That gives me a lot of privilege based on the way I look. So it would be such a shame if I didn’t use my online platform as an opportunity to amplify underrepresented, marginalized voices who may not have the same privileges because of the color of their skin, the way they look, their education, sexism or their socio-economic status.
I believe we all rise together, and I just really want to do the best I can with what I have. And if that means helping to rally the community for marches and protests, sharing stories with photos and video, and living a visible life as an out gay man as an act of resistance, so be it. I’m here for it.
Many of the photos you share celebrate your body and male nudity. Is there a message behind this, or are you simply expressing yourself in a way you feel comfortable?
I guess it’s a little bit of both, right? In the beginning of my recovery from crystal meth and alcohol, I needed a creative outlet to put some energy into. I picked up a camera and I was too insecure and scared to ask to take someone else’s photo so I just turned on the self-timer. There was something so healing about going out on an adventure to cool locations, finding interesting light, figuring out how and where I would shoot, thinking of a pose, and then editing the end result. It was such a healing process and I enjoyed the quiet, alone time so much.
But I guess the message is to love yourself, wear whatever you want or don’t wear anything at all. Don’t listen to opinions of people who want to tear you down. Go with whatever makes you feel fully expressed. It’s about experimenting with your body in terms of expression which includes lines, shapes, shadows, everything. It allows me to almost deepen my relationship with my body, while hopefully encouraging others to do the same with their own bodies and their relationships with them. I still have my own insecurities and battles with self-worth and self-acceptance. Finding some healing through creativity is one outlet I choose to practice.
With all those followers, you must have plenty of guys sliding into your DMs. Does that bother you?
You know what, I have to be honest, my DMs are a very kind and loving place. Yeah, I get a few dick pics and the occasional hole pic, which always makes me throw my phone across the room. But for the most part I have people from all over the world messaging me about a video that touched them, my TED talk that helped them fight their addiction or a certain photo that inspired them to shoot something that they loved. It’s the most wonderful experience.
I love how we can have a connection with someone whom we’ve never met but can share with them how they’ve impacted our lives for the better. I very rarely get any hate or unkind messages.
Read the interview in its entirety on Gay Times.