Eric- A Year of YES
I started following Eric around the time I came out. I really gravitated towards his confidence. He is someone who knows, accepts, and celebrate himself- which is something we could all use a little more practice in. Eric, you are fabulous, we adore you, let’s watch the Red Carpet together next year. Xo Xo
Name: Eric Campbell
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
How do you identify? A quiet gay man that loves The Real Housewives.
What do you do? I work with my boyfriend, Tyler, to run a membership site called The Follower To Fan Society, where we teach entrepreneurs how to use Instagram to market their business. I also podcast and make YouTube videos for fun, as well as narrate my life on Instagram.
What are your favorite queer resources? Yikes! A big question! Honestly, the people! If you want to know a movement and see where the community is at, look on social media. That’s where the real conversations are happening.
What are you reading these days? Okay, so, I’m not the most frequent reader. I started Handmaid’s Tale last September and I still haven’t finished it. I get distracted!! But I do plan on picking that back up. I’m also perusing issues of Vogue Collections. Because touch the fashion, change your life, ya know?
Out of all the crayon colors, which one would you be? Bubblegum pink. Because that color is so joyful. It just makes people smile.
Outside of your family, who was the first person to inspire you? My boyfriend, Tyler McCall, inspires me often. We met in college and we’ve been together for almost 11 years!
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Funny. Complex. Confident.
The Heart of it:
Let’s start from the beginning. What was your coming out experience like?
My coming out was not the best, but not the worst. I have a gay brother and he was outed before I even knew I was gay. My family has deep Southern Baptist roots. BUT my family is very supportive of me. I went to college, discovered what I really believe, met Tyler, and just fell into love. We went to a Baptist university, where the queer community and the more accepting communities were very small. But everyone knew who we were and what we were. We didn’t hide it. My friends knew about Tyler from the get go.
When I came out to my mom she said some hurtful things, made me cry, and we didn’t really talk about it again. Our relationship doesn’t include a lot of open communication, which still gets frustrating and sad. I will say however, that Tyler and I are getting married in 2019 and my parents are planning on being there. Tyler also spends Christmas with my family every year. Even though my family doesn’t directly say “boyfriend” when talking about Tyler, we know they understand and we don’t hide our relationship from anyone.
Before I came out, even to myself, I would always say, in a way to convince myself that I was straight, “if I were gay I would just BE gay.” And honestly, that’s still true! I’m gay so I’m just gonna BE gay! I don’t care where I am. I do not ever try to hide that fact. I will hold my partner's hand, I will scream “Yas gawd”, and I will carry a rainbow flag if I choose to! I hid myself FROM myself far too long to hide any longer.
What coming out advice would you offer readers?
Hiding feels shameful. It just does. So, be safe and be ready, but just do it. Also, don’t feel like you have to explain it or defend it at that point. Coming out is just that. Don’t get pulled into an argument about what’s right and wrong. It just is.
Once you can live more freely, then you can really start becoming who you are!
2019 is your year of “YES.” Tell me about that.
Oh my gosh, you do your homework! Haha. So I spend a lot of time THINKING about doing things and considering them only to eventually not do them. And I just wanted a one word reminder for this year that I can say YES to everything. The result doesn’t matter, we can figure out the process later, and the end will come but you just have to say YES! I got sick of talking myself out of things! So - will I do this? Yes! Do I want it? Yes! Am I capable? YES!
***Ed note: We at Love Les are certainly feeling inspired and ready to live out our year of YES, and hope you are too! Stay on the lookout for posts like this, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
What is your favorite thing about fashion?
I often times say that fashion is cool but style is my real love. I love how people communicate with what they’re wearing. I also love how hopeful fashion is; changes and it reflects the times and it helps give people a voice. I think that was my real intro fashion. I’m not a loud individual and I don’t always have the best way to showcase my personality, but if I’m wearing something I totally feel represents me in that moment, then I feel seen and heard.
In what ways does fashion allow you to express yourself?
So many ways, but I’d say that feeling confident in an outfit that I’ve put together gives me the deepest sense of confidence. I’m a pretty confident person now, but I haven’t always been. Fashion used to almost be like an armor and a persona. Instead of sinking into the back of the room I could almost command attention by being the best dressed in the room, at least in my mind.
How do you tackle insecurity when it creeps up to the surface?
Everyone handles it differently. With any insecurity I like to tackle it head on. If it’s some sort of mental block, I like to talk myself through it. If it’s a physical insecurity, I look myself in the mirror and say “I can change it if I want, but for now this is how it is” and I go on with my day. You can’t let that stuff keep you from living your life. Also, as far as physical insecurity, that’s another benefit of style. I’m not very skinny and I don’t have the most conventionally attractive body. But if I can put on an outfit and feel like a star, then the shape of my body does not matter.
You’re a Red Carpter perso, right? What have been your favorite Red Carpet moments?
I am! I love that it’s just a huge moment for so many people and that a simple carpet at an event changed the fashion industry. As far as a specific moment, I live for any moment with Lady Gaga. Not just because she is my queen, but also because she created moments within a moment. People hold their breath to see what she is going to wear. And people still talk about them!
Talk to me about #theblankbitch
The Blank Bitch was my fun, pink, irreverent, and carefree endeavor into the world of online selling! It started as an Instagram and I wanted it to be pretty and colorful and bitch is my favorite word, when used positively of course. I used to, and still do, say things like “it’s me, the selfie bitch” or “it’s me, the business bitch” and people enjoyed it and I thought it was a fun fill-in-the-blank phrase that could be personalized. And then put on a tee. So that’s what I did! I stepped away from it for a little bit but the Instagram is still active. So be on the lookout because I’ve recently had a lot of requests to bring the bitches back.
How would you describe your brand/style?
I used to stress about my “B R A N D” because Instagram is such a thing and putting your personal brand out there is just what you do nowadays. I tried to be a teacher, I tried to be plenty of things, and what I always come back to is just being my fun self. I’m an entertainer of sorts, as weird as that sounds. As far as my brand/style, people seem to recognize in me my fashion sense and my affinity for just living life. What I try to put out there is just having fun and being confident. I really want people to feel comfortable and confident when they see me. If I can inspire someone to find love for themselves through taking selfies or dressing up, then I’ll be happy.
Who & what inspires you?
I’m actually inspired by everything and everyone? I know that’s a crazy answer and a non-answer, but that’s how I feel! Anybody who is doing what they want in the way that feels right to them inspires me! Anyone that defines their own success is inspiring to me. I recently watched this episode of the show “7 days out” on Netflix and they chronicled the 7 days leading up to the Chanel Haute Couture fashion show and, as far as the fashion world is concerned, it was so inspiring to see the vision for the show determined by the creative director, Karl Lagerfeld and to watch it being executed beautifully by everyone. I love that he has a vision and everyone plays their part in executing it. I found that inspiring. He was inspired to create his vision of what could be.
Also, because of my work I’m surrounded by a TON of female entrepreneurs. (The online world is FULL OF THEM and they are some of the most inspiring people. We have women that are a little younger and started a business, we have women that are a little older starting businesses. These women decided that they can be it and do it all! It’s hard to let yourself be successful, so when I see that in anybody I’m inspired.