This is part of a special series, presented by US Lifestyle Group, that focuses on a diversity of American social media voices impacting our culture.
This pair of best friends from Portland can be found on Instagram with all the fantastic beard looks you didn't know you needed to be witnessing: @thegaybeards.
Describe your followers.
Whether they live in Kentucky or Cairo, graduated high school in the 1940's or 2000's, our followers tend to have one thing in common: a love for happiness. We tend to put these ridiculous versions of ourselves and our beards out into this world mostly to spawn a smile in someone who may need some cheering up.
Not everyone in this world strives for riches or power, but we feel like our followers all strive for happiness, both in themselves and others.
What inspires your style?
Comfort and color. We can’t blame anyone for rocking their personal style at the cost of being comfortable, but for us, it’s important to feel good while you look good. One thing that always makes us feel good is color, whether it’s a mustard yellow vintage fleece from the 60s, or perhaps an outdated Hawaiian button up that most of our dads would’ve rocked in the mid-90s, if it fits and has a bit of flare, we are game. Perhaps we like pushing the boundaries of what’s “in-fashion,” but as long as the statement gets someone to consider wearing something they normally would be afraid to, we consider it a success.
How would you describe today’s U.S. lifestyle?
Individualized, perhaps? More and more, we feel like people are becoming less afraid to take a unique approach to how they live their lives. The rigid standards of yesterday seem to be slipping more quickly with each year, and we can’t help but feel like that is leading to a more diverse setting for everyone and the direction they each take to fulfill their own happiness. From careers to fashion, to finances and dating, individuality is coming through more often and we kind of feel like that’s a beautiful thing.
When have you used your social media influence to impact social issues?
For us, one of the biggest social issues we take a stance on is sexual orientation and the desperate need for this world to rid itself of the stigmas attached to it. Though here in Portland, Oregon, the vibe is extremely progressive, we know all too well that this isn’t always the case across the rest of the world. Today’s youth still have to deal with the impact of hiding who they truly are, and who they truly love, to preserve some sense of fitting in and maintaining their current relationships.
Both of us know from our own personal experiences that having to hide your sexuality is an awful burden, but one that may seem crucial depending on your circumstances. All we want is for anyone out there that may be in a similar situation is to feel proud of the person they are.
Being gay doesn’t make you strange or unworthy, it simply is just another aspect of all the things that make someone beautiful.
What is key when creating your social media post?
More often than not, humor.
Laughter is something that we hold close to our hearts, because realistically, it can be some of the best medicine out there for a broken heart.
It brings us immense joy to create content that at times is outrageous, but if nothing else, gets people to laugh. Does it matter if it’s at our own expense? Not at all. If anything, we know our content is silly, but that is exactly how we like it.
Who has the biggest influence on you and why?
Perhaps cliché, but young people. Everyone at one point or another has been young, and one day we’d all like to believe that we will be old.
We recognize how important it is to give today’s youth the support and resources they need to become the best versions of themselves, so that one day, they can give back to the world in the same way.
As we get older, it becomes more apparent that we gain resilience from outside pressures and stereotypes, however when we were young, the magnitude of someone’s negativity or anger could be crippling. All of us on this Earth deserve to have the best life we can, but in order to achieve that, we have to work together to make our dreams come true.