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Antoni Is The Human Equivalent Of A Promoted Post (Dont @ Me)

Queer Eye is coming back in mid-June. This is exciting news! It’s a good show.

But you know who drives me fucking insane? Antoni.

First off, his talent in the show was so minimal and underwhelming, a pretty, lispy culinary idea who always seems to be punched or asleep, wrapped up in Strokes or Little Life tees, shuttled in to look cute. He’s the human equivalent of a Coke Vanilla Zero: fizz with nothing going on but appealing whiteness. I don’t buy what he’s selling.

And, yet, it seems like the entire world is because he’s the fucking cast member of the show who I feel like is constantly being mama birded to me, forced down my throat by publications and algorithms who think I need more Antoni. I very strongly am not down with him for myriad reasons.

One of the biggest reasons? He’s a human advertisement, a walking promoted post, a man who became sponcon.

This occurred to me recently after his photos repeatedly were inserted into my Instagram discovery page. It was always him and some product, mugging to the camera with his black eye bags, that constantly faded face that suggests he needs a nap or is permanently dirty. I can’t tell but I was occasionally curious to see what he was shilling and, sure enough, he was literally hawking shit. I follow very few “celebrity” Instagrams (Save for Tracee Ellis Ross, Chloë Sevigny, Juliette Lewis, etc.) but his was most abhorrent because it was full of advertisements. Then I got to wondering: was it just me or was his Insta truly just sponsored at this point? So, I investigated.

The show premiered on February 7, 2018. Since that date, he has posted 74 Insta photos. Eleven of them are “sponsored” meaning that some sort of brand was tagged in the post, be it Netflix or Hanes or Silk. While Netflix is a given, there were only three iterations of this that happened in the “early” days (the day after premiere, the day after the day after, and their FYSEE program in early May). That’s not a lot! Particularly for a show that made him who he is. (Also note that this discludes any photos with other Fab Five members.)

Shit started getting weird in early April when he shared a nudie post benefitting Hanes. This was the first truly sponsored post. Since this April 12 post, 42 days later, he has posted 31 posts as of May 30. Nine of them are sponsored. Nearly a third of his posts aren’t “real” but instead are things that involve money in his pocket, with him being a commercial.

It gets weirder, naturally, since he is always hawking his own shit, from his maple syrupy pouty looking Canadian bacon body to all his myriad “foodie” attempts to appeal to the culinary crowd by way of his being around food. This is classic celebrity, who sell themselves as a brand, the person becoming an empire. Standard shit. What isn’t standard is his knack to accessorizes via “products he loves,” thirst trapping you to click an invisible Amazon affiliate link: he shills fashion brands (Thom Browne, Dsquared, Theory), places he loves (The Plaza Hotel, Paris), books (Little Life, Dinner With Jackson Pollack), publications that seek to legitimize him (GQ, New York Times, Gay Times), music (The Strokes, Justin Bieber), and – Naturally. – Queer Eye (again and again).

There is nothing wrong with this. There really isn’t! It’s just bizarre to me that a person who has made a name for himself by looking at food on television is now deemed someone “of note” simply for looking at things off television. There is nary an explanation of these affections, nary a depth to these desires, but instead a fervor to be a brand just by being himself. Perhaps he’s trying to Goop himself, perhaps he is just boring, but he feels like an echo of a person instead of an actual person, a robot trying to become the television instead of being a person who occasionally appears on it. I’m unsure but it’s one of the most bizarre digital presences because its neither inspiring nor cool. Instead, you walk through a store trying on different Antonis, hoping that one sticks to you so that you can buy, buy, buy more of him.

What a strange, dystopian now – and we haven’t even gotten into his Twitter.

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