YouTube personality, actor, author, producer, and singer, Joey Graceffa, chats with us about the importance of mental health, social media, and his creativity.
Photography: Anthony Giovanni
Styling: Edwin J. Ortega
Grooming: Eros Gomez
Joey wears Yves Saint Laurent Jacket, Tank top: 2xist, Pants: Marcell Von Berlin
Top: All Saints, Bomber: Jacket Diesel, Shorts: Fear of God
Top: Gucci, Sweater: Thom Browne, Jeans: Gucci, Sneakers: Versace
Let’s talk about your YouTube series Escape The Night. You had the season 4 premiere at VidCon in 2019. Talk about creating the series, what inspired you to create the series and how did you keep every new season so fresh?
I’ve always been a creator who loves collaborating with my peers, so I wanted to take collaborating to the next level. I bring together 10 dynamic YouTube creators and throw them into an environment that none of their fans have seen them in before. Add in a lot of my crazy imagination, an incredible storyline, massive production, and a whole lot of scares…and you get Escape The Night. Each season has its own vibe which I think makes the show so unique for an unscripted show.
You’re also an author on top of creating your own content. Talk about the process of writing books. How does it compare to writing and producing a TV show?
The limits are endless when writing a book. There’s no budget you have to worry about or wonder if that’s even possible to make happen. My imagination is limitless and I love tapping into the unknown and bringing my thoughts to life.
You have an entrepreneurial spirit and also started a jewelry line a few years ago. What other ideas or interests do you plan on chasing in 2020?
I’d love to start writing another book or series. But also really just focusing on my mental health and being more in tune with my body is a big priority. I think it’s very easy to put your health on the back burner when you’re always hustling in your career, so I’m trying to find the balance.
What were the challenges of leaving your home and moving across the country? Lots of young hopeful dreamers do that too, so what would your advice to them be?
The fear of the unknown. It’s scary leaving what is comfortable but you have to know you aren’t gonna achieve your dreams when you’re comfortable. So go out there and fight for what you want because no one else is gonna fight for that as much as you.
Talk about social media today, how are you adapting with all the changes and new platforms such as Tik Tok?
Where to even begin. It’s always changing, so I’m kinda used to it. But I think the key is to evolve with each platform and change up your content, which isn’t always easy, you just have to try and always have fun.
You have opened up to the public about struggles regarding mental health. With the current issues happening in 2020, how are you coping with things and what have you learned about yourself?
I’m such a hermit so I live for staying home, it’s where I honestly thrive. However, the fear aspect of how this virus is affecting humanity has been the hardest part. I actually deleted Twitter off of my phone because it was causing way more anxiety that was tough to handle. I’ve also been meditating a lot which is really helping my body calm down. I realized I’m so tense all the time but when I take a second to breathe deep, I let the stress I’m hanging on to go.
What words of encouragement would you give people who might be feeling alone and anxious in a time like this?
Allow yourself to process what’s going on. You don’t need to be doing anything revolutionary at this time. It’s easy to become stressed when you feel like you should be doing something. But sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to do for yourself at that time. I really think this is a long-needed break for everyone to stop moving so fast in life and to take time for ourselves.
What’s your MOOD for 2020?
Zen vibes only…we all need it.
Interview by Will Heffernan
Jacket: R13, Sweater: Givenchy, Jeans: Amiri, Sneakers: All