INTERVIEW NINETEEN: ELISE
In Elise’s second interview, written by the amazing Tara, she discussed her admiration for the queer gender-stereotype defying model, activist, and photographer, Jacob Bixenman.
Question One: It’s lovely to have you back on our page, Elise! Today’s conversation is about the queer gender-stereotype defying model, activist, and photographer, Jacob Bixenman. Please inform us of what he has done to inspire you to share your admiration for him with our community!
that’s actually a kind of hard question to answer, because jacob has really inspired me with everything he does. however, one of the things about him that has inspired me the most is the way he connects to and is there for his audience. back in december, i sent him a message about how he has helped me through my depression and anxiety, especially when they’re at the worst, and he responded within hours. his response was very touching, personal, and it actually made me cry! him and i have been through quite a few similar experiences in life, and i think it’s cool that i have him as a role model and person to look up to.
Question Two:: In introducing Jacob’s work and persona to us, you’d said, “His energy and the way he impacts [and is there for] his audience truly astounds me. I really admire how he wants to do everything he can to change the world for the better.” How is Jacob ensuring that he encourages the best influence and content on his platform?
i believe that jacob is ensuring he encourages the best influence/content on his platform by having the knowledge that a lot of his audience is young, and some of those young people are queer. as someone who is queer myself, it is wonderful for me to have a queer person to look to for inspiration. jacob gives me a feeling of acceptance and love, something that i don’t always have in my day to day life, so having him makes me feel that much better. jacob said in his episode of The Unspoken Podcast with Ruthie Lindsey and Miles Adcox that he wants to be the best possible role model/person to look up to that he can be, and one of the ways he does that is by posting content on his instagram story and feed that have to do with activism. he includes very detailed captions that are encouraging his audience to get involved and help as much as they can, so a difference in the world is able to be made.
Question Three: How has Jacob helped you personally overcome depression and the more dismal times of your life?
in the beginning of 2019, i was very much deep into a horrible horrible depression. i was never motivated to do anything, i was always anxious, tired, i cried all the time, i never felt like i was enough, etc. the list could really go on forever. it’s honestly hard to put into words how much he has helped me, because the impact he has had on me is so incredibly profound. when i experience depressive episodes or i am just feeling down, i usually go and listen to his episode of The Unspoken Podcast. (which i totally recommend, by the way). hearing his insight and everything he has to say about his outlook on life makes me happier than i could even begin to describe, and it gives me hope that everything will eventually start to get better. again, him and i have experienced a lot of similar things in life such as loss and questioning your identity, so that definitely helps me to not feel as alone.
Question Four: Why is it important to look up to creatives that are shifting the culture and prioritizing social equity through art forms?
i believe that looking up to people who shift the culture and prioritize social equity through art form is important because i have seen that those are usually the people who try their hardest to get the message of “this is happening in our world and we need to fix it” out there as much as possible. one of my favorite accounts that does this is @feminist , as they talk about women’s rights and the belief that we are all equal. another one of my favorite accounts has to be @mattxiv , as he is one of my favorite activists who uses art to get his very important points across.Question Five: What separates Jacob from other influencers in the online spotlight? Why does Jacob deserve greater recognition?
. the biggest thing that separates jacob from other influencers in the spotlight is how he is there for his audience, and how kind he is. jacob literally does not have to be kind to us, especially with where he’s at in life, but he is. he reaches out to his audience and does everything he can to be there for everyone who looks up to him, and i know i’ve probably said that a lot, but it’s because i admire him for that so much. he is truly one of the most pure souls ever, and i am grateful that we have him in our world, because our world needs him.
Question Six: Do you have a favourite quote or line of insight that Jacob has shared with his audience?
my favorite quote that jacob has shared with us as his audience is the answer to a question he was asked in an interview. the question was, “any advice you’d like to give to people who feel insecure about themselves?” and jacob responded with, “chase what you love until you’re good at it. keep exploring until you know what that is, if not yet. purpose will give you security. don’t compare yourself to others, and learn how to responsibly consume media online. recognize that the people you idolize are as insecure as you are, and continually calibrating their online identities with what they fantasize for themselves. that can be really scary. pay less attention, and focus more on what you want. ask for it. feed your soul, not your ego. translate your anger into art. share it. talk more. contribute to something beyond yourself. get out of your own way and love excessively.” this quote is one of my favorites because he is saying something that definitely needs to be heard. it has also helped me feel less self conscious, and has also helped me have more of an appreciation for myself. there have been several points where i’ve struggled with my identity and comparing myself to others, so hearing from jacob that it is not good for me has motivated me to stop and to only worry about myself.
Question Seven: Jacob Bixenman is among the many inspiring role-models who are pioneering the body positivity movement, by regularly reminding his followers that true beauty comes from under the surface. Why is this important to emphasize, especially as someone in the modelling industry?
it is important to emphasize body positivity and the fact that true beauty comes from under the surface because many people tend to believe that the only beauty that matters is the beauty on the outside, which is completely untrue. society has drilled into us that people only look at us for what we are on the outside more so than what we are on the inside, and that is a terrible lesson to teach teenagers who are trying to become comfortable in their own skin. i don’t only love people for their looks, i mainly look at them for who they are as a person, like how they treat themselves and those around them. that’s what matters to me. not your body shape, your race, religion, background, sexual orientation, etc. for jacob, as someone who is in the modeling industry, it is important for him because many people look at models and say “i want to be like them because they’re tall, skinny, and beautiful.” he has done an amazing job of telling his audience that the only beauty that matters is the beauty in your heart.
Question Eight: What other movements is Jacob involved in and advocating for?
jacob has been a really active advocate for trans rights, especially the rights of trans youth. i think that is amazing because he can serve as a source of comfort and acceptance for the trans youth of our world who unfortunately don’t feel accepted by those around them.
Question Nine: Are there any shoots, pieces of work, or videos of Jacob that you’d recommend people to look through?
my favorite shoots/events that jacob have done are : his shoot for jean paul gaultier, when he walked for palomo spain in 2019, and his shoot for steven taylor. those have gotta be my favorite. he looks so incredibly stunning like- i have no words.
Question Ten: Is there anything else you’d like to share? If not, I’d love to thank you for once again reaching out to us and starting conversations!
jacob is a wonderful person, whom i love with all of my heart. i think that he is a wonderful role model, and if anyone is looking for someone to give them that feeling if love and acceptance, jacob is the man for the job. thank you so much for giving me this opportunity again!