In the early 2000s, Davey Wavey was just David, a freshman at Catholic Seton Hall in New Jersey. He was majoring in business and working for the school as an RA. Though he was openly gay, the school had offered him a sizable scholarship. (This was long before he began his climb to fame, as we discussed in Part One of our interview series.)
Every week, David saw reports on bias incidents at the school — some of which were antigay. He wanted to start a GSA to support the victims.
But the university refused, citing its ties to the Catholic Church. So a group of students sued the school.
“It was the first time in my life I had to advocate for himself,” Davey recalls. Though he wasn’t a plaintiff in the case, he was still an active advocate for equality on campus.
It was a far cry from his supportive upbringing, with loving parents who called him Davey Wavey since he was a small child.
After graduation in 2006, newly-minted activist David went to work for the Family Equality Council, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBT-headed families. He helped with the organization’s online marketing, a vocation that would within a few years become his entire world.
The job was rewarding, but David pushed himself so hard it was difficult to enjoy his life. He would go to work, come home, go to the gym, fall asleep, and repeat. When it was time for a promotion, he instead asked if he could have Fridays off. And when it was time for his second promotion, he asked if he could instead start working remotely.
His boss didn’t love the arrangement at first, but it gave him the freedom to pursue the life he wanted. On a friend’s recommendation, he moved from DC to Toronto. Just before he left, his boss gave him a webcam.
And that’s the webcam that allowed him to begin fostering his online following.
Growth was slow and steady, as his hits gradually piled up. “My Guilty Pleasures” from 2008 has racked up 14 million views, maybe because the thumbnail shows him putting his hands down his pants.
Last year’s “REAL Lesbians React to Lesbian Porn!” has 5 million views, and 2009′s “Dude, Where’s My Foreskin?” has 4.3 million.
About three years ago, he quit his job to work on his videos (and associated empire) full time.
One of the most surprising discoveries: his primary audience isn’t gay men. It’s young women — in particular, young teen girls.
“My biggest demographic is girls age 14 to 17,” he shrugs. As a result, he’s adjusted his content over time to speak more to that audience. “I moved from doing videos about anal douching to videos about the straight guy sexy underwear crisis.”
Make no mistake, he’s still queer (last year he did a video with Bel Ami porn stars, after all), but now his tone doesn’t shut out straight viewers.
“It’s gay, but with an appeal to straight people as well,” he says. His Bel Ami video never mentions what the models do for a living, and has three million views.
So is Davey’s online persona really authentic to who he is, or is is sanitized for straight girls? We’ll talk about that in part 3.