Griffin Maxwell Brooks grew up in suburban New Jersey and attended Princeton University, which often serves as a springboard to a social calendar filled with fancy cocktail receptions and stuffy galas.
But Brooks isn’t spending their post-grad years working the black tie auction circuit. Instead, they’re taking their shirt off at New York’s hottest clubs, and dancing the night away.
An accomplished diver, Brooks started exploring the club scene as a sophomore, moving into an apartment with some friends in the city to combat pandemic loneliness. Instantly, they became enthralled with the bacchanalian vibe of discos and raves.
More than anything, Brooks cherished the liberation. Now, they could take risks, and present in the fashion they desire.
That means sporting a daily array of fashion-forward lews, full of upcycled garments and outrageous accessories. There are no rules in Brooks’ world. They are fully free.
Today, Brooks boasts nearly 1.5 million followers on social media (TikTok, Instagram, X/Twitter), where they show off their style, educate people about LGBTQ+ issues and embrace their inner-himbo (we think that’s a compliment). Oh, and Brooks is outrageously funny, too, parodying the beautiful, yet absurd culture they mirror.
Queerty recently caught up with Brooks to chat about their days as an athlete, life of a club kid influencer and the DMs that really freak them out. Here’s what they had to say…
QUEERTY: You were a diver at Princeton and competed in all sorts of competitions. How would you describe your relationship with the sport?
GRIFFIN MAXWELL BROOKS: I loved it! I miss it. Diving was a natural progression for me. I was a gymnast for four years; I think I started in fourth grade. And then I switch from that to diving, like, right before I started high school. And it was my entire life for all of high school–for a lot of reasons. I think it was my first form of self-expression. It was part of the reason I went to Princeton.
It was a part of my life for so long. I think it was gymnastics, and just with other things in my life, had me jaded over time. With diving, it was never the case. I was always happy to get up and go to practice every day.
It was really my first relationship with something I was super dedicated to.
How did you get into the NYC club scene?
I was living on my own extended journey of autonomy and gender identity and self-expression. And when I finished my sophomore spring semester, things started opening back up. I was living in New York, and at Princeton, I felt quite out of place. I was on this journey of self expression. My perception of myself, and my presentation was changing a lot. When the clubs started opening in a safe way, it was my opportunity to make friends and be with a community I hadn’t experienced otherwise.
I’ve always been inspired by the ’90s club kids like James St James. I just always thought the art was so fascinating. And I really liked how the art was tied into gender and sexuality and the queer community, and how people who I think were shunned by the rest of society were hailed in that time period. So I started going to events that still reflected those values, when I felt like it was safe to do.
It was just a magical experience. I felt very embraced by those communities.
What’s your day-to-day?
It’s chaotic, it changes a lot! There are some things that are constant. I dedicate, I would say like an hour and a half to content creation every day, and probably the same amount to work-related stuff: sending emails, sending invoices, brands, interactions and all that stuff.
I go to the gym every day. I retired from diving and I was like, I need to find some other way to keep myself active, because it’s not like there’s an excess of springboard access in New York City, or anywhere. So I lift weights every day.
I play with my DJ setup and add new music to my vocabulary every day. When I go out, I’m constantly acquiring new tunes, and then I’ll come back and mix them.
I also try to meet up with my friends who are just my friends, or friends who are fellow content creators. Making content with then, it just gets ideas going. Being a queer content creator in New York, the queer people band together in a very helpful way.
You wear some wild outfits. What’s your fashion inspiration?
It kind of changes frequently. There are a lot of people in my life who aren’t celebrities who I derive inspiration from. One of my best friends right now is a stylist and fashionable person, and I think I derive more inspiration from the people I know, because you see how their fashion changes and evolves over time.
I think celebrity-wise, I really love Julia Fox. It’s not a crazy hot take, but I love what she wears. I love the skin-tight dresses and craziness of it all!
But yeah, I’m all over the place. My passion is really eclectic. The things that I wear on a day-to-day are very different from what I wear at the club. And those are very different from underwear and events. I’m all over the place!
You aren’t shy about posting tons of fun underwear and speedo pics. What are some of the craziest messages you receive?
I think it’s interesting, because some people are trying to be very endearing, but don’t realize they come off as a bit intrusive when they speak about your body.
But lots of crazy ones! I think the craziest thing is when people are like, ‘Oh, I saw you walking down the street and you’re so beautiful.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s alarming.’
I’ll have ones where people will be like, ‘I can see right now, and you look great.’ Like on the beach. And I’m like, ‘OK, that’s great.’ But most people are nice and endearing… or at least they’re trying to be!
What’s the best experience you’ve had?
I like getting to meet with people I’ve impacted and then, like, consequently, have impacted me. I mean, I live in New York. I make content about living in New York for queer people. So I walk down the street and get recognized probably like five or 10 times a day.
It always surprises me to when it happens. I’m in random places in the Midwest. And I’m like, ‘How’d you find me?’
For the most part, all of those interactions are really lovely. I’ve had a couple that really stand out to me, like the parents of queer children who come to tell me and say they’ve consumed my content, or watched my child consume my content, and it helps them in some way, shape or form.
It makes me so grateful to be a part of such a loving community.