The term social media “influencer” certainly does get bandied about a pretty significant amount in today’s ever evolving (and partially virtual world). If there is one person though, who has managed to find the perfect mix of endlessly cheeky humor and pop culture prowess, it’s the man simply known as PetShopBoy on Instagram. Whether it’s a polarizing moment on The Real Housewives of Potomac or a live and in color poolside scuffle on Fire Island, PetShopBoys content (specifically his stories) is equal parts razor sharp humor and timely pop culture moment. I caught up with “B” (the name New York City’s own Brandon Graeter is known as by his friends) and we chatted about his start on social media, his amazing podcast The B List With Pet Shop Boy and where he sees taking the PetShopBoy brand in the future.
Michael Cook: So right off the bat, what got you started posting such unique content on Instagram?
Pet Shop Boy: I started using Instagram when I saw Rihanna had joined the app many years ago. She was my favorite person to follow on the app when it began gaining popularity. I didn’t start really incorporating video, gifs, text until the app introduced the Stories feature.
MC: Where does your unique name came from? What’s your actual first name that you go by?
PSB: To be honest, it was just because I needed a name quickly, and all the names I wanted were taken. I had always loved bands liked Pet Shop Boys, New Order, etc. Pet Shop Boy just came to mind, and had a nice ring to it. Plus, I love dogs so..
MC: What was the turning point that made you see that your page was becoming something massively popular?
PSB: Definitely when Stories feature was introduced on Instagram, I began noticing my content being circulated around a lot more. As that happened, I noticed more people began to approach me in person about what they would see on the internet. That’s when I knew something was a bit different.
MC: Your stories are some of the most hilarious ones seen online. How do you know something is story worthy and will keep people coming back?
PSB: I don’t really know, I really just post what I think is interesting or hilarious to me. If it’s not kicking around in my brain, then I’m not likely to put it online.
MC: To you, what makes a fantastic instagram account that makes you want to follow or that gets your attention?
PSB: Someone with a unique point of view or voice. I am not interested in selfies as much as I am obscure or interesting content you cannot see anywhere else. I love this account @homomacabre right now. They’re a great example of what I mean by unique content.
MC: You’re an avid Real Housewives fan, even dressing up as Lisa Rinna from Andy Cohen’s baby shower. What is it about the Housewives that keeps you coming back? Favorite Housewives, franchises, or moments?
PSB: I like the housewives that have the right balance of no self awareness, but also feeling the temperature in the room. I think wives like Robyn Dixon, Margaret Josephs and Leah McSweeney are great examples of this. They’re fun to watch, but still do not take their roles too seriously. They easy, those are my favorite women to watch weekly.
MC: In addition, you also have a podcast, The B List With Petshop Boy that was featured last winter here in my #PodSaveTheQueen series. Tell me what wanted you to launch a podcast and what the style is. Any dream guests you have?
PSB: I felt like the podcast was a natural progression to be able to give my followers another way to hear my voice, opinions, interests weekly outside of the IG format. My idea was to really just have an audio counterpart to my IG stories. My dream guests would be Miss Juicy Baby, Karen Huger, and Tiffany Pollard.
MC: What inspires not just your content, but you as a person and person?
PSB: What inspires me is when people write me and tell me that I am a bright spot during otherwise dark times for them. I’m always surprised when I see those messages, because I just feel like I’m talking to myself online. When I get messages like that, I’m inspired to try to bring levity to situations that people usually can’t find humor in. I think it’s important to be light in anyone’s life that you can…
MC: With Instagram and podcasting already happening, what could be next for you? What’s on your vision board for 2020 and beyond?
PSB: Well whatever mood board I had got thrown out the window with my 2020 plans. I would like to take the podcast live eventually, once we are allowed to have crowds safely in venues again. I would also like to do even more philanthropic work with humanitarian organizations, whether it’s through online work or in person. Just trying to make the best out of this upside down year!
Follow Pet Shop Boy on Instagram