Josh Helfgott‘s career interestingly blew up during a time when the professional world was collapsing at the beginning of the pandemic. It took one TikTok clip (discussed below) for millions of people to discover what a gem this guy really is.
Since then he’s amassed a massive following, particularly on TikTok, where he constantly posts videos from an LGBTQ point of view where his rich commentary about each subject sends his followers into an all out frenzy with the truth he spits.
💖💛💙 Follow my Instagram in Bio for an LGBT Safe Space 🥺💖🙏
He’s become one of those social media influencers that are doing all the right things in the world today compared to those who are simply making a buck off promoting some kind of product. Josh instead highlights many key news stories related to our community including my particular favorite, “Gay News No One Is Talking About”, which is, well, pretty self-explanatory but necessary for us to know about.
I spoke with Josh EXCLUSIVELY about all of this above as well as why his love for Oprah Winfrey from a young age helped shape him into the person he is today, his life during COVID and so much more.
What inspired you to start this empire that you now have on social media?
Growing up I had no friends. Everyone told me I was “weird,” probably because they didn’t know the word “gay” yet. I was lonely and one magical day I discovered The Oprah Winfrey Show. And I remember this particular quote: “The greatest pain in life is to be invisible. Everyone just wants to be heard.” My entire face was soaking wet, I was crying so hard.
Every day at 4pm, I would turn on Oprah so I could feel less alone. She was the friend I never had. And I felt like she really saw me. That’s why I make videos.
I make videos so the LGBT community, especially kids, can be heard. If just one person watches one of my videos and leaves feeling empowered, or educated, or loved, I did my job.
Your IG profile is the following: “gay videos about gay things”. Can you go a little further into what that actually means?
Experts estimate around 10% of the population is LGBT but we still aren’t in textbooks or schools.
We were taught President Buchanan was a “lifelong bachelor,” but he lived with his male partner for 15 years. More than 5 pages of Anne Frank’s diary, where she explicitly discusses her attraction to women, were removed from our print editions. I would never label Anne’s sexuality – she’s a child who never labeled herself – but if we are going to read her diary, we should read all of it.
If the world is going to make everything straight, I’m going to show the gay side so the world can see that LGBT people are totally normal. We’ve been around forever. We were just erased.
Is there a favorite one that you’ve done so far? You cover quite a lot of topics surrounding the LGBTQ community from gay animals to gay facts to people that refuse to label their sexuality.
That’s a tough one. I love “Legendary People You Didn’t Know Were LGBT,” especially the videos on Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln. History is so sexual and so gay. I spent hours turning boring historical documents into modern, sexy love stories.
I’m also proud of a video about a Trans Beauty Influencer who went on Instagram Live and by the end of it, some gay men took their own lives. The story never got the media coverage it deserved because it happened in Morocco. It was incredibly hard to turn it into a 60 second video because it’s LGBT-on-LGBT crime and I needed to explain the complexities of it. But it worked and people heard the story.
President Donald Trump appears to be someone you enjoy talking about. Where were you when you found out that he lost to Joe Biden?
I just woke up and was still in bed when I got the push notification. I was so excited but so tired. I spent days making Instagram Stories and TikToks and now we finally had the answer, so I rushed to post Instagram Stories so my audience knew: here are the 10 media outlets confirming it. We are okay. He’s gone.
I would assume you get quite a lot of backlash from conservatives and Trump supporters (some of which are the same kind of person). How do you deal with them?
It’s hard. I can mostly ignore it but sometimes big conservative creators will take my video and re-post it, editing themselves in to “fact check” me. So I’m watching these men on camera literally go after me with lies. And at the end of their videos, they will send their audience after me. “Go tell Josh he’s wrong.” And thousands of people will flood my comments and DMs with brutal hate. Sometimes they’ll go after my followers. It hurts.
I’ve never disabled comments on a video because I think they will just jump to a different video of mine to spread their hate and I don’t want that. I just keep going. I have a responsibility to spread the truth.
Are there plans to turn these videos you make into something much bigger like a television show?
I would love a television show or really any platform that allows me to continue to teach and entertain. I trust that if I plant these little seeds of videos, opportunities will come.
When I started making TikToks in April, it was the beginning of COVID and I was alone and super anxious. And I heard the whispers. Whispers telling me to make videos. I heard them my whole life but I was too scared of getting bullied so I never did it. But in quarantine the whispers were so loud, after a few weeks I finally hit record.
And nobody watched my videos. But then I shared a gay love story on TikTok which spread to hundreds of thousands of people and I kept going. And today millions of people see my TikToks and somehow I even spread to Instagram.
What has been the peak and pit for you during COVID regarding your career?
I have pits and peaks every week. Some weeks, every video goes viral and it’s so thrilling. Other weeks, they spread to a small audience and I get really scared. “Did I lose it?” But it always seems to come back. I think that’s just the life of a creator. Ups and downs.
In conclusion what are you most hopeful about as things continue to skyrocket for you?
I hope to keep reaching the people who need my videos the most: LGBT kids who feel alone and scared, and anyone in the LGBT community who just wants to learn and have some fun too.