Whether they’re home watching RuPaul’s Drag Race (they count Jujubee as a fan) or filming some of their more intimate moments, Rick & Griff Twombley-King are redefining collaboration. What started on a whim became a full on brand, with Rick & Griff releasing playing cards, onesies, and even their own line of sex toys. I sat down with them to chat about their career evolution, how they came up with the ideas for some of their more adventurous items & what they do when they’re not in front of the camera.
Michael Cook: You have been so successful now, but take me back; how did you both get together initially?
Rick: I had just moved from Hong Kong to Atlanta with my boyfriend at the time and started my personal training company. My ex boyfriend was an actor and on a movie set and met someone else who was also working on the set who managed a gym and was looking for trainers to bring their clients to the gym. That person happened to be Griff. My ex came home and told me about the gym and the guy that he had met and I said that I would check it out. I checked it out, it was a great gym, and I started bringing my clients there. Initially Griff and I were colleagues for several months because I was in a relationship, My ex broke up with me and someone suggested I should ask Griff out on a date because they thought that he liked me and here we are. My ex-boyfriends mother actually walked me down the aisle at our wedding and my ex and his new boyfriend both attended; truly a modern family (laughs)!
MC: When did you decide to take your relationship from what many would consider somewhat conventional to turning it into a tangible business?
R: I think it all comes down to the first time we had one of our videos go viral. It was just me filming Griff do what Griff does.
Griff: It was me lip-syncing the Ursula number from The Little Mermaid in the kitchen making stir fry for dinner one night. Rick was sneaking and filming me and instead of me telling him to stop, I said “I am gonna ham it up”! Rich had the wherewithal to post it and then Jujubee from RuPaul’s Drag Race shared it and it went viral. Rick suddenly thought that maybe we had something on our hands.
R: Another friend of mine suggested we have a YouTube channel and thought we had something that people would want to watch. I didn’t think too much about it, then someone else suggested an Instagram page. I looked into it and saw that people use it to make a brand just by posting about their lives so I thought-why not?
MC: So many people still are very uptight and judgmental about OnlyFans and sex work. You are both very sex-positve people and are very open about that part of your lives. Have you always been so forthcoming about that part of your own lives?
R: I come from a background in entertainment as a dancer and an actor being on stage and always having the perspective of a performer. I am not shy and I have played so many roles where I am naked on stage in front of thousands of people. There is really very little that I am shy about. I have also aways been very sex positive. Griff was a little more hesitant in the beginning.
G: I came from a more traditional family. For a while I was a prude and then I got comfortable being comfortable with myself. That itself is a whole different can of worms. It was definitely an evolution.
R: We come across people all the time who have a lot of feelings about what we do and the plot twist is, you don’t care.
MC: You have released some content that is truly unique, from onesies to playing cards. How do you curate and decide the material that you are going to release?
G: We did not want to have merchandise that is really typical, that everyone has or does. We sort of took the lead from what our followers and fans were responding to. We did the photos that had the playing card theme to them and people just went nuts for them. They started asking if we were going to do a deck of cards, and then it was like “okay that’s a great idea, thank you”! The same with the onesies, whenever we would ever post a photo of cute and sexy onesies, we would get tons of messages from people asking where we got the onesies, how they could get one, and what the website was to order one. I started thinking that if people love the onesies so much, why can’t we have our own to our own specifications, including the things that we love about the onesies we have and sell our own?
MC: Jumping from playing cards and onesies to sex toys is a bit of a leap in terms of product development. Who had the idea that dildos would be the next ideal item to launch?
R: After we launched our OnlyFans page, fans were asking if it was something that we would consider. One fan on OnlyFans works in the movie industry in Atlanta designs special effects and prosthetics for major motion pictures. He was doing a side business molding people’s penises into dildos and asked us if we would be interested in doing it. So we went ahead and did it and we can barely keep them in stock.
G: They’re high quality as well. We’ve tested some of the products out there and there is something that is a bit lacking. When you have that movie quality material, it separates you from the rest.
MC: Following sex toys, it’s hard to say where you could possibly go from here. What could you two possibly do to top that?
R: We do have our own line of cock rings and lube coming out to go along with the sex toys, we are in the design phase right now. We have about five million photos taken with some of the best photographers around for a really gorgeous erotic coffee table book, that is the project we have been building up towards. More calendars, we really just steer the course the way that the fan base wants it to go.I pay attention to what people are asking for and I kind of just steer the boat in that direction.
G: It’s really organic, it is never where we feel that we are forcing. It is basically what people are requesting and asking for.
MC: I could totally see a Rick & The Griffopotamus children’s book; there is definitely a market for it….
R: (laughs) Is it going to be a pop up book?
G: I think it’s funny that you say that because I think part of what makes us appealing is that we started off in Facebook and YouTube land, which is extremely PG and family oriented. Then we moved to Instagram and got a little bit more cheeky and pushed the envelope a little bit more. Then we got into OnlyFans and you are right there in it. People get a full spectrum view of what we are doing. Rick put it really well when he said that this is our lives, but a heightened reality. It’s a glamorized version of our real lives, and I think people really like to see that. It’s not just “Rick & Griff are porn stars” because when you Google us that really doesn’t come up. That is the appeal and it is brilliant.
R: We’re just husbands who are sex positive and we don’t mind sharing our entire lives and every aspect of it, depending on where you go to see it. I think that is why people respond, it is genuine. I think that is it’s not forced, it’s not fake. It is just us filming our lives and a the sexier part of our private lives and sharing it.
MC: Maintaining a relationship can be a challenge for anyone, but when your relationship is your business in a sense, that must make it doubly challenging. How do you remove the business hat and put on the relationship hat on some days?
R: We definitely have the time when we decide to work, and then we put that away and go back to our regular life. People only see 1% of our regular life. There are times we are cleaning the cat litter, hanging out with our friends or watching tv eating popcorn; that is really most of our lives.
G: We don’t really each take off the performer hat. When it comes to sex, we like having it with each other and we like having it with other people. That part of it for us, and I can only speak for us, is not difficult to take that hat on and off. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, right?
MC: It’s been an extremely challenging year for so many people. How have you both stayed creatively fueled during this year?
R: We honestly have had a pretty normal time since this all started. We make the majority of our income at home already, which has only improved because people are stuck at home and bored so they go on the internet. We have only been more successful professionally, but socially Atlanta is one of the only cities that did not completely shut down. When we go to the grocery store or the gym, everyone puts on their masks. When we travel we get tested before we leave the city and when we come home we do the same thing. Other than making sure we are being responsible and wearing our masks, Atlanta has been great to be in.
G: Our lives have definitely been affected, but we are so lucky that our lives have not been drastically affected during this time. We will get through it; thankfully we have President-Elect Biden and Vice President Elect Harris to get us through!
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