Tatiana Ringsby on Fashion, Changing Hairstyles & Being Vulnerable Online
Welcome to Favorite Follow, a new series highlighting favorite NYLON creators and the stories behind some of their most memorable content.
If you’ve been on TikTok, you’ve probably met Tatiana Ringsby. The model turned content creator first went viral on the video app in April 2020 when he presented a cake to his parents. “Surprise I’m bi,” he said, and their response garnered 1.6 million likes and over 20.7,000 comments.
“I knew they would take it, but it was such an amazing time for me, and I think this video really resonated with people,” Ringsby told NYLON on Zoom from their home in Maui, Hawaii. Over a year later, that continues to make waves, as TikTok users are now tagging Ringsby in their own release videos. “I cried every time I saw these videos because I was really making a difference. Whether it’s being genderqueer or wanting to change your pronouns. Just that stuff, people need to see people like them, ”they add. “It was really validation for me as a queer person.”
While Ringsby’s followers have taken off quickly over the past year, they’ve been sharing their world online for nearly a decade, joining Instagram as a teenager in 2013, then posting regular YouTube videos through a collaboration channel. In 2015, they launched their own channel, vlogging and posting on all aspects of their lives – from beauty routines and makeup tutorials to their travels and working as a model.
“It’s so funny to look back,” they say. “My whole life is kind of documented since I was 13, 14 and now I’m 21.”
Ringsby has always shared the struggles of their lives, whether it is talking openly about their eating disorder while modeling or answering questions from followers on all things mental health, sexuality and dating. . But since their release, their vision for content creation is now even more anchored in authenticity. “I felt really free to be myself because I was like, OK, no more secrets. This is who I am, ”says Ringsby. “Because before that, it was really just, ‘My life is so fun, and everything is so great!’ And that’s not true. It’s really important that as influencers we share these kind of ups and downs. “
These days, you can find Ringsby’s presence all over the internet, from TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram to their recently launched podcast (called Lean soaking) and pronounced mode line[tatchi].
“It’s hard to be authentic on social media… You just want to post your cute little outfit photos, and that kind of stuff, which of course I do too,” they explain. “But I think it’s important to build in some kind of normalcy. Be someone that people can be like: “Oh, he’s just another human being. And we vibrate, we are friends, we discuss. This is the content I want to create, and I feel like I’m creating it now.
Below, Ringsby shares more information about their personal style, ever-changing hair looks, fashion brand launch, online vulnerability and more.
On personal identity and personal style
“After coming out, I never realized how much of my homosexuality was part of me. How much of my person, my existence, is queer. It’s not sex for me. This is who I am as a person. Self-expression is the most important thing for me. And that’s when my taste for fashion really developed.
I’m very fluid with my gender and I want fashion to be something that is a great way to express it. When I got out, I definitely started dressing more masculine and boyish, and it was really great. It definitely pushed me in that direction for a while, dressing up as a great masc and incorporating different pieces that way. But I think it’s just important to follow what feels good in fashion. Wear what makes you comfortable above all else. The most important part is that the clothes are made to dress us.
On surfing and the “Coconut Girl” trend
“I grew up surfing, my whole family surfs. It is one of my deepest passions and a very big part of who I am. I love the ocean so much, that’s why I want to keep doing ocean conservation work. I have drawn much of my personal style from surf and skate culture. I have always found inspiration in surfing, simply because I am part of the community and still watch surf content.
I don’t like the name ‘Coconut Girl’, but I don’t have another name either so I can’t hit it. I think it’s a cool aesthetic. I love old Billabong and Roxy stuff, always liked it. But from the few videos I’ve seen on it, I think about how skateboarders must feel – I skate, but I’m not a skateboarder – when people copy their style, like, “This is my aesthetic”.
I also like that it is not necessarily very feminine. Surfing is a very male dominated sport, I’m literally still the only person with a female look, which is so much fun because I can get waves but I’m also completely ignored. Aesthetics are a cool direction to move in, especially for the summer. It is easy to wear and also allows you to adapt to the mood.
On sustainable fashion and brand launch
“When I worked a lot in e-commerce, I always photographed new looks for Forever 21 type brands. I would go there and shoot 100, 200 new looks. And I’m like, ‘What about yesterday’s clothes? Where are they going? A discharge ? So I started to research the fast fashion industry and was seriously horrified. With that and my coming out, and my love for the environment and fashion, all of these things combined are said[tatchi].
With a lot of brands that are fully sustainable, there aren’t too many streetwear. Many of them cater to an older audience with lots of neutral colors. It is very earthy. I wanted to do something lasting, amazingly colorful, and fun. I just wanted to fill those little spaces in my own closet with gender neutral, limited edition pieces. I don’t want it to be a big brand or anything.
I’ve never been to college, and that’s sort of my college experience so far. I learned so much about business and all it takes to build a brand. And it really took my appreciation for fashion to a whole new level. I’ve always liked it, but now I understand what’s in a t-shirt, hoodie, or pair of socks. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so much fun.
On the evolution of hairstyles and milestones in life
“The past year has been a major period of self-exploration. I have a video on my YouTube about it, but with each hairstyle it kind of opens up another side of me, and another possibility of who I am and who I can be. When I think back to my different hair colors, I think about that time in my life. It’s really a lot of fun because I thrive on change and I really love being pushed in new directions.
The thing is, I’ve had long brown hair my whole life. It was part of my surf look. And then with the modeling, I was not allowed to really cut it. So after the modeling, I was like, ‘Nobody is going to tell me what to do with my hair? This is fucking amazing! ‘ So I just started experimenting with it, and it was very weird of me to cut it all off. Then I went platinum blonde, and I could do any color and it would wash out. Have I damaged my hair? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. I just went through a lot of things mentally so that is reflected in my hair as well. As soon as I say to myself ‘Who am I?’ I would change my hair again.
Be vulnerable and go viral online
“I was struggling at the time, obviously. But I remember when I took this video, when I was done crying and relaxed I looked at it and thought to myself, “This is the funniest shit. that I have ever seen. ” I was like, ‘Someday I’m going to post this, and it’s going to go viral.’ But first I had to face what was really going on in my life.
We just don’t really see people exposing themselves, and I was very noticeably vulnerable in this video. Really. And then with the music of Taylor Swift; it’s comic gold. I love this video. I’m going to look at it, and I’m like, ‘What is this person doing? Are they okay? ‘ All major comments are either: “How did you get this video from me?” Or like, ‘What’s going on here?’
There have been so many people that I have met randomly who were like, “Oh yeah, I saw that video of you.” And I’m like ‘Yeah, you and the rest of the world!’ When people see you like this, you can be whoever you want. It does not matter. It’s funny.”
To have the freedom to understand things
“There are some great things about being an influencer, but I’ve been doing it since I was 13, and I’ve changed so much. It can be very difficult to change sometimes, because people force you to live up to this standard that you have kind of imposed on yourself. But also, people have to realize that this is a human being who will change, evolve and grow. This is something that I struggled with for a while. I was really struggling in my identity, and I felt like if I expressed it in a way, then people would think it was me. And I’m everywhere, as you can see, but I think that’s where I found so much freedom. People now expect me to be everywhere which gives me a lot more freedom as I continue to understand. “
Follow Tatiana Ringsby on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Stream their podcast Lean soaking on Spotify.