A GoPride Interview

Sam Cushing

The Influence of Sam Cushing

Fri. December 11, 2020  by Bill Pritchard

I hope by sharing my story and bringing mental health to the forefront of the conversation, I can be a source of comfort for someone.
Sam Cushing

sam cushing

photo credit // sam cushing

Online creator takes influencing seriously as his 170k YouTube followers continues to grow.

When I first interviewed Sam Cushing back in October of 2019, the rise of his popular Instagram presence was astonishing. It was then that the twenty-eight-year-old decided to dive deep on to the YouTube platform. Since then the content creator has amassed 171k+ followers and shows no sign of stopping.

With a recent move to the West coast, Sam is taking his follower interactions on the road, while partnering with brands from a-z to spotlight their benefits. I think some may find it difficult to look beyond his looks and see what truly propels him. . . his determination to make a difference in this world however he can.

We spent some time catching up with Sam.

BP: You're living in Los Angeles now, tell us how you chose to do that?
SC: There were many factors that influenced this decision. I ended up signing a property management group out here as a client of mine, supporting their digital marketing efforts. As a part of that project, I'm being hosted in several of their units. Beyond that, however, there were a few other opportunities that presented themselves to me which made it the right decision. As you know, I've lived in 8 different cities now in the past 8 years, and love to spice things up a bit. Plus, who could complain about the weather, especially as we head back into quarantine through the winter.

BP: For those of us that follow you, we know you to be a big family guy. How does living far from them, during this pandemic feel?
SC: I'm grateful that I was able to spend so much time with my family this year. I know a lot of others cannot say the same. While I would love to keep seeing them as frequently as I was, I do need to carry on with my life. On the bright side, and with Covid rates spiking, I feel that I'm posing less of a risk to my family being away from them. I'll see them again soon.

BP: You spotlight mental health quite a bit on your social media platforms. Why is this so important to you?
SC: Mental health is something that I've really struggled with over the years. I used to be teased when I was younger for a nervous tick that I had (and still do, although to a lesser extent). Anxiety and depression runs in my family, and yet it wasn't really talked about growing up. I hope by sharing my story and bringing mental health to the forefront of the conversation, I can be a source of comfort for someone. There is power in knowing that they are not alone, and there is power in breaking the taboo on mental health.

BP: Since our last interview, your YouTube channel has gone from 32k to 171k as of today. How do you explain that explosion of support?
SC: I hadn't even thought about it this way before. Now that you mention it, that is really cool! I'd hope that people see me as a relatable guy who is just trying to figure out life, living my passions (fitness, wellness, piano, adventure), while also being open/real about my struggles. My YouTube community is really sweet and so supporting. They mean the world to me.

BP: With your 171k YouTube platform and your 572k Instagram platform, you can easily be called an influencer. What do you mean to do with that?
SC: That word has such a strange connotation these days, but you are right. I am an "influencer" by definition, because I have a lot of people who keep up to date with my life. From when I first doubled down on social media just a year ago, I think you've already seen a shift in content, and what I like to talk about. I used to think that vanity metrics were important (i.e. likes, comments) and so would post a lot of content that were designed to succeed in that way. Now I've scaled back on that sort of "click bait" content, because it doesn't feel real, and it's not something I'm as proud of. I'm looking to talk more about the importance of health and wellness (mental wellness included), and to provide more value to my audience outside of just my image. This could include, hosting helpful conversations, sharing helpful tips, supporting helpful products/brands, and trying to be as me as I can.

BP: In a recent post, you discussed your battle with anxiety and nervous ticks. How was that received?
SC: It was actually pretty emotional for me to film that, which I definitely was not expecting. I really had never ever talked about it before in that way...not even to my inner circle. Strangely enough, I wasn't nervous to release it... I felt a sense of calm. It was almost cathartic for me to open up and release that. Thankfully it was received well by most, and I was shocked to find how many other people out there shared in a similar struggle. I thought I was much more alone than that.

BP: What has been your way of dealing with the global Covid-19 pandemic?
SC: What makes me so sad about the pandemic, is that something that should have in theory been an equalizer and something that should have brought us together, did just the opposite. The pandemic revealed the have’s vs have nots, divided our country politically, and made us skeptical of our neighbors. All that said, there have been some really positive silver linings in this dark year. I've gotten a lot closer to old friends, I learned that I don't need to go out to have fun, I reconnected with family, and was able to double down on my health and wellness. And hey - we are almost on the other side of this whole mess! Cheers to 2021.

BP: Is there a special someone in your life these days?
SC: I am interested in someone, yes. *Grin*

BP: What's next for Sam?
SC: Personal goals: To stop being so hard on myself. I want to wake up and be grateful for things that I have and stop thinking I've failed because of things others have that I don't. I want to work on my confidence and be more sure with my actions. I'd like to start building a life with someone (dog, house, kids). Not just yet, but soon. Professional goals: I need to continue to pivot on social media to ensure longevity in my career. This includes 1) consulting for brands on SM strategy, and 2) speaking more to topics that I feel impactful.


Check out our mental health series, here on GoPride:

Mental Health Moment – Music
Mental Health Moment – Pets
Mental Health Moment - Notes
Mental Health Moment - Outlook
Mental Health Moment - Journaling
Mental Health Moment - Faith
Mental Health Moment - Checking In
Mental Health Moment - Voting
Mental Health Moment - Rest
Mental Health Moment - Cheers
Mental Health Moment - Service to Others
Mental Health Moment - Thanksgiving
Mental Health Moment - Process

Interviewed by Bill Pritchard

MORE CONTENT AFTER THESE SPONSORS

Serving the Chicago gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. ©Copyright 2019 GoPride Networks. All rights reserved.