Influencer NotSoFunnyAny: I’m an ally and a bit queer
With hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, under the nickname NotSoFunnyAny, this influencer dedicates herself to showcasing striking and eye-catching makeup. On her platforms, she creates a space for dialogue about social issues while encouraging young people to be themselves. For many, she is a virtual friend and perhaps that’s why she admires the work of the mentors at the online counselling service at Sbarvouven.cz. Anežka opened up about why she doesn’t like putting labels on people and why it is important to her to appear publicly as an LGBT+ ally.
Prejudice against LGBT+ people are known to be widespread in society. Do you ever encounter any prejudices yourself?
I encounter prejudice every day. I have my own cosmetic brand and I intentionally try to incorporate boys who like using makeup. Sometimes because of this, I get comments that astonish me. Presently, there are still people who don't get that at all. I think that some people have difficulty accepting things they don’t know. I don’t just mean LGBT+ people, but also people of different races and so on. If only everyone could just focus on their own lives and not worry about other people’s lifestyle choices!
I love New York, where all these issues we’re dealing with right now were solved long ago.
What was the most recent and bizarre prejudice about you?
Not that long ago, I was posting a funny TikTok and I received a comment that said: “You should stop behaving like a teenager, find a husband, and start taking care of a household.” For god’s sake, why? That’s exactly what I call an old-fashioned stereotype about women and how they should behave. Some people still don’t understand how not all women have to comply with that these days. Maybe it also has to do with the regime we lived under for so long here. For example, I love New York, where all these issues we’re dealing with right now were solved long ago. It’s an enormous metropolis where people of different nationalities and backgrounds meet each other every day and nobody worries about anybody else’s identity, orientation, or appearance. I’m actually uncomfortable with labels themselves and how people create labels and categories to simply identify people who are somehow different from the majority.
You don’t like labelling, but if you had to categorise yourself, how would you identify?
About myself, I always say that I’m a “divnočlověk”, something of an outsider or a strange person because I have never fit in that well, not even when I was a child. I’ve always been teased about my style, in aspects like clothes and way of life. I’ve felt like a sort of black sheep of society, and I think that’s why I’m able to empathise with other people who are also different because I know what it’s like not to fit in. Although, I can’t imagine how difficult it can be for LGBT+ people when they’re constantly facing hate and criticism, for example.
A “divnočlověk”, a strange person – so do you think that the term “queer” would fit you?
Actually, yes. For example, Lady Gaga and Nikkie Tutorials, who I’ve been following for a long time now, are similar to me in this way. They’re my role models. I think that we don’t have enough famous people here who would get involved in the same way as they do. Here, we go to a parade once a year and that’s it. It would be great to give more support to people who are different in some way. I think that it’s more natural for people to do that when they actually have their own life values sorted out. By contrast, people with an inferiority complex often have a problem with otherness and there are loads of people here who think it is still marked by the old regime.
An influencer just needs to be ready to talk to people on the street.
You’re very successful on social networks now. How much does this affect your relationships and personal life? You mentioned that people used not to accept you. Has that changed?
My life has turned 180 degrees. I think that success has affected my personal life quite a lot, mostly in my friendships. Even though I don’t have that many friends, I’m in a small and closed circle, and if someone new joins, I worry if it’s just because of what I do. Not that I consider myself to be some sort of star – I’m just a virtual friend for people who need one. But for me to explicitly let someone into my circle of friends, well, I worry about what their intentions are. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten burned this way a few times already. Something is usually expected of me because I’m an influencer. People know a lot of things about me, so maintaining my privacy is often challenging. A complete introvert couldn’t do this. I know a lot of people who aren’t made for this work. It wouldn’t be good for them psychologically, but I’m happy like this. For example, strangers often talk to me about style on the street, as if they knew me. An influencer just needs to be ready to talk to people on the street.
Do you think that it will help or hurt if LGBT+ people are accepted by the social majority on a social network?
I think that it would be more helpful right now. TikTok, for example, has changed quite a lot and recently it became an awesome uncensored platform with a wide variety of subjects, including minority interests.
Has anyone ever come out to you?
Not to me personally, but I was talking to my very good friend about him coming out and it was complicated. It was very interesting for me to hear it from his side – how his parents, reacted, for example, or his friends. So still to this day, it is often difficult. That’s why I’m really happy about what you’re doing with, say, the advice centre Sbarvouven.cz. I’ve read about it and I think it’s incredibly important. In my Girl Talks, where I openly talk about absolutely everything, I see for myself that a huge number of young people have nobody to talk to. I’d love to do some sort of course so that I could help them all somehow – not just by talking to them, but by actually changing their lives.
A lot of young people from small towns and villages write to the advice centre because they don’t have anyone queer where they are. What message would you send to someone like that?
Be yourself! I know it’s easier said than done, especially when you’re in an intolerant environment. I have people around me who would support me in anything and I feel so sorry for people who don’t. Denial creates the worst problems and accepting yourself is the most important thing.
A lot of children here are still growing up in children’s homes, but there are lots of queer couples who would want to provide a family for them.
Do you go to Prague Pride?
Yeah, I do! Also, I’ve been lucky enough to go to Pride in New York twice. I must say that I’ve felt welcomed at every Pride and I think that’s because of the extremely positive energy of the participants.
If you had to compare Pride in Prague and New York, how are they different?
So logically, in New York it’s a bigger crowd of people – really a much bigger crowd, but the energy is the same at both. I am excited about our Pride because it gets a bigger and bigger response every year. You can now sense the change in society and I think it’ll continue to get better. Another thing I’d like to add is that I really wish that the laws would change about gay and lesbian families as well as adoption. A lot of children here are still growing up in children’s homes, but there are lots of queer couples who would want to provide a family for them.
Do you think that celebrities and influencers can help?
Definitely, yes! These people set trends and, as I always say, some trends are stupid, yet others are awesome and can have positive influences. Famous people definitely have a lot of power here and have a chance to change things for the better.
How old were you when you discovered that “queer” people exist?
That’s a really good question! I knew it relatively early; I think from the first year of school. I had a friend in primary school who was struggling with his identity. Later, he was sent to a special school, allegedly, just because he was different. When he came back, we became friends again, and spent time together listening to music, going out drinking, giving each other makeovers, and so on. I don’t remember that anyone ever needed to explain it to me, but I’m from Prague, so maybe that helped.
In the flat upstairs we have two gay neighbours who have been together for over 20 years, and sometimes they tell me what it used to be like when gays/lesbians had no right to exist.
We often hear the opinion that we confuse children. What do you think about that?
I think that’s absolute nonsense. Children are very open and intuitive beings. They want to know everything there is to know because they are very intelligent and can easily figure out how some people are different.
How do you think that the social perception of LGBT+ people has shifted over the last 10 years?
I think it’s a huge jump, and I’m really happy about it. The change is extreme. In the flat upstairs we have two gay neighbours who have been together for over 20 years, and sometimes they tell me what it used to be like when gays/lesbians had no right to exist. I find it so interesting that I can talk to people who, not long ago, lived at a time when they couldn’t do anything. I now look and see how much we have moved forward. I believe that it will continue to change – human rights and love is the most important thing!
59 % of LGBT+ people in Czechia don’t talk about their orientation and identity, because they’re afraid of the reaction of those around them. The situation is even worse in Hungary – a new law bans LGBT+ content for the under 18s, including educational materials. Support the one week in the year in which LGBT+ people can really feel that they belong and that they are free. We will use half of your donation for events during our festival week. We will send the other half to Budapest Pride in Hungary.