Last weekend we had the pleasure of doing an interview/photoshoot with one of this years LA Gay Pride ambassadors Troy Solomon. We at Foxbait have known Troy for a couple years now and were so excited to hear the news that we just had to dedicate this weeks Foxtales to introducing him to all our fellow foxes. Enjoy!
What is your name and age?
My name is Troy Solomon and I’m 26 years old.
Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in West Hollywood?
I’m actually originally from South Florida. I moved to Pennsylvania when I was in middle school and bounced back and forth between the two states all throughout high school (Fun Fact: I attended 5 high schools in 4 years). I graduated from Syracuse University in 2011 and moved to LA that summer. I bounced around the valley for a hot second and then finally made the move into West Hollywood. I've been living here for three years now and find new reasons why I love this city more and more everyday.
What is a day in the life of Troy like?
It really depends on what day you catch me! Some days I’m just buried in my phone or computer answering emails, editing photos (yes, he edits almost all of his own photos), posting on socials, updating my website, etc. other days I’m on set in a photo shoot or filming a web series or comedy skit. Everyday is different and I wouldn’t want it any other way :)
What's the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Hit snooze once. Maybe twice. Check Instagram. And then push my dog off of my legs so I can get up and brush my teeth.
What can you not leave home without?
My phone and I'm not ashamed to say it. I get to make a difference in the world and in the lives of thousands of people all from the portable computer in my hands I couldn’t possibly leave the house without it and wouldn’t want to.
What would you rather leave at home?
My car keys. I know I sound like a princess and I don't mind driving, but I much prefer being driven. Some of my most productive and/or self reflective times have been when I'm in the back of an Uber. Besides, I think we can all agree driving in LA can be stressful.
Where can someone find Troy on his day off?
It sounds so lame, but lately if I have a day off (which doesn’t really exist when your work revolves around social media) I’m either laying low with some friends on the couch or with bottomless mimosas on a patio somewhere. The busier I get the more of a homebody I’m becoming and the more low key I want my adventures to be (and the more I want my drinking to take place during the day). I try my best to still go out Friday and Saturday night so I can see my 9 to 5 friends who normally aren’t free during the week (and so I can forcefully remind myself that I’m only 26), but I kinda prefer going out during the week rather than on the weekends to avoid some of the masses.
We love staying home too and who doesn't love day drinks!
Do you have any favorite hangouts in LA?
My favorite cafe is Aroma Coffee and Tea in Studio City. I typically go there once a weekend for brunch. I love State Social House if I’m trying to get my boozy brunch on they give you the entire bottle of champagne right at your table for you to pour your own mimosas (they also have a killer Bloody Mary bar). I’ve been trying to explore Larchmont and Westwood Village more and I always say I want to get to know DTLA better. Take me with you next time you go on a field trip to the fashion district?
Of course! We are always downtown, in fact we will be showcasing Foxbait at the California Market Center during the SELECT trade show this Monday-Wednseday as Emerging designers!
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A NIGHTMARE JOB? WHATS THE CRAZIEST JOB YOU'VE HAD?
I’ve had quite a few jobs, but I can’t say any of them were “nightmares”. My first job when I was a kid was at Burger King, followed by American Eagle, Target, and Under Armour. I’ve had some pretty intense jobs in Los Angeles. When I first moved here I was a Production Assistant for a daytime medical talk show. I had to do some crazy shit for that job that I don’t think I can legally talk about. Since then I’ve been an office assistant, an executive assistant, and a transcriber on a number of reality shows (for those of you who don’t know what that is I would watch the unedited interview footage and type out everything the contestant says word for word, stutter for stutter).
Wow, that transcriber job sounds like a blast.. you're going to have tell me more about that medical talk show too, off the record of course.
Do you have any hobbies?
When I find the time to knit I really enjoy it. I also love switching it up for fun and being the photographer and art director sometimes as opposed to being the model. I'm also a sucker for reality TV anything Housewives or Kardashians I'm ALL over it.
Knitting huh? We just might have to recruit you for some future designs...
Troy, you were Honorary Yacht Captain during Foxbait's SS16 editorial shoot in Marina Del Ray. What was your favorite moment and outfit on the boat?
I’d have to say my favorite moment was when Franziska and Jourdan jumped in the water in their dresses. It was such a fun way to end the day and I love taking traditional things and making them untraditional. Someone very special to me (Cammy) once told me “the point of having beautiful things is to love them and then destroy them”. My favorite look from that day was the Cotton Burn Out Dress Shirt. Its just so effortless and chic while being very fashion forward with the menswear inspired shape of it.
How did it show during the SS16 runway show?
It was SO CUTE! In the show the top few buttons were unbuttoned, which just showed how versatile the piece actually was. It went from really well buttoned up and fitted to sexy and slanky with a chunky wrap bracelet, a slicked back ponytail, and these adorable periwinkle blue wedged oxfords. I died. You guys know how to make something sexy with an edge.
Aww thanks Troy. Was it still your favorite piece or did something else catch your eye?
I mean I LOVED that look but SO many others grabbed my attention. That trench dress was a jaw dropper with those knee high boots. And lets be real, I couldn’t possibly talk about that show without mentioning the Grady Twins in The Shining Dress. I mean from the purple print (which is OBV my color), to the big hair, to the Mary Jane Dr. Martins, to the silk fabric of the dresses it was absolute perfection. If I could, I would wear that entire look from head to toe.
Believe me, if we do ever find more of that amazing fabric you will be the first to know!
So, tell us how did you become the "bear named Troy?”
Well, the whole idea of being “a bear” comes from the subculture within the LGBT community husky dudes with hairy bodies are typically referred to as “bears”. So one day I decided to change my Instagram handle and when I was coming up with ideas I just figured “I’m a bear and my name is Troy. I’m A Bear Named Troy” and the rest is history.
I had a feeling that would be your answer... Simplicity at it's finest.
LA Fashion Week in March included Style Fashion Week in West Hollywood this year at the Pacific Design Center. How was it to have the runway in your backyard?
If I could have the runway in my backyard EVERY DAY I’d be a happy little bear. Fashion and style are such a huge part of my life and my brand and it makes me so happy to see the city I live in celebrate it just as much as I do. Los Angeles is a huge city with all it’s varying styles reflected in each community. To see all the fashions of LA and all the style influencers and enthusiasts in one place at the same time is a really special thing. Plus, being able to walk home after watching that incredible Foxbait show gave me a chance to turn the sidewalk into my own runway and strut my stuff (which I encourage everyone to do on a regular basis). Side note: can we talk about those rain boots your models were wearing?! They were PERFECT for walking on that beautiful runway hovering over the Pacific Design Center fountains! There you guys go again giving us sexy with an edge. I still DREAM about that metallic bomber jacket/skirt combo what's the biggest size that jacket comes in?? ;)
We love that outfit too! In fact those pieces are going to be offered as part of our Pre Fall collection COMING REAL SOON!
Everyone has there "coming out" story, when do you plan on coming out? Just kidding, but for real, was there a moment in your life when you realized you were gay? Do you have a coming out story?
HA! It surprises many people to learn that I just came out around 4 years ago. I guess to some it seems like I flew out of the closet on the back of a rainbow unicorn, but for me it felt like a life-long transition into the gay man I am today. I’ve known my entire life that I was attracted to men, but I was scared and unwilling to accept myself. I had girlfriends because I just thought that’s what a 17 year old boy is supposed to do, but then I’d wonder why as a kid I felt “funny” about the red Power Ranger and wanted to BE the pink one? I had people my entire life who tried to force me out of the closet, but that’s just not how it works. You can only be who you are when you're ready and for some of us it takes a long time to get there. I finally came out to my brother because I was about to bite into a Chic-Fil-A”. At this point I was so tired I had been playing pretend my whole life and it was time for that role to take it’s final bow. I remember saying to my brother, “Would it make you happy if I just told you I’m gay?” and he goes, “it wouldn’t affect me at all, but it would make YOU happy”. He was right.
How does it feel to be an ambassador for this years LA Gay Pride week?
I mean, what an incredible honor to be recognized by such a highly regarded establishment as an influential member of the Los Angeles LGBTQ community. I’m humbled. I know people say all the time they "never imagined in a million years they would be where they are today”, but a year ago I never in a million years thought I would ever be GOOD enough to be where I am today. It’s taken me 25 years to learn to love myself the way I do now. There’s no greater love than the love you have for yourself and I feel everyone deserves that. That’s why I launched the #BearItAll project to encourage people to accept their insecurities and achieve a greater level of self love. The first step in overcoming any obstacle is establishing what the obstacle is in the first place. #BearItAll is forcing us to look in the mirror, both literally and metaphorically, and say “this is what’s holding me back” and by sharing it you’re empowering yourself to find a way to acknowledge it, accept it, and move forward with it in a positive way.
Wow, that sounds like a very cool project and what a great name for it!
This honor can be a great stepping stone for you in many ways. What kind of plans and goals do you have for the future?
Aside from the all the doors being an ambassador for LA Pride has ALREADY opened for me, I have some major things coming up in the near future. I just wrapped a national ad campaign that I unfortunately can’t talk much about, but I CAN say it’s pretty major and means a great deal to me personally. I’ll be taking #BearItAll on the road in the coming months hosting events throughout America filled with fashion, art, music, and some products I can’t live without that I like to call my “Bear Necessities”. I’m also currently working on a super fun web series with my roommate based loosely on our lives and experiences here in LA. Stay tuned for that! I have lots of things in the works right now, but they are a little too premature to talk about. Rest assured you guys will be the first to know as they come into fruition.
That all sounds pretty amazing and probably quite time consuming. I love the "Bear Necessities" name too! Please do keep us posted so we can keep our Foxes updated.
Living in West Hollywood we know how wild it can get during Pride weekend. Do you have any plans for this years parade and festivities?
This year’s Pride is going to be INSANE! Have you heard the line up?? I usually play every year by ear and just kinda let the Pride winds take me where they may, but I can GUARANTEE I will be at the festival a lot and the parade on Sunday (if you see me say hello!).
Do you have your outfits all picked out?
Lets just say there will be rainbows. Lots and lots of rainbows.
What are some of your favorite brands?
Aside from Foxbait ;) some of my current “Bear Necessities” include: Tees And Tank You they make some of the cutest (and sassiest) graphic t’s and sweaters. I’m really into H2Rose if you haven’t tried mango rose water you haven’t lived. I’ve been super into American Apparel and Adidas lately. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a new trend, but anything "athleisure" I just bought a pair of leggings and I now understand why girls refuse to wear “real” pants. I’ve been OBSESSED with enamel pins as well Gimme Flair is one of my go to brands. The LuMee light up phone case is also on my list of favorites right now anything that will help me take a better selfie is a mandatory in my opinion. Quay Australia and Rad + Refined sunglasses are my two FAVORITE brands for sunnies. I’m also super into fanny packs Kelly Dempsey’s line, Rack Addik is by far the best she has the coolest colors, materials, and designs and the quality is top notch!
As we can see in your blog posts and this interview you are quite photo friendly. What was it like to do this photo shoot?
I mean, I got to take a bath with a nine foot tall teddy bear, wear a ton of Chanel jewelry, and drink a bottle of champagne I'd say this was one of the best photo shoots to date. Shooting in a gorgeous house with fun props and the best people on a Sunday is what I live for so I'd do it again any time!
You are always posting great selfies and pics of yourself on IG. Have you always been into taking photos like that ?
I can't say I've ALWAYS been into taking photos of myself, but that has definitely been a part of the journey towards learning to love myself. Even when I was at my emotional lowest I always felt comfortable in front of the camera. It gave me a chance to pretend to be someone else someone that I thought was prettier and happier until eventually that person I pretended to be became real.
Finally, tell us where we could find you in the social networking world?
Add me on IG, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook under ABearNamedTroy and you can learn more about what's going on with me, #BearItAll and the soon to be open Bear Necessities online shop at www.abearnamedtroy.com
Troy thank you so much once again for taking the time to Bear It All with us in this weeks Foxtales. We had so much fun during this interview and we wish you all the best in your life's adventures!
Look for Troy this coming Pride festival June 10-12 in West Hollywood !
Photography by Wicky's World