MEET CLEVER INFLUENCER - Teraj
Lynn Johnson • June 1, 2020
Teraj is a singer, songwriter, model and CLEVER influencer. As we kick off Pride with National Give Out Day, we celebrate him and all of the LGBTQ+ influencers who create incredible content all year from a place of authenticity and truth.
How long have you been a content creator?
Almost 4 years.
How did you get started? Do you remember the first thing you posted?
Modeling in NYC since 2013 made for a seamless jump into content creation. In late summer 2016, someone connected to one of the stylists from a photo shoot I worked on reached out to me on Instagram and asked if I’d post a few photos wearing a pair of jeans and that I could keep the jeans after. I got so excited about those jeans that I bought my first DSLR camera and scouted a couple of shoot locations around NYC. From that moment forward my bf, @asianmapleleaf, and I became content creators.
What do you create content about? Why? For whom?
Even when it comes to brand collaborations, I always try to create content that uplifts and inspires anyone that comes across my posts whether it’s music, travel, fashion, mental health, or lifestyle content. I grew up in an environment where division, complacency, and limiting beliefs are built into social norms. So I do my best to share my life as a Black male, who is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, living fully in my truth while encouraging others to chase their dreams. All in hopes of showing a representation, unapologetically, of someone living and navigating life on their own terms.
What does being an LGBTQ+ influencer me to you?
How has your work been impacted by the pandemic?
To be honest, when the pandemic hit, my life was turned upside down. I was embarking on a Pride tour in support of my album DEFY and suddenly all of my scheduled performances and appearances were cancelled and I was completely out of work. That hit me pretty hard in the beginning. Then I started to refocus my efforts on finding ways to give back to our community by helping launch campaigns that raised funds for COVID-19 relief efforts, participating in live virtual performances, and landing a gig as the host of Gay Travel Today. I'm grateful to have regained my footing and found a way to thrive in this climate.
In the age of social distancing, how will you be celebrating Pride?
What is your hope for the future?
To live in a world where our differences are celebrated, plain and simple. There’s so much depth in knowing that each one of us, here on this Earth, is unique. That’s a beautiful thing and it’d be amazing if it were recognized as so.
Which National Give Out Day non-profit are you donating you and why? It Gets Better Project
As a kid, I was one of the shortest and skinniest boys in my class and my face, hair and voice, for the longest time while growing up were considered feminine. Puberty kicked in late in high school for me, so I was constantly bullied, my sexuality was always questioned, and to survive, I had to physically defend myself more than any kid should ever have to. In 4th grade, my female teacher joined the group of students that would emasculate me by calling me "Sabrina." So I know firsthand how cruel those formative years in school can be. It was rough not having anyone tell me that it was going to be ok and that things will get better once I graduated and removed myself from that environment. I selected the It Gets Better Project because it aims to be that resource for those in need of someone in their corner to let them know it'll be ok. Its core mission is in sync with everything that I aim to be as an entertainer and activist by uplifting and inspiring those who may be struggling or growing up with a similar upbringing.
Why should others join you in making a donation to the It Gets Better Project?
Bullying culture has existed for far too long and it's time that we, collectively, come together and show that it isn't cool and it has no place in our schools or any environment; especially those meant for nurturing children. Donating to the It Gets Better Project will help to instill courage and inspire our LGBTQ youth to stay the course and know that there is a bigger and better future in store after high school.