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Influencer Spotlight: Catching Up with Ryan Casey

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Ryan Casey is an illustrator, designer and author living in Brooklyn, New York – and the mind behind the pop culture-fueled blog “But You’re Like Really Pretty.” Casey’s illustrations have been featured on VanityFair.com, Buzzfeed.com and UsMagazine.com, and his first book But You Like Really Dated?! The Celebropedia of Hollywood Hookups was published in the fall of 2013.

Casey most recently partnered with 360i for Oxygen’s hit show, “Sisterhood of Hip Hop.” We caught up with Casey to talk more about his illustrations and experiences working with brands.

sisterhoodcasey

Photo via But You’re Like Really Pretty

360i: How did you begin your blog, and what spurred your passion for all things celebrity?

RC: I think my obsession with celebrities began when I was a tween. I would watch Oprah’s celebrity interviews and “Entertainment Tonight” with my mom after school and loved seeing the people I worshipped on-screen as actual human beings talking about their lives.

When I started using Tumblr in 2009 I saw a chance to carve out a little space on the Internet that could be mine. But I didn’t know what I wanted to say or create, so one night I began writing a list while watching Mean Girls. The list was pretty sad because most of it was pop culture-ish, but I thought: “Who cares? I gotta be me!”

Suddenly I heard Regina George say, “But you’re like REALLY pretty?!” What a great back-handed compliment. There was something there. So I decided every week that I would draw a celebrity cartoon with a back-handed compliment. Since then, my drawings have grown into animated GIFS, infographics, listicles, fan fiction and more.

360i: What kind of content do your fans react to best? What’s the secret to keeping them constantly engaged?

RC: I get a great response from all things Kardashian (yes, I’m part of the problem) and Kanye West. My audience also really responds well when I illustrate a hit television show or movie. The secret to keeping my fans engaged is originality and humor.

Today’s celebrity news sites are all reporting the same content. I feel I can offer an original take on a celebrity trend or news story in a saturated market.

360i: Other than entertainment and TV brands, are there any other types of brands and clients with which you work or would be open to working with?

RC: I love Jeremy Scott — if we could do a Kim Kardashian Crying Face Print Dress, I think I would retire.

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Photo via But You’re Like Really Pretty

360i: Have any celebrities you illustrated ever reached out to you about your work?

RC: Yes! The most recent encounter definitely takes the cake. In August I had the pleasure of meeting Taylor Swift, who was such a sweetheart. She invited 89 fans to her NYC apartment for a pizza party after her Yahoo! Livestream announcement of her new single and album. When I walked in the door she was greeting all the fans personally. Taylor hugged every fan and spent a few minutes chatting with each one. When it was my turn, after an introduction, a hug and some small talk, I said “You know, I drew you and all your BFFs for Vanity Fair.” Taylor responded, “OHHH, I know who you are! You need to go into my kitchen right now.” I walked around the corner into Taylor Swift’s kitchen and my illustration was 4 feet tall, framed. It was surreal.

360i: Are there any Influencers you look to for inspiration or just admire – whether it’s the content they create or how they’ve built their careers?

RC: I fangirl for FoxADHD, Jenny Slate, The Fat Jewish, Banksy and of course Hanksy. Oh, and I’m really going to miss Joan Rivers.

360i: Of all the celebrity portraits you’ve made, what is your absolute favorite one?

RC: I’m very proud of Taylor Swift’s BFFs and Kanye West is Kanye Obsessed.

kanyecasey

Photo via But You’re Like Really Pretty