In honor of Pride month, Coach is launching a campaign titled “We C You” to highlight and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The campaign aims to advocate for authentic self-expression and inclusivity, featuring prominent figures within the LGBTQ+ community, such as world-famous singer Kim Petras, comedian and social media personality Rickey Thompson, and actor, comedian, and musical artist Bob the Drag Queen. Amidst Covid-19, the campaign was shot on GoPro and cell phone cameras by the cast members themselves in their homes, allowing a personal touch to be added to their words and thoughts. Carlos Becil, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Coach, shared, “The campaign’s message of inclusivity and authentic self-expression is very important to us, and we were honored to work with creatives from the community to bring it to life,” he said.
Along with the campaign, Coach is launching its first-ever cross-category Pride capsule collection featuring gender-inclusive designs. Additionally, the Coach Foundation made donations to LGBTQ+ charities such as HMI, GLSEN, and the Albert Kennedy Trust, which work to uplift and support queer youth. Pulling an intimate group of talent to be the faces of the campaign, Bob the Drag Queen, known for his appearance and season win of the hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race served as a key talent for the impactful campaign. Championing self-expression and acceptance as an out and proud queer individual, Bob declares that he felt most seen when “marching in the streets and getting arrested,” when he fought for marriage equality in New York State. We sat down with the entertainer and activist to talk further about his experience collaborating with Coach, and his experience with advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.
You have always called yourself “a queen for the people,” how does this message connect with that of the “We C You” campaign?
I call myself a queen for the people because, you know, my drag is often and always about social justice, and I also started as a local queen working in the bars with the people. So I haven’t always been a drag queen on TV. I feel like it works with the “We C You” campaign because since I was marching in the streets and getting arrested, not only did I feel seen as I was doing that, but the people who were with me also felt seen as they were doing that.
As a drag queen and queen of color, what responsibilities do you have within the queer community?
I think the responsibilities of queens of color in the community are really reps within themselves. It is not their job to educate people who don’t know better. If they feel that they want to, that is something they can do, but I don’t think that it is the job of queens of color to fix racism within America.
What was your journey like around self-expression, and how has that changed as well as shaped the person that you are today?
My self-expression has been everything from acting, dressing in drag, doing stand-up comedy, writing my jokes, writing my music, so I’ve had quite an interesting journey. Once you get on TV, it certainly catapults that to a new level because you have access to so many new people. For me, it started very political, and then it got humor-based, and then it got humor and politically based, and now it is politically based again. It’s really a sign of the times.
The desire to be seen is something that we all value. What are the ways that allow you to feel seen?
I know that, for me, representation matters. I don’t have to have someone actually see me. Sometimes having people see someone like me, helps me feel seen at that moment. For example, because I relate to Whoopi Goldberg so much, when she is seen, I feel seen.
How have your role models influenced your own queer activism?
My activism started when I was fighting for marriage equality in New York State. Most of my role models are comedians and actors who I see going to rallies and using their voices to stand up to oppression. Sometimes it’s the people who go to the streets like, you know, MLK Jr. and Larry Cramer. My influences in terms of my activism run the gamut between performers and more traditional activists.
What message do you wish to share with the world as a part of the “We C You” campaign?
I think the message I want to share with the world is that we see you. You matter. You’re not invisible. You are valid. Your life has meaning. You have meaning, and you are not alone.
Growing up, did you ever imagine your life to be as it is now? When did you come to terms with your identity and way of self-expression?
There were times when I was younger that I felt I wouldn’t be able to have anything beyond a closeted life; it was not long. Luckily I had queer people around, showing me that you could live out loud, so the answer is yes. I did imagine that my life could be open and full of love.
Amidst Covid-19, how can we show our pride and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community in a safe way?
I think you have to make sure you are doing what is safe for you and for your family, friends, and neighbors. I will not be attending any Pride rallies this year or going outside. I also realize that I live in New York City, which will probably be the last city to open regarding the lockdown. I do know that you can show your love and pride online. This is where we are living nowadays, after all, on the internet. So I think that being proud online is valid and important. I’m also looking forward to people feeling seen. I know that sounds simple, but I’m most looking forward to the validity it gives someone. The feeling that they matter.
See the full capsule collection below