Embarrass Yourself At The Club? Call 1-800-Barbette

Learn all about the Instagram era's equivalent to "Dear Abby."
Reading time 5 minutes

We spoke to model Louis Bubko, the creator of 1-800-Barbette, the advice hotline that addresses our everyday worries all wrapped up in a pretty, pink and half-naked package.

Did you drink too much at the club? Do you have unrealistic expectations about love? Do you worry too much about the future? Barbette has got your back. And should his advice not work, he'll at least make you laugh.

Why did you start your advice hotline?

I started 1-800-Barbette to share some positive advice in the hopes that it can help somebody who may not be able to develop whatever perspective I’m offering on their own. There’s an abundance of negativity in this world and a lack of positivity to counteract it, so I decided to create the character Louis Barbette who’s all about positive solutions. I’m doing what I can to make the world a sweeter place, even if that’s just making minute-long hotline sutras for Instagram. 


Are you operating out of your actual bedroom? Is the pink phone plugged in?

I am operating out of a real bedroom, but it’s my boyfriend’s. He’s nice enough to let me turn his room into a set on a weekly basis, God bless. And unfortunately, no, the Barbette phone only gets calls when I make them happen.


How did you learn all this breakup advice?

I think it's a mix of advice from elders and personal experience. I was in a very unhealthy relationship with somebody when I was 17-years-old that taught me exactly what a relationship shouldn’t be. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the way people interact, especially when they’re romantically involved. After it was over, I realized that most of the things that caused me so much trouble throughout the relationship were very universal concepts among couples. I decided that it would be nice to share some of the things that I’d come to terms with in the process of my own relationship.


A lot of what you say is cliché advice we’ve all heard before but it sounds more convincing coming from you. Why?

You’re right, nothing Barbette says is new or revolutionary, he just says it into a pink phone on Instagram. I think that because the videos are so brief and direct, they seem more convincing. It doesn’t offer the same dialogue you’d have with a conversation, where two people are discussing the way they feel back and forth, it’s very matter of fact and to the point. I think It’s easier for people to take advice from somebody when they don’t have a pre-conceived notion of who that person is, and even easier when the person is being a little ridiculous. 


Which one of these celebs you follow would you rather give advice to, Britney Spears or Jane Fonda?

Jane Fonda, although I don’t know what I could tell her that she doesn’t already know. Britney’s doing great without me, haven’t you seen her Instagram videos?


What’s your best camera angle? I like when you use your toes as a frame.

Thank you, I love the toes too. Some of my favorite angles are the interactive shots where I speak directly to the camera. It breaks the fourth wall and I think it’s cute to pretend like the camera is an actual person.


What’s your favorite brand of underwear to wear in your videos?

Anything I can find. Acne briefs seem to be the most comfortable.


Your video about embarrassing yourself in the club seems personal. What was your most embarrassing moment and how did you get over it?

The most embarrassing experiences I’ve had have been always been more in my head than in reality. The way I perceive my embarrassment is always more intense than another person’s perception of the same situation. Honestly, the only way I’ve figured out how to cope with embarrassment is to ride the waves of the initial emotional storm and let time heal the rest of the wounds.


Do you have a wellness routine?

I don’t really have a physical wellness routine. I try to drink a lot of water and eat my greens, I try my best not to eat any dead animals. On my days off I like to walk around the city and explore, check people out. Apparently walking is really good exercise. The other day I went to East Harlem to get a horchata and then walked from 116th street all the way down to the Manhattan Bridge, it was amazing.

Mentally, I do my best to not trip myself up too much about the little things. I try my hardest to focus on the place I’m in at the moment, not the past or the future, because the moment I start to think of something that I can’t control or change, I start to go a little crazy.

Need a life coach?

Follow 1-800-Barbette

Photography by Paolo Fanoli

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