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Meet Bailey Spinn, the queer social media icon and singer with 17+ million followers

queer TikToker Bailey Spinn
Kristianna Saleh

If you haven’t heard about her, you’re soon going to be in the minority.

If you talk to Baby Boomers, many will tell you that they think social media is a waste of time, and that Gen Z’ers are going to, at the very least, end up blind or hunched with their relentless clicking, liking, commenting, and posting. But some, like queer artist Bailey Spinn, are taking social media by storm, and making a pretty good living in the process.

Hailing from Fairfax, Va., alongside her two sisters, Spinn’s upbringing was marked by an obsession with social media, fashion, and pop culture. However, her journey was not without challenges, as she faced severe bullying from peers during her school years.

Spending time on social media wasn’t frivolous for Spinn. She found solace and support there, and it played a pivotal role in saving her from the difficulties she encountered at school.

After high school, Spinn went across the country to San Diego State University, where she started gaining recognition for her TikTok account and the viral content she created. After her freshman year, Spinn left college, opting to channel her energy and focus into the growth of her various social media platforms.

Now, she is using her social media success to launch a career as a recording artist. Building on the success of her initial two singles, "Romance Is Dead" and "Runner Up," she followed up with "My Worst Enemy" last year, with more music planned for this year.

Through her music, she wants to revive the Pop-Punk sound of the early/mid-2000s with a fresh Gen Z perspective. As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Spinn has ensured that her music authentically reflects her identity. She purposefully omits gender pronouns in her music.

The Advocate reached out to Spinn to talk about her life, music, and her advocacy for mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.

The Advocate: Can you talk about your music and the message you hope it sends?

Bailey Spinn: I want listeners to feel like I’m right next to them, taking on all their doubts, insecurities, and worries with them. I’ve been able to write with such incredibly talented people and the focus during the writing sessions is always letting my emotions have their own platform without feeling like I need to hide parts of myself. I think it’s important to give yourself the space to feel what you need to feel, whether it’s positive or negative.

TA: You have been very open about mental health issues. Why is that so important for you?

Spinn: People, especially young people, are more self-aware than ever, which comes with an understanding of how severe mental health issues can get if not treated properly. Growing up, I had a warped understanding of how mental health issues should be handled. Entering my early 20s has been a rollercoaster but I know I’m not the only one. I hope that by being open about my mental health, I’m able to help others. If even just one person can find the strength to keep going one more day or find a voice inside themselves to ask for help, or finally connect with resources that can put them on a better path… that’s all I could ask for.

TA: Might seem like a crazy question, but what is it like to have millions of followers? Is it hard to be open and honest with so many people?

Spinn: It’s a bit mind-blowing at times. At surface level, it’s like “woah, yeah, ok that’s a lot of people. Cool. Whatever.” But then when you sit and think about having millions of people perceive you, it can get overwhelming. It’s scary at times, I won't lie. But at the same time it’s cool being able to connect with so many people all at once. It's even more wild when I think about how some states or countries have a population that’s the same as the number of followers I have. It’s just wild. We weren’t really mentally created to be able to handle being perceived on such a wide scale, but again, I always try to focus on the community aspect of it.

TA: Who have been some of your biggest queer idols?

I would say Miley Cyrus. I appreciate how she was able to navigate being a child star with all this pressure and maybe the need to hide part of who she is, and it’s cool seeing her be so open and herself now that she’s older and she’s grown into herself. I value being authentic and comfortable with yourself, and seeing her become this person has been extremely influential to me.

TA: Do you remember the first queer person you ever met?

Spinn: I’ve always been an open-minded person even from a young age, so I don’t quite remember because to me, it wasn't like “Oh! This is a queer person I’m meeting/seeing/talking to.” It was always just “Oh! This is a regular person that’s interesting. Cool.” In my mind, everyone was equal and I don’t think my brain ever registered someone being “different” or standing out because of their identity or labels.

TA: Do you think in this era of hate, that there is some risk to being queer in a public forum like social media?

Spinn: I think there definitely is a slight risk to being queer so publicly online, people are judgmental and not everyone is accepting. I’ve had people comment that they were unfollowing me because they found out my sexuality, and honestly that’s fine with me. I like to surround myself with positive people who support me, and won’t judge. If you don’t support the LGBTQ+ then I wouldn’t want you to be a part of my social community.

TA: Who has been the biggest songwriting influence in your life?

Definitely Hayley Williams. I fell in love with Paramore and I wanted my style to have the same vibes as her and the band. The music sends a relatable message in such a powerful, upbeat way that I’ll never get tired of. Hayley’s an extremely talented songwriter with such a powerful and strong voice. She’s also super diverse when it comes to the genres she listens to and is inspired by, which is sick. I’m also constantly inspired by Avril Lavigne. To me, she’s one of the first women to ever make space for other women in the pop-rock music scene.

TA: If you had to choose between becoming the next Madonna or Lady Gaga, which would it be and why?

Lady Gaga! I’m obsessed with her crazy outfits, and all of her music makes you want to get up and dance. I feel inspired listening to Lady Gaga’s music, and I love her versatility. She’s had so many iconic fashion looks throughout the years and I hope one day I can have as iconic and memorable fashion moments as her.

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John Casey

John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.
John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.