AMELIE ZILBER + BLAKE GRAY
Armed With Creative Passion and With Social Media Followings In The Millions, Digital Creators Amelie Zilber And Blake Gray Are Poised To Build Even Bigger Brands
PHOTOS BY RANDALL SLAVIN WORDS BY TAMARA RAPPA
Tamara Rappa: How did the two of you meet?
Blake Gray: Well, it's not that romantic. It's not a big, big love story.
Amelie Zilber: There was no meet cute...
BG: I slid in Amelie’s DMs. She responded, thank God. All I said was, 'Hey.' Wasn't really a cool pickup line or anything. I thought she was really cute, and I wanted to get to know her. We ended up going to this sushi spot in Malibu. And I hated sushi at the time. I'm a big sushi guy now. I love it. I probably eat sushi three times a week. So we went to get sushi, and I pretended to like it so she felt a little better about it. I thought it went well; we're here now. I think I did a good job!
TR: Blake, what is it about Amelie as a content creator that you appreciate the most?
"I want the best photo, I want the best video. Blake doesn't care. He has fun with it. And I totally envy that about him."
BG: She stands out. She does her own thing. She uses her voice. What's so amazing about her and her content, is that she's not scared to use her voice. I feel like most people on social media don't want to say the wrong thing. When you see what she posts online, it's 100% her all the time. One of the most amazing things about her content is just that she's 100% herself, always.
TR: Amelie, what is it about Blake as a content creator that you appreciate most?
BG: Oh yeah. Let's hear it, come on!
AZ: Well, I appreciate you saying that, Blake.
BG: Thank you.
AZ: I love you.
BG: I love you too.
AMELIE: Elie Saab Dress; BLAKE: Dior Suit and Sweater; Valentino Shoes; David Yurman Chain.
AZ: The thing I admire most about Blake is that he's totally and completely authentically who he is online as he is in real life. He posts goofy videos, and he posts videos that make him happy. He doesn't take social media so seriously. That's so indicative of who he is in real life. He's just a fun, loving, happy guy, and I think you can see that on his social media. I am more serious online. I post about serious things, but I'm also serious when it comes to making fashion content. I want the best photo, I want the best video. Blake doesn't care. He has fun with it. And I totally envy that about him. I wish I had that mindset...where I could just take a video and post it just because I was having fun and loved it.
"Amelie settles me down a little bit. When I first met her, I wasn't the guy I am today. I think she made me into a better person."
TR: How do you meet in the middle as a creative couple? What commonalities do you share?
BG: I think we balance each other out pretty well. When I first met Amelie, she was a little shy, and she's always a little nervous. I feel I bring out her fun side. We'll go out and do fun things. Amelie settles me down a little bit. When I first met her, I wasn't the guy I am today. I think she made me into a better person. You want to find someone who makes you a better you. That's what's really great about having an amazing partner.
AZ: Creatively, Blake inspires me to be less of a type-A type of person. I admire that part of myself, because it makes me driven and hardworking, and it makes me get the best work out there. He inspires me to let go creatively and have fun, and enjoy what I'm doing. That goes for my content, and in our personal lives.
TR: What content catches you, time and again, on social media? What will you always stop and look at?
BG: For some reason, my TikTok 'For You' algorithm is all golfing videos. Every time I see a golf video, I'm always stopping and watching. What about you, Amelie? What's something you always stop and watch?
"TikTok plays into that terrible part of ourselves, it makes sitting down and doing nothing easier, because we're constantly fed short-term ideas and content."
AZ: Politics. The way that the 'For You' page curates your interests with golf, it curates my interest in politics. So I have a lot of super informative videos on my 'For You' page. It's always what I stop to watch, but it's also because I'm a naturally curious person who wants to keep challenging my beliefs. When I'm in a situation where I have the opportunity to hear someone else voice their opinions on a particular subject, I always take that opportunity to listen and learn. Even if I don't agree with it, it's important for me to have that eye-opening perspective.
AMELIE: Carolina Herrera Dress; David Yurman Earrings; Tiffany+ Co. Ring; BLAKE: Brunello Cucinelli Tuxedo, Shirt, and Bowtie; Kenneth Cole Shoes.
TR: Blake, do you remember what prompted you to get started on TikTok? Was there a specific post you wanted to create, or was it just time to join?
BG: Well I started on Musical.ly maybe six years ago, and then TikTok bought Musical.ly out. And when that happened, I stopped posting. I thought, 'TikTok isn't going to be anything, TikTok's lame.' And then, sure enough, TikTok is now the biggest app on social media. I was bored over quarantine, like everyone, and thought, let me download TikTok again, and see if I can grow a following, and just have fun with it. I began posting over quarantine because I was bored, and it became what led me to Los Angeles, meet Amelie, and make making all these great friends.
TR: Amelie, what led you to TikTok?
AZ: It was the need and desperation for political change. We were heading into the election season of 2020, and I was so set on having regime change for our presidency, so I took to social media, because that's where young people are. I knew I had to meet young people where they are. Six years prior, I was writing an email newsletter and doing exactly what I currently do online, but through a newsletter. It was not reaching young people whatsoever, so I took to social media. I was resolute. I was like, 'I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that we have a different president.' I went on TikTok and began posting videos explaining political situations happening in the U.S., how to register to vote, and encouraging young people to get active in politics. And sure enough, that's made my platform skyrocket. I knew it was the right avenue for continuing to do what I had been doing before.
"I definitely think quarantine sparked my creativity. I mean, that's when I blew up. I was sitting inside, I didn't know what else to do. I thought, 'What video can I make today?'"
TR: How do each of you organize and separate what you post on TikTok versus Instagram? Do you post the same things? Or do you try to post differently?
AZ: On Instagram, it's definitely more of a curated aesthetic feed. For me, TikTok is a space where I can show my personality, mess up, and be okay with it. On Instagram, it's all about getting that good image. Although I do think that's changing. In recent weeks, we've been seeing the photo dump trend.
TR: It's becoming a lot more raw.
AZ: ...Or posting a blurry photo, or a photo not looking at the camera. I think it's changed. Historically, it's been for selected, curated photos---but I'm growing out of that, as is everyone else too, I think.
BG: I'm a big photo dump guy, actually. I love a good photo dump. Amelie uses big words perfectly; I don't do big words like that. On TikTok, I post more of my personality. TikTok and Instagram are two completely different apps. One is for photos and one is for videos, though Instagram's come out with Reels. When I go through my timeline, I'll be watching videos...because every other post is a video....then I'll click on Reels, and think I'm on TikTok. I definitely need to hop on Reels, and maybe even start posting some TikTok stuff on Reels.
TR: Question of the year: why do you think TikTok is the most popular platform right now, and for these times?
AZ: Because we have such short attention spans. It's terrible. It's so awful. I can barely sit through a movie without going on my phone. I'm so upset with myself that I've let it come to this. I think the reason we love TikTok so much and why it's so big, is because it feeds our short attention spans. All we have to do is sit and watch a seven-second video or a thirty-second video. Sometimes it's even hard to get through a three-minute video! TikTok plays into that terrible part of ourselves. It makes sitting down and doing nothing easier, because we're constantly fed short-term ideas and content.
BG: It's addicting.
"We were at a point when politics in the form of pandemic news was captivating everyone globally. If that didn't happen, I might not have had the inspiration to go on an app and teach people about the world of politics."
TR: How did the pandemic affect your creativity? Blake, you said it sparked your creativity on social media, but how did it affect your ability to create? Was your ability to create ever hindered by what was going on?
BG: I definitely think quarantine sparked my creativity. I mean, that's when I blew up. I was sitting inside, I didn't know what else to do. I thought, 'What video can I make today? What can I do now?' I obviously couldn't make the same videos I was making before. I was always thinking, 'What can I do? I'm at home.' It's a touchy subject. I'll let Amelie speak on it a little more.
AZ: I think it's dual-sided. I think we were all at a point where so much negativity was being thrown at us from every which way, and it translated to feeling down, feeling blue, feeling all-around negative. In that sense, my creativity in life was down. I wasn't inspired by life at that point, but I also had the ability, the great blessing, of being forced to sit there and figure out what was going through my mind, and figure out how to be present. If it wasn't for the pandemic, I probably would not have started posting so intensely about politics. We were at a point when politics in the form of pandemic news was captivating everyone globally. If that didn't happen, I might not have had the inspiration to go on an app and teach people about the world of politics, simply because politics wasn't something people were thinking about, especially people my age. It had two effects.
TR: In what ways can creativity be hindered or stifled on social media? Or do each of you always feel free?
BG: I always feel free. I'm always going to post myself and how I'm feeling. I think that's what made me big on social media. I can just be myself. I'm not hiding behind a mask.
TR: Amelie, have there been times when social media has constrained you, or you wish you could do more of something?
AZ: I don't find it limiting, but I do find that my ability to be open with myself has led to a lot more anxiety and fear. Because I'm in the public eye, I constantly feel as though I have to present myself in the most perfect way possible. I tend to forget that I am a teenager, and that teenagers mess up and make mistakes. I feel so pressured to not do that. We live in a world where, if you make any sort of mistake, you risk losing every future career opportunity; you risk getting horribly canceled online, to the point where people make death threats, they reach out to family members and close friends who aren't even online, attacking them. Social media is very limiting in the sense that I don't have the freedom to be a teenager and make mistakes, because the whole world is watching.
"We live in a world where, if you make any sort of mistake, you risk losing every future career opportunity; you risk getting horribly canceled online."
TR: What kinds of content do you appreciate the most right now? Is there anyone or anything happening that makes you say, 'They've got something solid here?'
AZ: I just found someone yesterday, @valerisssh, who was posting content from her bomb shelter in Ukraine; that is what I love about social media. We get direct access to on-the-ground, personal experiences. She was recording videos of her day. She would make breakfast with her mom in a bomb shelter, she would walk outside. She'd have an hour of free time to go walk outside, and she would show the city and how destroyed it was. I think content like that is so powerful right now, because it humanizes the situation.
TR: Blake, is there anyone you're seeing, or any trends you're seeing, that is catching your eye?
BG: For the past month I've been trying to stay away and off my phone a little bit, and from social media, because of everything that's going on. It breaks my heart. I don't really like seeing everything that's going on over there in Ukraine. It's heartbreaking to me. I haven't been on my phone as much.
TR: A conversation I'm constantly having on the topic of social media with very top creatives in the fields of beauty, and fashion, the wellness space, and more, is the fact that social media is a double-edged sword. It's fantastic, and it can also be not so fantastic. Blake, what have the cons been for you, as a fixture on social media? You were saying that you're taking time right now to detox from social media. Do you periodically take time off from it?
"Some people online are very gross and toxic, and for some reason, it's always the people who have no followers, who don't even have a profile picture."
BG: I would say I try my hardest to stay away from it sometimes. Sometimes it can be very toxic. I made a rule for myself now, that I won't read through my comments section, because some people have very mean things to say. At the end of the day, I put my pants on the same way you do; my feelings get hurt just as your feelings get hurt. Some people online are very gross and toxic, and for some reason it's always the people who have no followers, who don't even have a profile picture. They're just internet trolls. That's the biggest con about what we're doing---the trolls.
AMELIE: Valentino Dress; Alexandre Birman Shoes; Tiffany + Co. Earrings; BLAKE: Valentino Shirt, Pants, and Shoes.
TR: Amelie, are there any cons for you? Do you ever feel the need to take time away from it?
AZ: I am so hard on myself. I'll never be able to give myself any time off, because I'm such a work-driven person. I quite literally cannot stop working. It's such a problem, and something I wish wasn't as prevalent in my life, because I feel it does get in the way of all of my relationships, including my relationship with Blake. Sometimes he's like, 'I wish you wouldn't be working all the time.' I'm always, always, always, on.
BG: ...We'll be watching a movie, and she'll be on her phone. I'm like, 'Come on, let's just watch the movie.'
"My perception of my body and face has become so degraded over the months that I've been on social media. I think that even if you aren't a huge content creator, being a teenager, or a young woman, or anyone on social media, is brutal."
AZ: I'll be answering emails and watching a movie. Yes, it's great that I'm constantly working and I'm so driven, but it's so unhealthy for me, because I never allow myself to have a break, even though I one hundred percent could. I think social media has made me so much harder on myself in regard to my appearance. I have so many more insecurities now. It's really awful. My perception of my body and face has become so degraded over the months that I've been on social media. I think that even if you aren't a huge content creator, being a teenager, or a young woman, or anyone on social media, is brutal.
TR: You are absorbing all of these posts by other people, they're flooding the subconscious, and that forces you to think about yourself, or compare.
AZ: Yeah, one hundred percent.
TR: What do each of you love about your followers and fans the most?
BG: What I love about my followers is that with them, I can be myself, and they'll still support me, no matter what. That's what's really great about my followers and fans, I can post the silliest thing, I can make the dumbest mistake, and at the end of the day, they're always going to have my back. And it's like they're growing with me, which is really, really cool.
"I can post the silliest thing, I can make the dumbest mistake, and at the end of the day, they're always going to have my back. And it's like they're growing with me, which is really, really cool."
TR: Amelie, when you think about your followers, what do you appreciate most about them?
AZ: How diverse of a group they are. I can have, and Blake has been witness to this, a 14-year-old girl can come up to me and say, 'Oh my goodness, I love your content so much. I learn so much from you. I'm so appreciative.' And five minutes later, a 35-year-old will come up to me and say, 'I learn so much from your videos. I love everything that you post.' What I love so much about my followers is that my content doesn't only reach one age group, though it's generally geared towards young voters 18 to 25. People from all walks of life, all ages, all groups, are ready and willing to listen and learn. It's helped me open my eyes to the need for space for people like me, people who make news palatable. I think it's amazing. I'm really, really so grateful that people love me for my voice, and they don't just love me because I have a pretty face. They love me because they learn from me, and they love that I inspire them to be active, engaged, and to use their voice. I truly am so grateful for the people that follow me.
TR: Can both or either of you describe the fame that you've achieved in three words?
BG: Man, that's a difficult one. I've never gotten that question before. You stumped me a little bit! Amelie?
AZ: I would say enlightening, inspiring, and heartwarming.
TR: Can fame be scary?
AZ: It's terrifying.
BG: Oh yeah.
AZ: My anxiety and panic attacks are something I'd never experienced before.
BG: I've had some weird, weird moments. I've had stalkers walk into our house, weird stuff. I've had to put restraining orders on them. We post our life on social media, people can see where we're at, and the fact that people can just come....there are weird people out there. So it can be scary, it can be very scary.
AMELIE: Dior Top and Shorts; Jimmy Choo Shoes; Le Vian Earrings; David Yurman Rings. BLAKE: Dior T-Shirt; Salvatore Ferragamo Jacket, Pants, and Shoes; Calvin Klein Socks.
TR: Amelie, how did you first get into politics?
AZ: I delved into the world of politics when I was a 12-year-old sixth-grader, simply because at the dinner table my mom and my brother would always talk about politics, and I needed to be better than my brother. He's a year and a half older than me, so he was 13 or 14, and he was having these full-fledged discussions on Ebola in Africa. When it was 2013, and he was able to contribute so meaningfully to these conversations, and he's just naturally so smart, I needed to compete to be better than him. And I didn't have a grasp on the world of politics whatsoever. So I took to my friends, my peers, and asked them about the world. They knew nothing, given that we were sixth graders. I don't blame them. So I started researching online, and I recognized that when I was looking at articles and trying to understand what was happening, nothing was available for people that young. The news wasn't tailored to people to be able to understand it without a certain amount of education or understanding. So, I decided to make a platform called TwoMinuteTimes, which I started that same year, literally a couple of weeks later. Every week, every Sunday, for six and a half years, I took the top five articles of the week and summarized them in three to five sentences. I did my best to make the news as palatable as possible for young people, because I knew that there was such a lack. That would then be translated into me doing it on social media, and having a much greater reach. That's how I started. I fell in love with it. I completely and utterly fell in love with politics. It's the most annoying, frustrating space, but it is always a challenge. And it constantly keeps me thinking, it keeps me curious, and I'm constantly reading and researching. I'm lucky to have found a passion of mine that young, out of pure coincidence.
"When it comes to political content I deliver in a lighthearted way, I'm not really phased by the fact that people could possibly be upset with it, because if you're watching the whole video, you're engaged, and you're still taking in all that information."
TR: Amelie you're a Georgetown University student, and you're straddling these two very different worlds, as a model and an influencer as well.
AZ: I graduated from high school during the pandemic, and I did my freshman year online, also because of the pandemic. I decided to take a gap year this year, to best figure out how to approach the world of learning that means so much to me, how to approach getting my degree with the current world I'm working in. When I was doing my freshman year online, granted it was online, but I was still taking five classes, spending my entire day working and in class, writing papers, reading---it was really, really difficult. People generally spend their entire day going to class, doing their homework, studying for tests, writing papers. I was doing all of that, plus working full time, in meetings all the time, answering emails. It was really intense. It was really, really negative for my mental health, so I took a gap year to figure out how I'm going to be able to best approach the world of learning. I haven't figured it out yet, but going to school and getting my degree is so, so, so important to me.
BG: I thought it was best that you did take a gap year [Amelie]. We were together when you were doing your first semester, and you were very stressed. I could see it. During the gap year that you're doing right now, I can see that your mental health is doing a lot better, and it makes me happy.
AZ: Thank you.
TR: Amelie, what kinds of comments come your way about being both smart and beautiful? Is this a topic you have to deal with?
AZ: Oh my God, it is so infuriating. It's disgusting. It drives me nuts. And the type of people that say those types of things on my page, are the types of people who have opinions that differ from mine. If I post an issue and I'm leaning left in talking about it, the people who will comment on those videos are people with opposing political views. They'll say things like, 'Of course she's wrong. She's just a pretty girl.'
TR: They use it against you.
AZ: They use it against me. And actually, it doesn't get to me at all because I know it's a defense mechanism...you're just annoyed that I'm spreading to millions of people a view that you oppose. So you're going to attack me, to try to de-legitimize my argument based on my appearance. I know that it's exactly what's happening, and because I'm so passionate, strong, and well educated in the things that I try and talk about, them coming for me in that manner doesn't really affect me. It's just super annoying because it just shows the sexism that's still so alive in today's society, because they wouldn't make that kind of comment on a man's post. I'm sorry, they just wouldn't.
"I always think to myself, 'What if I would've stuck with baseball? What if I would've never posted my first social media video, would I still be playing baseball?' It's weird to think about, but I think I took the right path."
TR: You participated in #TeamJoeTalks digital campaign, and you interviewed White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, for the White House's official social channels. What was that experience like? What is your impression of Jen Psaki?
AZ: She is so amazing. I ended up meeting her in person when I went to the White House a couple of weeks later to interview Secretary of Treasury, Pete Buttigieg, on the infrastructure bill. I didn't think she was going to remember me because she is so busy, and that was just a small part of her job. But she gave me a big hug and let me hang out in her office. She was so warm and so sweet. She is just one powerful, intelligent, pardon my language---badass---woman. I think she's amazing. I have the utmost respect for her.
TR: Amelie we've been talking about the war in Ukraine, something you have posted about. What comments on your posts have struck you the most, and do you ever get concerned about people taking the lighthearted way in which you deliver the news the wrong way?
AZ: Yes. I worry that, but I also know in my heart that if I'm super serious and down, they're not going to listen. I know what catches people's attention. I made a video back in the beginning, in mid-January, talking about Russia and Ukraine, before the war had even begun. And ironically, every single comment on that post was, 'You're so stupid. There's not going to be a war.' I made that video with a lighthearted approach because I wanted people to get an idea of what was going on. When the war actually started, I was not lighthearted about it, because it is such a serious, serious topic. People are dying, people are fleeing their homes, and war is devastation. When it comes to other political content I deliver in a lighthearted way, I'm not really phased by the fact that people could possibly be upset with it, because if you're watching the whole video, you're engaged, and you're still taking in all that information. You're still learning. I would have less views on my political videos if I talked about the content in a super serious, monotone way, and that would mean less people are becoming aware of what's happening in the world. So I'm not really too phased by it. I know how to read the room. When the time is not right for that tone, I don't make a video in that manner.
TR: Blake, what were you like as a kid? Were you always so charismatic and uninhibited?
BG: Oh man, yeah, I would say so. I grew up in Texas, and my whole life revolved around baseball. I pretty much played baseball every single day. That's about the only thing I remember doing as a kid, just baseball, baseball, baseball. On the weekends we would travel to go to games and play in tournaments. Everyone I grew up playing with, on my team, some are getting drafted into the MLB, they're in college playing for their teams, they're all D-1. I always think to myself, 'What if I would've stuck with baseball? What if I would've never posted my first social media video, would I still be playing baseball?' It's weird to think about, but I think I took the right path. But yes, I was definitely always very charismatic and outgoing as a kid.
"I've always wanted to be an actor, I was just always scared to take that first jump to actually do it, because of the whole vulnerable thing. Maybe five, six months ago, I thought, you know what? Let me just do it."
TR: Blake, you're studying acting right now. Does it feel natural to you, because you are such an uninhibited person? Do you find you are able to relax into the exercises in class? When did you decide to study acting?
BG: It's actually very, very hard, You have to not care what other people think, and you have to be so vulnerable. That's something I struggle with a little bit, being vulnerable. I'm always caring what people think. It's a lot of fun but it's very challenging, and I love the challenge. My coach is amazing. She's very welcoming, and takes her time with me. I've always wanted to be an actor, I was just always scared to take that first jump to actually do it, because of the whole vulnerable thing. Maybe five, six months ago, I thought, you know what? Let me just do it. My first class was not the best. I was so scared, so nervous. I was with six other people. And I thought, I don't know if I like this too much, so I started doing one-on-ones, and that's really been helping me. I definitely want to go back and do the in-front-of-ten-people type of class because I think being in those uncomfortable situations will make me a better actor. It's a lot of fun to build a character. I'll read some scripts, and make a backstory for a character. What's the relationship with their parents like? Where did they grow up?
AZ: I've been doing the same thing for the past five, six months. We've both been working really, really hard. The interesting thing for me, because I'm such an intellectual type of person, and intellect drives me in everything I do, is that when it comes to acting, my coaches have consistently said, 'You are approaching this intellectually. You are analyzing how this person should feel, instead of just feeling it'. It's something I've been working hard to undo.
TR: What a good exercise for you, Amelie. It's really expanding you as a person.
AZ: Oh, a hundred percent. I've actually found that this has been one of my most rewarding undertakings, because it's not just allowing me to follow a passion of mine, it's also inspiring me to change. It's almost therapy, in a way. I'm in therapy.
"I mean, if I got the opportunity to be on Dancing with the Stars, I would definitely try my hardest to win! I would honestly kill it. I'm not the best dancer, but I would give it my all, to do my best."
BG: It kind of is, to be honest.
TR: Blake, the vulnerability that you're talking about is about tapping into feelings, feelings that we can all choose to avoid in our day-to-day lives. Acting is forcing you to tap into some of that stuff.
BG: As much as you want to stay away from being uncomfortable, It's those uncomfortable situations that make you a better person. It's crazy, because nobody likes to feel uncomfortable...
Bella Freud Suit and Shirt; Tiffany + Co. Earrings; Christian Louboutin Pumps.
TR: Blake, I want to ask you about dance! Have any dance opportunities come your way? Has Dancing with the Stars asked for you?
BG: You being real?! I mean, if I got the opportunity to be on Dancing with the Stars, I would definitely try my hardest to win! I would honestly kill it. I'm not the best dancer, but I would give it my all, to do my best.
TR: I love it. I hope Dancing with the Stars reads this. Blake's in, guys.
AZ: I'd love to see that
BG: That'd be something!
"I'm not just a pretty girl who posts pretty photos. I have something to say and will say it. There's nothing stopping me from saying it. I think brands see that as a breath of fresh air, because it's not common."
TR: Each of you, and also together, have worked with a number of the best designers and brands. Recently you were a part of Ralph Lauren's iconic Romance fragrance campaign as a couple. Between the two of you, you've worked with brands and designers like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Fendi, Prada, L'Oreal, MLB. Are there any other brand collabs coming up for you as a couple that you can talk about?
BG: I don't know if we're allowed to say too much. Being able to work with Amelie for Ralph Lauren was pretty much a dream come true of mine. Ralph Lauren has been a dream brand to work with; I've always worn Ralph Lauren growing up. It was so easy working with her, because it's us showing our love. I really, really, really enjoyed that campaign and it turned out beautifully. When I first saw it, when it was sent to me, I teared up a little bit. It looks a wedding video. I called Amelie right away, and I was like, 'This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.' I was so blessed to be able to work with them.
TR: When each of you meet with brands, what is asked of you? What do they appreciate about you both? What do they say they want from you?
AZ: In terms of our relationship, I would say they love how authentic we are. We are not a drama couple. We are a very, very normal couple who goes through the normal stages that every couple does, and we also love each other deeply. I think that's so visible to brands that work with us; that our love is organic and real. With regard to me personally, because I can't speak on behalf of what Blake hears in his meetings, I think they love that I'm different. I'm not just a pretty girl who posts pretty photos. I have something to say and will say it. There's nothing stopping me from saying it. I think brands see that as a breath of fresh air, because it's not common. I'm one of the only people doing something like this, in this space. I think they really appreciate how outspoken I am, and how I'm not afraid to receive backlash. To be fair, I don't say anything morally wrong. They're not worried that I'm going to say something really outrageous and horrible. I'm just more left-leaning in my politics, and I'm for human rights and empathy for all. When it comes to race issues, when I'm outspoken about the injustices of race in America, they're not afraid to have me say it, which I think is really powerful, and why they like me. People are generally too afraid to speak on issues that can lead to the opposing side being really, really nasty.
"Hopefully we're together for the rest of our lives; we'll have such amazing photos! Also, as we work together more in the future, it will have been our first big moment together."
AMELIE: Dior Dress and Necklace. BLAKE: Dior Sweater; Canali Pants; Kenneth Cole Boots; David Yurman Watch.
TR: Blake, what was it like working with MLB?
BG: Oh man, it was surreal, and it was my childhood dreams coming true. Even though me and my friends, like my friend Noah [Beck], got booed when we walked out, because they really don't like TikTokers, it was really cool stepping up at the plate and having thirty thousand people in the stands watching me swing a bat. It technically wasn't me in the major leagues, but to be able to do something like that, to relive my childhood dreams, was amazing. It was an amazing moment for me.
"As I grow and my career grows, in terms of brands I work with, there always needs to be something there, something about the team. I don't just work with people for money."
TR: Amelie, what would you say has been your most exciting collaboration, to date?
AZ: I have to say two, I can't just pick one! The first one, obviously is the Ralph Lauren fragrance campaign. That was out of this world, unreal, such a special moment. Hopefully we're together for the rest of our lives; we'll have such amazing photos! Also, as we work together more in the future, it will have been our first big moment together. It's powerful, and it's also a brand that is so aligned with who we are. It's authentic, and it's fresh, and we're authentic and fresh. The brand itself aligns so closely with who we are. The second one for me, is working with Dior. My relationship with them has just started, but anyone who knows me or has ever met me knows I've been a Dior girl since the day I came out of the womb. Dior has been my favorite brand forever. My mom used to buy me Dior costume jewelry for every single birthday, or for Christmas. Dior holds such special meaning and value for me, in terms of my relationship with my mom. Working with them has been the greatest, most incredible opportunity I've been given. I tell this to the Dior team all the time, 'I am so, so grateful.'
BG: My credit card loves Dior the most for Amelie! As I grow and my career grows, in terms of brands I work with, there always needs to be something there, something about the team. I don't just work with people for money. I think that's why Ralph Lauren went so well. Everyone there is just so freaking nice and genuine, and it's what's really cool about working with them. With pretty much any brand I post, I want to work with them, it's not just a money grab.
TR: From a production standpoint, which has been the most impressive fashion show each of you has been to, to date?
AZ: I would say the most recent Dior show that I went to, simply because I loved how feminist-positive it was. The show was entirely curated around the idea of the new era of women. It was so powerful. As someone who's so conscious of social issues, I absolutely adored it. And the production itself was just gorgeous. I loved everything about that show.
BG: Dior fashion shows are incredible. And I was going to say, the Balmain show. Doja Cat came out and performed. The coolest part was when Naomi Campbell came out by herself, and the song Halo by Beyoncé was playing. Everyone in the room felt the energy. Everyone was like, 'Oh my God, this is beautiful.' Balmain in Paris was such a beautiful show.
"Gen Z is so much more progressive, in terms of who we can be. We are a generation that doesn't feel limited. If a limitation is placed on who we can be or what we can do, we're not breaking the glass ceiling: we're fully flipping over the table."
TR: Blake, you're 21, and Amelie, you're 19. What does Gen Z love the most in pop culture? And what would you say Gen Z is striving for in life?
BG: I think we're important to Gen Z; Amelie, everything you're posting online is something that's so important to Gen Z...
AZ: Gen Z is so much more progressive, in terms of who we can be. We are a generation that doesn't feel limited. If a limitation is placed on who we can be or what we can do, we're not breaking the glass ceiling: we're fully flipping over the table. We are ready and willing to get what we want, and we're not afraid to break down the barriers that have previously held people back. That's what's so admirable about our generation.
BG: Amen, baby. That's how we do it. I think fashion's a big thing in pop culture now and it's changing every single day. Fashion can be whatever you want it to be, whatever's in your creative mind.
AMELIE: Bella Freud Suit; Tiffany + Co. Earrings. BLAKE: Ports Suit, Shirt, and Bowtie.
"I started out by prepping Amelie's skin with the Rose Inc Skin Resolution Clarifying Toner to exfoliate and brighten. Next, I used the Rose Inc Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum and then moisturized with the Rose Inc Hydration Replenish Microencapsulated Plumping Gel Moisturizer. I love using tools like the ReFa Carat Ray Face, which uses micro-current technology to give a beautiful lift. After skin prep, I always use the Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels and Jouer Hydrating Lip Oil." - Makeup Artist Cherish Brooke Hill
MAY 2022 COVER
AMELIE ZILBER + BLAKE GRAY
LOS ANGELES, CA
CHERISH BROOKE HILL
ASSISTANT: PHOTO: BING PUTNEY, FASHION: ANNA HERMOSILLO