Boman Martinez-Reid has a skyrocketing career on TikTok, and the Canadian social media star feels lucky to be able to entertain people amid quarantine. ET's Denny Directo spoke with the 22-year-old about the secrets to his viral videos' success, how to bring more diversity to your TikTok feed and the transformational shift around this year's Pride.
"I feel very, very lucky. I feel like I'm in a very privileged situation. I just graduated, so many of my friends are like, 'I don't know what I'm going to do. I have nothing to do.' And I feel like I've had too much to do," Martinez-Reid expressed. "But it's such a unique experience because the amount of messages I've been getting from people [is great]. I've been making their quarantine and I've been making people laugh and getting them through. I feel as though, I'm no doctor but I'm still doing my part to help. And it's been a life-changing experience."
With over 1.3 million TikTok followers and countless views on his clips, Martinez-Reid is known for his reality show spoofs that include his family and friends. He was inspired by Vanderpump Rules and how the cast members would get in feuds about the smallest things.
"I sat there thinking to myself that I wish I had the time to be arguing with people about these minute problems. And then I was like, 'Why don't I just make the time?'" he explained. "So that's where these reality TV videos came from, and then when the quarantine happened it was almost as if everybody had time to focus on these minute problems."
As for his process for making these reality TV spoofs? None of them are scripted.
"I think people think that I plan it out but all I have is the general idea and we just improvise things," Martinez-Reid admitted. "I'll say things in the moment and I'll be like, 'I can't believe that I just said that,' but it makes so much sense."
Meanwhile, Martinez-Reid also touched on recent reports that TikTok's algorithm uses collaborative filtering, which can lead to a lack of diversity in users' feeds
"I do think that is harmful and as much as I want to say that it's a TikTok issue, it's also an issue of the user tool," Martinez-Reid explained. "If you're on TikTok and you're only seeing videos of white people, the app is gonna continue feeding you things that it thinks that you want."
He suggests that the best way to fight that is starting from the ground up and following diverse voices. "You have to go out and find Black creators, not just for the sake of finding Black creators, but just find some out of your comfort zone. Step out of your bubble," he noted. "And I think it's a problem that's not just unique to TikTok. If you look at Instagram you might find the exact same issue. If you look at your Twitter you might find the exact same issue."
"Who are you surrounding yourself with? When all of this was happening within social media after George Floyd's death, you had this big uprising of learning and educating people," he continued. "But I thought the best thing that white people could've done or could be doing was just to listen, just to find different people who look different than they did and hear what they had to say. It starts with you. It starts with the users."
Martinez-Reid is biracial (his mother is Spanish and his father is Jamaican) and a gay man, and is grateful he's always been able to express himself freely on his social media platforms.
"To be a TikToker, my sexuality has never mattered. It's never even been a question. Nobody has ever asked me about it. I don't have to make videos about [it]," he shared, adding that "the fact that I can be known for really anything at this point on line, I think it's a huge step in the right direction and I feel very privileged to be in this situation. It's very, very cool."
"I've always been reminded that I was different my entire life, but I never looked at it as a bad thing," he expressed. "Even when other people did, I never saw it as a bad thing. I always saw it as, my differences make me very cool."
Additionally, this year, Martinez-Reid believes that amid the current events, this year's Pride is also a special one.
"It's been a very self-reflecting Pride and just realizing what it is that actually matters about being part of the LGBTQ community," he acknowledged. "And I think it just is about being proud. For me, this year, I feel like every other Pride has been about myself and about my journey and learning about who I am. But I've also kind of realized this year that, as much as it is about me, it's about showing everybody else that follows me, that knows who I am, that it's OK to be yourself and whatever you identify with. It's OK. And it's OK to open up conversations and open up spectrums and change the world."
When your mom tells you to get off your phone but it’s reality tv (feat mom @anabee_martinez) ##realitytv##fyp
See more of ET's exclusive interview with Martinez-Reid -- including the advice he has for his followers who are trying to find their voice, working with his friends and what he wants to conquer next -- in the video above.