Courtesy of Coach


Exclusive: Rickey Thompson Is The Face Of Coach's "We C You" Campaign For Pride

We spoke to the social media star on celebrating Pride, online shopping, and his dream night out once lockdowns lift.

While Coach has long celebrated Pride over the years, 2020 marks the brand's first-ever full collection for the month-long holiday, comprised of gender-inclusive apparel and accessories adorned with Coach's signature monogram in a rainbow-colored palette. Plus, in the spirit of giving back, the Coach Foundation has made a donation to organizations that help benefit the LGBTQ youth community, including the Hetrick-Martin Institute, GLSEN, and the Albert Kennedy Trust.

The new launch comes with a special campaign, too, titled "We C You" and starring superstar Rickey Thompson, singer Kim Petras, and Bob the Drag Queen. In an exclusive video premiering on NYLON, Thompson shares how moving to Los Angeles from North Carolina and living in a new city allowed him to finally feel seen and embrace who he is. As a result, his career has skyrocketed — he's earned a massive social media following, magazine covers, fashion collaborations, and more. Now, he's turning his own personal experience into sage advice for those who may be in similar situations.

"I know how it can be hard to accept yourself, but just know you're never alone," says Thompson over the phone with NYLON. "There's a lot of people who have been through what you've been through. We're here to help you. We're here to love you. We're here to really be there for you no matter what. And yes, I know Pride is very different this year, but don't let that get you down because you can celebrate Pride all year long. Keep your head up and everything will get better."

Below, we spoke to Thompson about celebrating Pride, online shopping (and a brand new walk-in closet), and his dream night out once lockdowns lift.

You've been a friend of Coach since 2019, how has that experience been?

It's been everything. When I worked with Coach last year, it was the best time ever and during fashion week, so I got to go to the show and I had to do this cute little infomercial to showcase the new Spring 2020 bag. And since Pride is not happening the same way this year, I had to do something, so when Coach reached out and asked me to be a part of this campaign, I was like, 'Sign me up! I would definitely do it.' I'm so happy to be a part of it.

You had to shoot the campaign by yourself while in quarantine. Did you find it easy or challenging?

It wasn't that difficult. I actually kind of liked it. I got to shoot the content in my own home, which is really cool. Usually when we do shoots it's filled with a camera crew; sometimes I shoot with a big group of people and I can get nervous, so this was very simple. They sent me a GoPro, I set it up in my own home, I was interviewed over Zoom, and I felt like it was very real. It felt like I was shooting one of my YouTube videos and speaking my mind and really saying how I felt. It was really cool. It was very easy.

How have you celebrated Pride before, and do you plan on celebrating in quarantine this year?

I've been going to L.A. Pride a lot but recently, last year, I went to WorldPride in New York and that was so amazing. All of the love that I felt being in New York City was honestly so amazing. I also went to Manchester Pride last year, too. That was pretty fun. So my goal this year was to go to L.A. Pride, New York Pride, and I was going to go to Pride in Barcelona. I was definitely looking to do Manchester Pride again, as well as London Pride. I just really wanted to see how many Prides I could go to this year. I was super excited. But with the whole global pandemic, I was like, 'It's OK. I need to be safe.' I've decided to stay in and call the people I love, maybe have a little dance party because when Pride is around, dancing is the best thing ever and it's such a good feeling and I love music. I'm going to still celebrate me being me and how proud I am of it.

How was celebrating Pride in all of those different cities?

I will say the vibe is definitely different. I've been doing L.A. Pride for five years and it's usually the same thing — a strip of bars and there's the field where the festival goes down, but when I went to Pride in Manchester, it was so different. It was so cool. It was at this huge outdoor venue but it was very industrial, very rave-esque. Then there’s this street from the venue called Canal Street [in Gay Village] with this long strip of bars. The people were so friendly and their parties do last longer. These parties go on until 10 am or 12 pm and the party will start at 2 pm and it keeps on going. In L.A., the parties usually end at 2 am. It's so amazing being able to see so many different people celebrating Pride in different areas, and once this is all over I'm definitely going to hit more.

How have you been handling quarantine?

I've been staying positive. That's one main thing I've been doing that's really keeping me sane. I've been quarantined going on for three months now. I'm really used to it. I’m picking up new hobbies and catching up on different shows that I haven’t been able to watch since I was traveling and busy. I’ve been online shopping a lot, as well. I've been staying positive, keeping a great mental state, and praying each and every day that things will get better.

How have you been online shopping?

I have been Depop-ing a lot. I love Depop so much since I actually can't go out and thrift. I've also been splurging on my little luxury brands. I just bought a new bag from Dior and then I've also got into purchasing more shoes. So I've been getting Eytys. I love that brand so much. It really does give me a '90s, 2000s-type feel, which I’m obsessed with.

Being quarantined, I've been able to experiment with fashion. I'm really excited. I have a brand new wardrobe and I can't wait to show it off.

Have you been organizing your clothes or closet?

I recently just turned my second bedroom into a walk-in closet. I finally got that built up. It's literally everything. All I do is hang out in my closet. I never hang out anywhere else in my home but my closet because this is the first home I've ever had that I finally have everything I've ever wanted. I wanted this boutique-type style. I’m obsessed with it. It's my favorite place.

Once lockdowns lift, how would you describe your dream night out?

I just want to go to the nearest bar with my friends. I miss going to a cheap bar and having a nice drink and just laughing and then maybe going to a club after. I just need to dance. I'm staying positive but I'm sick and tired of dancing indoors. I want to put on a cute outfit. I want to be seen. I just want to party it up. I literally cannot wait to be able to go something like that. I miss, miss, miss it. I became an introvert earlier on last year and I would always never go out. I wanted to stay home. Now, I regret it. I want to be out so bad. When the doors open best believe you're going to see Ricky T. out!

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.