For Liam and James,
TikTok’s Birkin Boyfriends, “glacially gliding” from coffee shops to their luxury store shopping appointments isn’t a comedic bit — it’s a lifestyle.
The Manchester-based couple is just as polished and delightful in person when we meet for drinks in London as they are online: crisp suits, sleek sunglasses, and a rambling, gregarious charm.
“We just love old Hollywood movies and the way the guys dressed,” says James. “It's dreamy and it's entertaining and it's just beautiful to look at.”
The duo has grown in popularity on TikTok over the past year, where they share glimpses of their lives — including their Hermès Birkin knowledge and personal collections, holidays across Europe, and plenty of Americanos with extra hot oat milk — with voice-overs so whimsical and earnest that they often read as parody.
“We're a couple, we're always together,” says James. “We do stuff as a couple and then we don't think—”
“... anything of it,” says Liam, finishing the sentence.
The Birkin Boyfriends have been together for nearly a decade, after regularly bumping into one another at the Ritz hotel bar in London. (Where else?) Liam would arrive at the bar to journal, and James would go with hopes of running into him. “I still have that journal now which says, ‘I saw him again at the table.’”
Prior to joining TikTok, neither Liam nor James had a social media presence. But time after time, strangers would approach the couple on holidays, complimenting their style, and asking if they could follow them on Instagram. They decided to have a go at TikTok, which seemed more fun and engaging.
“I think with us, it's just about freedom and creativity,” says Liam. “We're very fairly creative people so it's about if you have a vision of what you want to do. We don't think anyone even follows us.”
Ahead, the Birkin Boyfriends take the NYLON 19, sharing everything from their ice cream-based hangover cures to their worst habit (which happens to also be their best beauty tip), and more.
1. What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?
James: Absolutely. I'm a Virgo.
Liam: And I'm a Cancer.
James: I'm very organized. I'm very meticulous.
Liam: I would say Cancers are quite emotional. And say for instance this morning, I thought I lost my phone and it really worked me up, when actually it was in my dressing gown. James is very calm. He's like, "Oh don't worry. We'll get it sorted for you. We'll find it."
2. Do you believe in ghosts (and have you ever seen one)?
Liam: I've always believed in ghosts. I remember when I was young, I used to love putting a white bedsheet over me and my dad used to put eyes. I think when I saw myself in the mirror, that's when I really felt like ghosts were real. I've never seen one, but I definitely feel like they are real.
James: Doesn't that make you dream, when you think of putting holes in a bedsheet and just living that ghost life? It's quite expressive. Don't you remember that feeling of wanting to do that as a child?
Liam: I remember, I was so shocked when I saw myself in the mirror. I thought, "Oh my God, is that a ghost?" But obviously it was me. I was six, but I think from that moment, I've always kind of believed in them.
James: I believe in them.
3. What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)
Liam: I think for an alcoholic drink, it really depends where you are. I love rosé. If I'm at an event, I'll have something different. I love a Long Island Iced Tea. The mixologist that we go to quite a lot, he's created this Angel Whisper for us. He's created our own drink, which is like a Long Island Iced Tea with honey.
James: Which is just something that we love so much. It's very nice. And our hangover cure is ice cream. Especially one called Puffo, it's blue.
Liam: It's in Italy, it's like bubblegum.
James: I think it means “smurf” in Italian.
4. Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?
James: Okay, so you know in the Muppets, the guy that plays the drums, Animal? He would be number one. Headliner. Absolutely.
Liam: You love him.
James: I love him. The hair flick, I felt like it was glamorous.
Liam: Mariah Carey, we love her.
James: Mariah Carey would do backing vocals. And Lisa Simpson as a saxophone player.
Liam: Mariah Carey would be like, "Oh, how come I'm in the back?" You'll be like, "Well, there's a Muppet and Lisa there."
James: She'll love it.
5. What's the weirdest snack that you make?
James: We've lived off crackers and cheese for a long time. That has been our go-to meal forever. We don't cook, particularly.
Liam: To be honest, we never ever eat in our home. Our cooker was broke for a year, our fridge was broke for year.
James: And we never fixed it.
Liam: And our parents were saying, "What is going on?"
James: They were like, "We're going to send you a fridge."
Liam: We were like, "No, we don't want it." What happened was, we had this fridge when we moved in. This massive fridge and it looked great.
James: I guess it's like an American fridge. We would call it an American fridge. But it's just normal to you.
Liam: We never had anything in the fridge because we always go out for dinner; we like being out and about so we would always eat out. But my favorite snack would be gingerbread men. I love eating the head of the gingerbread men, then eating the buttons. It's always eaten in the same order.
6. What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?
Liam: I know what your bad habit is.
James: What is it?
Liam: Sleeping upside down.
James: I put my head off the bed. If you let the blood rush to your head it’s really good for your skin.
Liam: He'll set the time from the kitchen, the one that we don't use, this bird timer. And he'll set it for an hour and a half, and when it pings then he gets up and sleeps in his normal position.
Liam: That's probably my bad habit now as well. I've started to time myself with a different timer. Mine's like a sand timer, so I panic thinking it's not going to buzz, so I'm always looking and thinking I'm not going to see whether it will go off or not. We'll be upside down like vampires.
7. What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?
Liam: My TikTok algorithm right now is either Mariah Carey, or the sea. I saw this video of people going down rocks and getting fish. I remember thinking, "That got really weird." And when you start watching something, the TikTok algorithm brings more videos that are similar. And for some reason I ended up liking that video.
James: I have to say, mine's this person going snorkeling, but they're going snorkeling down ... you know where rocks have water that runs through the rocks in holes? And this person is going through.
Liam: We just went on holiday and we do not go in the ocean. We always laugh because we have this dream of swimming in the ocean and swimming in the pool. And we just never do it. We just literally say, "Do not go in." Because we don't want to get wet, we don't want to dry off, we don't want to get sand. It's too much.
James: When your feet are sandy and you want to put your shoes on but you can't.
8. Describe your worst date in three words.
James: Mine would be, "lion tamer, scary." That's three words, right?
Liaem: Mine’s “cold oat milk.”
9. What was the last DM you received?
James: Do you know Jeff Koons? The dogs? I really want one of the dogs, I am looking to buy one, so it was around that.
Liam: Yeah, we share the same account, so that's probably our last DM.
10. If you could be in any music video, what would it be?
James: Janet Jackson, “The Pleasure Principle.” You know where she has the chair? That is iconic.
Liam: For me, I would love to be the rain in "Rain On Me."
11. What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?
James: I think the first concert would have been what I did for my family. I would get all my family in the yard, and perform Madonna’s "Material Girl" video.
Liam: I’d say I did my own as well. I remember going to dance school, and for the very first concert I did on my own, I made them throw money on me. God knows what went into my brain, but I felt like a superstar.
12. What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Liam: I remember this one that was called
The Little Vampire. My dad used to take me to Blockbuster to get it. I also had short blonde hair like the boy.
James: I used to get the same video out of Blockbuster every week, and it was the cartoon version of
The Nutcracker. 13. What was your teenage AIM screen name?
James: You know that Gwen Stefani song? “Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.” And mine was like bananas but with a “J” like in James. Jananas.
Liam: I was obsessed with Habbo Hotel and Luna, so I made mine Launar.
14. What's your favorite meme/internet joke and why?
Liam: There is one that's actually really funny. So Beyoncé is singing, it's in Amsterdam, I think...
James: She's sitting on the horse trying to move the stairs up the way.
Liam: What happened is that during her tour, the crew didn't get the memo that they need to move the stairs out of the way. So the horse didn't go up the stairs. And someone made it so me and James were sat on the stairs.
James: Sat on the stairs!
15. What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?
James: Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala gown, the nude with the diamonds. Think of the nicest necklace you’ve ever seen, but in a dress. We saw in in person at a gallery. Sometimes you see things and it doesn't look how you imagined, but this was amazing.
Liam: It was like seeing jewelry. You get the stone, but it's the setting around the stone which makes it known that it's real jewelry. The setting of all these diamonds on this dress made it amazing. Everyone in the gallery was obsessed.
16. What is one thing everyone should buy that is under £10?
Liam: Eyebrow gel.
James: I would say under £10, everyone should buy a pen. Right? Because with a pen, you can draw whatever is over £10 that you really want, and you can manifest that dream down the road somewhere.
17. What piece of clothing from high school do you wish you kept?
Liam: I had this kilt that was really cute, and it was from Scotland. I wish I would have kept that, really.
James: My school tie. It was navy with red and white stripes. I used to always have my tie long. I was always wanted to wear it in that same way that I wear it now. Just long and normal.
18. What is your best beauty tip or trick?
James: It’s definitely all about sun protection and sleeping upside down for [getting] blood to the face.
Liam: What you spend on doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s about putting it on all the time. Don’t be precious about it.
19. What is your coffee order?
James: Americano with hot oat milk.
Liam: Extra hot milk. That has been my go-to order forever.
James: That is actually his coffee order.
Liam: I would go to my barista and whisper, "Can I have an extra milk," because I think, "Do people think I'm joking?" Yours is wet, isn't it?
James: I never knew it was called that, but they say it's like an oat milk latte that's wet, which means no foam. That's what they used to say to me, so now I say it to them. But sometimes I think, "What if it's like your first day as a barista and you don't know what that means?"