Perhaps you know him from his appearance on the Netflix series Hype House, or his status as one of the premier gaming streamers in the U.S., or from the front row at Dior and AMI Paris. And if on the off chance you don’t, surely a post (catnip for his more than 15.5 million TikTok followers) has appeared in your “For You” feed. If thirst traps were a sport, baby, he’d be the MVP. Next up? Acting. But first, a chat with the 21-year-old phenom.
EVAN ROSS KATZ: How do you describe what you do to people who are not into social media?
VINNIE HACKER: That’s a really good question because it took a while for my parents to understand. I don’t really give them an exact description. I tell them that it’s the beginning of making your own path into something.
ERK: Do you feel like your parents now understand your fame?
VH: To a certain extent. They know what it is and they know everything that it has done for me, but I think it’s hard for them to see me grow up as a person on social media.
ERK: What did you find most challenging about social media when you first started out?
VH: In the beginning, it was hard to be myself publicly. It was, “This is who you guys think I am, and I’m going to stick to that.” But then I realized it was not the right way to do it. That is the hardest part about it, finding yourself, staying yourself through all of it, and being able to show your true self to everyone.
ERK: Before you found the success that you have now, had you thought about your career?
VH: I wanted to play baseball. Then COVID hit and that didn’t seem like something that I’d be able to do. Then I wanted to go to a community college for fire science and eventually work my way up to being a firefighter. That was my plan right before I moved out to California.
ERK: When did modeling become something that you were interested in doing?
VH: I was never really confident, especially with my teeth. As soon as I got my braces off, I signed to this agency in Seattle. It was slow for about two, three years and then I moved out to California and stopped being scared, scared to ask photographers, scared to ask brands, scared to ask about all that stuff. I just let it go.
ERK: What is the most difficult thing about being a model?
VH: It is fun and it’s super enjoyable and it’s a great way to meet people, but I will say it is hard to stand still for a long time. Sometimes I feel my eyes start twitching and I’m like, “Oh god, I hope they didn’t get that one on camera.” It is very taxing, those hours of just literally trying to sit there and model.
ERK: What is one goal you want to accomplish before the end of the year?
VH: I definitely want to get into acting more. I started taking acting lessons and voice acting. I want to become more confident in myself in that aspect.
ERK: You have a ton of tattoos. I’m wondering which is your favorite, and do any—maybe it’s your favorite one—have an interesting story as to their origin?
VH: I have one on my right thigh that is a snake with a knife through it, but the knife is going behind it. My friend did it one night at two in the morning. I was so tired and she wanted to do it for a video, and I was like, “Oh yeah, for sure.” But I started feeling so much pain in my thigh when she was doing it that I said, “We gotta stop.” So, it’s half done and I haven’t touched it for two years.
ERK: Will you finish it?
Interview Evan Ross Katz
Photography Jack Bridgland
Fashion Nicola Formichetti
Creative Director Stephen Gan
Editor-In-Chief Mathias Rosenzweig
DP Mynxii White
Makeup Sarah Tanno (Forward Artists)
Hair Bobby Eliot (The Wall Group)
Manicure Jolene Brodeur (The Wall Group) using Chanel Beauty
Executive producer Dana Brockman (viewfinders)
Production manager Frank DeCaro (viewfinders)
Producers Robbi Chong, Din Morris (viewfinders)
Digital technician DJ Dohar
Lighting technician Ryan Hackett
Photo assistants Adam Matijasevic, Ricky Steel
Stylist assistant Brianna Dooley
Makeup assistants Phuong Tran, Ghost
Hair assistant Arbana Dollani