Neil Gitlis by Norrel Blair

Pink Haired Boy - Warm Sweater - Hands Holding Face - Soft Boy - HEYBOY
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HEYBOY x Vanity Teen Exclusive

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Photographer: Norrel Blair

Scouted By: HEYBOY

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Birthday: January 31, 2006

Birthplace: Paris, France

Birth Sign: Aquarius

We had the lovely chance to chat with Neil Gitlis about his life, passions and thoughts about the current state of the world. Touching base on Cancel Culture, High School, 90s Pop Culture & Social Media!  Hope you enjoy this editorial which was beautifully photographed by the ever so talented Norrel Blair.

Q) If you had to think about the rough past few years in a more positive light, what would you say you learned most from this strange worldwide situation we are in?

A) The pandemic began when I was 14 in eighth grade and I am now 16 in tenth grade. A lot of change can take place in 2 entire years especially as a growing child. Being at home all day everyday turned me into the worst version of myself while simultaneously turning me into a hermit that stayed inside and did nothing all day. I’d say that I learned how to take life day by day. Having all that time to reflect on my character taught me that it is okay to not have all the answers, and to treat yourself with ease.

Q) You have a very unique style! Who / which brand inspires you the most in the fashion world and why do you think you are drawn in to this specific person/brand.

A) I’ve always had a wacky sense of style but a lot of my current style influence comes from 90’s high school movies and old street wear magazines. I have been following this girl named Shy (@sl33zyskiz) on Instagram since I was in eighth grade and she is definitely a huge inspiration for me as I feel like she knows what she’s doing when it comes to layering and color coordination.

Q) Do you find yourself to be more of a morning person or do you find yourself waking up and having more creativity at night?

A) I have phases where I will wake up early and get everything done but most of the time, I get inspiration and ideas right when I am about to fall asleep. It gets kind of tiring forcing myself to be creative during the day but for some reason, it all comes to me at night.

Q) If you could pull a couple things from past 90s pop culture, what would you grab up right away and why these things specifically?

A) I would definitely take the way movies were filmed and written in the 90’s. I also would grab all of the nostalgic, classic items/brands such as Delias magazines and Lisa Frank. All of those bring a sense of nostalgia to my heart and nothing can beat that.

Q) The internet can be a scary place, we can only imagine how this effects kids currently in school. How do you view social media? Could you make a list of positives that outweigh the negatives, or how would you say social media needs to adjust a bit?

A) Social Media is great, but the negatives definitely outweigh the positives. It’s a great space for people like me who want to portray themselves in a very specific way and for people who have a hard time socializing in real life. Nonetheless, it is all very scary and everyday I see things that cause a spiral in my brain. Kids are posting everything and anything, and being exposed to things they shouldn’t be exposed to. Social media can really uplift someone but it can definitely deeply destroy someone as well. It’s almost like with social media there’s no going back, everything you post and say can and will be held against you.

Q) Biggest pet peeve?

A) Probably people who think they know everything. I hate when I have something exciting to say to somebody and they downplay it as if they already know or are sick of hearing from me.

Q) Cancel culture seems to be running rampant the past few years. We totally understand the need to hold people accountable for things, but we also have to understand what we started fighting for. Many people seem to be becoming more hateful, intolerant and harmful while saying they are fighting for love and fair treatment. Has cancel culture effected your life, or have you seen it happen within your school life? Has the motivation behind much of what you seen been done with the right intentions or have many adopted this mindset for bullying as we see on TikTok?

A) Cancel culture has definitely been tormenting me for a while now. It’s scary how much people enjoy collectively bashing an individual. In a lot of cases it is super necessary in order to get it through to somebody that what they’re doing or saying is not okay. But in most cases there’s a lack of empathy and understanding.

I feel like teens nowadays are fighting about who is more morally correct and partake in this odd moral hierarchy of wanting to be the “best” person out of everyone. People will go from loving you to telling you to end your life in a split second reducing you to a bad moment.

I cannot name one instance where cancelling someone has actually worked, people just love collectively hating someone to fill that void in their normal people lives. It is beyond necessary to hold people accountable, but berating someone with hateful words certainly does not do the trick.

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