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When aspiring actors Nick Champa and Pierre Amaury Crespeau met at a movie audition in Hollywood in early 2017, Crespeau said, his heart was on lockdown.
“I was coming out of a tough breakup, and after one, two, three, four … heartbreaks, I lost the dream of a fairy-tale relationship,” Crespeau, who is known as “Pierre Boo” on social media, told NBC News.
Their romantic connection, however, couldn’t be denied, and the duo moved in together just a month after that first encounter.
“When we met and kind of realized we had the same drive and passion, we were just like, ‘Let’s do this together,’” Champa said.
In late 2018, they started to share their little glimpses of their life — along with goofy pranks, challenges and viral dances — via Instagram posts and videos, and their connection attracted a large following of teens and moms. Then, in 2019, when TikTok gained global popularity, the couple started to create content there as well, taking full advantage of the platform’s latest trends and features.
Now, five years after that first chance encounter, Crespeau, 31, and Champa, 26, have amassed a massive social media following, with a combined 23 million followers on TikTok and nearly 2 million on Instagram. Their growing fanbase, they said, is largely composed of teens and their moms.
Some of their most popular videos include their travel vlogs, dance challenges and pranks.
TikTok, which reported having 1 billion active global users in September, launched a $200 million Creator Fund in 2020, which benefits users who reach over 100,000 authentic video views in 30 days. In July, TikTok said the fund would increase to over $1 billion in the U.S. over the next three years and double that amount globally.
Crespeau and Champa, whose videos garner millions of views every week, easily surpass that benchmark and confirmed that they have been beneficiaries of the Creator Fund. Their success on the platform has also landed them campaign deals with Spotify and Asos, among others.
“We got into it without knowing where it was going. When it really started to build some sort of career, we were like, ‘Did our relationship just become our career?’” Crespeau said, adding that the couple’s social media success has enabled them to upgrade from studio apartment renters to Hollywood homeowners.
While the couple has their fair share of followers, not everyone is a fan of the picture perfect — and perhaps syrupy sweet — relationship they illustrate on their social media accounts.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumnus Bob the Drag Queen is among their critics. The drag star “stitched” a video (stitching allows a TikTok user to trim a clip from someone else’s video and then use it at the start of theirs) posted by the couple and shared it with his 2.4 million followers, saying, “I have to block these two. They’re not doing anything wrong, but I have to block them.”
The couple responded to critics with a video titled “We are not perfect” on their YouTube channel, which boasts over 1 million subscribers. In the video, which was viewed more than 250,000 times, Crespeau revealed that Bob the Drag Queen’s remark — and the commenters that piled on to critique the couple for projecting “perfection” — “depressed” him. He said in the video that he and Champa do have “arguments” and sometimes there is “yelling,” but, he added, “at the end of the day, we’re together, and we have moments that are happy.”
According to Champa, the couple is not going to stop “pumping out happy content” anytime soon.
“That’s genuinely what we are most of the time and what we like to put out there,” he told NBC News. “Also, we never felt like we had a good representation of a happy, healthy queer couple. When I was growing up, it constantly was stories being told of suffering and pain — that we had to go through this negative journey through life. I was like, ‘I’m sick of that. That’s not helpful for me. I don’t want to put that out there. I want to portray happiness.’”
As for Crespeau, he said he once again believes in the possibility of a “fairy-tale relationship,” and he hopes the positive content he and Champa share with their fans will inspire them to believe in this, too.
Source: This post first appeared on NBC News