Do you recall having those wild “teen-pulsed” moments during your adolescence, when everything felt utterly frivol that you couldn’t give a f*** about your parents’ advice on life as a whole? Hell yeah, how I miss such. For the lucky, growing up can be nothing other than nurturing an easy-peasy trail of events, gripped by merriness and honey-like vibes: the “not-so-perfect” love, your unflustered boy-gang, the great marks at school, or perhaps a cherished hobby. We could go on… The sole problem is that, unexpectedly, obstacles may result in undermining crucial facades of your joyful being, playing a pivotal part on your physical and emotional status. In line with this topic, we chose to freeze your badass thoughts for an instant by chatting to an influential cultural trapper, AKA Drew Wyllie. The 23-year-old millennial from Essex, following the completion of a Journalism degree from Bournemouth University, deliberately began opening up about his insecurities, a decision which led him to take part in BBC Three’s Series entitled “Porn Laid Bare.” Besides, Wyllie seizes a goal: kickstart a sweeping revolution by getting more and more boys to open up, in order to profoundly dissect society’s expectations of what it means to be a man. Wyllie’s currently in the process of making his own documentary, as well as modeling and writing on all afore-stated matters.

We chose to catch up with an enthralling yet cutting-edge social wrestler, fronting a relentless quest with contemporary moralities. Guessing most of us can relate. Just watch out.

“It was a vicious cycle of self-hatred that I would put myself through, in order to force myself to try and place my sexuality and masculinity in a neat box. I felt ashamed of my sexuality and it was a massive thing for me. This sent me on a downward spiral whereby I would have nights where I would just force myself to watch porn after porn, doing webcam with random older men from the other side of the world.” – Drew Wyllie.

Hi Drew, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m fake, I’m flirty, and I got double F’s. Nahhhh, on a real one – I am MANY things, but I guess one of my standout qualities is being open-minded. I’m open-minded to life, in love and things I find interesting. I try to stay as open-minded as possible in order to get the best experience and keep learning. It took a while for me to discover that being open-minded, confident with who you are and what you want, relaxing and enjoying life is key to happiness.


What’s your job?

My job right now (which I have given myself) is to channel all my experience and various things I have discovered about myself and the world around me into creative outlets. As a content creator, writer, presenter, and even modeling staying open-minded and expressing my experience through my work is at the core. I left university with a journalism degree, and like many, struggled to find a job. I decided to stop crying and sitting on my bedroom floor smoking in front of a room heater, and follow my instinct to find topics I knew I could contribute to and that I have something to say about – basically making my own job. It’s hard, but I have without a doubt found my voice and passion and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Has the subject of Pornography always entranced your practice?

I’d say that pornography has without a doubt captivated me from an early age. Like many young men, porn played a massive role in my sexual development and also affected how I view myself as a man. I was exposed to porn before I sought it out for myself. I remember vividly being in a PE changing room in year 7 at my school in Essex, aged 12 and being showed a page three that was being past around. Judging by the reactions of other boys, I knew that was the sort of thing I should be finding attractive. I should be getting off to that image of fake breasts, and an over-sexualized image of a woman, and guess what… It just wasn’t. For me, the “fakeness” was a turn-off. I’ve always been sexually open-minded, then began to explore other means of pornography such as women dominating men and BDSM – I also found gay porn arousing. This caused a massive problem for me. If I masturbated over a gay porn video, then afterward feel instant shame, and then force myself to find a straight video to wank over… It was a vicious cycle of self-hatred that I would put myself through to force myself to try and put my sexuality and masculinity in a neat box. I felt ashamed of my sexuality and it was a massive thing for me, this sent me on a downward spiral whereby I would have nights where I would just force myself to watch porn video after porn video and webcam with random older men from the other side of the world. I was trying desperately to put myself in a box that didn’t exist. Depression is a funny thing because it’s only when looking back do I realize how deeply unhappy I was. I began to self-harm, habit which I carried with me as a coping mechanism for many years. I have since looked back at the journals I used to keep with pages saying how much I hated myself and that I wished I wasn’t there. It makes me sad to think back to how unhappy and unaccepted I was – but also incredibly grateful with where I am with everything today.

“Porn was used as a tool for me to express my sexuality but also a tool in which I used to repress my sexuality. It looks me many years of hatred to unlearn the toxic rules I had interpreted of how to be a man – I desperately looked for acceptance from other people until one day I realized the only acceptance you need is from yourself. The way you express your masculinity and sexuality is beautiful. You need to love yourself and be confident. Then nothing no one else or society says matters.

Could you talk us through your philosophy and ethos?

My philosophy and ethos are all based on self-love. Acknowledge and understand who you are before trying to form relationships or put your energy out into the world. I got to this stage by spending a lot of time with myself. I talk to myself, dance on my own and practice mindfulness – sounds proper spiritual and deep but It’s as simple as feeling happy and comfortable when spending time with yourself. Honestly, when you lay in bed at night you only have yourself. I think because I used to have such a bad relationship with myself where I would literally say that I hated who I was and cut myself. I’m now super conscious of how negative words and thoughts of yourself can affect your quality of life. If you practice self-love, then you have nothing but love to give to the world. It’s the law of attraction, start loving and being positive then all kinds of good things will work their way back to you – that’s my philosophy.


When did you start feeling you had to explore such sphere, and what experience led you to gravitate towards such dimension?

Growing up I always felt very alone in my experiences and found it really hard to connect with other people about the issues I had with my masculinity, sexuality and mental health. I think a lot of it has to do with feeling like I didn’t have a role model growing up. The men I saw on TV were either extremely camp stereotypes of gay men or very blokey meathead characters – I mean by all means do your thing, but I needed to see more variety and men speaking about real shit. I started questioning why these outdated stereotypes have perpetuated our media for so long. Whilst at university, I created a short documentary looking at masculinity. This topic was very raw to me, but I found the challenge of the topic exciting to explore and basically like free therapy. What happened next was very surprising. Many boys, boys who on the surface I thought were super confident alpha males started coming to me and telling me their problems growing up. I was shocked that so many boys had gone through similar issues and it just wanted me to continue speaking about this subject. I took part in a BBC documentary series called Porn Laid Bare – it was then when I realized how much porn has played a role in my development as a man and also how I view sex. I started to question my relationship with porn and look at the categories I enjoy (past and present) and really think why. Why do I like watching a young man getting spanked in a BDSM scene? Why do I find lack of dominance attractive? I have put a lot of pressure on myself growing up, and a lot of the time I expressed that pressure and pain through the porn I used to force myself to watch or the sexual encounters I sought out. I discovered a lot but I also discovered that porn is just porn and you don’t have to deep it too much, but it is good to be aware.

How has your sexuality made an impact on your overall thinking?

My sexuality, or rather the exploration of my sexuality has been a long and hard journey – littered with many painful moments.

“I was called out and labeled as gay before I even knew what the word gay meant. Being told what your sexuality is from before you’ve even had your first wank without a doubt shapes and impacts the way you think and view yourself. For a long long time, I wished I was gay. I wished I could just tell people – yes, I’m gay. Fuck off. But I’ve always had an attraction towards women. It’s not just school playground society trying to put you into a box, for their peace of mind – it’s the negative connotations and daily bullying that came from other people trying to make me feel inferior for being different.”

It was the limp hand gestures people would make. It was people making fun of my unbroken voice that was higher than the other boys. It was being shut out of a conversation with other boys who didn’t warm to me, it was feeling bad not liking football or sport, it was feeling lost, confused and misunderstood. This confusion led me to explore my sexuality at an extremely youthful age and find myself in a sexual situation with a much older guy that I had met online. When I think back to the dark days of my high school where I was self-harming, all I can think of was how much hate I had for myself. I hated who I was and how I came across to people. But I also look back and think of all those boys that decided my sexuality for me and tried to break me down, were probably the most insecure. I think growing up in Essex, where “lad” stereotypes are more widespread – it was really hard for me to find my voice. There was and still is a lot of toxic masculinity in these areas and I think a lot of the boys who negatively interacted with me projecting how shit they felt. Thankfully, the way I view myself and my sexuality can not be any more different to back then. Today I celebrate the man I have become. Today I celebrate my sexual fluidity and the fact I can love both men and women. My sexuality and my mannerisms are a gift and I am extremely grateful for them. It makes me unique, and I don’t let anyone make me feel insecure about it. One thing I have learned from being sexually fluid is that it’s not necessarily about men and women I find attractive it’s the idea of dominance.

“Being submissive to a male or woman is a massive turn on for me, and I also like to be dominant. Sexuality is so fluid, and when I realized this, I stopped trying to put myself in a box. I just like what I like when I like it.”

Have you ever been criticized for what you stand for?

Of course! But I think that overall, the biggest and harshest criticism has come from myself. Feeding other people’s opinions or comments into your own perception of yourself is extremely damaging – and something that I have learned the hard way. One lil thing I’ve learned, though, is that If you have a strong relationship with yourself then confidence and self-love can outshine this criticism by making it much harder for other people’s comments and opinions to affect you. It’s not easy – it’s constant work. I have days where criticism gets to me, but I just have to come back to the reasons why I am doing what I’m doing and find my focus. Self-love is a daily practice and when you are truly loving and caring for yourself nothing and no one has the power to get to you.


What message are you aiming to portray through your words?

Honestly, the main message I want to portray is short and simple. Don’t look for acceptance from others – the only acceptance you need is from yourself. Love yourself and who you are because you are unique and that should be celebrated by everyone – but most of all, by yourself.

“Society has wronged us all, we are all victims of the patriarchy and love and an increase in consciousness can help us come together.”

Do you feel empowered and fully capable of making a statement?

I think in this world of cancel culture and social climate we live in, you have to empower yourself. It’s not enough to feel confident, you have to understand and expect people not to understand you or that people will not always be supportive of you. To get through this I always go back to myself and remember who I am and why I am creating something. I have built a strong relationship with myself and that’s what keeps me going. In order for me to create the content I want, I have to acknowledge my privilege. It’s really important to humble yourself and come out of your bubble to see an issue from another perspective. I think we can all be guilty from staying in our bubble – listening to another’s experience and narrative is extremely important.


Where do you hope that your dialogue and vision head to next?

I am doing everything right now to continue this journey and spread the message of inclusion, self-love, and acceptance for everyone. I will be creating a documentary series that will empower and uplift men who have been conditioned by a society who looks down on men for displaying emotions. Mental health and suicide are alarmingly high amongst men, and I want to reach out to boys, so the men of tomorrow have less bullshit to deal with. I will be listening to stories and be a part of the movement to get men talking.

Photos by Grace Bristo.