Riyadh is the first YouTuber to headline Gay Times magazine’s annual naked photoshoot.
Riyadh Khalaf has stripped off for a six-page spread in the latest issue of Gay Times magazine. The snaps were taken as part of a feature on body image, discussing unattainable standards in the gay community, and the shoot was also filmed as part of a body shaming episode for Riyadh’s upcoming BBC Three series on LGBTQ+ issues.
— Gay Times Magazine (@GayTimesMag) December 16, 2016
Speaking with TenEighty, Riyadh admits to being “terrified” before the shoot began, telling us he has some body image issues of his own: “It comes down to things like stretch marks, places that I’d like to be flatter and just general nitpicking of my own appearance”.
However, once it began, he confesses “my inhibitions just melted away” and describes it as “one of the more empowering, confidence-building experiences of my life”. He says it was “sort of euphoric to stand there with EVERYTHING on show and to not care”.
When asked about being the first YouTube star to front the feature, Riyadh says he saw it as the “next logical progression” from the personal nature of his videos. He also expresses his happiness that the mainstream media is beginning to give online creators the same attention as traditional celebrities.
“I knew before doing this shoot that I was not only representing the LGBTQ+ community but also the YouTube community, so the pressure was on!” he adds.
He admits to some worry about the public reaction to the photos, but claims he is “ready for the world to see me stripped bare”, saying his current mantra is: “F*ck it, take me or leave me as I am”.
Tomorrow morning I get to see those naked pics I took for the @GayTimesMag positive body image shoot. Nervous doesn't even cut it!
— Riyadh Khalaf (@RiyadhK) December 14, 2016
Riyadh observes how most body types aren’t represented in the media, expressing his view that society is “brainwashed over time to view the Adonis-type male body as the standard we need to try and achieve”.
He describes the human body as “a beautiful, complex, and amazing thing” and says that he is pleased with the recent trend of nudity being seen as “an artistic form of expression that goes beyond sexual desire or titillation”.
Riyadh’s shoot features in the latest issue of Gay Times which is available digitally now and in shops next week. His BBC Three documentary series will be released in 2017.