“My Instagram is fairly slutty now, I’m not going to lie.”
More than 50,000 people follow Kiefer Cooke and his globe-trotting bottom on Instagram.
He’s a 40-something hair-stylist who lives in Stockholm. He and his ex-boyfriend Magnus share custody of their dog Kali.
Kiefer is also a big deal on social media – mostly because he gets naked, a lot. But he never planned on being an Instafamous, rarely-clothed homosexual. He only started sharing his photos because he was bored.
“I moved here in winter and there’s not a huge amount to do in Stockholm in the winter,” he laughs.
And, he insists, it was never his plan to show so much skin. That’s a relatively recent development.
“OK, the basic structure is fairly slutty now, I’m not going to lie. I can’t deny that,” he says. Kiefer blames Instagram for that.
“I was never ‘that guy’, never hugely over confident”
“That’s developed because of what Instagram does to you. The attention you get is very unusual and it’s not attention I’m used to, trust me.
“I was never ‘that guy’, never hugely over confident,” he insists. “People think I am when they meet me but that isn’t the case.”
But there’s more to Kiefer’s Instagram than showing off his bum, nipples and enviable home life. He says he wants to show that getting your kit off and flashing your bits isn’t something just for people in their 20s.
“I had back surgery a few years ago so I’m trying to tie that in with it,” he says.
“Just because you’re not a certain age any more or don’t feel as physically vital as you once did, you can still get your tits out and feel good about yourself.”
But Instagram doesn’t make everyone feel good about themselves. Despite his positive experiences, Kiefer understands how Instagram can be damaging to some people.
“Instagram should be about having fun and taking snapshots of your life,” he says. “For me, it’s not meant to be any deeper than that. But the truth is it is more than that.”
“If you’re not old enough to know better, or if you’re not confident enough to have enough belief in yourself, I can see why Instagram could be hugely damaging.”
There are even downsides for people with tens of thousands of followers, he reveals. The more people watching, the worse the paranoia when your latest pic flops with the fans.
“When the attention wanes, it’s terrifying,” he says. “There are moments when I post a picture and if it doesn’t get more than 3000 likes I think I’ve done something wrong and I start to analyze it.”
“I’m just a bored queen who’s going to the gym. It’s not a big deal, I’m not a different person.”
He has even run into trouble with mates and ex-boyfriends about how much of his skin he’s sharing online.
“There have been arguments with a few exes and friends saying ‘who do you think you are?’” Kiefer says. “But they know who I am. I’m just a bored queen who’s going to the gym. It’s not a big deal, I’m not a different person.”
This reaction, he says, is what has stopped him going one step further and baring all on a subscriber site such as JustFor.Fans.
“Part of me is like, OK, why not make some coin out of it while the arse is still good enough to do so,” he says. “But my good friends will see it, or they’d know I was using it and there is a limit for me. So the answer is probably no, although I did consider it.”
But for all the umming and ahhing over Instagram, Kiefer says it’s important to remember what it is: a few photos in an app.
“Use it as a tool for just having a wonderful experience,” he says. “The meeting people and gaining a little bit of confidence you weren’t overflowing with before? Just know to try and keep it in check. I don’t depend on it. If you depend on it, you’re fucked.”