NEW RULERS: HEIR OF ATTICUS
Look out, world! Heir of Atticus is dominating the TikTok and modeling game, but it doesn’t stop there. Find out more in this VMAN exclusive.
Since first introduced to Gauge Burek back in July 2020, much has come of the multi-hyphenate creator whose claims the internet moniker, Heir of Atticus. With a cool 2 million followers on TikTok, a brand new modeling campaign with YSL, and two massive billboards in Los Angeles and Soho, New York to boot, there is no mistaking that the 20-year-old is forging a legitimate path to stardom in whatever capacity. The Las Vegas-born creative catches up with VMAN in an exclusive interview about his burgeoning fashion & acting careers and his secret formula to viral TikTok-making.
Read the full interview below:
VMAN How have you been lately? What have you been up to?
Heir of Atticus I’ve been really good actually for the most part. I just had [my first] campaign come out with Saint Laurent and the first billboard ever yesterday, which was absolutely crazy.
VM What was even going through your head when you saw that billboard for the first time?
HA So when I first saw the campaign come out, I went to the store to see it. And it was really impressive but when we saw the billboard…that’s when it really hit. I think I was more excited about that than graduating. It’s incredible to see your face like that…It’s hard to put into words. It was crazy.
VM That’s a major milestone for your first major modeling and fashion campaign. What was that like?
HA I think I expected it to be a lot scarier than it actually was. I was expecting very snobby people. But David Sims would talk to everybody and was so sweet. And when I got to set, he was asking what kind of music I wanted to play. I said Echosmith & the Bunnymen. And he was like, “No way, that’s my favorite song.” And we kind of hit it off and it was super easy. He didn’t direct me too much and I felt very fluid; he wanted me to be who I am. I thought that was very cool.
VM What’s your relationship with fashion like?
HA I used to be really quiet and meek, but as I’ve progressively matured, I’ve found that it’s more about individuality. I feel like people who are wearing something really interesting and cool bring a bit of a good personality, physically. I really started to appreciate that when I was like 17 and 18-years-old and began researching more about brands that I found really interesting and the meanings behind their collections and shows and how those go together. That was entrancing. I believe fashion is [an ode] to your soul than to what you want people to look at you as.
VM You’re a TikTok sensation. There’s a lot of fashion, but there’s also glam and you give a lot of vlog content. Can you tell me how that sort of feeds into your TikTok presence?
HA I tackle a lot on my platform. I take up a lot of hobbies mostly because I see a lot of stuff on TikTok that’s really interesting to me. But I’m focusing more on point of view storytelling. It’s cool to show them into your brain with a certain sound and audio to be able to correlate those two and make something new. But sometimes, I’ll make makeup videos or “how to make a rug out of lake yarn” or “how to paint on clothes” videos too.
VM Where you get your makeup inspiration from?
HA I think a lot of it is mostly just stuff from my head. That sounds very vague, but I used to be really bad in school cause I was always daydreaming and drawing––there’s just a lot that goes in my mind. When I shoot with people, I like to try to take it and make it almost like a screenshot from a movie. I want to be able to give it more of a story than just like a selfie or just like a picture of myself. I love certain photographers and I think it’s an extension of that. I take a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, too. I love Pinterest.
VM What do you like on Pinterest?
HA I have a couple of folders and stuff, but much of it is Japanese-inspired, and I saved some cookbooks too. Some photoshoot concepts from certain photographers or promos for bands I get inspiration from. There are so many Green Day promos where they’re in this really grimy, green-lit 7/11, like making out in the bathroom and it’s shot with this big fish-eye lens– so interesting to look at. Things like that catch my eye a lot. And I‘m trying to get into [cooking]. The only thing I’ve made successfully recently has been Shepherd’s pie. But I’m trying to get more involved in that too. I feel like I need to eat better (laughs).
VM What are some of the things you love most about TikTok and the things you like least?
HA What I love most about being on TikTok is the energy; for the most part, everyone just wants to make everybody else smile. I think one of my favorite things is to see every creator’s different take on things. If you think about it, there’s audio, but there are a hundred thousand different ways you can use it. And it’s cool to see if someone’s going to put in the effort in the storytelling and whatnot. One of the things I don’t like a lot about TikTok is copying. Sometimes you do see a very simple idea and then you realize someone else did it, almost like exactly this.
For the TikTok dances, some people don’t credit the original dancers and it’s a little frustrating. But I noticed recently too, that a lot of the top comments and a lot of videos have become negative. You go to like any video in your For You Page and the top comment is like something a little bit negative. It’s a little sad to see that, but I still love it.
VM How do you deal with that sort of negativity?
HA I think it’s more about knowing your own worth. Because words are just words, but if you let it have too much power over you, that’s when it becomes an issue. As long as you know who you are and what you’re doing, I think that’s more important than what someone says about you. You can’t give it power over you.
VM What does your posting process look like? Is it something that it’s very premeditated or done on a whim?
HA There are times where I can go through certain audios and sounds, and really picture something there. And then I’ll kind of premeditate the process. Usually, when I have something, I’ll sketch the frames out in a notebook and then execute it. And sometimes you just want to have fun with your friends in the video, or just be silly for a bit which is really nice too.
VM Do you think that at this point you’ve mastered the virality component of TikTok and what does that look like?
HA I don’t think I try to make sure a video goes viral. I think I just try to make sure that it’s something that I’m proud of overall. It’s more important to me than a number. But I’ve spent like eight hundred dollars to get props and everything set up for a video and it just didn’t do that good, which doesn’t even matter because I went into it knowing that this is what I wanted to do. My best-performing TikToks have been point-of-view or storytelling and my highest viewed video was a video of me transitioning into a zombie, basically. That one reached a million likes, which is actually incredible. It’s weird seeing the number, honestly.
VM What’s the next project that we can expect from you?
HA I’m trying to get more into green screens and special effects. I wanted to do this video, of me walking on telephone wires, while I was singing with a song or something. I’ve also been trying to get more into photography, like Y2K photography. I feel like I’d have a lot of fun. That’s more like my speed and some of the things that make sense. The editing has been a big thing for me right now too.
VM Where do you see your modeling career going from here? Is this something that you want to pursue seriously?
HA Most definitely. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in front of a camera doing the photoshoots than I do sometimes in a video. It’s one of the only things that makes me so happy to be able to collaborate with a photographer to make something cool out of it. And I think that’s like one of my favorite things and I’d love to continue to keep on doing that for as long as possible.
VM What’s next for you?
HA Right now, I’ve been thinking about getting into acting. I’m supposed to be getting a coach pretty soon. But I feel like with having started doing TikToks, I kind of grew to really enjoy seeing a story building, and I think it’d be really incredible to be a part of that.
VM Any actor in particular that inspires you?
HA Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp. And it’s really cool to see Winona play so many different types of characters. She can play the Heathers character where she’s kinda like the mean girl, but also traverse into “Girl, Interrupted” where she’s [at an asylum]. And I think she’s absolutely incredible. Also, Luka Sabbat too! I’ve been a big fan of this work for a while. He’s a model, an actor, and curating these galleries. I take a lot of inspiration from them.