V's Class of 2018: Adam Eli and Marc Sebastian

V's Class of 2018: Adam Eli and Marc Sebastian

The duo are using their platforms with Voices4 to help the LGBT community fight back against hate.

The duo are using their platforms with Voices4 to help the LGBT community fight back against hate.

Text: Staff

Adam Eli, social content creator, and Marc Sebastian, model, could just go along their merry way on those traditional career paths  — but they're not ones to sit around as they watch injustices of the world occur. Both inspired and infuriated by the mass captures of gay men in the Russian province of Chechnya, the duo co-founded Voices 4, a non-violent activist group that works to fight injustices and help people affected by these hate crimes against the LGBT community, making them an inspired pick for our Class of 2018. Presented as two of the first inductees at our party with Uniqlo to celebrate our Class and the Uniqlo U Spring/Summer 2018 collection, the two answered our questions about success, creativity, and their beginnings for V.

Adam Eli:

What's the best advice you've ever received and why?

On Oprah’s Lifeclass series, she says “You are responsible for your own life. If you’re sitting around waiting on somebody to save you, to fix you, to even help you, you are wasting your time because only you have the power to take responsibility to move your life forward”. That video gave me permission to reinvent myself as often as I needed.

How did you get your start?

Growing up, I was taught that the Jewish people had an obligation help marginalized people because of our own history of persecution.  My introduction to LGBTQIA+ and social media activism was at Gays Against Guns. In the first few meetings, I stayed silent, feeling like I had nothing to add as the experienced activists created a group from scratch. At our sixth meeting they asked for someone to help with social media from our first protest and I surprised myself as my hand shot into the air. I quickly became the Gays Against Guns social media manager. By the time Trump was elected I had months of social media activism experience and jumped into action.

When and where do you feel most creative?

I get my best ideas on the elliptical machine!

Who is your dream collaborator, in any field (music, art, fashion, etc.) and what kind of project would you love to do with this person?

It would be incredible to collaborate with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I’d love to work on a millennial targeted education program about Nazi persecution of homosexuals in third reich. A key form of oppression is a denying a people their history. The more we understand about ourselves the stronger we are.

Where do you want to be professionally in 5 years? In 10 years?

I want to be incorporating storytelling into my activism work.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job(s)?

This summer I helped start an activist group called Voices4. I smile most when I hear our message being spread online or IRL. That queer people anywhere are responsible to help queer people everywhere.

Marc Sebastian:

What's your vision for the industry you work in for 2018?

Global Queer Liberation.

What's the best advice you've ever received and why? 

Enjoy the journey—don’t look too far ahead. There’s been a lot of times in my life I was too caught up in what was next that I didn’t get to enjoy what was happening right then and there.

What social/political issues or causes resonate with you most, and why?

Right now Voices4 is focusing primarily on LGBTQIA+ issues but total intersectionality is the goal.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? How did you overcome it? 

Taking the first leap into activism. I overcame it by finding the right people to do it with.

How did you get your start?

Two years ago I didn’t know that I would be an activist I just saw shift in the world that I could no longer stay silent about. When I moved back to New York, Adam took me to my first Gays Against Guns rally. From there I started getting involved in more direct actions and in August 2017 Voices4 was born.

How do you define success for yourself? Is it different than happiness? 

Success for me is a unwavering sense of self. Happiness comes with that.

When and where do you feel most creative?

In bed. In those 10 minutes before I fall asleep, unfortunately.

Who is your dream collaborator, in any field (music, art, fashion, etc.) and what kind of project would you love to do with this person? 

Activism is just one part of my journey. Television is next. My dream collaborators would be Ryan Murphy (creator of AHS, ACS, Scream Queens, Popular, etc) or Julie Andem (creator of Skam, a ground breaking Norwegian teen drama every single person must watch). These two show runners have created corner stone television programs about my generation and I’d love to sit on their development team.

Where do you want to be professionally in 5 years? In 10 years? 

See Question Two.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job(s)? 

Witnessing the incredible sense of community at our bi-weekly Wednesday night Voices4 meetings at the LGBT center. Come to one and you’ll see what I’m saying.

Adam Eli and Marc Sebastian wear Uniqlo U.
Credits: Photo by Tyrell Hampton. Casting by Harbinger Creative.

UP NEXT

V's Class of 2018: Alex Trochut