Our featured influencer this month is Myles Sexton, whose flowing locks and killer runway walk are but an aside to their tireless work deconstructing and challenging gender constructs that have existed for far too long. A true up-and-coming Canadian style icon! —Vita Daily
Hi Myles! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m a content curator, creative director, stylist, MUA, HIV/AIDS and sobriety activist and queer fashion nomad based in Ontario, Canada.
How do you use your platform to impact those who follow you?
When you first come to my feed right away you see lewks and fashion, but if you actually take a closer look It’s not just pretty outfits—I am deconstructing and challenging gender constructs that have existed for far too long. I also use my platform to help fight stigma that still heavily exists in regards to HIV/AIDS and sexual health in general. I am also very open about my sober journey on my platform in hopes to inspire others.
We hear that you recently quit your corporate job in order to pursue content creation full time (congrats!); can you tell us what making that decision was like, what your plans are going forward and what the best part of working for yourself is?
Leaving the stability of a corporate job was honestly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. I’ve basically had a full-time job since I was 12 or 13, working for other people. To take the leap to fully just work for myself took a lot of mindfulness because I needed to work on actually loving and believing in myself wholeheartedly. Also, as someone living with HIV and not having health coverage, my medication is not covered by the government and costs over $4K for three months’ worth of pills; to lose that coverage with a terrifying prospect, and I needed to get to a place where I could also afford this huge cost on my own. Despite my fears and areas that needed some loving within me, I needed the freedom to grow into my new higher self. I knew I couldn’t do that working for someone else. Growth blooms from these scary moments in our lives and it can have the most transformative impacts. This year for me, ahead, is really just about leaning into myself even more. I’ve never had an undisturbed period of time in my life where I can create whatever I want and, honestly, I am so excited to see what pours out of me! I would have to say the best part of working for myself is the work-life balance. I got a puppy and moved to where the forest meets a small lake so I can take moments every day for mindfulness and joy. I needed to start feeding my soul again because I’ve been ignoring it for far too long.
You are honestly one of the most stylish people we know, and we often look to you for inspo! Where does your love for fashion come from? How is fashion changing/evolving? What is one “traditional” mentality or mindset around fashion that you believe really needs to change? What’s your personal style/fashion mantra?
My love of fashion really comes from two places in my life. First, fashion is my protest to the world around me, that gender is a construct. I want to challenge how people think and disrupt them from the bubble they feel safe inside of. It takes one tiny pebble to start an infinite ring of ripples. I choose my authenticity over my safety because representation matters and no other baby Myles out there in the world should feel shame if they don’t fit the gender constructs pushed upon us at birth. Second, fashion is a form of mindfulness for me; it’s my moment I take for myself every day that brings me so much joy and peace within. It’s the armour I need when the world can be cruel and an extension of my joy when I’m feeling all the good vibes. It’s exciting to see fashion evolving by removing gender from fashion; the last time I checked my sweater didn’t have genitals. I love seeing brands blurring the lines in their selections because everyone is going wear what they want anyway, so why are we creating stigma by creating this divide? The biggest mindset that needs to change within fashion would have to be “support local”. I have watched so many Canadian brands try and launch their business in this country and they have so much talent but consumers are so fixated on luxury over-hyped products or fast fashion that these way more talented designers never make it. I proudly say that 90 per cent of everything I wear supports a Canadian designer or Canadian owned business.
You have been very honest about your journey with HIV/AIDS as well as sobriety. How has being so open, honest and candid, so publicly, changed your life? What advice would you offer others in terms of opening up and speaking out for things that may be difficult or frightening to share?
Reclaiming your power over your trauma and shame is really quite incredible. We often don’t realize how much these internal emotions hold us back. Being so public holds me accountable to things that once caused me so much pain, but I have chosen joy instead. The hardest moments in my life have motivated me to truly understand the difference between temporary happiness and pure joy. It’s also brought so many people into my life and has fostered a community I didn’t know existed prior. So to quote everyone on IG, I feel #blessed. Opening up to friends or going public on social media can absolutely be terrifying. I would suggest that, if you want to do it, make sure your relationship with yourself is at a really solid place because you don’t know what could come your way from the depths of the Internet. When you’re dealing with pain and trauma in particular, it can be emotionally exhausting and triggering; even though you might be putting this information out into the world, set boundaries for yourself so that you don’t overwhelm your own emotions. That being said, if you are choosing to use your voice I applaud you because the more stories we share, the more people we touch and the more we normally think, loosening the grasp that stigma has on things like HIV/AIDS or sobriety.
Beyond the impeccable fashion sense, the top-notch makeup tips, the gorgeous travel inspo (Peru!) and the fierce runway walks, what part of your work/career as a content creator (among other things) are you most proud of?
My favourite part of my work is honestly connecting with people on all fronts. I love learning about people’s stories and hold space for others who might need it. Getting to collaborate with designers and artists inspires me to push myself artistically. Also having heart-to-hearts with those needing support on wanting to get sober. These stories bring so much fullness into my life and for that I’m so grateful.
With Pride month upon us, how will you be celebrating? Also, we know that many brands launch Pride/rainbow products at this time of year (we’re doing a whole roundup of these in this issue!); among those, is there one on your radar that’s especially meaningful and makes an impact?
I am very excited that Pride will be in person this year, though it’s Pride month every day in the magical world I live in. Community is so important, so seeing everyone come together again I think is going to be quite emotional for me this year. There are not many sober spaces unfortunately at Pride so for me it really will be about just being out and about in the public spaces and enjoying the creativity and happiness of everyone around me. I also am confirming many speaking engagements where I hope to educate, fight stigma and inspire others. In terms of Pride-related picks, I would say always look for what is giving back to the community. Unfortunately, too many brands launch Pride collections just for profit.
Any exciting summer plans for you (and @tattooed_ty)?! What can we look forward to seeing on your platforms in the near future?
This will be Tyler and my first summer together living on the lake so I am super excited to fully enjoy it. We will be doing lots of hiking, I’m sure, and I’m excited to take Tyler to Nova Scotia to see where I grew up and meet my family!
Follow Myles on Instagram. Photos by Nick Mezetti.