Top Rank Podcast Presents: Desmond is Amazing on Life as a Child Social Media Influencer

Henry Street Settlement founder Lillian Wald was a critical advocate for children’s rights on the Lower East Side and nationally. In celebration of the 125th year anniversary of Henry Street Settlement, Abrons Arts Center reflects on the role of children as agents for change.

What is it like to be a professional social media influencer at just 10 years old? On this live recording of the Top Rank Podcast, New York City-born, drag performer, and youth LGBTQ advocate known as Desmond is Amazing speaks with podcast co-hosts Isabel Flower and Marcel Rosa-Salas about his emerging entertainment career, activist endeavors, and how social media is transforming the experience of childhood today.

Desmond Napoles (AKA Desmond is Amazing) is a performer, drag kid, awarded LGBTQ advocate, outspoken gay youth, editorial model, public speaker, founder of his own drag house, fashion designer, muse, and icon. Most importantly, he is an inspiration to many and a representation of hope for the future to come.  With over 60,000 Instagram followers, Desmond has made a name for himself as an up and coming social media influencer at just 10 years old.

The Top Rank Podcast is a process-oriented research platform, grounded in conversation. Working in collaboration with our listeners, we hope to create a flexible knowledge-production outlet that is exploratory rather than prescriptive or conclusive.

Marcel Rosa-Salas is a cultural anthropologist and documentary filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY. She holds a B.A in Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently a PhD candidate at New York University, where her dissertation research centers on the American advertising industry. Marcel’s research is supported by the Ford Foundation and the Wenner Gren Foundation. She is also cohost of the Top Rank podcast with Isabel Flower.

Isabel Flower is a New York–based writer and editor. She studied studio art and art history at Princeton University, was formerly the associate editor of Artforum Magazine, and is currently a writer for the experience design agency Elephant. Her writings on art, style, and cultures of consumption have been published in Artforum, Bookforum, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Cultured, Grailed, and QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. She is also the cohost, with Marcel Rosa-Salas, of the Top Rank Magazine podcast.

Top Rank Podcast Presents: Desmond is Amazing on Life as a Child Social Media Influencer is presented as part of the ICPP Curatorial Leadership Fellowship, with support from the Ford Foundation. This program has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.
Image: Roxy Taylor