Austin Helms is the co-owner of 21st Century Life, a New York-based party planning and promotions organization focused on gay culture, nightlife, and advocacy. A self-proclaimed "Creativity Enthusiast," Helms throws amazing parties in New York City and writes about gay New York on his blog, The Fabulous Apple. Neither of us quite remember where, when, or how we first met which oftentimes happens when meeting people in nightlife - we'll all have different stories. I was pretty sure we first met at Splash Bar on a Campus Thursday but, when asked, Austin claims, "was it on Grindr or Manhunt? I seem to remember seeing pictures of you long before I met you."
His nightlife attire is oftentimes comprised of dramatic make-up, fabulous accessories, and a rockstar attitude with a southern charm. He's not intimidating, he's fierce and knows how to werq it.
Elle: You know that I adore your style - where do you get the inspiration for your many looks?Helms: That's very sweet of you! I sometimes don't even see myself as having a "style." But I do like to gender-fuck with my nightlife wardrobe: scruffy and chest hair with heels and tights, for example. The makeup inspiration originally came from Bowie and the glam rockers, but I've since been inspired by other kids in the nightlife and some of my favorite photographers. Most of the time I just start with some eyeliner and see where my imagination takes me.
Lola Cabana, Austin Helms, and Alex X on the set of The Pregame
Helms got his start in nightlife and party planning with his friend and business partner, Robert Maril (DJ Executive Realness). They wanted a place to dance in the West Village and, after looking through a few bars, finally approached the owner of Boots & Saddle. Originally pitched as a bi-monthly Thursday night event, the weekly Friday night party known as Paradise Lost came into fruition. Helms and Maril have had a few other projects and events throughout the years including East of Eden at Vig 27 and Helms' online show The PreGame. Austin is currently hosting Sunday Social at Eastern Bloc and RIOT!, a monthly dance and drag party fundraiser at the Stonewall Inn which benefits Queer Rising, a grassroots organization which advocates for queer equality through nonviolent direct action.
While Austin and 21st Century Life are planning to start up another weekly Friday party and a few other events, you can still catch him grabbing a drink, munching away, or generally being his fabulous self at brunch for his weekly Sunday Social. I'm usually still recovering from Saturday night festivities but y'all should come on out and join us for a drink... or three.
Photo credit: Roberto Araujo Photography