Hi, welcome! My name is Art — to be certain, Artem. If you are here, it means you are interested in learning more. So take a couple minutes, grab some popcorn, and let me tell you a little bit about my story.
I was born in the small town of Dobropillya, Donetsk Region in East Ukraine. I was raised by my mom and grandparents. I always loved creativity, and did a bunch of dancing, journalism, acting, and writing when I was in high school.
In 2014, my life changed. A lot. I finished high school right when war came to my country. I knew I was gay — and even though Ukraine is trying to be tolerant to LGBTQ people, it was far from a comfortable place to build a life for me. And now there was a war 80 miles from my house. So I had to take a radical step — and I left my country.
My family was pretty lower-middle class, but I had a big dream: Be free and build my life the way I want for me and my family. And I definitely have the best mom in the world. So we took a risk: We borrowed a bunch of money from her friends, and sent me with only three months allowance to Warsaw, Poland. By myself. Being only 17. Without really knowing Polish that well. I went to the capital to study at the University of Management in Warsaw.
My three years in Poland definitely helped me to grow up. Having two jobs and full-time school. Working months without a day off. Being expelled from the university, and then getting back into it. Learning different jobs, from giving away flyers, to being a receptionist, sales associate, and manager.
I brought my mom to Poland only six months after I moved out — I never wanted to leave her in the city next to war. So we moved in together in a small studio, and slept on small couch for two and a half years. Yes, I did slept with my mom till I was 20! But she worked at night, and I worked during the day, so it kind of worked out.
Three years in Poland made a shape of Art. I never really had time after school to do what I wanted to do — be creative.
I needed to survive.
After arriving in the USA on June 23, 2017, I started selling kites in a kite shop. I got this job by myself. I still think it is one of the biggest achievements of my life: I got a job in the USA after being in Poland without help, since by then I had a big way of working in the service industry. I had $500 when I moved to America — just like in classic movies. I had zero fear, though.
After my summer program, I decided that I wanted to stay and build my life here in the USA. I had a gay landlord, and after seeing how he can live freely in the USA, I was really shocked. I knew it was cool here in a majority of places, but I didn’t know it was that cool.
I moved to NYC just for one night — hated it. Left for Chicago, where I built up and finished my paperwork. (You can’t just stay here without paperwork, so it took me awhile to save up money for a lawyer and get everything done.) I worked my ass off at different restaurants, working lots of hours. Met a lot of xenophobia at some of them, bureaucracy in immigration, and homophobia from some Russian and Ukrainian people who lived in the USA already. But I never really gave up.
Remember, I was gay. Gay, and still in closet. I never really dated anyone.
After two years in Chicago, I decided to take my “American dream” to another level — Hollywood. I believed that was where I wanted to be. I packed my shit and moved again. That didn’t work out well, besides one thing: I finally started to accept the gay side of me. I went on dates, got my heart broken. I got myself into working as a stripper, or a lap-dance guy. (I don’t know which is the better description.)
Overall, I had done everything but what I actually came there for. I fucked up. And after being there for six months, I realized that was not really for me.
Long story short: I came back to Chicago. Worked my ass off in restaurants. And then Covid started. After the quarantine, I decided to go to Austin, Texas. Why? I honestly just googled “what is the best city to live in USA”.
With barely any money again, I moved to Austin. I started to work in a call center — but I hated it, so I got another job as a waiter. I worked in that restaurant for five months. Until I had a Christmas Miracle.
Now we are getting to a plot twist.
I loved social media, and I started a YouTube channel that was in Polish about life in America. I did it the same time after I quit the call center. I got to three thousand subscribers, which was pretty awesome, but I faced again people guessing my sexuality… and I was ashamed of it, because I was pretending to be straight. I was giving, you know… they would say I was giving a “Cher”. I was so tired. Almost 24 years old, and still in closet.
In November 2020, everything changed when I started my TikTok. I was trying to do some lipsync and comedy, and still pretending to be a little bit straight, but in the next month on Christmas I posted a video that changed my life.
It was a coming-out video — me walking with a LGBTQ flag in front of the Bank of America. You would ask why? I don’t know! We just thought I needed to do it somewhere in public, and the BOA parking lot had pretty good lighting.
Three hours after posting, I had over 500,000 views. I went viral. I already had 30,000 followers before this video, but after five days I had 130,000 followers.
My life changed. I inspired a lot of younger and even older people. Just by being myself, I guess? I was really shocked. I continued creating my content, and started to grow on all different platforms by sharing my story, doing pride videos, thirst traps, comedy videos…
I started to go live, and created an amazing community around me. I quit my job because my Patreon and other platforms were paying me more, and I could focus on my content creation. Different photographers reached out to me to do some sexy-shmexy photoshoots. I started to love my body more and more, and feeling more accepted.
One year after I moved to Austin, I felt like I outgrew this city, and wanted to do bigger things. I moved to New York City to finally make my biggest dreams come true. If you can make it here, it means you can make it anywhere, right?
What do I do now? I create content. I entertain people with short videos, livestreams, thirsty pics, and sharing a lot of my body on OnlyFans. (Don’t give me shit about it, though — I don’t do porn. I don’t have anything against people who do, but for me it is a good way to monetize my content, helping me to make my dreams come true, and also sharing parts of my body for people who appreciate it.) I tell my stories on YouTube and my podcast. I live in the Upper West Side, and I’m dating a beautiful, kind guy.
Wow, that was quite a long story! If you are still here, I really thank you very much that you read it. It means a lot. I’ve had a big and bumpy road, so maybe my experiences will help some people to believe in themselves — or at least make them smile.
(P.S. Want to learn more about how I did it? Check out my new Social Media course!)