This article is a sponsored collaboration between Michael Kors and PAPER

As some of TikTok's most prolific queer creators have demonstrated this past year, nothing beats authenticity when it comes to building loyalty and engagement on Gen Z's hottest app. And with Pride Month fast approaching, it's never been more important to celebrate the LGBTQ community's most authentic selves.

The popular transformation video trends, in particular, were a welcome source of joy and inspiration for many of us at a time when we were all stuck indoors. Since style is such an important tool for showcasing transformation, the videos have really taken off with fashion lovers and comedy crowds alike.

That's why we partnered with Michael Kors to highlight four of TikTok's most inspiring queer content creators who definitely know a thing or two about style, authenticity and, of course, being hilarious. As a nod to the viral transformation trends, we asked them to show us how they glow up and put their pride on display while wearing Michael Kors' new Pride capsule collection.

Tyshon Lawrence, Ve'ondre Mitchell, Mad Tsai and Soph Mosca are all representative of this community's diverse following, each with their own unique story to tell but united in their ability to remain utterly authentic and creative while using clothing to help express who they are. Below, we spotlight each of their LGBTQ journeys, learn about what Pride means to them and what makes their style unique.

Tyshon Lawrence

Tyshon is a hilarious TikTok personality from North Carolina who's amassed nearly 10 million followers on the app thanks to his witty video reactions, social experiments and candid glimpses into his personal life. He's also dating queer and non-binary TikTok star Cristian Dennis.

How does clothing help express who you are and what you're about?

Clothing helps me express who I am because I can show off my different styles. If I'm feeling sassy one day or if I'm feeling like I want to just be a confident bitch, I wear strong and sassy clothes which represent that. If I'm feeling chill I wear something that I feel comfortable in. Clothing helps me express who I am and what I'm feeling.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would have to say that my personal style is eclectic. I'm very inspired by Nicki Minaj and her "Barbie" personality. She has other personalities, but I really connect to Barbie. I have a Barbie chain, pink clothes, and fur jackets that are all inspired by her. But then some days I'm not feeling my Barbie fantasy and I'm feeling more '90s inspired. I love the early 90s, like Boyz to Men, all that type of stuff. I like the '90s baggy clothes look. So my personal style is definitely both Nicki Minaj "Barbie" inspired and '90s inspired.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means a lot to me. Pride means honoring who you are, not being apologetic and just having the confidence to be yourself. Everyone thinks they have to listen to what people say and care what others think. In my opinion, Pride means you don't need to do that. You need to own who you are and never apologize for it and just love yourself for who you are

What has your LGBTQ journey been like?

My LGBT experience has been a little rough. There were certain family members and people in my life that didn't accept me for who I was right away. But as time went on, I think some of them realized like, hey, I still want him to be in my life. I feel like they just took time to just realize, you know, life is short and if you want to keep people in your life that you love, there's no point in being mad at them just because of their sexuality. So it's been a little rough but it has gotten better. It's an evolving journey.

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

I've used the time to really focus on my dreams and think about what I want to achieve. It's an important time for me as a Black creator. I've focused on comedy and ways to make people happier — it's been a tough time for so many and if my content can bring joy, that's great.

Ve’ondre Mitchell

A self-described proud Black and Latinx trans woman, 16-year-old Seattle-based Ve'ondre has used her platform as a fierce advocate for the transgender community, sharing her experiences of bullying and injustices to speak up about issues to her nearly 3 million TikTok followers.

How does clothing help express who you are and what you're about?

On the surface, it helps me express if I'm feeling fancy, bold or cute! More importantly when you dig deeper, it helps me express my femininity and gender. Being a little kid and starting my transition so young, clothes were all I had to express myself.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like to dress up like a doll, it gives me that childhood nostalgia and before I transitioned I expressed myself through my toys that I carried everywhere. Now I can be those dolls who carry such high fashion!

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted and celebrated. Whenever I think of Pride, I think of my auntie taking me to my first Pride festival and feeling like I wasn't alone in my journey. This shoot with Paper reminded me of that feeling.

What has your LGBTQ journey been like?

I've had so much love and acceptance that I'll never take for granted. My mom was here for me to be who I am with open arms and it makes me feel so ecstatic. The outside world gives me hate but it only propels me forward to my success. Those bullies have given me a thick skin to deal with hate I get online daily. Being trans has also made me understand myself at such a young age which gives me the confidence I need to thrive!

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

Covid has really had to make me think out of the box but what really helped was educating myself. Becoming an Human Rights Campaign Foundation youth ambassador challenged me to do that. I really had to dig deeper into trans issues and rights being at stake. That helped me brand myself and helped me so I knew my purpose to really understand the message I was putting out. Through all of this my creativity is at an all time high and nothing can stop me!

Mad Tsai

Over the holidays, musician Mad Tsai went viral for coming out to his mom in the car by playing his own music. Since then, the bi TikTok star has amassed nearly 2 million followers on the app, where he shares tons of original songs. He recently released a bisexual pop anthem called "Boy Bi."

How does clothing help express who you are and what you're about?

The way I dress helps me express how I'm feeling and parts of my identity. Whether it's the color, fit, or overall vibe of what I'm wearing, I like using fashion to feel the most "me". I kinda stopped caring about what gender clothes I'm wearing or how others might feel about my outfits— so long as I'm happy with how I look is all that matters. I feel most confident when I wear what I want and use my fashion as a statement.

How would you describe your personal style?

I draw a lot of inspiration from the TV shows and movies I watch, and I make mood boards for inspiration all the time. Pink and blue are my to-go colors to wear, but I change up my colors depending on how I'm feeling and my mood. I also love switching it up between what's considered "feminine" and "masculine" and combining the two — whether it be wearing a tennis skirt with a muscle tank or putting glitter under my eyes and rocking pink short shorts. I also love using accessories like sunglasses (I always have some sunglasses on my head), hats, bandanas, rings, chains, etc.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means being completely free of worry about what others might think. It's something I've struggled to practice my whole life, and am still learning to master. It's freedom to express one's identity and wear it proudly. Pride is being able to be as authentically "you" as you can possibly be.

What has your LGBT journey been like?

It definitely has been tough growing up as queer, especially from an Asian-American family in a traditionally conservative area of California. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere or would be completely accepted if I had come out, so for most of my life, I was constantly pretending to be something I wasn't. I got bullied constantly in middle school and high school, so I felt like for a lot of my teen years, I had learned to retreat and draw as little attention to myself. I was constantly coming back home with bruises, so I had just assumed it was better if I tried to fit in instead. It wasn't until I began writing music when I started expressing how I felt about my identity and my journey. Songwriting was probably the only outlet I had for a really long time where I could be unapologetically me and voice my thoughts and who I was.

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

I've been writing songs almost everyday and creating music that I'm so proud of. I've also been creating and planning out everything for my future releases as an artist, whether it be creating storyboards for music videos, planning out live performances for when it returns, or just creating the world I want to immerse my fans in when I drop my next projects. I'm constantly trying to think ahead and plan my next move or release, and I think my creativity has been off the charts because I'm being so ambitious.

Soph Mosca

Lesbian TikTok star Soph Mosca has amassed 1.5 million followers on the social app thanks to her goofy dance routines, spot-on lip syncs and joint videos with her girlfriend and fellow content creator Avery Cyrus. She's also the host of her podcast "Unqualified" where she dives into topics about the LGBTQ community, life as an influencer, relationships and more.

How does clothing help express who you are and what you're about?

Clothing is my way of visually expressing my personality, who I am, and what I like to do. In my opinion, someone's outfit says a lot about their personality. I always keep this in mind when picking out what to wear, as I want others to be able to accurately learn about me as a human being through my clothing choices.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my style as both beachy and androgynous. I tend to wear muted, soft colors such as grey, white, black, sage green, and navy blue. My favorite way to spice up an outfit is cool socks and/or fun jewelry.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means proud of who I am and being the most genuine self I can be. To me, pride means having confidence, self-love and acceptance.

What has your LGBT journey been like?

My LGBTQ journey has actually been very easy! I was so lucky to have supportive family and friends who have loved me through it all. While I am still growing and finding myself, it has been so encouraging to have such a huge support system.

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

Having so much free time has been the biggest blessing in terms of creativity. The more free time I have, the more creative I get. I tend to lose creativity and motivation when I am stressed out and busy. If this past year had played out differently, who knows if I would've been able to explore my love for content creating so in-depth.

Video direction: Olivier Lessard
DP and editing: Olivier Lessard
Photography: Kenneth Cappello
Creative production: Peter Schwab
Fashion Stylist: Julian Antetomaso
Set Designer: Robert Sumrell
Hair: Ro Morgan
Makeup: Yuki Hayashi
Nails: Dawn Sterling

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