Chances are, if you’re on TikTok, you know “Rico Taquito.” Better known by his real name, Eric Sedeño is a multitalented queer content creator, host, designer, and entrepreneur working to make the world a more loving place.
With well over a million fans, Sedeño is the host of the GLAAD Media Award nominated podcast Gay and Afraid and the co-founder of Groove Gives, a candle company created by Sedeño and his brother that has donated 23,000+ meals to those experiencing food insecurity in their home state of Texas.
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The hilarious Eric Sedeño joined GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos to talk about his journey of self discovery and his rise to fame.
Sedeño reveals it was actually a breakup that propelled him to his internet stardom. “It was right before I was supposed to move and I think he just didn’t want to help me,” he jokes. “I moved into a new apartment. I got a haircut. I grew a mustache. And I had all this free time, so, I started making videos. Honestly, everything is meant to happen the way it happens. It was the perfect time for a reset.”
He saw TikTok as an “opportunity to just be more authentic and post to a crowd that didn’t know me before.” He shares that his social media presence was only supposed to be for fun, he would have never guessed what was to come.
He speaks about a touching moment he shared with a fan. “My favorite moment ever was when I was on the street near NYU and this girl ran up to me and was like, ‘I love you. You’re one of the reasons I came out.'” This interaction meant the world to Sedeño. “It never occurred to me that being gay publicly or just talking about being gay so openly with the internet would ever have any sort of influence on someone’s relationship with their own sexuality.”
Sedeño’s platform has provided a whole world of representation for queer Latinx people, particularly those from the U.S. South. “There’s so many people who go through all the same things I do and experience all the same things I do.” He opens up about feeling somewhat disconnected from the community because he doesn’t speak Spanish, but through the internet, he’s learned that there are so many others in the same boat. “It’s so cool to be a representation of my community in some way, shape, or form.”
Sedeño knows first hand how much of an impact internet celebrities can have on their fans. He reveals that YouTubers like Kyle Krieger, Joey Graceffa, and Daniel Preda were some of the first gay role models he looked up to. “I always go back to Joey Graceffa and Daniel Preda. I remember they were probably the first gay couple I really absorbed into my brain and was like, ‘oh wow.’ Like they were just gay and happy and cute together.”
Despite so much good coming his way from his social media presence, he is no stranger to haters. Sedeño knows social isn’t always the safest place for LGBTQ people, especially queer youth. “I’m so grateful that my first video that ever really got a large amount of attention, I was 24.” He reminds fans that “It’s ok to put your phone down.”
“If you’re still finding yourself, you can find yourself in other people. And if you can celebrate them for what they’re doing, you should celebrate yourself in some way too.”