The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City may have debuted in mid November, but everyone’s soon-to-be favourite reality TV star has actually been rapidly growing a following on TikTok—the video-sharing social media app—since April of this year. Boman Martinez-Reid—a.k.a @bomanizer—is the comedic salve you—and your lockdown 2.0 experience—need.
To be clear, the Toronto-based content creator won’t *actually* be popping up on any of our favourite reality TV shows (at least not yet), but don’t be surprised if he does in a few years’ time. Because Martinez-Reid is quickly becoming a household name thanks to his reality TV-inspired TikTok videos—which often feature his mom, his BFF Eden and his step-sister—going viral during the spring of 2020. And why wouldn’t they? Martinez-Reid is quippy, straight-up hilarious, always dramatic and 100% relatable. (Who hasn’t wanted to just absolutely melt from the absolute *disrespect* of their sister coughing in their direction??)
@bomanizerPART 2 of when you and your friend can’t agree on food but it’s Reality TV ##fyp ##foryou ##realitytv♬ original sound – Boman Martinez-Reid
In October, Martinez-Reid joined TikTok Canada’s inaugural ad campaign, “It Starts on TikTok,” celebrating diversity, stories and trends that are born and celebrated on the viral app. FLARE chatted with the up-and-coming star about his Hollywood aspirations, maintaining his personality offline and, of course, his fave reality TV.
Martinez-Reid’s TikTok account started out as an acting portfolio of sorts
There’s no denying that Martinez-Reid was meant to be a TikTok star. With his megawatt smile, knack for comedic timing and undeniable creativity—evident in the way he keeps followers in stitches through his A+ dialogue—it was only a matter of time before the content creator went viral. And, in a way, that was kind of the plan.
Starting his TikTok account during his final year at Ryerson University—where Martinez-Reid was studying radio and television arts—the now 22-year-old was inspired by the content he was creating for school and personal projects. In the same vein, Martinez-Reid says, a summer of soul searching in 2019 had led him to a realization: “I decided to myself that I wanted to become an actor,” he recalls, “but the only thing was: how do I make that happen?” Enter: TikTok. “Suddenly this app was cool,” Martinez-Reid says. ” It wasn’t as cool as what it [became later] in quarantine, but more and more of my friends started using it and you started seeing videos on Twitter; and it looked like a great way to just get my name out there, to also give me something to do, and to have something to show for myself as an actor.”
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There’s actually *a lot* of thought that goes into his content
This drive to showcase his talent, as well as Martinez-Reid’s background in content creation, is perhaps one of the reasons why he’s so successful—and his videos are just straight-up great; because, for their light-hearted nature content-wise, Martinez-Reid puts *a lot* of thought into the storylines and flow of his videos. It’s maybe not what you would expect from the platform, which seems so effortless and ephemeral. But it takes talent to make it seem that way. Martinez-Reid says one of his favourite videos so far—a post from March in which his friend Eden “coughs in his mouth” (she actually coughs from across the room, but still—dramatic!)—is one he’s most proud of for a very technical reason. “It was the first time I had ever made a TikTok where there was a beginning, middle and end and it just flowed so well,” he says.
@bomanizerWhen one of your friends coughs except it’s reality TV ##fyp ##foryou ##realitytv♬ original sound – Boman Martinez-Reid
In fact, the production value of his videos is one of the main attributes commenters notice and appreciate. “I’ll post a video and people will comment that they have to watch it three times over, and every time they watch it, they see something new in it that they didn’t see the time before that,” he says. It’s a quality that comes with work—and a lot of effort on Martinez-Reid’s part. “It’s exciting to make [videos] that way, but it’s also very annoying because, for me, TikTok is so much work and so much energy,” he says. “[TikTok] is supposed to be fun, and it still is very fun for me, but to think of some of these videos and to create them to a certain standard is a challenge for myself. But it’s so exciting.”
One of Martinez-Reid’s other favourite videos? The one where he, Eden and his sister Alyssa go driving. “We’re driving and then [Alyssa] starts yelling at me, but she didn’t actually yell at me and then we crashed, but we didn’t actually crash; and then I was so disrespected that the disrespect bakes me at 350 degrees into a cake,” he explains.
@bomanizerGoing for a drive but it’s reality TV ##realitytv ##disrespect (feat. @alyssanizer and @whatchaeden )♬ original sound – Boman Martinez-Reid
“I remember commenting on that video and being like, ‘imagine trying to explain this story to somebody.'”
Martinez-Reid always knew he’d be a star (but not in an obnoxious way)
Despite the fact that Martinez-Reid’s social media career really took off during the pandemic, it’s not super surprising that he’d find himself in this position right now. Because he’s pretty much exactly where he thought he’d be as a kid—wind machine and all. “When we did the [TikTok campaign] photo shoot, I haven’t had that much fun in so long,” he says. “There was a moment where there’s a photographer and there’s a fan blowing on me and they were playing the Spice Girls, and [I thought] ‘This is exactly how I pictured this would be as a child,'” he says with a laugh. “This is everything to me.” So pretty much, he’s living out every tween’s childhood fantasy.
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But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had some serious “pinch me” moments. Being a part of the “It Starts on TikTok” campaign has allowed the creator to take part in massive photo shoots and ad spots, plastering his face alongside celebs like Hailey Bieber and Drake on billboards and in commercials. “They really made me feel so cool,” Martinez-Reid says of the campaign. “When my family was over watching the basketball game, and now my face is in the commercials; or we’re watching SNL and there I am between sets on SNL. That’s so cool.”
But the biggest moment was seeing his face on a billboard at Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square. “That was life-changing,” he says. “TikTok has made me feel like a rock star.” As a Black, queer creator, that moment of seeing himself presented in such a positive way was extra meaningful, for both Martinez-Reid and, he hopes, for people who follow him online. “Standing [in front of the billboard] with my friends, I’ve never had such a feeling of just being proud of myself. TikTok really allowed me to feel that I’m the best version of myself that I’ll ever be.”
He feels the pressure to be funny offline
But, like all things in life, there are inevitably downsides to creating and living your life largely online—and trying to keep people smiling. While Martinez-Reid says that his personality IRL is similar to his over-the-top TikTok personality (he’s always goofing around to make his friends laugh), making a name for yourself as someone who brings everyone cheer online also brings with it a lot of pressure to do the same once you log off. “One hundred percent, I feel that pressure,” Martinez-Reid says. “It’s a weird thing because on one hand TikTok has given me so much confidence and it’s so incredibly exciting to be doing what I love and to love doing it. But at the same time, of course, I feel that pressure.”
Martinez-Reid refers to the period back in March and April of this year when he really started blowing up. He was receiving messages from people watching his videos, telling him that, stuck in quarantine with nothing to laugh about, his videos were getting them through. “One person messaged me at one point and said, ‘my dad had COVID and your videos really got me and my family through,'” Martinez-Reid recalls. “And that meant everything to me.” But, it also brings along a sense of pressure to keep it up, especially considering the fact that Martinez-Reid himself was dealing with the pandemic just like everyone else. “I was kind of grieving over losing that freedom that we all had pre-quarantine. So it was hard because I didn’t necessarily feel that funny,” he says. “I didn’t feel that excited to think of ideas as I had previously when it was just me and my friends and we would say something funny and I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, I need to make a TikTok about that.’ It was a different thing and I had to kind of figure out how to find the excitement in it.
“I definitely feel that pressure because I’m a human just like everybody else.”
But ultimately, he just wants to make people laugh
Luckily, Martinez-Reid is a glass-half-full kind of person (or, more accurately, a glass-entirely-full type of person), and hopes that his followers can take his positivity into their own lives, embrace who they are, know they’re not alone and not take themselves too seriously. “I try to make content that pokes fun at these very small problems that we have,” he says. “The one thing that I would want them to take away is that even when you feel like you were ghosted by somebody and your world’s crashing down, or you have to stay inside and you feel like your world’s crashing down, or somebody ate your chips and your world is crashing down…it’s such a human experience that we all feel bothered by these little things, and I want my viewers to take away that it’s nice to laugh at ourselves.”
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And as for what type of reality show he’d like to be on IRL? “I would love to be a housewife,” he says. “Obviously I’m not the most qualified to become a housewife; first of all, I’m not married. However, I think that I could bring something very exciting to the show.” (We’d have to agree).
“But I’d also love to try every reality TV show. I want to try Wipe Out. I know that I would never succeed in that lane, but I would love to try it.” So what about the idea of a reality show starring Martinez-Reid in which he takes part in other reality shows? (Very meta, TBQH). “Exactly, isn’t that genius? I need to call TLC.”
We have a feeling they’d 100% air it.