Creator Spotlight: Nicole Ripka

All things queer culture, news, events, and community

This creator spotlight has been reposted from

What is Creator Spotlight?

Each week we'll feature a newsletter on beehiiv that's experiencing tremendous success with their content and growth. It's a two part initiative packed into a single day:

  1. an email showcasing their content, tips, and goals (this email here)

  2. and a live Twitter Spaces today where you can join the conversation and ask questions directly

Tell me about Gayjoy Digest

Gayjoy Digest is a weekly roundup on all things queer culture, news, events, and community. It’s part of a larger business I started called Gayjoy, a queer collective with the ethos that you can never have enough opportunity for queer connection and never enough queer content. I was looking at @DeuxMois everyday and wondering why there wasn’t a gay version of it. My larger goal is to build a lifestyle business that responds to community needs- we need more content where we can see ourselves. We need safe and inclusive spaces where people can connect.

Who is your audience?

The target consumer for Gayjoy is lesbian, trans, and nonbinary folks, queer people who are generally underserved. The brand is based in NYC and there have been lots of events and meet-ups. But I’m obsessed with the customer who does not live in the city, who doesn’t have as much access to queer community as we do in cosmopolitan cities. Reaching them with a newsletter is an amazing opportunity.

Why pop culture?

Pop culture is so mindless and fun. But we’re not like regular TMZ or Page Six, our celebrity gossip is often someone coming out. And it’s a huge deal for us that famous people are coming out, we’re obsessed with them, we want to talk about them. Cara DeLevigne gets photographed with a woman, it’s a lot of that. Rebel Wilson just came out, it was already known in the queer community but we can celebrate that.

With the Gayjoy Digest, I want people to feel more connected to their queerness. I want them to have a moment to laugh, a moment to feel a part of a community. I had no queer references where I grew up and I think it was detrimental to my development. In college, I didn’t know any queer people until my last year. So coming out was a struggle, and I turned to streaming queer tv shows over and over.

What do mainstream outlets get wrong about queer gossip?

I think it’s the difference between a mom and pop shop and a big business. What exists feels dated and it doesn’t resonate with everyone, especially the younger generation. Look at how Morning Brew entered their space as a new voice. I wasn’t going to be a Wall Street Journal reader, but I read The Morning Brew. They weren’t competing with the WSJ.

Conde Nast has a queer publication called ‘Them’. I love that they are doing that, it’s a huge service to the community and they are reaching millions of people. But they are fitting queer content into the box of things that Conde Nast already does. They’re approach and that of other legacy media companies is often too objective. They’re taking a liberal point of view but it’s vanilla, there’s no spice. I think it’s what can happen when you’re reaching that many people, you end up catering to advertisers and compromising.

Tell me about the events

We’ve thrown over 200 events. Some are larger, like a punk rock concert with 250 attendees. Others are more intimate. Maud, Dakota Johnson’s sexual wellness company, approached me about hosting a queer movie night for her next movie “Am I Ok?’ I’m obsessed with serving this community, providing spaces and fun things. I’ve had couples meet at these events and it fosters a lot of connection.

I can tie them into the newsletter. We ran a referral incentive recently, if you refer one person, you get our Pride Guide. It’s a 3-page guide to all the events in NYC. One referral is such a low bar and we got 70 referrals from it...

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