Dan Clay, also known as “Carrie Dragshaw”, never expected to become a queer Instagram icon when he moved to New York City about 9 years ago. Clay began watching Sex in the City right around the time he moved to the Big Apple, which happened to also be at a formative time in his life. “Even though I had been out before moving to NYC, coming out is a process, so moving here did kind of coincide with my coming out and coming into my own,” said Clay.
Carrie Dragshaw was officially “born” on October 29th, 2016, when Clay decided to dress up as Carrie Bradshaw for Halloween. “We were going to a party at the Boom Boom Room and I had my friend come over a little bit before and take some pictures because I live right by [Carrie’s] apartment and we were just having fun.” Clay went on, “ You know how you just post a picture on your own Instagram for Halloween, just for my friends, and I tagged Sarah Jessica Parker on the off, absurd chance that she would see it. I went to the party thinking nothing, and then when I got home, I realized that it had completely exploded.” Clay’s post in the classic pink tutu outfit went viral overnight, and after that, Clay had to decide whether or not this was a one-time crazy event, or if he was going to take the opportunity to continue as “Carrie Dragshaw.”
Clay did not simply decide to continue with the posts, which are accompanied by clever Carrie-eque captions, for his own ego. Rather, Clay wanted to spread positivity and light in the world of social media. “The decision of whether or not I keep going was during a time when— not that it’s any different now— there was just so much anxiety and negativity in the news, and even though it was never a part of my plan, I thought ‘maybe this is my little way to toss a little positivity out into the universe during this time’ and also for me to get a little bit of an escape, and so I decided to keep going,” Clay said of his decision. “I still always sort of expect that at some point it will just sort of die down, but it just keeps growing, and it is super fun for me, so I’m just gonna keep doing it.” Clay wanted to use this new voice to help others, and create a true community.
“When I made the decision to keep doing it, I wrote down 3 rules for myself, and one of them was that it was only love, only positivity.” Clay continued, “There is so much amazing stuff out there already that is really tackling the negativity straight on, which is important, but it just seems like more love and light and recognizing the beauty inside yourself was needed.” Clay added that he also had a personal reason to create this positive platform. “I’m 33 now, and still single, so I have a lot of experience dating in the world, and when I look back at my 20s, I wasted so much mental energy with so many negative thoughts about myself.”
Clay found that a lot of the positive messages Sex in The City sent to him when he was younger are important to continue to send out, and there are also some lessons that could perhaps be tweaked. “[Carrie has] human flaws,” Clay explained, “She can be a little bit selfish, she can be a little bit needy, she has times where she does assess her worth based on her relationship status. I try to flip the script a little bit, and make sure that Carrie Dragshaw has all of that independence and self-confidence and fierceness that I want for myself that I wish for Carrie… that I want for everyone.” Clay has taken his own experiences, Carrie’s experiences, and those experiences that every 20-something goes through as they are coming into their own, and has put them into "Carrie Dragshaw." Clay wants to express to others that “it’s okay to be sad after a breakup, but you don’t have to go into a period of self-loathing or thinking you're unlovable. You should think ‘I’m still beautiful, I’m fierce, and I’m flower and I’m going to grow.”
Clay’s following has continued to grow, and he has continued to use his platform for positivity, love, and support. By prioritizing positivity, Clay has truly made the most of “Carrie Dragshaw.” From the amazing looks to the insightful and clever captions, Carrie Dragshaw has become an icon, and has created a message that Clay intended— “only positivity, only love.”
Photos courtesy of Dan Clay
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