Gabriel Diaz expects the quizzical expression that sometimes washes over people’s faces once he tells them what he does for a living. He’s a style and wellness influencer, or “creative stylist,” as he prefers to be called.
Diaz is aware of the stigma against his kind, and he doesn’t care for the “influencer” label. Most people recognize the term to describe tastemakers who blog or post on social media their points of view in terms of what to wear/do/eat/buy, which can draw criticism for being a “shallow” line of work . The creative occupation also continues to be a bit of an enigma, since the approach varies from person to person.
As for Diaz’s approach? He’s all about sharing what will make people look and feel their best, whether it’s demonstrating how to use a pilates reformer or “cold rolling” his way through his latest six-step skincare routine. You can even hang out with him in real life; hosting shopping and fitness events is part of his particular brand of influencing.
If you follow him on Instagram, you’ll be welcomed into his Midtown Sacramento lifestyle, which is all about laid-back luxury. He’s bougie, but approachable; takes styling and self-care seriously, but isn’t beyond laughing at himself or the industry; reveres heavyweight tastemakers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Martha Stewart, but is conscious of what that means on a Sacramento scale. “This is Sacramento, people don’t need to be styled every day,” he says, laughing, after explaining he styles clients for galas and special events. Read on to get Diaz’s take on being a creative stylist, the abstract way he gets into the creative zone, and why he wants to be “everyone’s gay best friend.”
How I describe what I do: In my world, my friends and the people I style have 9-5 jobs. I’m around a lot of doctors, lawyers, lobbyists, commercial real-estate professionals. And then there’s me (laughs). They’re really perplexed and probably thinking, what are you doing? Sometimes they have an eye roll comment when I tell them I’m a digital creative (laughs), like, what does that mean? And I have to explain: I create digital marketing content for brands. I create stuff that makes people feel happy. I have a lot of people who trust me in the content that I share, whether it’s wellness, fitness or just flat out sitting on my couch talking to them (through Instagram Stories).
My point of view as an influencer and content creator: I want to be everyone’s gay best friend. In some social situations with my girlfriends, I’m their only gay friend. It’s funny, even though we live in California, not everyone has a gay best friend, so I want to be that for them. I also like to challenge myself with new activities, mindfulness, meditation, and challenge others to improve their lives in those ways too.
My opinion of the buzzword “influencer:” I don’t consider myself an influencer/blogger. I hate the term “influencer.” It sounds like a profanity nowadays! People are either offended by it or embrace it, and I’m offended by it. I like to think of myself as a digital creative who advocates wellness and stylish living. I’d say I’m a “creative stylist.” Under that umbrella, it’s editorial, photo shoots, lifestyle.
How I affect change in the Sacramento region: I work with nonprofits like The Mustard Seed, which is the school for homeless children that allows them to get their vaccines, clothing, education and health care. Before I was even a person on Instagram, I was always a part of this charity because I was looking for something that would benefit the community and not myself. And then I had this platform on social media where I was like, let me drive some awareness to my favorite nonprofit, The Mustard Seed. So for the last three years, I’ve hosted multiple fundraisers either at my house or at Madam Butterfly boutique (in the Pavilions Shopping Center). I’m about to do another one in September at Madam Butterfly. I feel like a lot of influencers could be using their influence and audience to help nonprofits in their area. I know a lot of bloggers need to make a buck and capitalize (on their efforts) but I think they could use their audience to better their community by collaborating with nonprofits.
My inspiration for getting into this profession: I was inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow seven years ago. I felt like there wasn’t a gay male that’s in the market that I’m in where they talk about wellness and fitness and lifestyle. But here’s a funny statistic: 80 percent of my followers are women, that’s who I speak to. That’s kind of fun. But I don’t really have a gay audience. In my endgame, I would like to be a wellness inspiration to gay men. … I like to show people ways they can elevate their lifestyle through a proper skincare routine, a wide variety of fitness — tennis, pilates, hikes. … And I don’t ever push for people to go and spend a bunch of money either. I never saying “go do this.” I’m selling something that’s attainable for everyone.
My morning routine: Most mornings I go to a 7 a.m. reformer pilates class at Humani Pilates (in Midtown Sacramento) that I feel like is the best way to start my day. Followed by a steam shower at home then I do my morning skincare routine.
Describe the capital region in three words: Food, trendy and cozy. Food because we have a killer restaurant scene right now. Trendy because I feel like in Midtown the energy is so fresh and cool. Cozy because I feel like even though Sacramento is growing, we still have that cozy, small-town vibe.
My favorite wellness tip: Gosh, this is a tough one because, to me, wellness means a lot. My short answer is: Wear SPF, stay hydrated, find an exercise you enjoy doing and, most importantly, get a facial as often as possible.
My ideal lunch: Lunch is my favorite meal of the day, so I lunch with girlfriends often. I love lunching at Cafe Rolle because who doesn’t love a French cafe? And Cafe Bernardo because the atmosphere is just right, and they make a fabulous kale caesar.
Things I’d never get rid of in a Marie Kondo-like purge: I would never purge my accessories. To me, fine jewelry pieces and quality handbags make any outfit cool and fashionable.
How I treat myself: I love at-home facial treatments, but there’s nothing like getting a chemical peel or hydrafacial. So I treat myself to plenty of facials with my friend, Hilary, at Laser and Skin Surgery Center.
My trick to staying focused while I work: Checking in on myself through meditation or being mindful of whatever I’m working on.
My thoughts on meetings: I love getting together with creative people to share ideas. … Meetings are important, especially when building a new relationship.
How I prioritize my health during or after working: I stay healthy by intermittently fasting. I’ve noticed whether I’m doing pilates, outdoor cycling, spin class\ or tennis, I have a lot of energy after so it works out best for me.
My best quality that makes my brand the most successful: What makes my Instagram brand successful is that I create content that is relatable and true to my lifestyle. I also want everyone who clicks “follow” on my account to feel like I’m their gay best friend. That means they can ask me anything, and I reply to everyone, always.
How I get the creative juices flowing: I like to go for walks with my dog, Dylan, or sit and watch couture fashion shows on YouTube. I don’t know, watching fashion shows always inspires me.
My favorite current project: I have two long-term projects that are in the beginning stages of launching. I’ve gone so far as to start an LLC in order to create those projects. They’ll be launching later this year. I’ll be sharing it soon on my Instagram at @Gforgabriel, I promise.
My philosophy on networking and relationship-building: People already assume that Instagram people are narcissists and self absorbed so let’s not give them a reason to assume that. That said, my philosophy is to always find a common ground, build bonds, be mindful of others around me and, most of all, be nice.
My advice on entrepreneurship/working for yourself: I think being true to yourself and finding your niche in whatever market you’re pursuing.