Who is Joey Zauzig? Meet the star of MTV’s divisive The Real Friends of WeHo

A split-screen image shows on the left social media influencer Joey Zauzig dressed in a cream suit for a The Real Friends of WeHo promo image, and on the left, Zauzig is shirtless as he holds his mobile phone

The Real Friends of WeHo is set to pull back the curtain on gay life in West Hollywood as the MTV reality series introduces viewers to six successful men whose lives orbit the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ scene, including social media star Joey Zauzig.

The already divisive series, which is set to premiere on Friday (20 January) after the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15, follows the lives of Todrick Hall, Brad Goreski, Curtis Hamilton, Dorión Renaud, Jaymes Vaughan and Zauzig as they navigate their careers and friendships.

While Drag Race judges Hall and Goreski, and TV host Vaughan – husband of Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett – may already be familiar to TV viewers, less is known about their new co-star, Joey Zauzig.

After news of his casting was announced by MTV, Zauzig told followers on TikTok they should stock up on “a lot of popcorn” before watching the series, saying: “I’m so excited for you guys to see the show and the cast. It’s going to be such an amazing show, I hope you love it.”

What does Joey Zauzig do for a living?

Zauzig, 30, is a full-time social media influencer who regularly shares updates from his life with his 291,000 Instagram followers and 600,000 TikTok followers.

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in broadcast journalism, Zauzig embarked on a career in fashion PR, working for Vogue and Givenchy before landing an in-house role at Tommy Hilfiger.

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He left Tommy Hilfiger in 2016 to become a full-time luxury lifestyle influencer and has since landed brand deals with companies like Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and H&M.

In a TikTok video shared earlier this month (10 January), Zauzig told followers that he left Tommy Hilfiger to focus on building his social media platforms after being told that he couldn’t promote personal brand deals while working at the fashion house.

Who is Joey Zauzig’s partner?

Zauzig is engaged to Brian Grossman and regularly shares images of himself with his husband-to-be on Instagram.

The couple got engaged in July 2021 and Zauzig has described Grossman as his “best friend” who he “can’t image life without”.

Posts on Instagram of the day they got engaged show the pair enjoying an engagement celebration at which Grossman presented Zauzig with a watch to mark the occasion.

When did he come out as gay?

Zauzig struggled with bullying at his private Catholic high school, saying there was a “target on [his]back” after he was labelled “gay” and “flamboyant” by other students.

In a YouTube video entitled ‘My Coming Out Story Emotional’, Zauzig explained that he came to terms with his sexuality after having a sexual experience with another boy while in high school, but didn’t come out to anyone as his parents were divorcing at the time and he had no friends at school.

After transferring to a public school, Zauzig was once again bullied for his perceived sexuality. In 10th grade he entered a relationship with another guy and began going to gay clubs in Washington DC, telling his parents he was going to “high school parties”.

He came out as gay to some of his female friends the summer before 11th grade and came out to his mum on his birthday, initially telling her he was bisexual before confirming that he was gay a week later.

“She was like, basically, ‘honey, I know. I’ve known for a really long time,'” Zauzig recalled. “She accepted me right away.”

The Real Friends of WeHo premieres on MTV on Friday 20 January at 9pm ET in the US.

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