An interview with TheGregWhoLived
The wizarding world is home to community of Potterheads from all over the world. The power of its magic has led to so many content creators dedicating their Instagram feed to the phenomenon.
Greg (@thegregwholived) is a 25 year old Lighting designer, cosplayer, custom denim jacket designer, pin shop creator and a proud Ravenclaw! Greg started his Instagram account back in 2014 to show off his HP findings. Fast forward to 2021, Greg now has 37k followers and a YT channel!
Here at Vanilla Underground we love Greg's feed and the content that he creates so we thought it would be great to (virtually) sit down with Greg and ask him all about his love for Harry Potter and the wizarding world.
What made you want to start an account dedicated to Harry Potter?
Like most people I started an Instagram account to post personal pictures however being a huge Harry Potter fan I did post some Potter things I had made, bought and things I loved and it just grew from there. I was sad that the film series was coming to an end as I still had a huge love for Potter, so I began sharing my collection and finding others who shared my interest and continued my passion for the wizarding world.
How did you build up your following?
I started out like everyone with just a single follower (my friend Hannah) and then as I posted more of my collection my audience grew. As well as other Potterheads who loved the series from the beginning I was also getting other fans who had never seen some of the merch I was posting (and documenting) and I think I was just able to show a range of different Potter ‘artefacts’ that I loved.
From there, my account just grew and I began to show new products ranges from Primark, or Noble Collection and from my time on Instagram I have been lucky enough to work with the Wizarding World, Warner Brothers and even Bloomsbury which were all dreams come true.
Now I tend to merge my content with cosplays, my own Potter themed creations, magical items I make in my shop, product reviews and just try to create a safe space for Potterheads to enjoy the Wizarding World without judgement and for some light during very dark times.
How long does it take you to create content?
Content creation can be really quick or quite time consuming depending on what I am producing. I love taking photos of products or flat lays but I like to keep these quite spontaneous and quick so I have fun with them and I don’t overthink what I am doing.
But on the other end of the scale creating YouTube videos and TikTok videos can be very time consuming and editing can take the most time. But I always think as long as I enjoy the content I am creating then that is all that matters!
What/who inspires you?
I would say without a doubt that the Wizarding World has been the biggest influence on me and my imagination and definitely inspired me to take a profession in a creative field and to help me explore making things and to craft and create projects. Of course most notably MinaLima who I think are incredible creatives and have always inspire me with their wizarding world props and graphic designs.
I think fantasy captured me from a young age with fairy tales, Disney films and fantasy stories but through studying art/design I found a lot of inspirational sources such as art deco, the 1980’s, minimalism, celestial design and have really attained my own sense of style and incorporate many of these elements in the things I make.
As for people I would say that one big influence would be David Bowie who was so unapologetically himself, he wasn’t afraid to be creative, he broke stereotypes, and he had a every changing style!
A duo who I do love is Michael and Hayley from @thewizardtailor and @hobbitparty who have become some of my closest friends after meeting on Instagram 3 years ago and their cosplays constantly inspire me to push myself and create more exciting and innovative cosplays!
What made you decide to start your own YouTube channel?
I decided to start my YT channel as I loved showcasing products but I felt Instagram didn’t give me enough time to showcase them in a video or in reels which you can now produce. So I decided to create YouTube videos to allow me to show my followers products a little more in depth and also create a fun community where people can watch my videos and share a bit of the magic and fun I have while looking or talking about the wizarding world.
If you could be any character from Harry Potter, who would you be and why?
Most definitely I would want to be Remus Lupin. I have a huge soft spot for Remus Lupin, he’s always been a huge role model to me, and I think the personal battles he goes through throughout the story really resonated with me after having my own mental health struggles.
I think throughout the series he grows as a character; he is flawed, and he has his areas of weakness however he’s clever, kind, polite, gentle with harry and is a powerful wizard and a great force for good.
What is your Patronus?
My patronus is a fox which I wasn’t so sure about because I don’t feel I have strong affinity with many animals, however I love how foxes travel in a pack which represents me and how I love supporting my friends, family and people I love.
Favourite Harry Potter film/ scene and why?
Although I love the cinematography of Prisoner of Azkaban, my favourite film would have to be Philosopher’s Stone because it's what got me into the Potter series as a little 5 year old and I just love the nostalgia of it.
The one scene that never fails to give me goose bumps is when Gryffindor win the house cup! I love how the trio win house points, how Neville’s points win the day, the conclusion of the adventure, the banners changing colours, the throwing of wizard hats and the music!
Which Deathly Hallow would you choose?
I would most definitely choose the invisibility cloak! I love the idea of staying concealed, being able to sneak around and find out some secrets and also who doesn’t need a new and want ANOTHER cloak?!
What is your favourite Harry Potter quote?
“It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities”
I love this quote and the idea that if your judgment, conviction and heart is in the right place then whatever your effort and outcome is that you achieve, you’ve tried for the right reasons. I think as long as you try your best in all your choices then that is what is important.
Favourite HP accounts?
There are so many Potter accounts that I absolutely love on Instagram and people I have admired have become some wonderful friends. A few of my favourite would be:
So we know you’re a Ravenclaw, but if you had to choose another Hogwarts house to be a part of, which one would you choose and why?
When I took the very first Pottermore beta quiz I was actually a hat stall between Ravenclaw….and Hufflepuff so that would definitely be my second house! I love that Hufflepuffs are loyal, stick together, hard working and seem really kind from Hufflepuff characters we meet in the series. They also have a cosy and brilliant common room, have a wonderful head of house with Pomona Sprout and who doesn’t want to be close to the Hogwarts kitchens?!
Favourite thing about the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London?
I love being at the studio tour because of the sets and the magical atmosphere you get throughout the tour, the music always playing and the gift shop is a delightful end to the tour! However, I would say my favourite part is the forest – I think the designers did an incredible job with this immersive section and it never fails to give me goose bumps with the lighting effects, the chilling music, the practical fog and not to mention the chills I get when the acromantula’s swing down from the ceiling or Aragog appears out of the darkness. I am shuddering even thinking about it!
Any advice for people out there who would like to start an Instagram account?
Over the years I have had a few people ask me this and I always say that the most important thing is to post content that you enjoy and ignore likes, follows and being ‘successful’. I post things I enjoy, I enjoy creating the posts and I know that if one day I stop enjoying it then it’s time to stop!
What about for those who want to start their own YouTube channel?
With YouTube I think to keep making videos and don’t feel self-conscious. I felt so embarrassed when I started talking on camera however I think you again just have to enjoy the process, push yourself outside your comfort zone and make the content you’ve always wanted to see!
Top tips for creating a Harry Potter social account
Just have fun! The wizarding world is such a magical place and environment for creativity and so I think creating posts you enjoy, enjoy making and connecting with other Potterheads is all part of the joy and to create a little magic in what can sometimes be a troubling world! Create a little bit of Lumos and enjoy the journey!