As we focus on our international community this month, let’s take a look Behind The Avatar at Ryan Richmond, a user from Great Britain.
IMVU: Is your real name Ryan?
RR: It is, yeah. When I first created it, I thought, “I might as well use my real name. I’m not trying to be nobody else. I’d rather just be me from day one.”
IMVU: So how did you get started on IMVU?
RR: I first started using IMVU last year in June 2017 [when] I was recommended by one of my friends in real life. I used IMVU as a way to express myself and be as extra as I felt [because] I’ve always been in love with fashion and IMVU helped me to unleash my creativity.
Having 4 brothers and 2 sisters, communication was always something big in our family and connecting with others was challenging for me.
I [also] have mild cerebral palsy and growing up, I’ve always been bullied and always picked on. And because I’m gay as well, I’ve had that stress. So I used IMVU as an escape and I was able to grow more confidence, in a way. Meeting my friends on there, to help with my confidence a bit.
IMVU: For those who may not know, what is cerebral palsy?
RR: Cerebral palsy is… one half my body is weaker than the other. And when I was younger, I used to walk on my tip toes. So I’ve had several operations on my foot. And I’ve got to wear something on my foot – it’s like a leg support.
So IMVU has given me the confidence to be myself more because you meet people from all over the world, and you share stuff with them. And it makes you think sometimes what you’re going through ain’t as bad as you thought it was. When you hear other people’s stories, it just makes you feel like it’s not just you going through a hard time, it’s everyone else.
And it’s kind of that reassurance that you need. Just to know that you’ve got the support when needed.
IMVU: So you’ve been able to find other friends and meet new people through IMVU?
RR: Well I’ve always struggled finding friends on IMVU because I don’t know… because I’m very straight forward. The way I come across is if I don’t agree with something, I will voice my opinion there and then, if that makes sense.
I think maybe some people feel intimidated by it, by the way I come across. So I’ve always struggled in that context of socializing with people.
But I did meet some great people. I don’t know if you know @TessPadros. We kind of made mates, and she was really supportive of me because I struggled with [getting a discover] feature. Nobody would help me with that, or tell me what I was doing wrong. But Tess, she came in and she said, “Ryan, you can’t use copyright in your pictures and you should always caption them.” And she taught me about flair lights, that you can get in furniture.
She’s been really supportive. She’s one of my best mates. ‘cause she actually wants me to succeed.
IMVU: Who else have you met through IMVU?
We’re all in an Instagram group chat, and we do videos every now and again because I’m British (they love my accent and some of the things I say). So we all have a laugh on the Instagram group chat.
IMVU: Do you guys have any plans at all to meet up in person?
RR: I would like to meet up, like in the near future. Like I’d want to meet up because it would be great. I always picture that it would be like “Desperate Housewives” – like when they meet up and they’re sipping wine.
But maybe I’m dreaming big.
IMVU: Do you find there’s a connection at all between real life and IMVU for you
RR: Well, there’s so much I could connect with [to] real life… but for me I would have to [say] family. Because the people I have connected with, [is] the family that I have chosen to give myself to.
Here are a few rooms that Ryan recommends, as he takes US around the IMVU world.
Room: TnTLanza Fashion
Room: Desert Nowhere
Room: Minimal Pool Party