This is just one installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September.
Caitlin O’Connor is an upstart model, TV host and actress.
This summer, she’s also coming soon to a city near you.
You’ll recognize her face if you follow Arsenic, a female-driven, Instagram-savvy media company that’s leading the charge for sexual empowerment. They lend their accounts to models around the world, who then use those accounts go behind the scenes on photoshoots, lead digital fitness classes and let followers tag along on all manner of exclusive events.
This summer, they’re set to traverse the globe for the #ArsenicWorldTour, and picking their stops based on your input.
So we caught up with Caitlin to get the scoop on their itinerary, male rompers and how to pick up a lady at the beach.
Spoiler: It’s possible. But it definitely doesn’t involve the romper.
InsideHook: How did you first get involved with Arsenic?
Caitlin O’Connor: I was their very second photoshoot. Arsenic was started by a woman, Amanda Micallef, who used to be a film producer, who wanted to start a magazine. Our audience is bigger than cable, bigger than TV — on Snapchat (@arsenictv) and Instagram (@arsenic). Everywhere I go I get recognized. I love it so much.
IH: So you’ve been working with them for a while — any memorable moments?
CO: I would say my favorite interviews that I’ve done, because I’m a host for Arsenic, were with Diplo, Dillon Francis, 2 Chainz, Future and Gore Verbinski, who I actually was a PA for on Pirates of the Caribbean when I was 17 working for my father in the transport department. So it was awesome that he invited Arsenic to do an interview. It was a big full circle moment.
The other favorite moment I have is when my grandmother passed away a year ago — she raised me — the first people who sent flowers to the funeral home were Amanda and Billy [Hawkins], the owners of Arsenic, and that meant the world to me. They don’t just care about working with me, they care about me as a family member.
IH: Since Arsenic is crowd-sourced, there are a ton of models, photographers and other artists involved. Who are your favorite to work with?
CO: My favorite photographer that I’ve worked with is Gregorio Campos. Our work has gone viral so we bonded over that, and then he also got his Instagram taken down because somebody reported a photo, and I helped him get it back up. So we have this camaraderie between us.
As far as models, Karsen Rigby is one of my favorites. Nikki Kennedy is great. And Rachel Faulkner. The women of Arsenic are beautiful and intelligent and they have a wild side. So those are three girls whom I have really connected to over the years. But there are so many.
IH: You’re so close with them that you’re hanging out all summer on the Arsenic World Tour. Can you tell us about that?
CO: I think it’s such an amazing idea because only 4% of our audience lives in Los Angeles and there are so many people all over the world who write to me on DM or on Snapchat. I check all my messages, and every country you could think of, people are watching and tuning in to Arsenic.
Arsenic is essentially by our audience, through people who tune in — they tell us what they want. We just thought, as a group, we can travel around and be woven into each city that we go to. We plan on doing charity events, adventures, photoshoots, inviting artists to the house, open-invite staff meetings so the locals can come in — of course, go through our security guards and then come in for a meeting. It’ll be great, just like the Arsenic house in Los Angeles only taken to different countries and different cities.
IH: The first stop is in Mexico City from June 12th to July 12th, which was picked by your audience. Have you been there before?
CO: I have not. I’ve been to Cabo and I’ve been to a few other cities in Mexico, but never Mexico City. But something like 10% of my viewership on Instagram is from Mexico City specifically. I did some work for Maxim Mexico and then I host for Maxim, and they have a big audience there. I’m trying to learn Spanish as quickly as I can — un poquito. [laughs]
IH: How can people get involved with the tour, as models, photographers, etc.?
CO: We as a group check every direct message on Instagram and Snapchat. If they would like to, we are currently looking for a new Arsenic girl — I just made the announcement [on Thursday]. We’re going to pick one girl for Mexico City, maybe even two. But posting on Instagram is the best way that we will see you, or leaving a comment on one of our photos, or leaving us a DM.
IH: Do you have any idea where you’ll go after Mexico City?
CO: Billy texted me Miami, Turks and Caicos, and a few others. And because Arsenic is crowd-sourced and we really want to hear from the people, as Mexico City is happening we’re going to be looking at what people are saying.
IH: Besides the tour, where can we catch you?
My main craft is as an actress and I just produced my first feature film — three, actually, but I’m really excited about Glass Jaw. It’s a boxing movie starring Lee Kholafai and Korrina Rico as well as Jon Gries, who is Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. I play the lead character’s mother who gives him up for adoption. His father and his mother are locked in an abusive relationship. It was a huge part for me and I’m super excited about it. It’s in editing right now. We just wrapped filming.
And now for some summertime advice ...
IH: Have you heard of the RompHim?
CO: Oh my word. Yes, I have.
IH: Is that a yea or nay?
CO: To each their own. If a man is sexy enough to rock a romper, I am down for it. But … in all honesty, it’s a no for me, dawg.
IH: Jumping in the pool with your clothes on: fun or obnoxious?
CO: If I’m unaware but somebody is throwing me into a pool, I have a fear of water, so that’s obnoxious for me. But if it’s not me and you don’t have your cell phone in your pocket, go for it.
IH: Is it acceptable to ask a woman on a date via Instagram DM?
CO: I think it is. I’ve asked somebody out on Instagram.
IH: Boozy popsicles or 40 oz. rosé?
CO: Oh boy. I would go for the 40 rosé, but the boozy popsicles I have not tried. They walked by me one day and I was tempted ...
IH: The new Baywatch is coming out. Do you prefer a Zac Efron-type or The Rock-type?
CO: My personal friend of many years, Michael Berk, wrote and created the original Baywatch series. I am so excited for him and this movie, and I’ve done a few projects with him. This movie was like 13 years in the making and he slaved away for like a decade trying to make this movie. But on the topic, I am a Rock person.
IH: How do you feel about a guy in sandals?
CO: What kind of sandals?
IH: Let’s say throwaway flip-flops.
CO: Oh, yeah. Sandals are OK for guys. I vote yes.
IH: Beach read or beach volleyball?
IH: Pool, lake or ocean person? You said you had a little water trepidation.
CO: I would choose a lake because there are no waves and for the pool you need chlorine, and that makes my skin dry. So lake it is!
IH: Nude beaches: yea or nay?
CO: I believe in personal freedom and I believe in the nudists. I say yes. Do you.
IH: If you weren’t on the Arsenic tour, where would be your go-to summer weekend spot?
CO: I would love to see the Great Pyramid of Giza. Or I just really love New York City, even in the summer when it’s blisteringly hot.
IH: Beach pickup, how do you do it? Or is it impossible?
CO: It’s not impossible! I feel like the beach is a place where it’s easy to try and pick somebody up. Just walking by them, “Hey!” I don’t know, I’m really bad at pickup lines. But: “Do you need any sunscreen?” Or, “I love your bikini.” Or, “Your hair looks great.”
Or even, “Would you mind taking a photo of me by the water?” That would work if you’re with a buddy and it’s kind of casual. Then she talks to you, if she smiles, something could happen, sparks could fly, when it’s the water and the photo and everything — it could work!