Brow Beat

An Interview With the Guy Whose A Star Is Born T-Shirts Prove That the Internet Isn’t Always Terrible

In what might be the most cheerful thing to come out of the last 24 hours, this T-shirt-based rendition of the “I just wanted to take another look at you” scene from A Star Is Born was posted on Instagram.

The post inspired over a thousand retweets and dozens of comments from people who adore the much-memed moment, which is also included in the film’s trailer. And it turns out that a distraction from reality in the form of some wholesome internet content is exactly what Andrew Spena, a video producer and the creator of the instantly famous paired tees was going for.

“It’s really easy to hate things, especially on the internet,” he said in an interview with Slate, “When you can find something good you want to get excited about, especially when the world is really awful right now, it’s fun for me to find something to be really invested in, you know?

Here’s my full interview with Spena, in which we discussed how he made the shirts, what makes Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga such a great pair, and Ariana Grande’s ponytail:

Hailey Gavin: How did you come up with the idea?

Andrew Spena: “I basically live on the internet and as soon as the trailer dropped and then the memes started pouring out, [that scene] was the clear winner, and my friend group we were all very excited. We actually got the whole front row at the Alamo last night to ourselves. So I wanted to just make something for it and I had the idea to do that scene on the back and front of shirts. I also know how to use Photoshop and I was like OK I can design full sublimation print shirts.

Who’s in the Bradley shirt?

That’s my boyfriend, Bill Clark. … I asked [him], “Are you ready to be content?” and I told him my idea. He thankfully said yes and very sweetly agreed to be the Bradley and let me be Lady Gaga and that’s that. … He runs a little place in Brooklyn called MeMe’s Diner.

Did that take any convincing?

He’s very busy running the restaurant, so it was really more convincing him to take a rare night off to be my date. He made it happen. So, it was really more of that, there was no convincing on my part at all.

What did you think of the movie?

Oh my god, I loved it. I cried for the first time when she sang in the drag bar and I was smiling the whole way through. Except for the sad parts but you know what I mean.

Why were you originally excited to see the movie?

I’ve been following the production of this since it was originally a Clint Eastwood production and then it was a Bradley Cooper thing. I wanted a version of A Star Is Born for our generation, So I’ve been, like, in since Beyonce was rumored for it. But when it was announced that Lady Gaga was doing it I just [was] very on board. I think she’s the perfect fit and she lived up to it. I think it was incredible casting.

Did you expect the reaction you got on the internet?

No, I mean when I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to be content I just meant I knew [our friends] would think it was funny.

What kind of reactions did you get in person?

We went and had dinner last night and people were walking up to the windows so the reactions were immediate even if we hadn’t uploaded pictures yet.

What did people say to you?

I mean, a lady said we made her night which was very sweet. I think people were surprised. I don’t think this is a movie people usually dress up for. It’s not like a Star Wars premiere.
We definitely stuck out in that way, which I knew we would. We put the shirts on in the men’s room and my boyfriend looks at himself and goes “This is actually very flattering.” I think that’s very funny, because they’re clearly not. But he liked it so he was very down.

I stalked you on Twitter a little bit and noticed your tweet that says, “My love language? Committing to a bit.” What other bits have you committed to in this way?

I’m someone who loves Halloween—not to dress up sexy but to dress up as something like very dumb. A few years ago I had the idea to dress up as Ariana Grande’s ponytail, so I made it happen. I found a children’s wig, I sewed it to a sweatshirt. My friend group that I talked about, we love to get together and watch award shows so I’ll always do some kind of pun-based food and then like make a printed post card that goes with it. I kinda like going the extra mile just because it makes me laugh and makes other people laugh, you know?

Finally, what’s so great about Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga?

It’s been a really depressing news cycle in the wider world, but any time they’re on camera together, whether they’re in film festivals or speaking interviews, their friendship has really been encouraging. It’s just really brought me a lot of joy. So I’m glad that by proxy I made people smile last night.