Kylie Minogue’s scent, stereotypes in the media, and fancying F1 drivers: My morning with GK Barry

By Charlie Sawyer

Updated Mar 26, 2024 at 09:42 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

The second GK Barry told me that her comedic inspiration as a child was Miranda Hart (iykyk), I instantly knew that we were going to get along. Grace Eleanor Keeling, known professionally as GK Barry, has been on everyone’s radars for a hot minute now. And, like the dutiful journalist I am, when I was granted the opportunity to pick her brains one Wednesday morning, I decided to ask her the questions people really want the answers to. So, if you keep reading, you might just get to finally find out exactly what Kylie Minogue smells like. I know, you’re welcome.

But just before we get into the juicy bits, let’s do a little rundown on who GK Barry is, how she built a social media empire, and how it all began with one silly goofy little TikTok.

 

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A post shared by Grace (@gkbarry_)

Although it’s hard to imagine given all she’s accomplished, Grace’s social media career began only four years ago while she was still studying at university. While her first video, a lipsync clip miming along to an iconic Gemma Collins moment, was a self-proclaimed “flop,” Grace’s content quickly became a staple on TikTok’s FYP and it wasn’t long before she was racking up hundreds of thousands of views on her page.

@gkbarry

New year new me in my @prettylittlething activewear AD

♬ original sound - Grace
@gkbarry

#fyp i need americans to confirm or deny

♬ original sound - Grace
@gkbarry

#fyp THE ANXIETY GOD FORBID

♬ original sound - Grace

With an accumulation of over 260 million likes and over 5 million followers across her numerous social media channels, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are interested in how exactly Grace found a way to carve out a permanent space for herself in an industry where talent doesn’t always equate to longevity.

 

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A post shared by Grace (@gkbarry_)

To label Grace solely as a TikToker would be a disservice. Over the past year, she’s diversified her portfolio, growing her own podcast Saving Grace, appearing on multiple TV shows including The Wheel and Don’t Look Down for Stand Up to Cancer, and becoming a brand ambassador for PrettyLittleThing (PLT).

 

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A post shared by Grace (@gkbarry_)

I personally think a lot of millennials attribute Grace’s success to the “authenticity factor.” The current narrative some subscribe to is that her popularity stems more from the nature of the platforms she uses and the algorithms as opposed to the content itself. Having spent just a few hours with her, I couldn’t disagree more. Grace’s content achievements, and indeed the numerous opportunities she’s created for herself since then, are down to the fact that she is legitimately funny and a well-rounded entertainer. Her knowledge of her audience is paramount to this and, as is the case with all of the most successful comedians and media personalities, she takes her sh*t seriously.

Most recently, Grace embarked on a podcast tour across the UK called ‘Size Matters’. Guests included the likes of Katie Price, Chloe Ferry, Louis Spence, and Chris Hughes.

 

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A post shared by Grace (@gkbarry_)

Grace’s ability to translate that social following to multiple in-person sold-out events speaks volumes about her strategic and creative skills. During our conversation, Grace revealed that her most recent tour has been the most pinch-me moment of her career so far: “That was insane. Selling that out, I was thinking ‘It’s so weird that people have come to see me’. Selling out the Palladium was absolutely insane.”

Now, let’s move on to those juicy bits I mentioned earlier, let’s get into it:

If you were on this year’s ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, who would you not want to start beef with?

“I wouldn’t want to cross Sharon Osbourne. I feel like she’d literally have me on a plane. I just wouldn’t want to mess with her. I wouldn’t want to mess with Lauren [???] either.”

If your brand was a catchphrase, what would it be?

“Small ass, big dreams.”

Tell me about a time when Prosecco was not your friend

“I’ve never had a bad experience on Prosecco. I have had a bad experience with Peach Schnapps, I drank it when I was 16, and I drank it from the bottle from a straw—the whole thing, no mixer. And I threw up absolutely everywhere and continued to do so the next day.”

I know you interviewed Kylie Minogue at the BRITs, what did she smell like?

“She smelt like dreams. She smelt really nice, she smelt fresh, she looked fresh. Her face is incredible, she looks so young—she’s ageing backwards.

@gkbarry

@spotifyuk let me loose on the carpet at the @BRITs AD #fyp

♬ original sound - Grace

Now that you’ve collaborated with James May, are there any other automobile kings you’d like to chat with?

“Lewis Hamilton. I find a lot of the F1 blokes quite fit so anyone who drives an F1 car I’d like to straddle.” *Girl, same*

What was your favourite childhood show?

Caillou or Arthur. Caillou is maybe a niche one. There was also Mona the Vampire.”

Do you think that the appeal of ‘authentic’ and ‘relatable’ influencers will fade and we’ll go back to wanting picture-perfect content?

“It’s all about trends, isn’t it? We love relatable stuff now, but it will go back to Instagram. It’s like body trends. I remember everyone wanted to look like Paris Hilton, really skinny. And then it went to the BBL curvy vibe. Everything goes out of fashion and people will start finding it cringe probably in about two years. I think it will then come back around again. You need relatable people to make us normal people feel better. Because not all of us look like Kylie Jenner and some of us don’t want to, and that’s fine.”

What’s a stereotype you hate about young people who work in the media?

“There’s a few stereotypes I don’t like. One is that women aren’t funny. Number two is that young people are stupid. I think what people don’t realise is that we play up to it because we know it’ll get views. Maybe I don’t know who the first President of the United States is, but in my defence, I didn’t do history. You can be smart in different ways. I’m not academically smart but I’m creatively smart and look where it’s got me.”

“You can’t say something about a whole generation, that’s not how it works.”

@gkbarry

Day in the life on tour #markhillhair @Mark Hill Hair AD

♬ original sound - Grace

What is 2024 saying for GK Barry? What’s next?

“I’d love to do more stuff in America, that’s my goal for this year. I want to do a lot more TV stuff, work with a few more charities as well. And, I’m going to do another tour this year. I also want to launch something very specific this year that is very on-brand for me—keep your eyes peeled.”

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