Anttoni Lopez, an early thirtysomething from the Bronx, is of Puerto Rican, Palestinian, and Italian descent.

Strong but soft facial features, an athletic build, an affinity for colorful underwear, and title of entertainer to boot, might give you the impression he’s always gotten what he wanted. But as we’ve all learned at some point, assumptions have a funny way of making asses out of us.

Here’s what we do know: Like so many young men in the LGBTQ community, self-love was in low supply and at times all Anttoni felt he could rely on was the toxic beauty that both gave him the attention he craved, but secretly sabotaged his hopes at happiness. Luckily, his story doesn’t end there. In fact, that’s where it truly begins.

From being a victim of repeated sexual abuse to a marriage that ended in divorce, Anttoni shows us what happens when we use life’s lessons to bring out the best in ourselves by shining light on the biggest fears that haunt us from the shadows.

But instead of accepting things as they were, Anttoni stared at himself in the mirror and made a defining choice: to fall in love with himself, first.

Four years later, things aren’t perfect. But he doesn’t need them to be. He’s happy with the skin he’s in, and his life has changed for the better because of it.

Experience Anttoni’s Pillow Talk journey: 

The Bravery Intimacy Requires antonni-3A World Without Labels antonni-4Overcoming Toxic Beautyanttoni-1