In Her Campus’ series Next Question, we rapid-fire interview emerging talent about what it’s like to rule over the internet. This month, musician and reality TV star Dom Gabriel is in the hot seat to answer our burning questions.
Netflix’s Perfect Match gave avid viewers of Netflix’s reality show universe a taste of nostalgia by reuniting former contestants from shows like Too Hot to Handle, Love Is Blind, and The Circle, among others, in head-turning competitions to decide the compatibility of each pairing and to determine who were truly each other’s perfect matches. With arguments, switching of pairs, and the introduction of more cast members entering the competition as the series progressed, the show definitely provided its fair share of entertainment. Dom Gabriel, a former contestant on The Mole, became an instant fan favorite, eventual co-winner, and a television heartthrob all during the show’s run.
Unlike some of his fellow cast members, Gabriel wore his heart on his sleeve and was far more expressive of his emotions throughout each episode. “I’ve always been someone who is loyal to a fault,” Gabriel tells Her Campus in an exclusive interview.
Gabriel’s vulnerability and kindness throughout the show allowed viewers to relate to him, and he quickly became one of the show’s favorite personalities. During his time on the show, Gabriel said his favorite moments were the ones not frequently featured on air. “It was the times late at night when we weren’t really filming and we would just all be in the kitchen, making food together,” he shares. “And it [was] those moments [where] the drama was put aside and we were just normal people for a little bit.”
Gabriel’s involvement with Perfect Match is not his only avenue to stardom, however. He’s also a rising TikTok sensation with over a million followers, where he is able to showcase his comedic side as well as his love for all things fashion and nail art designs.
Gabriel is known for being very open about his artistic expression in outfits, which include wearing dresses and crop tops. He appreciates aspects of both femininity and masculinity in clothing designs, and shatters toxic masculinity standards and gender stereotypes by demonstrating that anyone can express themselves in any way they want. “I kind of find inspiration from everywhere,” he says of his personal style. “I like … mix[ing] and matching the shapes and the colors.” His biggest style inspirations are Lenny Kravitz, Dennis Rodman, Prince, and David Bowie, plus one other unique source: “[I get] a lot of inspiration from Japanese anime and manga because they flirt with the idea of an androgynous style.”
In addition to his TikTok fame, Gabriel is a member of the Toronto-based pop-punk band DØNTCALL. The group is influenced by the sounds of the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, speaking about their perspectives on heartbreak while using influences from romantic comedies and anime to craft their own sound. Their mission is to portray vulnerability, authenticity, and angst in the world of pop music.
Gabriel, in particular, has been heavily influenced by pop-punk, and the genre has assisted him in finding his artistic place in music. “Because of the stigma behind [pop-punk] and the angst behind it, I think a lot of people don’t really give it the credit that it deserves when it comes to lyrics and poetry,” he says. “I think it’s just the idea of being rebellious and going against the grain… It’s being vulnerable in a sense because you really don’t give a f*ck, for a lack of better words.”
Below, Gabriel shares with Her Campus all of his favorite things and his thoughts on his career thus far. One thing is clear: This is only the beginning for Rom-Com Dom.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite nail design you’ve ever had?
I had a The Nightmare Before Christmas nail set of Jack and Sally for Halloween. It was very intricate. One hand was Jack-inspired with stripes, green slime, [and] his head. And [on the other hand] I had [a set] that was Sally-inspired.
What are your sun, moon, and rising signs?
I know this very well. I am a Cancer Sun, [a] Cancer Moon, and a Taurus Rising. But I’m also a Cancer Venus as well, so there’s a lot of Cancer in there.
What’s your favorite anime?
I kind of have to give you two. … I grew up on Naruto. I have an Itachi tattoo on my leg. That’s my sentimental [favorite], but I think the best-ever is Attack on Titan.
What song is on repeat for you right now?
I don’t know what happened, but [for] the past two days I’ve been listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u,” I don’t know why. That song just popped in my head and I just had it on repeat. But also The Darkness’ “I believe in a Thing Called Love” is always on repeat as well.
What’s your favorite release from DØNTCALL?
Personally it’s “Drowning,” just because the process of that song was so real for us. … My bandmate Keegan started playing these chords on his acoustic guitar and I was having a rough week. It was after a breakup I had and he [told me to] just write everything and anything down. I wrote everything and then when I recorded it, he left the room so I could record, which never happens, but I just need[ed] to be alone.
So that was just a really personal record for me, talking about mental health and my battle with depression and talking about my father on that record and my relationship with my parents.
What is one future project or career endeavor you are excited to share with your fans?
I’m working on some nail polish collaborations moving forward, and I think that’s gonna be really fun. [Since the show came out] I get a lot of stuff on Instagram of people sharing pictures of their nails and tagging me as inspiration, and little kids doing their nails and their parents tagging me. So I think that’s something that I’m looking forward to is this new nail polish endeavor that I’m going on [and] that I’ll be able to inspire more people.
What’s your order at a coffee shop?
Iced dirty chai tea latte with oat milk. So that’s very expensive. Literally, my budget for coffee has gone up because I love it so much. It’s, like, $10.
What is your favorite tattoo of yours?
It’s tough because I get all my tattoos so impulsively. Probably my most [consistent] favorite tattoo is my Rafiki tattoo from The Lion King. Rafiki kind of represents my grandfather because my grandfather didn’t say a lot of things, but when he did say something, it always meant something. It was always very wise. I like it because it’s in a position where no one really sees it. I’ve had friends for years that never noticed it.
Do you think soulmates or perfect matches really exist?
It’s hard for me to believe that a perfect match exists. I think what makes a soulmate, in a sense, is loving the imperfections of somebody, loving the things that they don’t find perfect about themselves that you do find perfect.
Working on those flaws together is also important. I’ve been in long-term relationships where we grew as people together and I think that’s what made us so strong for a long period of time. And whether a relationship ends, I think that person might not necessarily [be] the one, but they’re the one to make you a better person for the one. But, I feel as though when you’re in a relationship and you’re like, ‘This person’s my soulmate,’ I think they can be your soulmate.
In terms of being a perfect match, I just feel like having a perfect match is impossible because no one is perfect. Everyone has their flaws and you have to grow and work on that.