Sam Reece on Shitty Craft Club, Coming Out, and What She Shares With Jenny Schecter

Feature image of Sam Reece for Shitty Craft Club by Lizzie Darden

Sam Reece is a comedian, writer, and actor best known for her viral moments on TikTok about her crafting hobby and subsequent book, Shitty Craft Club. Sam’s book is the whimsical intersection of her passion for creation and abandonment of perfectionism. When someone goes viral as frequently as Sam does, they have a decision to make: go big or go home. After chatting with Sam for the better part of an hour, I learned that she doesn’t do anything small, from beads to bits to book tours.

Reading Shitty Craft Club forced me to revisit my own coming out, ten years after the realization first settled in. It was refreshing to read a self-proclaimed “late in life” queer coming out story that didn’t feel so much solved as it did a work-in-progress, much like the accompanying crafts. There’s a sense of forgiveness sprinkled throughout, whether it’s for making necessary, selfish choices or for not totally knowing who you are or for not having all the right materials for the assignment, in which case… use trash!

We discussed the necessity of queer representation, separating work from passion (spoiler alert: Sam can’t), and New Jersey corn.


Motti: What’s the gayest craft you’ve ever made?

Sam: I guess that could mean so many things. They’re all pretty gay because I’m making them. They’re all sparkly rainbow. It’s probably this basketball because this year my partner and I have gotten really into women’s sports, specifically soccer.

Motti: Soccer is the gateway – the weed – of sports for gay women.

Sam: That’s very true, yes. You’re like, ”This is nice, I’ll try it again” and now we have season tickets.

Motti: I love all the attention that women’s sports is getting. There’s this huge thing happening for New York Liberty where all of my friends are going and I’m wondering, “How do I become a Liberty influencer?”

Sam: How would you feel if you were sitting court side and then they put you on the Jumbotron with “TikTok Influencer” under your face?

Motti: I’d much rather it say “Dyke” if I’m honest.

Sam: I know that well. People don’t know my name, they just know me as Shitty Craft or That Woman Who Does Stuff with Beads. I’ve gotten spotted on the streets twice from a person riding by on a bike… which is hilarious. Most people are like, “Shitty Crafts?” and I say, “Sam, yes.”

Motti: Do you hate that?

Sam: No, I love it. I think it’s funny and charming. People are always super nice. The scariest one was probably at a boygenius concert.

Motti: (laughs) I’ve also been recognized at a boygenius concert.

Sam: It was a pack of Gen Z’s and they were yelling, “You’re the woman who glues beads to stuff online!”

Motti: Mine’s usually “You’re the one who was teaching people about scissoring!” I guess at the end of the day, you and I are both scissoring on TikTok, just in different ways.

Sam: And wouldn’t you know, that’s on the cover of my book!

Motti: I love the book. I loved the stages of coming out. First, it’s, “What’s going on?” Then it’s bisexual to lesbian–

Sam: And back again.

Motti: You threw in a little Meredith Grey reference in there. How did you watch Grey’s Anatomy and not know you were gay?

Sam: (laughs) It’s so incredibly gay. It’s filled with friendship breakups. I just watched The L Word last year for the first time.

Motti: How was it?

Sam: It was great! I loved it. It’s so funny because my real last name is Schecter and I have this little nameplate necklace. When I wear it, certain people will think I’m a big Jenny Schecter fan.

Motti: That’s scary.

Sam: It’s one of those things where I look back on so many moments of my life and I think… I knew the whole time I just had no reference for it. I had no media representation of what a lesbian is. I didn’t know any. I was in musical theater and still didn’t know because it’s mostly gay men. I’m really in a place now where I need to get to know more queer media, and read more about queerness. I’m still on a journey.

Motti: Autostraddle has it all. If you type in “Lesbian TV” in the search bar, you’ll find some really good gems in there.

Sam: That’s great. I haven’t even seen some of the absolute queer canon of movies. What’s the one with Cate Blanchett?

Motti: It’s awful and I hate it. Carol.

Sam: Carol!

Motti: I just think we can stop making period pieces for lesbians. Can we just exist in 2023? Stop stringing along this young woman! You’re married! Well, you’ve never seen it.

Sam: I’ll do my research.

Motti: Okay, do your own research.

I loved the moment in your book when you said you broke up with a man the moment he woke up in your bed. I could relate to that.

Sam: It’s so interesting that there’s a certain point where your body rejects it.

Motti: Okay… musical theater, comedy, writing, crafts, events, hosting. Which is your favorite?

Sam: I’m always going to love performing comedy. There’s something so magical about it. I perform with my best friend, Becky, and we’ve been writing partners for about ten years. We have so much fun together.

Motti: I have to imagine that a lot of it overlaps for you so you don’t really have to pick a favorite anyway.

Sam: That’s actually something I was struggling with a little bit over this past year because I was so intent on comedy being my career. Then, when Shitty Craft Club started, I thought… “Oh this is really fun,” but I had to keep them separate. I don’t know why in my head I thought they were different, even though making TikTok videos is comedy, and then I edit them to be comedy, so there’s so much overlap.

I went to school for musical theater and then I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. But Beck and I do musical comedy… so all of these things are woven together but I had a hard time thinking of it like that. It’s taken a lot of really intentional thought to understand that it’s okay to do all of these things professionally and passionately. I always make everything part of my career, it can never just be a hobby, you know?

Motti: You experienced the nine to five burnout really bad… but now your job is twenty-four seven. Do you prefer that?

That’s what happens when you take it from your hobby to this and you become your own boss and your all these things.

Sam: It’s really hard to take a weekend or go on vacation. I just decided to start a sticker shop because I became an iPad kid this year, and I have not prepared for it. Now, I’m always packing and shipping things – which is something I never wanted to do — and I realized I was too scared to do it. Twenty-four seven is okay to me because I think if I had a boss telling me what to do I would have a mental breakdown.

Not to say that I won’t be able to do it ever again but on a long term basis, it’s not something I’m interested in anymore.

Motti: I love that this is your life and your career as a Virgo. I would expect this career path and lifestyle from a Sagittarius but it shocks me as a Virgo.

Sam: I’m also Gemini rising, so it might be a little bit of that. I think there are so many things that have to be very organized and a certain way for me, but I think part of this whole process with the book and with the craft club has really helped me loosen that up a little bit and let myself be a little messy.

Which is terrifying, but there have been some really nice moments that have allowed me to try something new. For instance, I got into collaging a lot recently because I made a collage for a magazine. I thought of it as my first time making a collage as if I didn’t include a collage with every journal entry in college.

I feel like maybe being a perfectionist has made it so hard to come out. I thought, if I can’t do it perfectly, if I can’t be a perfect gay person, I don’t want to do it. It took me a while to even work through that.

That’s probably why a year into the Shitty Craft Club I was able to finally think about what was going on with me, and how I wanted to express myself. Even still, I’m worried that I don’t look gay enough. I’m just trying to be my most authentic self and that is enough and so I encourage anyone to just accept themselves as they are.

Motti: If it helps for you to know, you look really gay.

Sam: YES! Thank you!

Motti: Not that gay looks like anything… but you have gay face.

Sam: Thank you. That means a lot.

Motti: Talk to me about corn.

Sam: I bought the corn stool. (leaning off camera) Can you see it?

Motti: Yeah.

Sam: Growing up in New Jersey, I haven’t seen this since, but everyone in my neighborhood would put these decorative corn stalks on either side of their door.

Motti: We had that, too!

Sam: The corn stool was just so funny and delightful to me. From there, I made a sparkling corn – I don’t even remember – it was just funny to me. And charming. There’s something charming about corn, maybe.

Motti: Why do you think that is?

Sam: I think it’s representative of me feeling special on the inside, but scared to come out of my little husk. I don’t know. Who fucking knows. Now people send me corn things all the time. I have a corn bookmark and someone gave me a corn keychain. I started a discord for Shitty Craft Club and I had to start a whole corn channel because we had to start putting the corn stuff somewhere else.

Motti: (laughs) That’s so funny. I love it. What are other big dreams that you have for Shitty Craft Club? Are you starting a cult? Going international?

Sam: That’s a great question. Right now, I have a lot of fun ideas that I’m excited about. I’m always at this transitional point where I have no idea what’s going to happen but I’m going to follow what is fun and exciting. Maybe some sort of visual podcast because when I was on the book tour, I learned that you’re supposed to have these conversations where you beg a famous person to ask you questions about your book at Barnes & Noble.

My version of that was asking other comedians or artists to have an “In Craftersation” instead of “In Conversation,” where I made them craft while we talked. I got to talk to Jo Firestone, Chelsea Devantez, Jamie Loftus. It was so fun and I thought, “I would like to be doing more of this.”

I never thought of myself as somebody who would be interested in hosting these types of discussions because I’ve always worked as groups or duos. So, I was surprised that it really delighted me. I’m going to pursue that, but if anyone internationally wants to fly me out…


Follow Sam Reece and Shitty Craft Club on TikTok

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Motti

Motti (they/he) is a New York born and raised sorority girl turned writer, comedian, and content creator (whatever that means these days). Motti has been featured on We're Having Gay Sex Live, The Lesbian Agenda Show, Reductress Haha Wow! Live, the GayJoy Digest, and even played the role of "Real Life Lesbian" on Billy on the Street. In 2022, they wrote about how clit sucker toys are a scam, sweet gay revenge, chasing their dreams, and getting run over by a pick up truck in their now-abandoned newsletter Motti is An Attention Whore. Motti has a Masters in Public Administration and Local Government Management, you'd never know it from the shit they post online (see previous sentence), but occasionally he'll surprise you with his knowledge of civic engagement and electoral processes. They live in Brooklyn with their tuxedo cat, Bo, and their 20 houseplants.

Motti has written 14 articles for us.

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