Where’s Bigfoot? Check Instagram

The legendary creature has come out of hiding and onto our screens thanks to an adventurous prankster with a love for the outdoors.

By Jessie Schiewe


Bigfoot loves pizza, shaka emojis, and the ladies.

How do I know this? Because he’s on Instagram.

You’ll find him under the name @Bigfoot_Actual, where he shares regular selfies, scenic nature shots, and montage videos with his roughly 4,400 followers. Far from being shy and elusive like the legendary creature in the woods, this Bigfoot is a social butterfly with an itch for traveling and a “trust in the universe” mentality. If he had a credo, it would be have a lot of fun. Then document it online.

Most of the people who follow Bigfoot on Instagram don’t know the man beneath the faux fur suit. To them, he’s simply a fun-loving, amber-colored sasquatch who loves to party, quote Albert Einstein, and talk shit on Miller Lite beer. If he doesn’t post for a while, his followers notice.

There’s a well-known meme of Kermit the Frog looking out the window that goes, “We haven’t seen any new pictures of Bigfoot in a while. I hope he’s okay.” They like to send him that one a lot.

The man who runs Bigfoot’s Instagram told me all of this over a cheese pizza we shared at a restaurant in Oakland, California. He was wearing clothing he had designed: a black cap with the slogan “Straight Outta The Woods” and a T-shirt that read “This Is My Human Costume. I’m Really A Bigfoot.”

To retain the mystery of his online persona, he requested to remain anonymous for this article. We’ll call him Sterling.

In person, Sterling is different from what you’d expect, but then again what do you expect someone who dresses — and sometimes sleeps — in a full-body Bigfoot costume to look like? Rugged? Ugly? Scary? He’s none of that.

If he’d grown up in L.A., Sterling probably would have ended up modeling or in a soap opera. Blond, with thick eyelashes and overlong canines that give him a slight vampire gleam, he looks like the love child of Paul Walker and Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell. Which is to say he is the exact opposite of his Bigfoot mask with its yellowed teeth, haggard, rubbery skin, and deep set wrinkles.

Who doesn’t want to scroll through their Instagram feed and see photos of Bigfoot conquering the West?

Who doesn’t want to scroll through their Instagram feed and see photos of Bigfoot conquering the West?

He’s in his 30s, and currently lives by the beach and works in finance. As a former poolside bartender, it’s a job he never thought he’d take. But then again, he never thought he’d spend his free time dressing up like a sasquatch — something he now thinks he was destined to do.

“I’ve been told this growing up, but I think I’m here to entertain,” he said. “That’s what I think the Bigfoot account is for.”

As Bigfoot, he has donned a helmet and knee pads and rollerbladed downhill in San Francisco past the Full House house. He’s lounged poolside at hotels and perched on the precipices of rock faces in the Grand Canyon. He’s dipped his toes (and ended up losing a foot) in the Pacific Ocean. He’s squatted in front of the Hollywood sign, rubbed elbows with locals in Chinatown, attended raves, and crashed golf tournaments. Last summer, at the height of the “In My Feelings” dance challenge, he filmed his own version doing “the shiggy” from his car.

He estimates he’s traveled more than 10,000 miles in the suit so far. It’s been in the desert, through the snow, and underneath waterfalls. And it’s fared relatively well. Only a few hands and that one foot have gotten lost. Someday, if it hasn’t happened already, someone will find his missing rubber limbs. Sterling laughed at the idea.

“I’ll probably find the foot in Egypt, floating down the Nile. Because that’s how it happens. That’s the universe.”

Sterling has actually been role playing as Bigfoot for years, packing the costume on road trips and putting it on during hikes and excursions. His desire to buy one (from Amazon, for $60) started when one of his friends lent him a gorilla suit to wakeboard and snowboard in.

“It made it fun because you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and you’ve got to find ways to be entertained,” he said. “I could go out exploring and have all this fun and not need any money.”

Since then, at least two more of his friends have also gotten unique character costumes of their own. One is a bug-eyed, silver alien. The other is a snow-white yeti.

The prankster behind Bigfoot’s social media has been dressing up as the fabled creature for years.

The prankster behind Bigfoot’s social media has been dressing up as the fabled creature for years.

When people see Sterling in his full regalia, they’re usually entertained and want to take pictures with him.

“Everyone kept slowing down and waving. We were like, this is not the dynamic we were looking for,” he recalled. “It wasn’t necessarily that we were out trying to mess with people. It was more like just having a good time.”  

The Instagram account came into creation in 2016 and, in Sterling’s own words, has since turned into “a more positive experience” for everyone involved. It’s no longer about pulling funny stunts. It’s more like a comedic travelogue and a chance for Sterling to hone his video editing skills. And you won’t find any cuss words on his Insta or photos of him smoking weed or drinking beer (except for this one video).

“I try to keep it kind of clean,” he said. “I got kids watching me.”

He’s also got a surprising number of women watching him, as well. They make up half his followers and he refers to them, both in captions and in hashtags, as “Bigfoot babes.” Apparently, they are fond of sending him DMs asking if it’s true what they say about big feet. “The ladies” (as Sterling calls them) also seem to be more interested in talking to him when he’s in costume than when he’s just being himself.

“Do you know how many girls have told me, ‘I’d like you to feed me pizza?’ ” he said. “That just tells me it has nothing to do with me, because they don’t know who I am. And that adds even more to the mystery behind Bigfoot.”

Sterling and his alien friend — who, along with the yeti spent Valentine’s Day surrounded by no fewer than six women — created Tinder accounts for their respective characters to further test their theories about “the ladies.” The Bigfoot account got way more matches than Sterling’s personal account by a landslide. It was “intriguing,” he said. Unfortunately, Tinder shut both accounts down soon thereafter for being fake.

What he wants to do next is broaden his horizons; traveling in his Bigfoot costume through new parts of the U.S., and after that, the rest of the world. He also wants to start making money off of Bigfoot Actual to fund his future adventures.

“I’m going to see the world and I’m going to be successful doing it. I’ve just got to figure out how,” Sterling told me. “And what I know is there’s millions of people out there that love Bigfoot.”

He knows something good is bound to happen, he just knows it the same way that he’s always known he was going to do something with his life.

Until then he’s content to wait, moonlighting as Bigfoot in his free time.

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