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Meet Humanimal, YouTube’s weirdest interspecies hybrid

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humanimal

Half man, half beast, all awesome.

If you’re like me, you enjoy a very particular sort of oddness on the Internet, and in seeking it out, you may have come across the Humanimal.

The Humanimal’s YouTube clips are all about a minute long, and each one features the same very fit man, always dressed head to toe in various uncanny animal outfits. 

The Humanimal’s YouTube clips are all about a minute long, and each one features the same very fit man, always dressed head to toe in various uncanny animal outfits. 

Above, he’s in Dalmatian mode.

Unlike other people who dress up like animals on the Internet, the Humanimal didn’t seem to be a furry. Instead, these videos come off like austere art projects with a lot of time and effort invested in the costuming and mystique. It’s mesmerizing. Slightly creepy, sure, but mesmerizing. And despite the Internet’s vanishingly short attention span, he’s managed to maintain a fandom for years.

We managed to catch up with the actual Humanimal, a London-based performance artist named Alex Kovas. We talked about the inspiration behind Humanimal, the reactions its gotten, and whether or not it’s supposed to be unsettling.

What is your background in the performing arts?

When I started performing professionally, I did lots of “living statues” gigs. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s basically getting painted as a gold, silver, or stone statue, and standing still on a plinth for the about two to three “sets,” which are just periods of time… I did that for various events, such as birthdays, weddings, award ceremonies, etc.

I did lots of modeling jobs, and did some acting. Most notably, I played a Russian baddie in Guy Ritchie’s film RocknRolla, and even now sometimes I still get recognized on the streets for playing that part!  

Most notably, I played a Russian baddie in Guy Ritchie’s film RocknRolla, and even now sometimes I still get recognized on the streets for playing that part! 

I also have some dancing training under my belt.

When did you start doing Humanimal? Where did that idea come from?

I’ve been doing Humanimals for about six years now. For me it was a natural progression after doing the static “living statue” jobs. I wanted to do something different, to “branch out” from the mainstream stuff. I saw the opportunity to create my own niche in the entertainment industry by becoming a specialized performer who portrays animals, creating characters with the help of makeup and prosthetic professionals, that are more expressive, unique, visually striking, and have common characteristics so they could be grouped under a memorable name. 

Right from the beginning I came up with two names for my act: Big Cat Walk and Humanimal. Big Cat Walk was created for all big cats characters I did, and Humanimals for all other animals and creatures. However I am mostly known as Humanimal now, as it’s a fitting name for all my animal characters, including the big cats, and I use this name most of the time in regards to my act.

There’s something kind of odd and uncanny about Humanimal; is that what you’re going for?

The goal was to create  an extremely realistic blend of human and animal physical characteristics into living and characters, so it’s just the human body intact with an accent of animal visuals. So yes, the concept itself may appear weird and unsettling to many people. Some of my characters look more weird than others, and some of my YouTube videos may be considered downright creepy. 

Some of my characters look more weird than others, and some of my YouTube videos may be considered downright creepy. 

I realize all that, and I hope that this is also what contributes to the Humanimal’s appeal and uniqueness.

What has the reaction been like?

I’m happy to say that on the whole the reaction is positive and encouraging. When I work at different events, the audiences seem to be very appreciative and amused by the sight of Humanimals. When I see the audience is entertained by my characters, it’s easy for me to interact with them. 

If it’s a particularly large in scale event, for example 500 guests, then sometimes the whole set consists of just posing for the photographs. Small events (30-50 people) usually work in different ways; I have to find that right balance of enhancing their experience by subtly interacting with them, as opposed to being constantly “in their faces” and risking becoming a nuisance.

The reaction on my YouTube channels is a different beast altogether— comments consist of every emotional reaction known to man.

What’s your favorite outfit?

I think it must be the Deer, as it’s one of my most “genetically” modified designs. Apart from the animal face, ears and tail additions, it also has the hooves and antlers, making it the tallest character in my collection.

Lastly, you’re in really good shape—do you think that’s part of what makes Humanimal so visually striking?

Most definitely, or at least I’d like to think so!

Photo via circusperformers’s channel/YouTube 

Luke Winkie

Luke Winkie

Entertainment and sports reporter Luke Winkie has written everywhere from A.V Club to Vice, including Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Kotaku, Playboy, Mel, and Polygon.