Joel Kim Booster Goes Into 'Hibernation Mode' Before Pride Month: 'It's All About Staying Healthy'

"I'm saving my energy for Pride," Joel Kim Booster tells PEOPLE as he appears in Coach's "Go All Out for Pride" campaign

Joel Kim Booster for Coach
Photo: Hunter Abrams/BFA

Joel Kim Booster is pressing the reset button for Pride Month.

The Fire Island star, 34, tells PEOPLE about his pre-Pride rituals as he appears in the talented LGBTQ lineup for Coach's "Go All Out For Pride" campaign, benefitting the brand's longtime partner, the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

"I usually go into hibernation mode as soon as possible to mentally prepare. I don't go out. I'm saving my energy for Pride," Booster says. "And then once you're in it, man, it's all about just hydrating, hydrating, hydrating, hydrating, hydrating. I think it's all about staying healthy and pushing through all of that. Because I know I'm going to be exhausted."

For his campaign spot, Booster wore pieces from Coach's 2022 Pride collection, including the Rainbow Signature Cardigan, Hitch Backback and Citysole Court Sneaker all featuring the heritage brand's signature double-C logo.

During Pride, the comedian notes that he packs a survival kit in his belt bag, consisting of essentials like water, chapstick, gum and "any of the other accoutrements that I might be needing."

Booster also turns to a Hanes ribbed tank as his "favorite go-to staple." And although his arms are always tank top ready, he maintains a healthy approach to fitness that isn't just about vanity.

Joel Kim Booster for Coach
Hunter Abrams/BFA

"It's about consistency. For me, the gym is a ritual that I had to learn how to integrate it into my life for reasons beyond just my arms looking good in a tank top," he says, adding: "That wasn't motivation enough to actually keep me there.

"It just made me feel more depressed because I didn't look the way I wanted to. And the minute I flipped the switch and was like, 'This is something you're doing for yourself, not so that you can feel desired by other people,' was the minute it really started to click and become an actual ritual I could follow through on," Booster continues.

In his new movie Fire Island, a trailblazing gay romantic comedy inspired by Jane Austen's literary classic Pride and Prejudice and set in the beloved titular LGBTQ destination, Booster recalls there being plenty of tank tops and Speedos available in the wardrobe trailer.

"It's so funny, I think I only wear maybe three or four tank tops in the movie, but there were so many duplicates of them floating around," he says. "There were probably upwards of 40 tank tops, but all of the same ones just flying in and out of the trailer."

Fire Island
Jeong Park/Searchlight Pictures

Booster stars in Fire Island as Noah, a gay man who joins his close group of friends for one last summer trip to Fire Island. Determined to help his best friend Howie (Bowen Yang) to hook up with his crush Charlie (James Scully) during the week-long vacation, he finds himself unexpectedly falling for uptight lawyer Will (Conrad Ricamora).

The comedian likens the movie's themes of community and safe spaces to Coach's "Go All Out for Pride" campaign, which the brand kicked off with a huge Pride celebration at The Monster in New York City.

"I hope that people understand that there's a weight that queer people carry around with them every day navigating heterosexual spaces and a world that is built for straight people," he explains. "And it is, you don't realize how heavy that weight is until you go to a gay space like Fire Island ... it's a microcosm of that.

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"Going to these queer spaces is so important because that weight is finally lifted for, whether it's a few hours of dancing or a whole week of a vacation, being able to be your authentic self without the pressure of conforming or code switching or any of that is so transformative and important," Booster says.

In addition to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Coach's "Go All Out For Pride" campaign benefits Point Foundation and CenterLink Community of LGBTQ Centers as part of its Dream It Real initiative.

Fire Island is now streaming on Hulu.

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