MAN AND HIS DOG
Interview by Justin Duren-Trend Privé Lifestyle Editor
Topher Brophy and his dog Rosenberg have taken social media by storm. The famous duo, whose most popular postings can be found under the Instagram handle @topherbrophy, do not simply feature ordinary photographs of a man and his dog. The images, styled and shot by creative director and photographer Chantal Adair (@thedogstyler), are wildly imaginative and depict Topher and Rosenberg in matching attire and coordinated activities, with inspirational and whimsical themes ranging from celebrating teachers to “The ‘70s”. The photographs are not only amusing but beautifully composed and aesthetically pleasing, highlighting the fact that Topher and Rosenberg bear a striking resemblance to each other. Topher’s social media rise is light-hearted and enjoyable, but also holds a profound backstory that resonates around the globe.
Topher and Rosenberg’s origin story began at a very difficult period in Topher’s life. “I was in a very dark period about three years ago, during which I experienced an array of feelings and events due to a lack of meaningful relationships and connections, that made me feel, in a sense, numb”. Compensating for what he felt he was missing, Topher spent a tremendous amount of time playing competitive sports; so much so that it turned into an addiction. “It was polo, it was tennis, it was racquetball, it was fencing, weight training…” Topher listed the myriad sports he spent every waking second competing in and training for. But his whole life came to a halt when he injured himself so severely that doctors told him that unless he stopped all training and competing, he would have to have life-altering surgery. “I was forced to quit immediately. I lost my security blanket, and I began spending a lot more time alone. As a result, I became more introspective, and the conclusion that I came to was the reason that I wasn’t happy or I wasn’t fulfilled or I didn’t have these connections with people was because…I was a narcissist”. Taking an active approach to coping with his newfound self-realization, he decided one way he could learn to connect and care for others was to adopt a puppy.
“My attention and my love and all of my feelings came to be focused on [Rosenberg’s] happiness”...
Topher explained, acknowledging the sudden and immediate shift from an empty life to a more meaningful one. It could be argued that a person finding inner peace and deciding to care for animals is a success story all by itself. And it is. But Topher rather believes this is when the first chapter to a new story of hope and happiness began. “It’s a very odd coincidence that I look like my puppy”, Topher humorously addressed the elephant in the room, explaining that when the pair would walk around Brooklyn, people would stop him to point the uncanny similarity out to Topher. Laughing the comments off the first couple of times, Topher initially thought it was simply a relatively unique situation. He was pleased simply to entertain all who passed by. But after the comments kept pouring in, he began to realize this may be something more than just happenstance. Topher then came up with the idea to walk around in matching outfits with Rosenberg. Jokingly, the two made it to Prospect Park where a “giant crowd” formed around them. “Everybody was so happy. It was so fulfilling to see that something we have naturally together would make people so transfixed and happy.” And so Topher’s journey to share the message of compassion, love and happiness began.
“Animal companionship is something that can help fix the human conflict. When you see someone giving love to a puppy, you can see their compassion. Animals help us be better humans.” Topher was determined to find a way to spread his message.
Another serendipitous meeting occurred as Topher was introduced to a local artist who specialized in photography and videography and who also shared a deep belief in the power of positivity and happiness. “Chantal is the real genius behind our [photo] shoots. She does all the styling, she does all the creative direction. She’s amazing.” One photo shoot begat another, the sets and outfits became more wonderful and witty, and even other friends and media stars began to join in. “We just recently did some work with Alan Cummings. He is simply amazing”.
Topher’s desire to affect others positively does not stop with his and Rosenberg’s playful displays.
An advocate of several different causes, Topher also uses his growing social media presence to provide exposure and support to some amazing causes such as the Humane Society, Doctors Without Borders, and the UN Refugee Agency. Topher has also recently focused on the National Amputation Foundation, participating in photo shoots to raise awareness and money for the inspiring organization that helps amputees improve their quality of life.
What’s next for Topher and Rosenberg? “Anything that would get our message out to help people, Rosenberg and I would gladly do in a millisecond” Topher offers. The two plan to continue their work with charitable organizations and causes, with the hope that they will be able to harness their newfound fame toward making a positive difference in the lives of others. “We’re going to keep doing exactly what we’re doing. All we want to do is help raise money and awareness, help adults and children and animals in need, and spread tolerance.” And so the heartwarming tale of Topher and Rosenberg continues on.