Pride of Place

After years of traveling the globe to promote enterprises supporting the LGBTQ+ community, Eliad Cohen settles down in the Magic City

LGBTQ+ icon Eliad Cohen is making new waves in the red-hot South Florida real estate market.
LGBTQ+ icon Eliad Cohen is making new waves in the red-hot South Florida real estate market.

Before Eliad Cohen was a fitness model, a party producer, and an LGBTQ+ icon with 1.4 million Instagram followers, he was a young man from Northern Israel who was afraid to come out as gay. 

“When I was 21, I was sure I was not going to tell anyone,” Cohen recalls. “I was going to get married, have kids, and not disappoint the people around me. But then I realized, I won’t disappoint anyone but myself. You can’t live your life based on what others will feel, but what you believe in.” 

To Cohen’s surprise, his mother, friends, and colleagues from his military service were supportive. While working as a personal trainer and bartender in Tel Aviv roughly 14 years ago, Cohen began promoting the Arisa party series—considered the world’s first gay Middle Eastern party—through comical YouTube videos. The clips went viral, and Cohen soon found an international following. 

It wasn’t long before Cohen founded Papa Party alongside Tel Aviv Gay Pride, featuring events in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. “It became one of the biggest gay parties in the world very fast,” Cohen says. “Everybody is going through something, whether it’s a breakup or something at work or with family, and they want to disconnect for five hours and listen to good music. It means a lot to me that I can bring happiness to people.” 

Soon, Cohen found himself appearing on the cover of Spartacus International Gay Guide for its 2011-2012 issue, and being voted one of the top 10 most eligible bachelors in Out magazine. 

As he ping-ponged from continent to continent to promote his parties, Cohen identified the need for a space where people could access LGBTQ+-friendly vacation rentals. He co-founded Gay-ville, a global vacation and apartment online rental network catering to the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Today we’re living in a different world,” Cohen notes. “We can get married in the U.S., but 13 years ago it was different. In Eastern Europe, for example, being gay wasn’t accepted by everyone, so there was a big need.”  

Cohen relocated to Miami in early 2020, which he considers “the best decision ever.” Though he has since sold Gay-ville, the entrepreneurial spirit of the Magic City appealed to him: Last year, he co-founded Pride Icons, the largest collection of NFT-inspired art with representations of 100 queer legends (RuPaul, Andy Cohen, and Cher, to name a few) to benefit LGBTQ+ causes including GLAAD, The Trevor Project, and the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQIA+ Youth. Cohen also fueled his love for fashion by launching a spring/summer menswear line during Miami Swim Week 2022.

Whereas Cohen would previously “travel every weekend,” he finds himself staying put in Miami and traveling for parties once a month. He’s made new inroads in the real estate industry, launching the Eliad Cohen Group with Douglas Elliman. The work keeps him rooted in Miami and allows him to connect people to their dream homes in South Florida. In doing so, he gets to witness the excitement of his clientele, which has now shifted from partygoers to homebuyers.  

“For a time, being gay was my biggest weakness,” Cohen says. “But now I consider it my biggest gift. My whole life and career is built around that. If I was in the closet, what would I do?” 

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