When I set up an interview with a student nicknamed “Glitter Guy,” I expected him to walk in with a larger-than-life personality—loud, boisterous, and jacked up on caffeine or something.

That’s not Forrest Volz. You may know him as Glitter Guy, the shirtless student who’s been painting himself red and covering himself with, yes, glitter this year at Redbird men’s basketball games. If you’ve been to a game recently, he’s been hard to miss, cheering in the student section at Redbird Arena.

But during our interview this week, the junior geography major from Lansing was super subdued.

“I’m pretty laid back now,” Volz said, “but once the paint goes on…”

Volz was just a casual Redbird basketball fan until this season, attending games only when his work schedule allowed. But one day, he spotted some red paint at a hobby store and a light bulb went off. Volz has a tendency to go all out—about sports, work, whatever—and Glitter Guy was born.

“It was just a spur of the moment thing,” Volz said.

The Glitter Guy costume takes around 25 minutes to put on—and even longer to take off in the shower. (He’s still combing glitter out of his hair days after each game.) Volz first covers himself in washable red paint—applying it like sun screen—though he usually needs a buddy or his brother to help with his back. Then it’s the glitter. He covers himself like he’s a sugar cookie covered in sprinkles.

“My bathroom looks like a scene out of a horror movie when I’m done,” Volz said.

Then, maybe the worst part: The chilly, shirtless 10-minute walk over to Redbird Arena from his apartment.

But it’s worth it. He tried out Glitter Guy for the first time at Illinois State’s game vs. Top 25-ranked Northern Iowa on January 25, looking to see how people would react. They loved it, and several fans came up to him asking to photos with him.

“I’m not doing it so much for the attention,” said Volz. “It’s more for other people to get excited around me, and to pump up the crowd.”

After he graduates, Volz wants to work in city planning. But until then, he plans to keep his glittery persona alive and well. He plans to bring Glitter Guy back next school year for football season.


Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.