For a younger generation of people you guys have become gay icons, but who did you have to look up to like that when you were younger?
There’s one person that comes to mind. There was always something about George Michael for me. I danced to “Faith” when I was about fives years old and would pause when the song breaks and do all the moves. And then when I saw the music video for “Freedom” there was something about the lyrics that got to me. It was very sexually liberating, even though I hadn’t even hit puberty but there was something so free and open about how he expressed himself. And aside from that there is another music video from the Pet Shop Boys called “Being Boring” which is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t understand how anyone cannot be pansexual after seeing that. There is something about this careless freedom of youth and the openness to possibilities that comes through it.
And who inspires you now?
Realising the platform that we have and the voice that we’ve been given and that people are listening to that is definitely very inspiring and has me changing and considering the type of work that I want to do. For the first six months or so after the show I felt like I had imposter syndrome because I felt like I wasn’t ‘one way’ enough so I went to every single LGBT event that I possibly could and spread myself too thin and now I’m stepping back and taking a bit more time to consider. Recently I had the privilege of having a meeting with Emma Gonzalez who is doing so much to campaign for gun control in the US and to see what she is doing at such a young age is incredible. Being an activist is in her DNA, and to me someone like that who is so dedicated, young and tough is very inspiring. That is our future.
What has being on Queer Eye taught you about love?
Oh, really good question. Well, sometimes in the world of Twitter people don’t have the nicest things to say! I’m very good at being selective now but at first I wasn’t and I took a lot of things personally. What I’m realising now is that you always have to try to find the human underneath it and try to love unconditionally the way that you would with someone close to you. With anybody that expresses a lot of hatred or resentment, or the symbol of that in the US right now – he who shall remain nameless – it’s important to remember that we’re all people and we were all born innocent. Even though we are sometimes shaped to become people that do some terrible things we really are all human underneath it. So with any type of anger or hatred I try to look at the complete opposite. You never know what someone else’s experience is so I think that it is important to come in from a place of love, it’s very important to do that.
Finally – as we should ask you something food related too! – you can have five people, dead or alive, at a dinner party – who do you choose?
Oh my gosh! Only five? I’d have Johnny Cash, Jack Kerouac, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who wrote The Little Prince. That’s my mood today.
Queer Eye Season 2 is on Netflix from June 15th
Polaroids taken using Ice Cream and Tropics Edition film, from Polaroid Originals. Available to purchase online from polaroidoriginals.com.