Is Gay Too Gay for Fashion TV??

21 Feb

Recently, my name was in consideration for a hosting gig for an undisclosed fashion tv show that would be optioned off to different networks along the lines of Oxygen, Style, and TLC. This was exciting news for me, something that I  have been working toward, and I could realistically book. After being contacted by the casting person I was asked to email more links of what I considered to be the best representation of my work and on-camera persona for this type of project. So I did. About 45 minutes after sending my work I received an email from the casting person that was not intended for my eyes. It was an email to someone else involved in casting that had candid casting notes about me and I other person. This was a terrible and unfortunate mistake. I quickly learned the unvarnished version of what this casting person thought of my work. I am not going to go into the entire email but I did learn that this person thought of my persona as being “generic gay fashion guy that can wear on the viewer.” I have been a part of casting. I am also an actor so I am pretty used to constructive criticism, but I never thought my sexuality would be taken into account in casting for a host of a fashion television show. I mean it’s fashion! Yes, I can see where that could be taken into account if I were auditioning for a straight male role in a film or on tv, but for a fashion tv show? Could you imagine fashion without the gay male influence?  Half if not most of the men involved in fashion are gay from the designers, to the stylist, to the makeup artist, to the retail sales person. So this made me want to ask the question “Is Gay Too Gay for Fashion TV?” Can you name one fashion television show without an outspoken gay fashion guy, and would you even watch one of these shows without that gay fashion guy? On What Not to Wear there is Clinton Kelly, Project Runway has Tim Gunn and Michael Kors, The Rachel Zoe Project had Brad Goreski, ANTM had Miss J. and now Andre Leon Talley, Fashion Police had Robert Verdi and Queer Eye For The Straight Guy had 5 outspoken gay men. All of these shows were hits and mainly if not because of the gay men that were on these shows. I remember watching What Not to Wear, Fashion Police and especially Queer Eye for the Straight Guy back home in North Carolina and thinking, wow this is me. These shows gave me someone to connect to and to identify with. These shows were successful not just because of their glimpse into the world of fashion, but because it gave a voice to the gay male and the gay community. There was finally one place for an openly gay man to be successful on television. The real question when casting this show is whether or not the host can connect to the audience no matter if he is gay or straight. I guess the next time I audition for a host of a fashion television show I should play down the fact that I’m gay? Anyway I never thought I would be seen as a “generic” anything. Generic is such an annoying word.

What do you think about it??




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