DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

Sex­i­est Men Alive alum­nus JR Rol­ley is a New York-based ac­tor, model and me­dia host. The Bronx beauty talks to Jesse Archer about his up­com­ing gay thriller, han­dling in­de­cent pro­pos­als and how to get a year’s worth of hot cho­co­late with his 2014 cal­en­dar.

DNA: What does JR stand for? Can I call you that?

JR Rol­ley: You can call me what­ever you want! My first job do­ing in­ter­views was on a ca­ble ac­cess chan­nel and the pro­duc­ers sug­gested I go by my ini­tials. JR stands for Jer­maine Rol­ley. You first swooped into the pub­lic view as

Derek in the 2004 ro­man­tic com­edy Slutty Sum­mer, but de­spite the ti­tle, you never got fully nude. Why not?! Un­der the right cir­cum­stances, nu­dity can be very ben­e­fi­cial... but many peo­ple take it off just for the hell of it. I like to make it count. Derek is a per­fect gen­tle­man. How close is this char­ac­ter to the real JR? Peo­ple still call and ask me about Derek! I love that char­ac­ter but I’m not per­fect by far. I am a gen­tle­man and in relationsh­ips I work hard at con­sis­tency.

You reprised the role in A Four Let­ter Word and Vi­o­let Ten­den­cies. How do you feel about ap­pear­ing in such raunchy gay films? Raunchy or not, the act­ing was hon­est. We were and still are a fam­ily and I hope we will all work to­gether again some­day!

As a black man, what pres­sures (cul­tur­ally or oth­er­wise) did you face com­ing out? I feel a con­trast to my white broth­ers in that ho­mo­pho­bia is more rigid in my cul­ture. But, I didn’t have to deal with any neg­a­tive pres­sure. I’m an only child and my par­ents sep­a­rated when I was 20, so when I told them it was not easy, but their love never wa­vered. I bought my mom a string of pearls that she clutches un­til this day when I dis­cuss things in my life.

As a gay man of colour, do you feel more re­spon­si­bil­ity to be a role model to the next gen­er­a­tion and why do you feel we don’t see more mi­nori­ties rep­re­sented in gay me­dia? I’m still rel­a­tively un­known so I don’t know if the role model thing ap­plies, but one day I will gladly ac­cept that re­spon­si­bil­ity. I vol­un­teer with New York Cares do­ing ev­ery­thing from feed­ing the home­less to walk­ing dogs at an­i­mal shel­ters to host­ing Bingo at re­tire­ment homes. I learned that think­ing out­side your­self keeps things in per­spec­tive. When I was grow­ing up, RuPaul was the only gay per­son of colour who was bold, proud and un­apolo­getic! There were and are many gay en­ter­tain­ers who are too ashamed to be them­selves. If more en­ter­tain­ers had a dif­fer­ent out­look we would have a dif­fer­ent out­come. So maybe one day a lit­tle Black, Latino or Asian boy will see me and say to him­self, “If he can do it, I can as well.”

As a TV and on­line host, who have been your favourite in­ter­views? Peo­ple like Andy Co­hen and Ciara, but Rus­sell Sim­mons made the big­gest im­pact. I in­ter­viewed him at the GLAAD Awards in New York, where he won an award for his gay rights ad­vo­cacy and for specif­i­cally work­ing at get­ting the hip hop com­mu­nity to be­come in­volved be­cause he knows hip hop has such a ma­jor in­flu­ence. He was just so pas­sion­ate and ex­cited to get this award.

You’ve been fea­tured as one of DNA’s Sex­i­est Men Alive. Do you have any stalk­ers? What is the strangest propo­si­tion you have re­ceived? I’ve had sev­eral, but the creepi­est one was when I left a party in mid­town and went to get my car from the park­ing garage and there was this let­ter on my wind­shield. The let­ter was very de­tailed about how they felt about me and my ca­reer. How did they know this was my car and who would look for it in a garage and place this long, creepy let­ter on it?

Do you ever ac­cept propo­si­tions from fans? Propo­si­tions are all pretty su­per­fi­cial, but I did get asked out by a pro ball player from the NFC North Divi­sion re­cently.

How did that go? We met for a beer in a sports bar. I got the sense he likes ev­ery­thing his way and there is no room for any­thing else. If and when he reads this I might get another text...

What do you find sexy? Con­fi­dence and jock straps.

Con­grats on the very sexy JR 2014

I left a party in mid­town and went to get my car from the park­ing garage and there was this long, creepy let­ter on my wind­shield.

cal­en­dar. How did this come about? I was ap­proached to do a cal­en­dar, but dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions we hit a wall be­tween the cre­ative di­rec­tion and fi­nanc­ing. I re­alised that I had enough ex­pe­ri­ence and re­sources to do it my­self and so here I am! Tell us about your up­com­ing film, Bait. Bait is a sus­pense thriller writ­ten by Lee Hayes. I play Lenox, a guy who has it all; he’s mar­ried to a man who loves him and has a great job. Lenox’s best friend Em­manuel re­veals feel­ings and de­sires that are not re­cip­ro­cated... but Emanuel sim­ply won’t take no for an an­swer. Sounds like he’s about to leave a note on your wind­shield! Whose ca­reer would you most like to em­u­late? I love Mario Lopez’s ca­reer. He has great ex­po­sure and yet he’s able to main­tain a low-key life­style. Have you ever been mis­taken for JRR Tolkien? God rest his soul! I don’t think I have, see­ing as he left this earth be­fore I was born!

more: Arey­oubait.com. JR’s 2014 Cal­en­dar is avail­able at his web­site: JustJR.net.

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