“Gay Men Don’t Z Snap!”

The gin­ger half of Mod­ern Fam­ily’s quirky gay cou­ple, Jesse Tyler Fer­gu­son dis­cusses fame, phi­lan­thropy and his lead­ing man. In­ter­view by Phillip Portman.

DNA Magazine - - DNA SAMPLES -

DNA: Did you ever ex­pect to be one of the most fa­mous gay peo­ple in the world when you started Mod­ern Fam­ily in 2009? Jesse Tyler Fer­gu­son: I still don’t think I am. When you live in the bub­ble of it, you don’t re­ally see that scope. Hope­fully it hap­pened for the right rea­sons. I think it’s the right role to bring no no­to­ri­ety to me. I’m very com­fort­able with that. Do you think the show has made a dif­fer­ence to the way peo­ple per­ceive gay re­la­tion­ships? Be­ing gay is maybe the fifth most in­ter­est­ing thing about them. They’re new par­ents, they’re learn­ing how to raise a kid to­gether and they’re part of this whacky fam­ily. Peo­ple fall in love with th­ese char­ac­ters and start to rea lise how Cam and Mitch are just peo­ple. It changes their per­spec­tive on Bob and Joe or Linda and Claire who live down the street. Lots of kids feel com­fort­able talk­ing to their par­ents about their sex­u­al­ity be­cause they have a point of ref­er­ence and there’s some­one on tele­vi­sion who rep­re­sents what they strive to be some day. At the same time, that’s not our mis­sion state­ment; it’s just a nice, happy sur­prise. Do you ever feel pres­sure know­ing peo­ple look at the char­ac­ter you play and link that to what’s gay-nor­mal? We get crit­i­cised for not rep­re­sent­ing the whole gay com­mu­nity or we get peo­ple say­ing “that’s a mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of gay men”. I know lots of Mitches and Cams, so to say we’re mis­rep­re­sent­ing is ridicu­lous. There are lots of facets to the gay com­mu­nity but we should be happy that there are two gay men be­ing rep­re­sented on TV. Shows like Will And Grace opened the door for us and we’re open­ing the door for other shows. Your co-star, Eric Ston­estreet, isn’t gay but plays your part­ner on the show. Do you give him any tips on how to play gay? He does a great job on his own [laughs]! There are mo­ments where he’ll say some­thing and I’ll be like “hmm no, gay men don’t re­ally Z snap. Don’t do that.” What would you like to see hap­pen to Mitch and Cam? Hope­fully they’ll be get­ting mar­ried this year. I’m ex­cited to see what hap­pens with them when Lily gets older, like when she starts dat­ing or gets her first boyfriend. How do you find time for other projects be­ing on one of the big­gest shows on TV? You work so hard to get to a point like this in your ca­reer that you want to ride that wave of op­por­tu­nity and not just re­lax. You’ve been a judge on So You Think You Can Dance. Can you dance? I can’t dance like they do on that show. I did do mu­si­cal the­atre and danced on Broad­way. I’m mostly an ac­tor who moves. You mar­ried your part­ner Justin ear­lier this year. What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship and be­ing mar­ried? There is some­thing that switches over when you call

some­one your hus­band or wife. It hap­pened for me when I was at a doc­tor’s of­fice and had to check the box: sin­gle or mar­ried. As an emer­gency con­tact, I used Justin’s name and said his re­la­tion­ship to me was “hus­band”. I don’t think any kid sits at home think­ing “oh, I can’t wait to have a do­mes­tic part­ner one day”. Any plans to have kids? Right now we’re en­joy­ing just be­ing mar­ried but we’ve al­ways talked about start­ing a fam­ily. Tell us about your Tie The Knot foun­da­tion. Ba­si­cally, we have a bowtie line and the pro­ceeds go to­ward mar­riage equal­ity. We’ve do­nated to the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign and Mar­riage Coali­tion and have trav­elled to sev­eral states to bring at­ten­tion to the mar­riage equal­ity bills. It’s been a re­ally fan­tas­tic, fun and over­whelm­ing ad­ven­ture. Do peo­ple col­lect the bowties? They’re lim­ited edi­tion, so peo­ple do snap them up when they first be­come avail­able. Our first col­lec­tion sold out in two weeks so we learned to make a few more. We have our first pop-up shop this win­ter at the Bev­erly Center in Los An­ge­les. Is it true you came out to your fa­ther three times? Yes, we still laugh about that. I think

I don’t think any kid sits at home think­ing ‘oh, I can’t wait to have a do­mes­tic part­ner one day

he had a hard time ac­cept­ing the fact I was gay and just kept ask­ing if I had a girl­friend. My sis­ter is also gay and com­ing out is also a process for your par­ents. My dad was re­ally sup­port­ive of Kelly com­ing out and she was like, “I’m sur­prised you’re so sup­port­ive and so en­thu­si­as­tic with Jesse be­ing gay and ev­ery­thing” and he was like, “Oh, Jesse is gay?” That was the last time where I fi­nally had to put the nail in that cof­fin and say, “Dad, we’ve re­ally gotta stop play­ing this game.” That be­ing said, he’s re­ally sup­port­ive of Justin and was at our wed­ding. Do you have any ad­vice for peo­ple who might be strug­gling to come out of the closet? I don’t think any­one should be forced to come out be­fore they’re ready. I get up­set when peo­ple try and force celebri­ties out of the closet. That’s not do­ing any­one any favours. Ev­ery­one should work on their own time­line. What in­spired you and Ge­orge Takei to cre­ate the spoof video, The First Gay Bach­e­lor? If there were a Gay Bach­e­lor, all the con­tes­tants would start hook­ing up with one another and no one would re­ally be in­ter­ested in the real bach­e­lor. The video is funny be­cause it’s so true. Do you hang out with other gay cou­ples in Hol­ly­wood? [Laughs]. I am very good friends with Neil Pa­trick Har­ris and David Burtka and Jim Par­sons and his part­ner Todd. I’m friends with Jane Lynch, Sean Hayes and Zachary Quinto is one of my best friends. It’s sort of a gay mafia. We find each other at the same events and you get to know a lot of other peo­ple who ad­vo­cate for mar­riage equal­ity. It’s a dif­fer­ent beast be­ing an out ac­tor in Hol­ly­wood. Do you think your sex­u­al­ity will af­fect the roles you could get in the fu­ture? It might. Hon­estly, that’s why a lot of peo­ple don’t come out of the closet. For me, it was never a ques­tion. I wouldn’t trade the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing Mitchell for the se­cu­rity of know­ing I will have roles that will al­ways open up for me. You can’t live life wor­ried about the fu­ture. If you were in a gay ro­man­tic movie, who would be your lead­ing man? And you can’t say Justin! [Laughs]. I can’t pick Justin? Who do I have a crush on? Let’s just play match­maker. Golly… James Mars­den. Here in Aus­tralia, there was a com­edy show which called red­heads “ran­gas” [as in Oragutans]. Have you ever ex­pe­ri­enced dis­crim­i­na­tion be­cause of your hair colour? No, not re­ally. That’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause many peo­ple dye their hair red and it’s such an ex­otic colour. I don’t un­der­stand what peo­ple would have against red­heads.

Jesse in Shakespear­e In The Park

Jesse in Mod­ern Fam­ily

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.