Lady Gaga as the National Ambassador Against Bullying!

So this is how it happened.  We were laying in bed the other night and Alex was catching up on GCB on his iPad while I scrolled through my old, favorite video on YouTube.  And there it was; Jamey Rodemeyer‘s It Gets Better video.  I remembered finding it when it only had a few hundred views and I was instantly taken with his genuine innocence as he laughed, explaining that he had gone to Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball and been liberated.  “It Gets Better“, he said.  And he believed it.  I smiled seeing his video in my favorites and was immediately shocked to see it had more than 1,600,000 views.  Surprised, I immediately began reading the comments underneath which indicated he had died.  I searched on the internet and read article upon article about his suicide.  I watched video after video of news clips about his death.  I found the Lady Gaga footage of her concert, dedicating her song Hair to Jamey, who had Tweeted her the night before his suicide; “BYE MOTHER MONSTER, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE, PAWS UP FOREVER” I thought about his parents and sister.  I thought about Lady Gaga and imagined how, no matter how famous she has become, those 13 words she received were filled with emotion and held a great responsibility.  I thought about all of his friends and how death of a contemporary at a young age changes you forever.  Death of a contemporary anytime…changes you forever.

And I thought about me.

I didn’t know this kid.  Yet I found myself sitting in bed next to my husband, crying inconsolably.  Gone at 14 because he just couldn’t take it anymore.  I remembered those days of kids mocking my voice by lisping even though I’ve never had a lisp.  I remembered the days of being thrown into lockers or receiving death threats on my car.  For as long as I can remember, it has been daily.  And to some degree, I’m still bullied by stares I get when we’re shopping or out to eat and I refer to Alex as my husband.  

In fact, today I don’t let it affect me much…but I’m not sure how I got there.  When I was in high school and people asked me if it hurt my feelings I played it off because I didn’t want to show any weakness.  But my pain was deep.  I was never popular.  I was never accepted.  And although I had lots of “friends”, the depth of our friendships was shallow.  The real friends I did have in high school never really cared that I was gay.  And they were the ones who would have been affected the most if I had died.

In 1990, the year I graduated from high school, I never once thought about suicide as a result to my pain.  I don’t believe that is because I had overwhelming support from friends or family, although I did.  Teachers and school administrators saw my being bullied and allowed it.  A lesbian teacher even allowed me to be openly bullied in her class…and she never said a word.  But this is not about being bullied, because it doesn’t really matter if you’re gay, or fat, or thin, or different…pain is pain.

It has been almost exactly a year since the stream of gay, teen suicides hit our country like an epidemic. How quickly we forget.  Can you name them, these soldiers of our War on Teens?  I can’t…and neither can most of you.  My mother died four years ago and already I’ve forgotten her voice.  How much time needs to go by before we completely forget these kids and their deaths? What is it all for if they are all forgotten. They are dying by suicide today because it is an option they see everywhere unlike 20 years ago.  Just go to Tumblr and Twitter and any social media site and you’ll find pages saturated with desperate pleas for help.

Which brings me to the point of this article.  How embarrassing, as social commentators, that we somehow entirely missed Jamey’s suicide, especially since we have been somewhat entrenched in supporting anti-hate and anti-bullying campaigns.  In all of the hundreds of articles we’ve read and videos we’ve watched, we completely missed it.  How is that even possible?

I spent the better part of that night watching videos on Jamey’s suicide and eventually came to Michael Buckley’s, famed YouTuber from WHATTHEBUCKSHOW, video which ends with a farewell to Jamey.  I constantly watch Michael’s videos and have been a huge fan for quite some time.  I was even more surprised that I had missed this video as well, so I watched it and immediately began reading the comments underneath.

I was speechless.  I don’t even know what to say anymore.  I can hear the political bullshit.  I can hear the religious bullshit because I don’t really care and I think spirituality is personal.  But seriously? “You should commit suicide.  Everyone WILL BE HAPPY fucking faggot“? I’m sure we’ll be criticized for posting a picture of the comments and bringing them even more attention but they NEED attention.  THIS IS A DEATH THREAT! We cannot continue to ignore this.

I went to the pages of these subscribers and they are still there, allowed to continue to comment.  Why? I don’t get it? And people don’t think we’re treated like 2nd class citizens.  People think gays and lesbians have the same rights as everyone else? The fuck we do!

These people should be arrested for threats and intimidation because they are aiding in the future suicide of some teenager.  If you can look someone in the eye, and it has happened to me, and wish them harm for something that affects you in absolutely no way…you are a sick mother fucker! And if you are gay and out and do not stand against this, then you are part of the problem.

Am I angry? Hell yes I’m angry.  This has gone on far too long.  How many kids have to die before we hear what they are trying to tell us?

Fuck politics! Get human! Our children are dying and we’re talking about wars in other countries, economic crisis and education.  Do you think Jamey cares? He didn’t even make it to voting age.  We have got to start focusing on what is at our doorstep.  You want my vote? Make bullying illegal.  Period.  You want my vote? Marry us.  Period.  That entire Phelps clan from the Westboro Baptist Church can procreate hate but we can’t have the same rights? You want my vote? Appoint Lady Gaga as the National Ambassador Against Bullying because she’s apparently the only one these kids trust!

It Gets Better? When?  I think its getting worse.  According to the Surgeon General’s Report, the increase in teen suicide since 1980 is 100%Hello!!!! Over 4000 teens suicide every year.  That’s like the size of an entire high school. 

We all have a voice.  Raise yours and be heard.  Make a change.  Fuck politics and get human.  Why aren’t we really listening to our youth? Why are we allowing 60 year old men to make decisions that don’t even affect them?   Why aren’t we human anymore? Make a kid feel important.  Validate his or her existence.  Ask them what’s wrong…and really listen.  Don’t just sit back and act like it’s going to change because it’s just getting worse…and that’s the reality we’re afraid to tell our children.

But we have the power to change that reality.  We have the power to make our voice heard.  I cannot sit back and watch one more child die in this war and not feel as if I tried to make a difference.  Maybe that’s naive.  Maybe that’s the innocence in myself that relates to Jamey’s video, but I have to try.  Because every one of these teens deserves to have the amazing life I have today. Every one of these teens deserves to sit in bed next to their husband or wife someday and feel just as normal as their neighbors.

I can wash spray paint off my car and scrub the word faggot off of lockers, but I cannot bring Jamey back from the dead.  I wish I could.  I wish I could talk to him for just one hour and show him how wonderful things can be and that one day he’ll be just as happy as I am…but I can’t.

If politicians want the vote of gays and lesbians and those that support us, make them work for it.  Stop allowing them to give us empty promises.  Make them give us the right to equal marriage and make bullying illegal.  Now! Allow us to step back, think of ourselves at 10 or 12 or 15 and remember how tough it was…and get human.  Allow us to think about Jamey, and all of the soldiers of this war, daily…and never forget.  And allow us to let the words of Lady Gaga to Jamey in her concert resonate loud and clear.  “You are not a victim.  You are a lesson to all of us.

We Love ya buddy! And we promise…we’ll never forget you! Paws up forever!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury. 



Ellen Hopkins is THE Pied Piper of Our Youth!

Several years ago, we started getting messages about novels from a writer named Ellen Hopkins. Most of our readers knew we highly endorsed the awareness of recovery from addiction being that one half of us has been clean and sober for 17 years. Even though her books were already bestsellers, we had never heard of her. We trotted over to Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy of Crank, the first novel in her series about meth amphetamine addiction. We…were…stunned! Her words tore at the veins of our heart with the raw candor she wove through the poetically, visual images she pens on her pages. We read the book in less than one day and were back at the bookstore buying the sequel, Glass. Instantly we were hooked and since that first day have been huge fans of her work, waiting desperately for her next book to hit the shelves.

Although her first books were written as young adult fiction, there is nothing specifically young adult about them. She is willing to tell the gritty stories about topics most writers are afraid to touch. Most of the people we have referred her novels to are adults, although she has an enormous teen following. Now she has followed up her young adult fiction with two adult specific books which are just as amazing. Needless to say, not only is Ellen Hopkins a prolific storyteller with imaginable grace, she’s a real deal gal who tells it like it is…and we love her all the more for her refreshing honesty!

1. Describe Ellen Hopkins in ten words or less.
Devoted wife, mother, friend. Compassionate crusader. Passionate writer.

2. Your first fiction novel was Crank. Tell us what motivated you to write this book.
Crank was inspired by the very real story of my daughter’s addiction to crystal meth. I started it because I needed to understand the “whys” of what happened to my trouble-free A+ kid, which is why I wrote first person from “her” point of view.

3. You have now ventured into several different areas of adolescent angst. How do you typically do research for your writing?

I do a lot of primary research, and have the amazing resource of my readership to tap into.

4. Before you wrote fiction, you wrote 21 non-fiction books for children. Tell us about this body of work.
I came to writing nonfiction from my work as a freelance journalist. In researching some stories, I thought they might be interesting books for children. The first was about aviation, through man’s love of competition. From there, I wrote about everything from deep sea exploration to outer space to military weaponry and jets. I actually wrote all 21 books in the span of just four years.

5. What do you believe are the four major issues facing teenagers today?
The lack of cohesive families/parenting, either through divorce or as a result of both parents having to work. Peer pressure. Bullying. And dealing with issues they can’t control (physical or sexual abuse; losing a parent to addiction; losing a friend to suicide, etc.)

6. What advice would you give to a young person struggling with addiction or substance abuse?
To ask for help sooner rather than later. So many young people believe they can’t talk to their parents about the tough stuff, but in my experience most parents want to help their children, even if they seem judgmental. Beyond their parents, other family members, teachers, counselors, etc., are surely willing to help.

7. What advice would you give to family members of people struggling with addiction? How about a teenage friend?
Not to take the entire responsibility for helping. Professional help will likely be more effective, and take away the judgment value. But also not to accept excuses when it’s clear there is a problem. And if the addict refuses help, to go the “tough love” route. You can’t help if you’re an emotional wreck. Sometimes you have to save yourself.

8. What are your three favorite books of all time?
Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies—an amazing look at faith. Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion—tough to read, but amazing character studies. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye—which perfectly captures the troubled soul.

9. If someone could only read one book that would make an impact on their life, what would you suggest they read?
The Shack, which shakes up the classic views of God.

10. Of all of your books what is your favorite you have written and why? Do you think your books should be read in any order?
Probably Identical because of the mysteries presented. The subject matter is tough (father-daughter incest), and presented unflinchingly, but this is an important issue to understand and
drag out into the light. As for order, Crank, Glass and Fallout (in that order) are a trilogy, and it makes sense to read Impulse before its companion, Perfect. The others are stand-alone titles.

11. Recently, On Oprah Winfrey’s last show, she stated, “turn your wounds into wisdom”. Being that much of your work seems based in some autobiographical fact, what do you feel about this statement?
Some wounds never heal completely, but if exposing my wounds through my words can help others cope somehow, there is power in that.

12. In all of our interviews we ask how each person defines “sexy”. How would you define sexy and what advice would you give to young men and women who want to feel sexy or attractive?

Sexy is about self-love. Not conceit, but the confidence that comes when you love who you are. Learn to love yourself, and don’t be afraid to let that love shine through.

13. What are three things we wouldn’t know about you by looking at you?
That I am focused (okay, maybe closer to driven); that I am organized (except for my office); that I am a Believer (who chooses not to ram religion down anyone’s throat).

14. We have only known you a short time but you have already taken a lot of time and interest giving us advice on writing as a career. Why do you think it’s important to help new writers?
Because literature and literacy are not all about me. Competitiveness in this business helps no one. Mentoring the next great writers will help countless people, well into the future.

15. What three pieces of advice would you give a young writer to help them be successful at writing as a career?
1. Patience. Don’t expect the first thing you write to end up a bestseller. 2. In keeping with that, craft is as important as story. Keep building your craft. Forever. 3. Don’t choose writing as a career expecting to get rich. Some do. Many more don’t. Make writing your heart. Tell the best story you can, in the very best way. Making a living with your writing should be your goal.

16. Based on your books, you seem to keep up on pop culture. Where do you find your information, such as movies, television, radio, etc and what are some of your “faves” in pop culture right now?
Lady Gaga. Some of her music (not all). But Lady Gaga, the person. I also like reality TV where some sort of talent is involved—Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Survivor, Amazing Race. Shows that illustrate the best—and worst—of real people. On the cable TV side, True Blood is pretty hot vampire, if you ask me. And as for radio, Sirius all the way. So many choices, commercial-free.

17. If you could only listen to three CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?
Here I show my taste for classic rock: The Beatles (White Album); Dark Side of the Moon; Queen’s Greatest Hits.

18. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Scarlet O’Hara. Only I would have been smarter. Ashley over Rhett? Seriously?

19. What message would you most like teenagers, or anyone for that matter, to gain from your books?
That life is all about choices. We can forgive some mistakes. But bad choices can’t always be taken back. Think carefully about outcomes before you choose.

20. In Bowling for Columbine, singer Marilyn Manson was asked what would he say to the kids of Columbine if they were there and he responded, “I wouldn’t say a single word to them I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.” What do you think of this statement as a role model to teenagers and young people?
I would say he has a point. But troubled teens aren’t always willing to talk. As a community (not to mention as parents), we need to be mindful of the warning signs of mental breakdown. They were definitely there before those kids picked up their guns. Overlooking them, or pretending they’re not there, is highly irresponsible.

21. Tell us about your new book Perfect. What is this book about and where did you find the inspiration?
Perfect is about four teens’ drive for the unattainable goal of perfection, through self-regulated eating, surgeries, steroid use, etc. It is also about trying to live up to other’s expectations of perfection—parents, boyfriends, coaches, etc. The inspiration for this book, as for most of my books, is the teens I talk to every day. Their stories inspire my stories.

22. We end all of our interviews by asking, “Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?”. As a writer who develops characters, what would you say each of these answers says about the person answering?
Boxers = someone like my husband, who worries about squish-related health issues, but not about “hanging out.”
Briefs = someone like my brother-in-law, who is all about propriety. Most of the time.
Jockstraps = someone like my ex, who wished he had a reason to use one.
Nothing at all = someone like my 14-yr-old son, who claims he “forgets” his underwear.

Thanks Ellen…We Adore You Darling!

For more information on Ellen Hopkins visit her website HERE.

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury.

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WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.

*Photographs courtesy of Ellen Hopkins.

Nyasha Zimucha…Keepin’ It Real on The A-List!

In 2009, Nyasha Zimucha was listed as “One of the top 10 visionaries” by New York based African Magazine. Just to put this in perspective, the list also included Tyler Perry, Alicia Keys and President Obama. Besides being the CEO and founder of her own company, Embrace Your Hair, she is also a recording artist, reality star(having already been on 2 reality television series) and held the title of Miss Africa USA. Maybe it’s her sharp wit, her incredulous beauty or her sly smirk, but we were immediately taken with this unstoppable goddess. While watching LOGO TV’s The A-List New York, we saw her daily interactions, but we wanted to learn more about this African Queen…

1. Introduce us to Nyasha Zimucha in one sentence.
Singer/TV Personality/Businesswoman and a girl on a mission.

2. We love a beauty queen! When we learned you were Miss Africa USA we loved you even more! Tell us about the pageant and your time as Miss Africa USA.
Representing the African continent (53 countries) in the US was one of the greatest, life-changing experiences of my entire life. The amount of time, energy and resources I gave into non-profit work for Africa and the US was so humbling. I met some of the most influential and inspiring people in the WORLD – which changed my perspective on my personal ability to truly fulfill my dreams. I liked this accomplishment the most because it made my parents proud.

3. Your hair is hot! Especially since you are so open about your love of wigs. Tell us about your company and what drove you to start this business?
I LOVE hair and wanted to share my love and passion for it with women of all ethnic backgrounds and show them that hair is no different than fashion trends/accessories, there is no reason why any woman has to be tied down to one look – EMBRACE YOUR HAIR:) I don’t do anything I’m not passionate about so starting a business that allowed me to make women feel beautiful and give back to women who are suffering was a blessing.

4. What was your immediate response when you begin filming LOGO TV’s The A-List NY?
There was hesitation from some of the cast, however after a few weeks they all gave in, the walls came down and a lot of us have grown to like each other in and outside the show.

5. How does it feel to be the token girl in an all male cast?
It’s always great to be a part of “the first” to do something. Never in the history of reality television/unscripted has this been done and I like a challenge. The funny thing is I don’t FEEL like the “token” because outside of the show I have many gay friends – its important to be open minded about the social circles you choose.

6. What is some of the feedback you’ve gotten as being a straight girl in a gay show?

People are talking and my old fan base before the show has stayed loyal and some new fans have come around and supported me in such a positive way – the rest is irrelevant.

7. On the show you said that there are two kinds of people you know, the ones that can hang and that ones that can’t. What does it take to hang with you?
Always keep it real! I love genuine people who are hard working and trying to somehow impact/change the World in a small/big way. It has NOTHING to do with material/money and more to do with heart.

8. This season there seems to be more drama and arguing. How true to life is what we see in regards to this intense drama?
Anything is magnified when you see it on television – some things more magnified than others and I think if you watch the rest of the season you will see and understand exactly what I mean.

9. So far what has been your most favorite and least favorite moment on the show?
My favorite part has been the opportunity to share my music with the audience, and least favorite is anything to do with drama/fight because ultimately I truly do not enjoy conflict – no matter what you see for 5 minutes on TV.

10. Before the A-List you were a judge in “Little Miss Perfect” season 1 and 2… To the ones that don’t know, tell us what the show is about and what was your experience like?
It was a kids beauty pageant TV show inspired by the movie ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. For 2 years I got to travel across America with my best friend (Michael Galanes) and meet some very interesting families who’s main passion is competing in beauty pageants. The biggest misconception about kids pageants is that there is some “evil Mom” forcing her child to be on a stage – you would be surprised how secure and confident some of these 5 year olds were, and pushing to be on stage! Pageants have been the gateway to many stars and I love being involved in them on all age levels.

11. On you website, NyashaOnline, and on the show you talk a lot about your music. Tell us about your music career.
I’ve been performing for a long time, started singing in the recording gospel group back in 2003 and did that for years and toured all over the US. As a solo artist my last performance was in South Africa in 2009, and as an artist I wanted to re-evaluate my sound, write some new lyrics and channel my energy into the US market. I love pop-culture but I’m also socially conscious and love to dance – a strong mix of all those make up my music. Its a blessing to be able to make music, and perform and I never take it for granted. Currently working on an album, and just shot a music video for my new single “Rise Up Remix” (available on iTunes now) and looking forward to growing as an artist.

12. How did you become a cast member on The A-List. What would you recommend to someone who wanted to get on a reality show? What’s the secret?
I was asked to come on right before the show without knowing much about it – the casting director approached me, told me about the show, I went through the process of meeting the production company, the network and here I am. This is not something I went out of my way to pursue, it truly was a blessing in disguise. After many years in the entertainment industry I can say there is no “secret” its good timing, creating and sustaining good relationships with people and MOST important – BE YOURSELF!

13. How do you define sexy?
Confidence, a passionate persona and a world traveler!

14. What do you believe is the sexiest city in the world? Sexiest hotel? Sexiest club? Sexiest celebrity? Sexiest Reality Show Star?
Sexiest City is New York, Sexiest Hotel is the Wynn in Vegas, Sexiest Club is Dada Bar + Lounge in Hong Kong, Sexiest celebrity is Taylor Lautner!

15. Are you currently in a relationship? If so tell us how the show affects the relationship, in a good way or bad, or if not then what do you look in for the perfect partner?
Classified as “single” – no such thing as a “perfect partner” no-one is perfect its about timing and chemistry.

16. What are 5 things you must have in your purse with you at any given time?

Blackberry, 3 different kinds of lip gloss, a piece of costume jewelery and my iPod.

17. If you had to listen to one CD for the rest of your life and it couldn’t be a mixed CD, what would it be and why?

Miseducation of Lauren Hill – one of the most inspiring albums of my generation.

18. In five years, what are five dreams you would like to have accomplished?

To be doing everything I am currently doing on a bigger scale and to be doing it with health, my family first in line to share it all with and love!

19. What is sexiest on a man and you; boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?


Thanks Sexy! We Adore You!
For more information on Nyasha check out her website HERE!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photographs courtesy of Nyasha Zimucha.

WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.

Reichen Lehmkuhl…The Straight Story!

On April 4th, 2011 nude webcam photographs of LOGO TV’s The A-List star Reichen Lehmkuhl were exposed all over the internet. Instantly, bloggers and social commentators were expressing their feelings about Reichen’s intimate photograph and reposting the image as if they now had a better understanding of him simply because they were privy to what he looked like when he wasn’t wearing his underwear. They didn’t. The reports were sophomoric and pathetic.

Sure, most people are excited to see a little nudity now and then, especially celebrity nudity, but have we become so detached that we can’t imagine how we might feel if we were in the same position. In the end, Reichen was the last one laughing res,ponding to the incident on by stating I don’t feel that this story represents anything different in me than what the majority of gay men have done at one point or another — as far as posting a private picture over Internet lines for private viewing. In my, now, nine years of being in the public eye, I’ve seen many less-flattering photos attributed to me, so that’s a plus. Moving on …

Exactly! Interestingly, none of these commentators went past defining him as an A-List or Amazing Race star. They didn’t detail his 9 years of service in the U.S. Air Force or that he had already penned an autobiography. They couldn’t even be as honest as to admit that Reichen is indeed extremely handsome and sexy, nonetheless gifted and talented. Maybe that’s the price you pay for putting yourself in the public eye; especially your private self.

But we wanted to know more about this guy than just what was happening under his briefs. We wanted to know what made him tick and why he belonged on “the A-List“. So we checked out the bio on his website; “A Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, a former Captain in the Air Force after 9 years of service, a flight instructor, a published author, a public speaker, a television personality, an actor of television, stage, and film, a model, and a reality television icon; it’s quickly apparent thatonce Reichen sets a goal, it is only a matter of time before he reaches it.

Knowing more, we now felt inclined to find out intimate details which weren’t hidden in the shine of a webcam photograph. We wanted to find out exactly who he was and to once and for all, set the story straight…

1. Tell us about Reichen and how he found his way in and onto the A-List?
I was called on by the casting folks hired by the A-List Production and asked to do the show. Going into it, I really had no idea what it was going to be. They found out I was moving to New York because I had posted on my Facebook page that I had landed the lead in a play in New York and that I’d be leaving Los Angeles for a little while.

2. You’re from Norton, Massachusetts. Tell us about your life growing up and how being from a small town helps you live in NYC.
I was born in Cincinnati and, when I was 9, moved to Norton with my family. I think growing up in a small town keeps you grounded in a big city, but I’m not too fond of my childhood time in Norton. I grew up in a trailer park there. It was rough being made fun of all the time for being “that” kid.

3. Thanks to the A-List NY we’ve gotten to know more of you. What are three things we wouldn’t know about Reichen by looking at you?
A. I value loyalty in my friends and relationships. When that is broken, I run. B. I have served our country in the U.S. Air Force for 9 years of my life. C. I have a dream of being a dentist and owning my own practice.

4. Walk us through a typical day of taping for the A-List from scheduling to the moment you sit in front of your tv and watch it with the rest of the world.
It’s all very random. I usually get a call or text the day before telling me where the “set” will be, what time to show up, and roughly what I should wear. Much of what I shoot ends up on the cutting room floor. Tiny similarly-themed slices of my life and what I say on a daily basis are shown on the show. The other 99.9% of me is never shown.

5. Season two opened with the scandal of your nude photographs being exposed. How did you and your family react to these photographs?
They were upset that I was hurt by it all.

6. How supportive is your family with you being gay and being on a gay reality television show?
Amazingly supportive. My family is heavily involved in PFLAG(Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

7. Of all of the cast members, who will you remain friends with for the rest of your life? Who will you never talk to again after the show?
I don’t really know most of the cast members in an intimate way. We work together but I rarely hang out with them outside of the show for no other reason than we’re all just very busy in our “other” lives. I’ve tried to be nice to all of them. Probably always will.

8. Reality television has the reputation of being staged or scripted. How real are the situations and drama in the A-List New York?
The situations are real. It’s just what’s taken from them in editing that skews the way the viewer sees each situation differently from how it actually happens.

9. This season we’re introduced to Nyasha. How does the flair of this sassy straight gal affect the dynamics of a mainly gay cast?
Nyasha has been cool to have on the show. I’ve come to know her off camera and I like what I see. We’re getting closer as the days go on.

10. Lets play Marry, Kill, Fuck (and explain your picks) with some of your cast members: Derek, Austin, TJ?
Well I would do any of those to any of my cast mates.

11. How do you define sexy?
Responsible, thoughtful of others, good manners, athletic, drive for success.

12. What do you believe is the sexiest city in the world? Sexiest hotel? Sexiest club? Sexiest gay celebrity?
Sexiest City: New Orleans. Sexiest Hotel: The London in West Hollywood. Sexiest gay celebrity: Ricky Martin.

13. Many interviews and articles paint your dislike of Austin, but in the last couple of episodes we see you being friendly and nice. What’s the real deal between you two?
I’m his friend overall. He just does alot of things to piss me off. The way he talks about his relationship annoys me, but he’s young and it’s fine.

14. What is a movie, book and CD(album) that really impacted your life?

Movie: Interview with a Vampire. Book: The Celestine Prophecy. CD: The Grateful Dead: American Beauty.

15. You have a couple of new projects in the works; a new book, a fragrance and even a skin care line. Tell us what inspired you to take on these projects?
Just a pure entrepreneurial spirit, and knowing that I can make money to donate some of it to help my community.

16. What do you look for in the perfect partner and relationship?
Someone who makes me feel like they really like me for me. That they care about me and not just what I can do for them.

17. How do you feel about marriage equality now that it has come to NYC?
I’m really happy that we have made another step toward equal rights for all citizens.

18. Will there be any more singing this season for you?
Yes in my home, but not on the show so I can be made to look like a disaster. I’ve written and sang and recorded songs all my life. It’s more for me and not for public ridicule.

19. If you were to write an autobiography, what would it be titled and why?
I wrote one. It was published in 2006 and it’s called, “Here’s What We’ll Say”. That’s what us cadets used to say to each other when we’d return to the U.S. Air Force Academy after being out at a gay place…so we could have our story straight and not be sent to prison for being gay.

20. What is sexiest on a man and you; boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
Sexiest is briefs on all guys.

Thanks Buddy!

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*Photographs Courtesy of Reichen Lehmkuhl.

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Josh Strickland…Holly Madison’s Boy Wonder!!!

We first enjoyed watching Josh Strickland on Holly Madison’s reality show Holly’s World on E! because he was so damn adorable. But then the episode aired introducing Josh to his birth mother and an entirely new appreciation for this young, talented man began. From deep within those tantalizing eyes tears flooded for a history he had yearned for all of his life. Even more endearing was his concern for his adoptive parents, who he truly considered his mom and dad. Not only was Josh the male lead in Holly Madison’s Las Vegas show Peepshow, as well as a cast member on her reality show Holly’s World, but he was also genuine, sincere and compassionate; traits not often found in our present state of reality show representation. Quite literally his humanitarian talents, combined with his growing singing career, having already been Tarzan on Broadway and on the 2nd season of American Idol, made him completely approachable yet mysteriously intriguing at the same time. In February his first single, Report to the Floor, was released and within one week found itself at the top of the iTunes dance chart. Definitely on the rise, we had to find out a little bit more about this boy wonder who could tearfully pull emotion from you one second while sensually stealing your heart the next.

1. Introduce us to Josh Strickland. Who are you behind all the glitz and glam?
I am me. I love just hanging out and having fun with friends and family.

2. You’re an actor, singer, Broadway star, Peepshow star. Do you have any other hidden talents?

I like to think I can dance.(Laughs)

3. Thanks to Holly’s World we have been able to connect with you and your story. How does it feel to watch those heart touching episodes and what is the message you’re wanting to send?
It was definitely hard to see but I really wanted to do this for myself and if someone connects, that’s awesome. I just wanted to share my story.

4. Is there anything you wish had been portrayed differently and how real is reality television?

It was tough at first but it got easier and fun.

5. Tell us two things about Holly that the world doesn’t already know?

She is the smartest and most giving person I have ever met.

6. If you could only listen to three CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?

Adele 21, Mariah Carey Greatest Hits, Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits.

7. What are some things we don’t get to see that are typical when filming Holly’s World?

Me sleeping (laughs)and going to see movies.
8. Let’s play a game! Out of these three who would you Marry, Kill, Fuck?
Marry: Holly Madison
Kill: Hugh Hefner
Fuck: Carrot Top
Really? Well for one I wouldn’t kill any one so…Holly I would marry. Hef, well I think he would just die of natural causes and well I guess I would just have to mess around with Carrot Top. (laughs)

9. Of your co-stars in Holly’s World who are you closest with and why?

Holly. I think because I spend the most time with her, and we have a lot in common.

10. Your new single, Last Dance, just came out on iTunes. What is this song about?

About the end of the night and enjoying that last dance.

11. We just got married in Vegas in August. What are your recommendations for “must do” things in Vegas that most tourists don’t know about?
Well I would have to tell you to get Holly’s book “The Showgirl Next Door” because it has the BEST of the best.

12. What are three secrets about American Idol you wouldn’t know unless you were on the show?

Hmmm…I think it’s very producer driven. The songs are very limited to sing. It was the greatest experience.

13. Tell us about your role in Peepshow and what is your favorite part about it?
I am the male lead of the show. I sing pretty much throughout all the numbers and show Bo (Holly) through her sexual journey.

14. If you had your very own Vegas show, what would it be called and what would it be about?

I think it would just be a combination of a ton of songs past and present with a killer orchestra and dance.

15. How do you define sexy?
SEXY is confidence.

16. What is the sexiest city in the world? Sexiest hotel? Sexiest beach?
Sexiest city that I’ve visited is NYC. Sexiest Hotel is Gansevoort in NYC. Sexiest beach is pretty much any in Mexico but I want to go to Ibiza.

17. The It Gets Better Project is huge right now and you have a video on YouTube with Holly Madison. Why was it important for you to be part of this project and what message would you like to send out about bullying?
I was bullied as a kid and so it was important to be a part of something that sends a message to kids, that everyone may be different and everyone has their own opinions but to wish everyone nothing but the best, and positivity.

18. Are you in a relationship or single? How would you define your perfect half?
I’m taken. He makes me a better person and I love him with all of my heart and want us to marry someday.

19. What are three things we wouldn’t know by looking at you?

Self-conscious, Homebody, love electronics and cars.

20. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

Hahahahaha. Briefs & jockstraps.

Thanks Buddy!
Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury.

For more information visit his website HERE!

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*Photographs courtesy of Joshua Strickland.

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Jackie Collins…Kicking Ass with Style!

Twenty-three years ago I became obsessed with Lucky Santangelo, and subsequently Jackie Collins, the internationally famous novelist who gave birth to the exotic, powerhouse, femme fatale who would fill the pages of at least seven bestselling novels. Sitting by the side of our pool, flipping through the first few pages of the novel Lucky, I was introduced to this amazing woman whose image would sinfully be burned into my memory. And although I broke out my original, dog-eared, water stained copy just for the occasion of this interview, as I flipped through the pages, the original description of Lucky came floating back to me as if she had never left my sight.

She was a strikingly beautiful woman of twenty-eight with an unruly mass of jet curls, black gypsy eyes, a wide sensual month, a deep suntan and a lean, looselimbed body. She wore soft, black, leather pants, a red, silk shirt casually unbuttoned to the limit, and a wide belt studded with silver. From her ears hung plain, silver hoops and on her right hand was a square-cut diamond of such size and brilliance that one would be forgiven for thinking it was not real. It was. No conventional beauty, she had a style and bearing all her own. Confidence wafted from her like the exotic scent she drenched herself with.

I wanted to be her. The fact that I was a 16 year old, young man didn’t matter; she exuded confidence, sexuality and power…everything I wanted to have and attain yet hid behind some frail image of a shy teenager not too sure of himself. Looking back I realize this is part of the mesmerizing hypnosis at the heart of Jackie Collins’ novels. Her characters are universally enticing; filled with all of the beauty, intrigue, sex, violence and vengeance anyone could desire.

In total she has written seven Lucky Santangelo novels and 27 novels in her complete collection of work. All have been on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Her books have sold over 400 million copies in 40 different countries. Her personal life reads like a strong, character line in one of her own novels, just as juicy and scintillating as the typewritten pages between the covers of her books.

This week she will release her latest Lucky Santangelo novel Goddess of Vengeance. Having spent the past weekend devouring this latest novel, not missing a word, I assure you…it is just a fine a read as I had twenty-three years ago first being introduced to Lucky Santangelo.

It felt entirely surreal to be editing the final touches of our interview with the woman who has exuded sensuality through the years and has penned herself into a history built on diamonds and intrigue. Yet as untouchable as she seemed, through her interview I found that she is much like Lucky Santagelo herself…mysterious yet present, glamorous yet personable, creative, artistic and seductive. An undeniably loveable and unforgettable character! Ms. Jackie Collins…

1. What are three things about Jackie Collins we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
I am a T.V. addict. A chocoholic. And I love putting together great music tracks.

2. You have a new book coming out soon. Tease us a little bit by giving us a glimpse into this new book.
Lucky is back in ‘Goddess of Vengeance’. Along with her sexy son, Bobby, and her wild teenage daughter Max. Then along comes a deadly enemy prepared to take everything from her. Family. Life. And Love.

3. Who are three authors you are addicted to reading?
Chelsea Handler. Mario Puzo. Elmore Leonard.

4. You have said that Lucky Santangelo is probably your most loved character. What do you think it is about her that is so loveable and where did you find her?
Lucky is the woman every woman aspires to be. She is beautiful, wild, smart, vulnerable on occasion, strong and sexy. She says and does everything women would love to be able to do and say. She is invincible!

5. What advice would you give to a young, aspiring writer who wants to be published and famous some day?

Keep on writing! Follow your dream and never stop. Then latch onto a reputable agent and believe in yourself.

6. How do you define sexy?
It’s all in the mind – not in the mini skirt or the top cut down to Cuba! You exude sex appeal if you truly feel it.

7. What do you believe is the sexiest city in the world?
Capri. Sexiest hotel? The Plaza Athenee in Paris. Sexiest club? Tramp in London. Sexiest designer? Valentino.

8. Do you have any secret celebrity crushes on anyone who, if you were going to write a fictional novel about your life, you would like to write in as a love interest?

Most of the guys I have already written about. Gino Santangelo. Jack Python. Kris Phoenix. Fancy them all!

9. You and your sister Joan are both extremely famous in your own right. When the cameras are gone and the doors are shut, are you two just regular sisters? What is something about your relationship that would surprise your fans?

That we get along really well, although we are totally different! Joan likes to do, I like to observe.

10. What is your favorite women’s perfume?
Angel by Thierry Mugler Men’s cologne? Natural Sweat. Cocktail? Lychee martini. Coffee? Irish. Type of Car? Ferrari. Magazine? Candy.

11. What are five specific items you can’t travel without?

Canon camera, iPhone, iPad, black boots, running shoes.

12. We tweeted you jokingly about writing an entire novel based around a group of powerful, gay men. If you were going to write this novel, dream up a central character and tell us what he would be like.
Devastatingly handsome. Powerful. Rich. Sexy. Well hung. With a great sense of humor and a one true love.

13. You have said you are a TiVo addict. What television shows do you TiVo?
Entourage. Hung. True Blood. Weeds. Vampire Diaries. The Big C. And quite a few crap reality shows which I call car crash T.V.!

14. We were recently married in Las Vegas and it is one of our favorite cities in the world. You have focused some of your stories in Las Vegas. What are three things you believe you absolutely must experience in Vegas? How about Los Angeles and New York?
Spa, and see all the shows. L.A. Venice. Palm Springs. Melrose. New York. Everything!!

15. Who is your favorite character you have brought to life? Who is your sexiest character? Who is your most dangerous character? Who is a character you have thought about going back and writing more books about?
Lucky. Lucky. Lucky!!

16. What is the secret to aging and still being sexy as hell?

Quote from Mark Twain. “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.”

17. What are five luxuries you can’t live without?

Long hot baths. Great music on a fantastic sound system. Driving my Jaguar. Milk chocolate orange sticks from Teuscher chocolates. Soft pillows and cashmere blankets.

18. In an interview for myLifetime You defined your novel “Drop Dead Beautiful” as “sexy, sleek and strong, just like Lucky Santangelo.” If someone wanted to become sexy, sleek and strong, what advice would you give them?
Be confident and know how to kick ass with style! And walk tall.

19. The following questions are for Lucky Santangelo:
-Biggest Regret?
Not meeting Lennie earlier
-Proudest Moment? Opening the Magiriano hotel in Vegas
-Best Sex Partner? Lennie Golden
-Husband I loved the most? Lennie Golden
-If I could live my life over I wouldwish that my gay brother, Dario, had lived.

20. What is sexiest on a man; boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

Great abs. A solid beach tan. And nothing at all except a killer smile!

Honorably we thank you, Jackie! We feel incredibly…Lucky!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photographs Courtesy of Jackie Collins.

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Ryan Nickulas: Glamourizing Social(ite) Equality with the Star of LOGO TV’s The A-List!

It doesn’t take long to get to know Ryan Nickulas. Sharp witted and direct, he’ll answer what you want to know and exactly how he wants you to hear it. Although it would seem that his direct answers to his place on “The A-List”, whether on television or in real life, should be a sign of arrogance it’s exactly the opposite. He knows his place and he’s earned it. He doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not, which is refreshing in a time of label bureaucracy and a return to staunch phonyism. Ryan is as genuine and sincere as they come. And with him, it comes on strong. Truly…a loveable guy. As Season 2 of LOGO TV’s The A-List New York begins, he continues to remain a strong role model of gay, or straight, society. He is legally married to his partner, planning a family and building an an amazing career as a hair stylist and owner of Ryan Darius Salon. He has been featured in several national magazines as well as on The Wendy Williams Show and Rachel Ray. Possessing what he identifies as the five keys to the Camelot of Social(ite) Equality; Glamour, Power, Money, Respect and a Rolodex…it appears as if the world is at his fingertips!

1. Introduce us to Ryan Nickulas. Who are you and why should we know you?
I’m a husband, business owner, who loves Pugs and fierce Designer Murses (man purse) for more info … Google me.

2. Before the A-List New York you were best known for being a hair stylist. Tell us about your career before the A-List?
My style is classic beautiful hair. I have been featured in national magazines, on television, and worked with many celebrities. My favorite aspects of my career are the every day clients! I love my girls.

3. With the huge success of the A-List, how has your career as a stylist changed, positively and negatively?

Change is only positive!

4. Have you lost clients due to your presence on The A-List?

No Mam!
5. At the end of season one you left us with the news of you and your husband getting ready to adopt. What has occurred since you started the journey of parenthood?
Adopting????? No- we are going through the process of surrogacy. You will soon know everything.

6. We had the chance to interview your good friend and co-worker and cast-member TJ Kelly. For TJ, as well as the other cast members, give us one word that first comes to mind when you think of them.
TJ is funny, Derek is Tan, Austin is crazy, Reichen is Reichen, Rodiney is Happy, Mike is Auntie, and Nyasha is SPLADOW!

7. If you were going to endorse five specific items you use on an almost daily basis, what would they be?
When I get paid … I’ll endorse them

8. New York just passed the legalization of same sex marriages. Will you be legally getting married and what message do you want to send to the rest of America?
I am legally married in MA in 2007. NY it’s about time! To the rest of America Catch up!!

9. You and Desmond have pretty busy schedules. How do you guys find time to make your careers and relationship successful?
When you love someone and love what you do, it effortlessly works!

10. What is the sexiest city in the world?

11. What is the sexiest hotel in the world?
Four Seasons – George V in Paris

12. What is the sexiest club in the world?
Clubs are not sexy.

13. What is the sexy restaurant in the world?

The Red Inn in Ptown(Provincetown, MA)

14. What is the sexiest beach in the world?

Any beach in Ptown.

15. What is the sexiest place to kiss?

On any side walk! PDA is sexy!

16. Who are your top three, sexiest gay celebrities?

Will Smith, John Legend, Rick Fox

17. What are the top 5 qualities a good socialite must have?
Money,Power,Respect, Glamour, And a Rolodex.

18. Season 2 will be introducing us to a new cast member, Nyasha. What should we expect from her and does she qualify as a “Fag-Hag”? What do you think of that term?
No FAG hag honey. Our NyNy will serve you everything you want and more! She is what the show needed!

19. What defines the difference between the A-List and the D-List?

Jealousy and Envy

20. If you could have three specific wishes for your life in the next five years, what would you wish for?
Healthy babie(s), continued loving marriage and a limitless career.

21. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
All the above! There is a time and place for everything.

Thanks Ryan!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless. Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury.

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*Photographs courtesy of Ryan Nickulas.

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Lauren Conrad…Dancing Humbly Under a Paper Crown!

On September 28th, 2004, the world was introduced to Lauren Conrad as she walked the beach and narrated the opening of the MTV reality show Laguna Beach. We instantly fell in love with her as she slightly tucked her hair behind her ears and with an innocent smile turned her deep eyes into a brand of their own. In a world filled with reality stars and would be stars, she is the exception. Lauren has revolutionized pop culture, utilizing her foundation as a reality star on the MTV shows Laguna Beach and The Hills to transition her dreams themselves into reality. Now, she is a New York Times best selling author of several books including a series titled L.A. Candy. As fashion icon to the young, she is also a fashion designer with two fashion lines; LC by Lauren Conrad and her newest line, Paper Crown. Lauren also has an all inclusive, extremely impressive web site, simply called Lauren Conrad, which includes daily posts from Lauren herself, fashion and beauty advice, information about her fashion lines and books, decorating tips and a book club! There just doesn’t seem to be much she can’t do showing that maybe a lot of people underestimated her as just an Orange County teen with pipe dreams of fame. Quite the contrary. In a world where proof of true talent and earned stardom are measured by determination and success, Lauren is a princess…dancing humbly under a paper crown!

1. Describe Lauren Conrad; the person behind the brand.
I am 25. I live in LA with 2 of my best friends and our dog Chloe. I am a loyal and trusting friend. I am shy when I meet people. I am someone who is aware of how very fortunate I am. I hate surprises. I love planning parties for people. I enjoy being very busy. I love to travel. I am a nice person, but scold people that litter. I love being surrounded by my friends, mostly because they are all much cooler than I am….

2. After having most of your life played out so publicly, how do you keep some things, like your love life, so personal?
I really value having my privacy. Keeping my personal life private is special to me and it keeps me grounded. When you give so much of who you are to others its important to have things that are just for you. Things that only you have an opinion on.

3. Do you feel there are certain areas in which reality television has gone too far or exposed things, which shouldn’t have been exposed?
To be honest, I think everyone is ultimately in control of what they share. People should expose what is comfortable to them.

4. Have you ever thought about siting behind the camera and producing your own shows?

Yes,definitely. After working in front of the camera for so many years you start to image how you would do things on the other side. It’s certainly something I am planning to explore.

5. What are four small details about you that the world doesn’t already know?

1) I have a small chip on one of my front teeth. 2) I sing when I am alone in my car. Loudly. 3)I brush my teeth in the shower every morning because I’m usually running late. 4) I haven’t checked my voice mail in 4 years.

6. With Sugar and Spice, you have now written three L.A. Candy novels. You are currently working on a fourth fiction book. Where is the inspiration for this new book from?
My next book will be part of a three-part series called The Fame Game. It’s a spin-off from the L.A. Candy books inspired by an L.A. Candy character, Madison Parker. Madison is a callous fame-chaser who epitomizes everything ugly and wrong about the entertainment industry. It’s sure to be a juicy read…

7. How does it feel to have your books on the New York Times Bestseller list?
It’s unexpected and a little nerve wracking. Mostly, it’s an honor and a dream come true. I am so grateful to my fans and readers for their support.

8. You have defined your new clothing line, Paper Crown, as a collection for those who like to play dress up in a grown up world. What kind of girl wears Paper Crown and how do you mix whimsy and imagination with wearable clothing.
The Paper Crown girl is charming, fun and flirty, yet sophisticated. She’s a dreamer and is never afraid to wear jewels during the day. And most importantly, she knows who she is and is comfortable in her own skin. The look and feel of the line is clean with cool and pretty details. I wanted it to be polished looking, but still youthful.

9. How do you define sexy?
Sexy to me is being confident and comfortable in your own skin.

10. What is the sexiest city in the world? Sexiest beach? Sexiest restaurant? sexiest club? Sexiest designer?
Sexiest city is definitely Paris. Sexiest beach is in Cabo. Club is Club Teddys. Designer, Tom Ford.

11. You seem to have become this generation’s “Jennifer Aniston” of hair trends, meaning that anything you do to your hair become a trend. How do you keep your look young and fresh? Who do you rely on for fashion and beauty advice?
Well, thank you—that is such a nice compliment! Wow… To be honest, I’ve taken an interest in my health, so keeping my hair healthy from the inside out is important. There’s nothing lovelier than lush, healthy hair. Also, its important no to over style your hair which damages it. Needless to say, aside from healthy hair I think it’s important to mix it up and try new hairstyles. Just remember it’s important to frame your fashion and beauty sense around what works for you. It’s not all about trends.

12. Without knowing who it was to, what was the last thing you texted?
I texted a friend about going away for a girls weekend to palm springs.

13. We’ve followed you from the Laguna Beach days. In all of that time, are there any moments you regret or would have played out differently for the world to see.
I don’t regret the past; it got me to where I am today. And I’m thankful for that.

14. Of your co-stars, who are you still close with and see on a regular basis?

Lo is my roommate and bestie, so I’d have to say she is the closest.

15. If none of this had happened and you had simply graduated from high school, what do you think you would be doing today? Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I Would be working towards becoming a designer. It is and always has been my dream job.

16. If you were on death row for murder by beauty, what would you want as your last meal?

Pizza. But the good kind of pizza. The kind you find on the corner pizza shop in NYC and have to fold in half to eat. For dessert I would want Ice cream… So basically I have the same dinner request as a 5 year old. Pizza and ice cream.

17. What are three books, besides your own, that you would recommend to a close friend?

Definitely Bossypants by Tina Fey. We were just reading it for my Book Club. Also, Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls was great—loved it! And any of Chelsea Handlers book. I am obsessed with all of them!

18. What are five things we could find in your purse at any time?

Lip balm, my Blackberry, red lipstick, loose face powder, and keys… not very exciting.

19. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

Boxer briefs. I have a few pairs that I sleep in… you were asking about me, right?

Thanks LC…

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury.

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*Photos courtesy of Lauren Conrad.

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RuPaul’s Drag Race’s SHANGELA…I Am What??? Sick’ning!!!

We loved her the first time she was on LOGO TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, even though she was the first contestant to be kicked off in the premier of the 2nd season. We loved her even more when she came back for the 3rd season and showed that she was a force to be reckoned! Interestingly, we rarely get to see these gals perform unless it’s at the very end and they are forced to lip sync for their life! We decided to look at footage of her performances, including her talent which helped her win Miss California Entertainer of the year and placed her as 1st runner up for the National Entertainer of the Year Pageant! We were intrigued as we read her background story on her website Shangela-Debutantess of the Deep South, especially when she spoke so openly about her male persona, DJ Pierce. We fell in love with her even more when we interviewed her and we realized she is exactly as she presents on the our televisions and on the stage; honest, sickening…and telling the truth! And no matter where she goes from here, one thing is certain…no one will ever forget Miss Shangela Laquifa Wadley anytime soon! Halleloo!

1. Who in the world is Shangela Laquifa Wadley and why should the world care?

A character like no other, Shangela Laquifa Wadley is a combination of sick’ning debutantess and street-smart pimp ho. I have a huge heart, tons of energy and live to entertain people and bring more smiles to our community. The world doesn’t have to care…but it should be aware that I’m coming to turn the party 100%.

2. Where and how was Shangela born?

I was born in Paris, TX … but Shangela wasn’t born until just over two years ago at a small club in LA. Let’s just say there was a leotard, some drink tickets, and a “Single Ladies” performance that will never be forgotten.

3. What are three things about RuPaul that most people don’t know?
She’s crafty with her secrets, that lady! Honestly, Ru is a pretty open book … like she writes in her book, “Workin’ It’s available on

4. Can a drag queen get rich doing drag?
Drag queens are the Macgyvers of entertainment. For every one girl that’s been on Drag Race, there are a thousand that work for under $100 per show and somehow manage to make themselves look like millionaire divas on stage. Drag can be an expensive art, so for every dollar made, trust that usually twice is being spent. We need a drag 401k!

5. What advice would you give to a 15 year old boy wanting to do drag?
Whatever makes you happy…Halleloo! Go for it, live out your dreams, and always consider yourself a star.

6. Who are the three greatest female impersonators of all time?
There are too many to name just 3. Ru is definitely up there among the stars. In comedy I look up to Jackie Beat and Coco Peru…and who can ever forget the divas from “Paris is Burning?”

7. Besides yourself, who were your two favorite contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race?
You’re asking the girl that was there two seasons to pick only two?!? I’m an only child and I feel like I left the show with a whole new sorority full of sisters. I keep in touch with Alexis and Sahara the most.

8. Tell us about Halleloo and your stand up comedy routine.

HALLELOO! I say it a lot because it’s how I live every day. It’s a word that I’ve been saying for years that just spells out positivity, humor and joy. That’s it. When something’s going your way, you say HALLELOO! That’s why I sell all the Halleloo gear over on my website. So more people can be encouraged to live their lives every day with humor and positivity! And it makes me smile =) Speaking of smiling…enter LAQUIFA! I started performing stand up comedy as a boy about three years ago and there’s never been any turning back. I love to make people laugh and I’ve got a million stories to tell, so when the opportunity came for me to create a drag stand up character, I jumped on it. Since Drag Race, I’ve added even more to my LaQuifa routine and actually just had the amazing opportunity to perform as the opening comedy act for legendary comedy diva Mo’Nique at Milwaukee PrideFest in June. There’s more to come, so I tell fans to stay with me on

9. You were a finalist at National Entertainer of the Year. Do you still want to compete in pageants and what pageant systems would you like to hold national titles?
I’m honored to hold the title as the first Miss California Entertainer of the Year and to have placed 1st runner up during my first time competing in a national pageant at National Entertainer of the Year. I love pageants. I spent a lot of time as a back up dancer for some of my favorite winning queens in Texas like Alyssa Edwards and Asia O’Hara. Yes, I want to compete again, but I have to feel inspired to do so. I’m not just chasing a national crown… my goal is to put on an unforgettable show! But you’ve gotta have the time to invest if you win, and right now my schedule’s so crazy, it wouldn’t be fair to the system if I won.

10. You wore the same outfit as Snooki and were chosen over her as wearing it best. Why did you wear it best?
That was sick’ning, right?!? Both Life & Style and InTouch magazine chose me for wearing it best, and even I was shocked because you know they like to read the drag girlz usually. So it was really cool for my Grandma to be able to go to Wal-Mart and pick up a magazine where mainstream media was supporting drag and my lil’ look.

11. How do you define SEXY?
Confidence. Humor. and a nice set of Arms….especially if they’re being featured in my new Halleloo t-shirts! t.

12. What are three things every drag queen must know to be successful?
If you’re lip syncing, know your words.
If you’re death dropping, know your wig is pinned tight.
And if you’re taking over the world, make sure you read Rupaul’s book: “Workin’ It” available on…. haha!

13. If you could play any character in any movie in drag, what would the movie be and who would the character be?
I would reprise Whoopi Goldberg’s role in Sister Act…they’d call me Sister Shangie Wadley and I’d lead of choir of other drag queens in the drag convent.

14. What were the most hurtful comments made towards you on RuPaul’s Drag Race? How did you learn from those comments?

Go re-watch Season 3! I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeves, so fans were able to see by my reactions when I was hurt or caught off guard….I wear it all over my face and in my reactions. But I’m no quitter, and I hope that someone out there has been inspired by what I endured on Drag Race and how I never allowed that to take my focus off my ultimate goal: being the best drag superstar that I knew how. And guess what?? I might not have won the Race, but I’m definitely Winning in life! Halleloo!

15. What would you be doing now if you weren’t doing drag?
Well, I don’t live every day in drag, and the cool thing is that now I get to dual-path it through life. There are tons of projects I’m working on as Shangela, and some great ones I’m doing as D.J., including stand up comedy acts, television projects and more.

16. What are three things the world could learn from drag queens to be a better place?
Cue the “Heal the World” dance mix track. Haha. Honestly, I think the main lesson the world could look to drag queens to learn is about self-confidence and courage in being whoever you want to be. It takes guts to throw on a pair of heels and pump through the streets or clubs knowing everyone is possibly judging or critiquing you. But when you love what you do, and you’re proud of how you are, it doesn’t matter…You just go turn it out!

17. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
Four pair of hoes and a mean set of tucking panties….any more questions?

Nope…That does it! We love ya sexy lady!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photos courtesy of Shangela/DJ Pierce

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The A-List’s TJ Kelly a.k.a. Codeword Delicious…Looks 4 Love!

Everything we knew and loved about him we had learned by watching the new, gay reality TV show, The A-List, on LOGO TV. Other than that, we had no clue who this guy was because, quite frankly, he didn’t have any huge claim to fame before the show, which is exactly why we fell in love with him. What we found out was he was a lot like us. He loved the movie Mean Girls. He thought Jake Sears from the Scissor Sisters was SEXY and he didn’t really know the difference between an A-lister and a D-lister, because, even though Kathy Griffin may not want to admit to this, when you get to the heart and soul of it…there is no difference. So, that being said, we give you…A-List, D-licious…TJ Kelly!

1. Introduce us to TJ Kelly. Who is he and why should we know him?
I am a boy with a zest for life. I love laughing, tasty beverages and cute boys. I was born on the outskirts of Boston and raised mostly on Cape Cod by a proud Irish family. In the summer of 2009, I packed up a suitcase and jumped on a $20 Fung Wah to New York City. I currently reside in Brooklyn and you may call me Ms. Brooklyn (Bushwick if you’re nasty!).

I manage the ultra-luxe Ryan Darius Salon located in the West Village. As a professional nail technician, I have showcased my talents doing nails for music videos, TV shows like “America’s Next Top Model,” and behind-the-scenes at several NYC Fashion Week shows including Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Miller. I founded and helped create the new website and I am also a contributor to the website where I blog a “Lifecast.”

I am energetic to the point and a little irreverent but you take the good you take the bad and you have Me some where in between.

2. Where did you grow up and how did that help you survive in New York City?
Well, like I stated, I grew up outside Boston actually in a town called Malden. My family then moved to cape Cod in 4th grade and I didn’t leave Cape until I was 27. I think what helped me survive and be successful was that I wasn’t jaded. I looked at the city with the eyes of a child. I kept humble and gracious and it didn’t go unnoticed. My polite demeanor mixed with a sassy and witty sense of humor opened many doors for me here. All are attributes and qualities my parents gave me, really helped me do it big in NYC.

3. Are you dating someone or are you single? And if you’re single, what makes TJs other half?
I am dating. I actually have a guy in my life right now who I adore. He is younger so for the first time I am the older one; a cougar if you will. I usually go for guys who are opposite then me. Quieter. Level Headed. Focused. Someone who can bring me down to Earth when my head is in the clouds. A cute face is also a plus but humor is one of the biggest things I look for in my other half.

4. How did you become part of LOGO’s The A-List and what was has that experience been like for you?
I became part of the A-list because of my best friend Ryan (the blonde). He was cast and because we are personally and professionally so close they asked me to be a secondary character. I was suppose to be in like 1 or 2 episodes and was pleasantly surprised to see they used me in every episode. I especially loved that I named the first episode “Codeword Delicious.” It has been such a surreal experience and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. The best part for me was getting to experience it with my Bestie of almost 14 years.

5. For all the future socialites, what do you think makes a good A-Lister in any social scene?
Well, please remember I never say that I am an A-lister. However, I do believe we are all A-list in our own way and our own lives if we believe that we are. Financially and Material wise I am nowhere near the other boys but this never effects me. The A in A-list for me is Attitude. It’s the way I hold my head up high and don’t compare where I am in life to others’ present journey. I am smart and can carry a conversation. Have a firm handshake and look people in the eye when you speak.

6. Out of all the characters in the A-List New York, who did you get along with the most and the least and why?
I got along with Ryan the most…haha. Our relationship is beyond friends and in the family arena now. He’s My sister. I love all the other boys a lot but I guess I clashed with Rodiney the most and Austin at a close second. Rodiney and I just never connected and I find his behavior to be manipulative where others found him naive. As for Austin well isn’t that enough said. To tell you the truth I adore him but if we spend too much time together we end up bickering. With Austin and I its a tug of war.

7. You’re currently blogging live about the RuPaul’s Drag Race episodes on LOGO. Tell us about this collaboration and where we can read these posts?
Yes recently I have been asked to join the LIVE BLOG Parties for Rupaul’s Drag Race and I Love doing it. I was asked by LOGO to join but really anyone can sign on and join the fun. It’s like a big chat room that you go into where you can chat live about the show as it airs. Its soo much fun and yes I was asked to do it as a “celebrity” but would do it even if I wasn’t asked formally. You just go to right before Drag race comes on, sign in with Twitter or Facebook and chat it up.

8. You’ve introduced a website called OutspokenNYC. Tell us about this new website.
OutSpokenNYC is a collection of seven fearless voices, each based in New York City and at the pulse of the gay universe. Let us help you filter out all the noise and share the sights and sounds that make life in the Big Gay City worth the crowded commutes and too-damn-high rent checks.

The guys at OutSpokenNYC converged in the Fall of 2010 after months of following each others shenanigans on Twitter. After a raucous brunch in Chelsea on chilly Sunday, it was immediately clear that the group dynamic was something special. A few drinks (and subsequent hangovers), a brand new blog born.

It’s easy to lump all gay men in the same category (vain, self-obsessed and shallow are common descriptors) but the problem is, that’s never really true. While we may seem similar on the surface (as many gays admittedly do), each of us comes from distinct backgrounds and experiences that gives him a fresh take on a life and a culture we all share. Collectively, that makes for one hell of a dialogue.

As it grows across platforms, OutSpokenNYC will be your source for fresh outlooks on everything from your favorite artist’s recent album to that new documentary on gay equality to how to keep your style sharp. We are the 6 gay best friends you don’t have yet. Check out our About Outspoken welcome video HERE.

9. Congratulations on your nomination for LOGO’s NewNowNext awards. What were you nominated for and what does that mean to you?
Yes Super Excited about my New Now Next Award Nomination. I have been nominated for Best New Indulgence. I am up against the most random grouping including OWN(oprah winfrey network), NetFlix, NKOTB and Backstreet Boys summer tour and the game Angry Birds. I think I have to watch out for Angry Birds haha. I really am so flattered by this and can’t wait for the actual show. It will be my first time going to LA so I am super excited.(At the time of this publication, LOGO TV’s NewNowNext Awards have already aired and regretfully, at least to us, TJ lost out to New Kids on the Block-Summer Tour.)

10. Your Twitter profile, @TJKelly10, says you’re a nail technician. What’s your favorite nail polish color and finish?

I am a nail tech. Fave color right now is the Custom Color I mixed for Nicole Miller. It was a light elephant grey with a high shine topcoat. It’s sooo trendy and cool.

11. How do you define “sexy”? Who do you believe are the three sexiest gay celebrities?
I define Sexy as an attitude. Sexy can be the Cocky Bad boy with a big mouth or the Quiet Kid with the Nerdy glasses its how they sell what they got that I find Sexy. Sexy is a walk and talk that can vary from person to person. 3 top sexiest gays are Neil Patrick Harris, Jake Shears(of the band Scissor Sisters) and Porn Star Francois Sagat.

12. What three straight celebrities do you wish were gay?
Three straight celebrities I wish would be gay would be Ryan Reynolds, Shia Lebouf and Mark Salling(of GLEE fame).

13. What three things do A-listers know that D-listers don’t?
I don’t know if I am classified to answer 3 things A-listers know that D-listers don’t. I think as people we just need to remember our manners and what the venue is. Dress for the occasion. Never wanna be under-dressed.

14. What is the sexiest city in the world? Hotel? Club? Restaurant?
I am so not well traveled but I would say I think Montreal is very sexy. It has a carefree attitude that I love and the people are soo kind. As for Sexy hotels, clubs and restaurants. I think these change way too frequently for me to give a solid answer. My advice would be Google SEXY restaurant and see what pops up.

15. If you could only listen to three CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?
Kelly Clarkson “My December” Destiny’s Child “Writings On The Wall” and Adele (recently added) “21”

16. What are your three favorite movies of all time?

“Mean Girls” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Bring It On” would be top three movies I am such a 15 year old girl, right!

17. If you were going to develop the next big, gay, reality show, what would you have it focus on and what would you call it?
The next Big Gay Reality show would Star me and it would be like the Gay Version of “I Love New York” or “Flavor of Love” It would be me in a house with 15 Gay Men and I narrow them down with challenges to find my true love. TJ Looks For Love!

18. Who has been the most exciting celebrity you have met as a result of being on The A-List?
Most exciting celeb I have met is Johnny Weir I adore him and it was such a surreal moment. We met at the OUT 100 and he actually said he was a HUGE Fan of ME..I almost died it was so thrilling!

19. Where would you like to be in five years?
In 5 years I hope I am on the way to build a family however lets just say I hope to be exactly where I should be wherever that may be. This year in particular taught me that anything can happen at any moment so just to go one day at a time putting your best foot forward.

20. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
Jockstraps of course!

Thanks Buddy!
Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photographs Courtesy of TJ Kelly.

WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken and used, with a link to our original interview, without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.